Eduard 1/48 MiG-21MF/MFN in Czechoslovak Service Kit First Look
by Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||November 2011||Manufacturer||Eduard|
|Subject||MiG-21MF/MFN in Czechoslovak Service||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||1158||Primary Media||Styrene, photo-etch, resin|
|Pros||Best kit of the MiG-21 in any scale||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$80.00|
For a description of the MiG-21MF's history, check our previous Eduard 1/48 MiG-21MF review here.
Eduard has released the a special edition MiG-21MF for some reasons that will be obvious. The basic kit is essentially the same as their first release with parts molded in dark gray styrene and presented on eight parts trees, plus one tree of clear parts, two frets of photo-etched parts, and a set of rocket pods cast in resin. Two sheets of decals and a set of yellow masks round out this kit. Well almost - this kit commemorates the MiG-21MF in Czechoslovakian service, before and after the split of the Czech and Slovakian Republics. Most notably, this kit features markings for one particular MiG-21MF that flew from an airbase near where Eduard founder Vladimir Sulc had grown up. This particular aircraft, bort 5303 carried a knight emblem on its tail that would later adorn another MiG-21 and a MiG-23 before becoming the corporate emblem for Eduard itself. To commemorate that aircraft, Eduard has provided an Eduard pin and a print suitable for framing of a pair of Czech AF MiG-21MFs taking off in formation, one of which is bort 5303.
Construction begins with the nose wheel well. Okay, so it is supposed to start with the cockpit, but once you get the wheel well walls and bulkheads in place, you flip the part over and install the cockpit - close enough. The cockpit comes with a nice set of color-printed photo-etched parts as only Eduard can do them. Take care to match the turquoise blue-green color on the rest of the cockpit interior and the hard detailing is already done for you.
Next is the afterburner chamber and nozzle assembly. You're going to love the depth of the flame holder away from the turbine face (something that is usually molded together).
This kit has the entire interior fuselage mid-section here that represents in full-depth the main wheel wells. If you want to see some interesting engineering origami, watch some You-Tube videos on the MiG-21 and MiG-23 landing gear retraction tests and see how those wheels are moved around to fit into those unusual spaces.
This is one of very few kits that got the unique centerbody radome shape captured right. When you have the cockpit, afterburner section, and wheel well section completed, these all go together with the centerbody inside the fuselage halves.
Eduard did a nice job in making the kit adaptable to easily render the other third-generation MiG-21s out of this tooling with minimal parts changes. The main difference - the dorsal spine - requires different parts for the spine and vertical stabilizer as the spine fairs into the tail in different places depending on MiG-21 variant. These are provided on their own tree. The kit does provide two different types of instrument panel and three sets of canopies to render the MiG-21MF (or SM if you'd like), MiG-21SMT, or MiG-21bis. This kit also has the NATO-standard antennas for the radios and iFF equipment that allow these MiG-21s to operate within NATO airspace. These updated MiG-21MFs were designated as MiG-21MFN.
The forward airbrakes are molded closed on the kit to ease assembly and filling, but if you want to portray these open, simply remove the air brake petals along the cut lines, insert the well interiors, then install the brakes themselves.
The wings, like the rest of the kit, are common to all three variants that will be portrayed by Eduard. One exception is an oblong panel on the upper surface of the wing near the wing root. For this detail, Eduard provides your choice of photo-etched scribing mask or decals to replicate that detail.
Among the features of this kit:
- Detailed cockpit w/color photo-etched parts
- Detailed KM-1 ejection seat
- Positionable canopy
- 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
- Choice of plastic or PE FOD shields under auxiliary blow-in doors
- NATO antennas
- Paint masks
External stores include:
- 2 x RS-2US (AA-1 Alkali)
- 2 x R-3S (AA-2 Atoll)
- 2 x R-3R (AA-2 Atoll)
- 2 x R-13 (AA-2 Atoll)
- 2 x R-60 (AA-8 Aphid)
- 2 x S-24 240mm rockets
- 8 x FAB-100 bombs
- 2 x FAB-250 bombs
- 2 x UB-16-57 rocket pods
- 2 x MERs
- 2 x external underwing tanks
- 1 x centerline external tank
- 2 x SPRD RATO bottles
Markings are provided for 12 aircraft:
- MiG-21MA, Bort 1209, 2 AB/1 Flt, Malacky AB, Slovakian AF, 1993
- MiG-21MFN, Bort 2500, 41 FS, Caslav AB, Czech AF, 2002, Tiger Meet Colors
- MiG-21MA, Bort 2707, 9 FR, Bechyne AB, Czech AF, 1989
- MiG-21MFN, Bort 4017, 211 TS, Caslav AB, Czech AF, 2000-2005
- MiG-21MF, Bort 5212, 11 FR, Zatec AB, Czech AF, 1991, 40th Anniversary Scheme
- MiG-21MF, Bort 5303, 11 FR, Zatec AB, Czech AF, 1991, Eduard Emblem
- MiG-21MF, Bort 5303, 11 FR, Zatec AB, Czech AF, 1993, w/o Eduard Emblem
- MiG-21MF, Bort 7702, 6 FR, Prerov-Bochor AB, Czech AF, 1980
- MiG-21MF, Bort 7801, 4 Sqn/1 Regt, Sliac AB, Slovakian AF, 1995
- MiG-21MF, Bort 8208, 6 FR, Pribram-Dlouha Lhota AB, Czech AF, 1986
- MiG-21MF, Bort 9414, 43 FS, Caslav AB, Czech AF, 1995
- MiG-21MF, Bort 9805, 211 TS, Caslav AB, Czech AF, 2003
The distinctive markings are will done and provide some nice variety of subjects. The second sheet contains the Tiger Meet tiger stripes for 2500 as well as the tail stripes for 2707. The third sheet contains a complete set of stencils for the airframe, pylons and external stores, all in Czech.
These Eduard kits are easily the nicest MiG-21s produced to date in any scale (less than 1:1). I'm looking forward to seeing the MiG-21bis coming soon and perhaps the Generation One and Two MiG-21s planned for release over the next few years.
My sincere thanks to Eduard for this review sample!