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KIT REVIEW


Eduard MiG-21MF Fighter Bomber ProfiPACK Edition
1:72 Scale

Eduard’s new tool MiG-21MF in 1:72 scale was one of our favorite new kits of this year and it is far and away the best 1:72 scale Fishbed that you can get.  The Eduard 1:72 scale Fishbed family just keeps growing.  Their inaugural MiG-21MF Interceptor kit and Royal Class edition (you can find them HERE) has now been joined by a ProfiPACK edition of the MF fighter bomber variant.  Here’s our take on this new kit.     

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The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 started out as a second-generation jet fighter and was an evolutionary development of the early Soviet jet fighters.  It served as a lightweight Mach 2-class aircraft that blended the strengths of a fighter with that of an interceptor.  The MiG-21 was also distinctive for its prominent air inlet shock cone.  More than 10,600 Fishbeds were mass-produced by the Soviets with several hundred others manufactured under license in India and Czechoslovakia.  Fishbeds were also produced for export with many additional versions going to more than 60 nations.  MiG-21s saw extensive combat among these air arms, from the air war over Vietnam, nearly every Arab-Israeli war, hostilities between India and Pakistan, the Angolan Civil War, the Iran-Iraq War, and the ongoing Syrian Civil War among many other smaller conflicts.

The MiG-21MF first appeared in 1970.  It had the in-house design designation of Izdeliye 96F and the NATO reporting name Fishbed-J and sought to improve upon some of the weaknesses of earlier models, though it was still rather short ranged.  The “M” stood for Modernizirovannyy (modernized) and “F” for Forsirovannyy (uprated engine).  It featured the RP-21 radar and the Tumansky R13-300 powerplant.  Its suite of weapons included a pair of internal 23 mm cannons, the R-60 air-to-air missile (NATO designation:  AA-8 Aphid), and later, the R-60M heat-seeking missile.  Various air-to-ground stores, from rocket pods to bombs, were also cleared on the MiG-21MF to make it a true fighter bomber.  In the Soviet Union, MFs were produced in two factories: one in Moscow, and the other in Gorky.  This detail is important, since Gorky Fishbeds (which numbered more than 230) differed slightly but noticeably from Moscow-built airframes.  MiG-21MFs were widely exported and saw combat in the skies over North Vietnam, the Middle East, the Horn of Africa, Angola, and elsewhere.  While they had some combat success through the 1970s, the employment of the MiG-21MF against fourth-generation American fighters (e.g., the F-15) in the 1980s and 1990s resulted in a calamitous combat record for the Fishbed.

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Eduard’s new tool 1:72 scale MiG-21MF Fighter Bomber kit comes on three blue-gray injection molded polystyrene sprues containing 183 parts.  About 70 of these parts go to external stores.  Fourteen clear parts are present on one clear sprue.  There are also 46 photoetched metal parts included on one fret (some parts pre-painted).  There’s a pre-cut self-adhesive masking set for the windscreen, canopy, and conformal airframe antennas/dielectric panels, too.  The full color instruction booklet organizes the build over 15 pages.  The decals come on two sheets and provide markings for five airplanes:

Strengths:  Upon opening the box and inspecting the kit contents, it is imminently clear Eduard has produced the best MiG-21 ever offered in 1:72 scale.  All the good things I had to say about the Interceptor version of this kit apply here, and we can recap that below.

Yet, there’s one major difference.  You’ll note that Sprue A in the Interceptor kit (the sprue with the wings and fuselage) is replaced here by Sprue B with ostensibly the same parts.  But if you look carefully, there are multiple subtle-but-meaningful differences between the MiG-21MFs that rolled off the Gorky factory production line versus the Moscow-built airframes.  See the photos below for more details.  Here, Sprue B provides the parts for Moscow manufactured MFs, and this corresponds to all the serial numbers represented on the decal sheet.     

Back to the kit: it features a very straightforward and uncomplicated parts breakdown from the cockpit, wheel well assemblies, fuselage halves, and wing halves.  To eliminate seams and seam clean-up, the leading edge of the upper wing half carries over to the bottom of the wing as an extended lip.  It also seems that as many parts as possible were molded as single-piece assemblies, such as the combined spine and vertical stabilizer assembly, horizontal stabilizers, engine shroud, pylons, and air-to-air missiles.  A few other parts are more complex, such as the multi-piece KM-1 ejection seat and the separate wheel hubs, but that allows for the construction of the most detailed injection-molded ejection seat you could wish for.  I also dry fit the fuselage halves and the wings – they are airtight.  If you need to use filler, you might be doing something wrong…

Overall surface detail of the exterior of the airplane is outstanding for any kit and especially in 1:72 scale.  The panel lines are delicately and precisely recessed, and some of the finest recessed rivet detail you’ll ever see are on the wings and fuselage.  I’d plan on building this kit with a very thin paint such as Mr. Paint so as not to accidently fill in some of that gorgeous rivet detail.  Molding detail is also outstanding, from the quilted ejection seat backpad to bulkhead details, afterburner turbine face, wiring on bulkheads and gear well parts, landing gear, and missile details.  You also get separate and positionable ailerons, flaps, horizontal stabilizers, a positionable canopy, options to extend or retract the speed brakes, and other neat details often overlooked in 1:72 scale such as gear door actuators.
 
The cockpit is good for a 1:72 scale kit, and you can either use the plastic parts in the kit, decals for the instrument panel and side consoles, or the pre-painted ProfiPACK parts (certainly, the preference of most builders, one would assume).  The photoetched parts that come in this edition of the kit are gorgeously made, and will really elevate the detail in the cockpit to be sure.  The PE parts also feature very nice shoulder harnesses, lap belts, and the ejection handle for the seat as well as some external airframe details (e.g., antennas, static wicks).

The external stores included in this kit are one 800-liter external centerline fuel tank, two 490-liter drop tanks, two RATO bottles, two RS-2US missiles, two R-3S missiles, and two R-13 missiles, and UB-16 unguided rocket pods.

The markings choices are all great, but I like the Egyptian and Polish schemes the best, the latter of which is essentially the same seen on the F-16 and late life F-4s.  The smaller primary decal sheet was printed by Cartograf and it is technically impeccable.  The secondary (but larger) decal sheet with the hundreds of airframe, pylon, and external stores stencils appears to have been printed in-house by Eduard.  While it’s of a slightly different quality than what comes out of Cartograf’s production process, the Eduard sheet also looks great and I can see no flaws therein.  And as far as painting goes, the pre-cut, self-adhesive masking set will save a lot of time and will produce a precise masking job for the canopy, windscreen, and conformal antennas.   

Weaknesses:  I can identify no obvious errors or issues in shape, size, configuration, or engineering.  Of course, the gear wells are nice but simplified as they must be for this small scale.  You can always add more detail (wiring, plumbing), and the kit provides a great basis to do so.  I would argue the ejection seat leg guards are really thick and over-scale. 

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This is a really impressive MiG-21MF kit, and we look forward to all the other 1:72 scale MiG-21 kit editions that one can infer that Eduard has planned.  Also keep in mind that there are various Eduard Brassin resin detail sets for their MiG-21MF, and we’ll have a review of the cockpit set for this kit coming right up. If you wanted more detail opportunities, you’ve got them.  In the meantime, enjoy this kit!

We extend our sincere thanks to Eduard for the review sample.  You can visit them on the web at http://www.eduard.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EduardCompany/

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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OF THE U. S. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS
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Colors & Markings of the F-102
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Colors & Markings of U. S. Navy
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