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MiG-21PFM Days of Glory and Oblivion

AK Interactive 1/48 MiG-21PFM Days of Glory and Oblivion Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2016 Manufacturer AK Interactive
Subject MiG-21PFM Days of Glory and Oblivion Scale 1/48
Kit Number 148003 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch, Resin
Pros Great details Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (Euro) 49.95€ (incl VAT)

First Look

MiG-21PFM Days of Glory and Oblivion
MiG-21PFM Days of Glory and Oblivion
MiG-21PFM Days of Glory and Oblivion
MiG-21PFM Days of Glory and Oblivion
MiG-21PFM Days of Glory and Oblivion

The MiG-21 is one of the most successful supersonic fighters ever produced. The first production MiG-21 was the MiG-21F (NATO Codename: Fishbed C) day fighter which was equipped with 2 NR-30 30mm guns and a range-only radar that would provide optimum firing range data for the pilot, similar to the F-100 Super Sabre. When the K-13 (NATO Codename: AA-2 Atoll) missile (AIM-9B Sidewinder copy) became available, the MiG-21F was revised to remove one 30mm gun and replace it with two underwing missile rails and the subsystems to carry two K-13s, leading to the designation MiG-21F-13 (NATO Codename: Fishbed E). The MiG-21F and MiG-21F-13 were are considered 'first generation' MiG-21s as they were day-fighters only and powered by the early R-11F-300 turbojet engine.

The generation two MiG-21s started with the first all-weather interceptor variant, the MiG-21PF (NATO Codename: Fishbed D). These aircraft were armed with the K-5 (NATO Codename: AA-1 Alkalai) which were early radar-guided missiles. The MiG-21PF was the first of the series to have the gun deleted from the design as the world was enamored with the new guided missiles. When the K-13 became available, the MiG-21PF would also receive these as well. The MiG-21PF carried over several design attributes from generation one including the forward-hinged canopy which doubled as an ejection seat shield for supersonic egress; and fowler flaps for take-off and landing.

The next version of the MiG-21 (and the subject of this kit) was the MiG-21PFM. The suffix behind the MiG-21 denotes the modifications or variations to the basic design with P (Perekhvatchik or interceptor), F (Forsirovannyj or uprated), and M (Modernizirovannyj or Modernized). The MiG-21PFM was the first to replace the front-hinged canopy with a side-opening hood and standard windscreen after the supersonic shield failed to release the ejection seat (and pilot) in a number of accidents. Evidently early MiG-21PFMs retained the Fowler flaps but the most commonly seen MiG-21PFMs were equipped with new flaps using engine bleed air blown over the flaps for improved low-speed lift (referred to as SPS in Russian).

AK Interactive has released this latest kit based upon the Eduard 1/48 MiG-21PFM tooling. The kit comes with the full set of parts trees and the Eduard 1/48 MiG-21s are the best of this subject in this scale. .

This release offers the following features and options:

  • Detailed cockpit w/color photo-etched parts
  • Detailed ejection seat
  • Positionable canopy
  • Choice of early canopy without periscope or later canopy with periscope
  • Detailed afterburner chamber and nozzle
  • Detailed main wheel wells (nose gear well nice too)
  • Positionable rudder
  • Positionable flaps, ailerons and stabilators (with some minor tweaks)
  • Positionable speed brakes
  • Flat tires (see text below)

External stores include:

  • 2 x RS-2US/K-5 (AA-1 Alkali)
  • 2 x R-3S (AA-2 Atoll)
  • 2 x R-3R (AA-2 Atoll)
  • 2 x R-13/K-13 (AA-2 Atoll)
  • 2 x S-24 240mm rockets
  • 1 x centerline external tank
  • 1 x GP-9 centerline gun pack
  • 2 x SPRD RATO bottles

There are additional bombs, missiles, etc., on the weapons tree as this is a common sprue tree from the previous generation three MiG-21 releases.

Markings are provided for four examples:

  • MiG-21PFM, Bort 20, Soviet AF, Operation Danube, Czechoslovakia, 1968
  • MiG-21PFM, Bort 740, JG 8, EGAF, Marxwalde AB, 1970s
  • MiG-21PFM, 22+26, Luftwaffe, early 1990s (not mentioned in the instructions)
  • MiG-21PFM, 22+26, Luftwaffe, Madrid Museum, 2015

The decals in this set are printed by Cartograf and I like how the instrument panel colors and details look almost as nice as the color-printed photo-etch versions. Even so, the addition of the color-printed photo-etch pilot restraints rounds out this kit while keeping the skill levels needed to build this model reasonable. The decal set also includes an extensive set of airframe stenciling.

Something I've never seen in an aircraft kit before - flat tires. When I first looked at this resin-cast wheels, I thought these must have been rejects from a trainee using a motorized sander, but these are intentional. Going back to the decal sheet, you can see two versions of 22+26. The instructions don't show this aircraft still in service but the decals provide the markings for that short period of time when the former East German AF aircraft were given Luftwaffe identification numbers and the German flag was added to the former East German fin flash. The Luftwaffe quickly retired the early MiG-21s and this one was flown off to the Madrid museum where it stands (sort of) today.

That brings us to the version of 22+26 covered in the instructions as well as featured on the box art. This aircraft has the Luftwaffe identification numbers fading away while the former EGAF insignia were painted over and even these have worn away. The decals replicate these effects nicely. Of course such a neglected airframe is sitting on flat tires. This subject is in keeping with AK Interactive's favorite pastime - weathering worn out aircraft and vehicles.

This kit provides three operational examples of the MiG-21PFM as well as a tired museum exhibit version. This kit will appeal to MiG-21 modelers as the Eduard kit is still the best MiG-21PFM in 1/48 scale and the nice selection of subjects will make this release worth adding to your scale flightline.

My sincere thanks to AK Interactive for this review sample!