Eduard 1/48 MiG-21R Fishbed H Weekend Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||October 2014||Manufacturer||Eduard|
|Subject||MiG-21R Fishbed H Weekend||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||84123||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Beautiful kit||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$39.95|
With the growing capabilities of the MiG-21 airframe, the MiG OKB was given the task of creating one of the first tactical reconnaissance aircraft based upon a fighter airframe. The MiG-21R (Razvedchik - reconnaissance) would be the last of the so-called 'generation two' variants but one significant feature designed into the MiG-21R would become a standard feature in all of the 'generation three' airframes.
With barely enough room in the airframe for fuel, the MiG-21R had to carry its reconnaissance gear in a special pod mounted on a reinforced centerline station. The problem with this adaptation was that the centerline station was the only one plumbed for external fuel. The two wing stations were rated for weapons stores only. The solution was to strengthen the wing and add two additional stations outboard of the existing stations and design them to accommodate weapons or external fuel. These outboard stations could carry the same 490 liter external fuel tank as the centerline so in the reconnaissance configuration, the MiG-21R would double its external fuel load over earlier MiG-21 variants. Note that in the MiG-21R and subsequent 'generation three' variants, the reinforced centerline station could accept a larger 800 liter tank which, coupled with the outboard tanks, provided these later MiG-21s with 1780 liters of additional fuel.
While the MiG-21R was the only reconnaissance variant of the MiG-21 family, it was the recipient of several different reconnaissance pods including photo, television, and ELINT. Even with these capabilities, the MiG-21R retained full air-to-air and air-to-ground combat capabilities, and with the reconnaissance pod replaced with an external fuel tank, the MiG-21R was frequently mistaken for a generation three fighter until one took a closer look at the other tell-tale details.
Eduard released the MiG-21R Profipack a while back but when you look at this kit, the only difference between the Weekend and Profipack is the lack of photo-etched parts and fewer decal subjects, and oh yes, a roughly $20 USD lower price. Even though this kit is a Weekend, there are still nine parts trees in this box molded in gray styrene plus one tree of clear parts. Among the features and options in this kit:
- Nicely detailed cockpit
- Positionable canopy
- Detailed wheel wells
- Positionable rudder
- Positionable ailerons
- Positionable stabilators
- Positionable flaps
- Positionable speed brakes
The kit provides a number of external stores options, many of which aren't used on this kit, but among the options for the variant:
- 2 x RATO bottles
- 1 x Type D reconnaissance pod
- 1 x Type R reconnaissance pod
- 2 x 490 liter external fuel tanks
- 2 x S-24 rockets
- 2 x R-3S (AA-2 Atoll)
- 2 x RS-2US (AA-1 Alkalai)
The weapons sprues provide two each of two later AA-2 Atoll variants, 4 R-60 (AA-8 Aphid), several OFAB bombs of various sizes, and two AA-8 twin-rail adaptors. The sprues also have the bodies for the UB-16 and UB-32 rocket pods, but not the front ends. This is a bit odd given that the MiG-21R frequently carried these 57mm rocket pods on the inboard stations. Eduard has recently released the UB-16 and UB-32 pods in their Brassin series so you can have that configuration as well.
The kit provides two marking options:
- MiG-21R, Bort 24, 263 Recon Sqn, Kabul AB, Afghanistan, 1982
- MiG-21R, Bort 111, Cuban AF, 1980/90s
These MiG-21 kits from Eduard are easily the best MiG-21 kits in 1/48 scale and with the MiG-21R, MiG-21PF, and MiG-21PFM, they've completed the major variants in Generation Two along with all of the previously released variants of Generation Three. I'm hoping Eduard will continue into Generation One!
My sincere thanks to Eduard for this review sample!