Kitty Hawk Models 1/48 MiG-25RB/RBT Foxbat B Kit First Look
|Date of Review||November 2018||Manufacturer||Kitty Hawk Models|
|Subject||MiG-25RB/RBT Foxbat B||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||80113||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch, Resin|
|Pros||Interesting updates||Cons||A few minor glitches (see text)|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$69.95|
The Mikoyan OKB developed the E-155R (MiG-25R) reconnaissance platform in parallel with their E-155P (MiG-25P) interceptor design to serve in the high-speed/high-altitude reconnaissance role. While the initial designs housed a variety of cameras in the nose, updated requirements mandated the inclusion of Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) avionics be included in the platform. The MiG-25R was given new mission requirements for the carriage and delivery of bombs (so much for "unarmed and unafraid"), leading to a new designator of MiG-25RB. As avionics improved, the MiG-25RB was updated with the Virazh-1 ELINT system and these aircraft were designated MiG-25RBV. The Virazh-1 was later replaced with the Tangazh ELINT system on the MiG-25 production line and these aircraft were designated MiG-25RBT. The MiG-25RBK is the 'commercial' export version of the MiG-25RB. There are other variants of the MiG-25R series including the MiG-25RBN for night photo reconnaissance capabilities, MiG-25RBS which replaced the ELINT systems with a side-looking airborne radar (SLAR). From the US/NATO perspective, the MiG-25R series all looked alike during the Cold War and all were designated as Foxbat B, with the exception of the MiG-25RBS. The MiG-25RBS had a large rectangular dilectric panel on either side of the nose extending from under the windscreen to almost halfway to the tip of the nose (the Foxbat Bs had a much smaller dilectric panel out near the front of the nose), and this variant was designated as Foxbat D.
War Story Alert: The Berlin Control Zone was administered by the US FAA, and one day the area FAA administrator shared an interesting incident: There was a Soviet airbase inside the northeast side of the control zone that operated the recce Foxbats. One day, a British Army sergeant had arrived from a post in Northern Ireland to fly the Gazelle helicopter patrols along the Berlin wall. Another sergeant was giving the newcomer an orientation flight during the evening and they spotted the runway lights of that Soviet airbase. The Brits flew the Gazelle on a simulated landing approach while noting different landmarks, etc. Unknown to them, a MiG-25 was approaching that very same runway, saw the Gazelle at the last second, and executed an afterburner go-around. The jet wash sent the Gazelle tumbling and the sergeants were able to put the aircraft down in a field to check for damage. Once they verified the helicopter was still flyable, they also remembered that they were now inside East Germany and were drawing attention. They quickly and safely egressed the area, but the MiG-25 pilot had landed and reported the incident to his commander (after a change of flight suit). A formal complaint was submitted to the FAA for investigation. You just have to love the Brits!
Kitty Hawk has released this new Foxbat B in 1/48 scale, and while parts of the airframe are based upon their earlier release of the MiG-25PD, there are some new jewels in this box. Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on 14 parts trees (duplicate trees not shown) and two fuselage halves plus one tree of clear parts, one small fret of photo-etched parts, and a set of resin parts. Among the features and options in this kit:
- VERY nicely detailed cockpit
- Positionable canopy
- Detailed resin gear struts
- Detailed wheels
- Very nice (and huge) R-15B afterburners
- Choice of resin or styrene afterburner nozzles
- Optional resin engine exhaust covers
- Distinctive tri-vane array is recreated in both intakes
- Positionable low-speed intake flaps
- Positionable trailing edge flaps
- Positionable ailerons
- Positionable stabilators
- Positionable rudders
- Positionable speed brakes
- Choice of ventral nose inserts - with and without camera ports
- Resin camera pallets for the recce bay
External store options include:
- 4 x R-60 Aphid
- 2 x APU dual-rail launchers
- 2 x R-40RD Acrid
- 2 x R-40TD Acrid
- 2 x FAB-1500 bombs
- 4 x FAB-500 bombs
- 2 x dual bomb racks (fore/aft)
- 2 x dual bomb racks (side-by-side)
- 1 x centerline fuel tank
Markings are included for six options:
- MiG-25RBT, Bort 46, 47th GRAP, Soviet VVS, 2001
- MiG-25RB, KP354, 35 Sqn, Indian AF
- MiG-25RBT, Bort 16, Soviet VVS
- MiG-25RBT, Red 55, Soviet VVS
- MiG-25RBF, Bort 20, Soviet VVS
- MiG-25RB, Bort 754, Bulgarian AF
- The instructions have you install FOD doors that close up the intakes similar to the Su-27 and MiG-29 series. Unfortunately, the Su-27 and MiG-29 were the first to have this feature and the MiG-25 pre-dates those aircraft by several decades. This is the same issue that appeared in the original MiG-25PD release, and require rework of the intake ramps to correct.
- The kit provides a nice selection of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, and the instructions would have you use some of the air-to-air weapons as the diagrams were partially updated from the MiG-25PD instructions. Check your references, but you'll want to focus on the free-fall unguided bombs for this build (if you want to arm your 'bat at all).
- The instructions don't show how/where to install the bomb racks onto the centerline or under the wings. Again, check your references
- The wingtip mass balances are identified as ECM pods in the instructions. These are not optional and need to be on the wingtips.
- The new resin parts are not really highlighted in the instructions, but provide a pair of standing crew figures (no boarding ladder), nice resin afterburner nozzles, resin nozzle covers, landing gear struts, the bulkheads for the camera bay, and the two resin camera/film packs for inside the camera bay.
There are subtle differences between the RBV and RBT which can be found looking through online photos, but I'm hopeful that Yefim Gordon will publish the definitive MiG-25 book to compliment his MiG and Sukhoi series. In the meantime, we have some good choices for the Foxbat B family and I hope well see the MiG-25RBS Foxbat D in 1/48 scale sometime soon!
My sincere thanks to Kitty Hawk Models for this review sample!