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KIT REVIEW


Eduard MiG-21MF Royal Class Dual Combo -- 1:72 Scale



The MiG-21 (NATO designation: Fishbed) is the most widely produced aircraft since the Korean War and it has taken its place among the most storied fighters in history.  It was a front-line Soviet fighter and interceptor for a large portion of the Cold War and more than 60 countries operated the type.  There have also been a few hundred injection-molded plastic MiG-21 kits from 1:144 to 1:32 scale.  Eduard produces the best 1:48, 1:72, and and 1:144 scale MiG-21s.  Their new tool 1:72 scale MiG-21MF released in mid-2018 is the latest to join to Eduard’s distinguished pedigree of Fishbeds, and the kit is an all-around winner.  Here, we take a look at Eduard’s recent Royal Class offering of their 1:72 scale MiG-2MF.  Unsurprisingly, this kit set is a knockout.

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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, perhaps most infamously during the Vietnam War as operated by the North Vietnamese Air Force.  Fishbeds have also been involved in 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.  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 Royal Class edition of their MiG-21MF contains sprues for TWO complete kits of their 2018 new tool 1:72 scale Fishbed.  In the box are six blue-gray injection molded polystyrene sprues containing 360 parts.  About 140 of these parts (70 per MiG) go to external stores.  Twenty-eight clear parts are present on two clear sprues.  Ten Brassin cast resin parts are provided for two Fishbeds and include complete ejection seats, headrests, nose gear wheels, and main gear wheels.  There’s two sets of pre-painted photoetched metal parts (46 parts each), two pre-painted STEEL seatbelt PE sets with eight parts each, and a pre-cut self-adhesive masking set for two MiG-21MFs.  The masking set covers the windscreen, canopy, and conformal airframe antennas/dielectric panels.  Topping it all off is a limited edition EduArt print depicting an Iraqi MiG-21MF shooting down an Iranian F-4 Phantom II during the Iran-Iraq War on 8 September 1980.  The full color instruction booklet organizes the build over 10 pages.  The decals come on three sheets and provide markings for 12 airplanes:  

Strengths:  As many of us have now have seen, Eduard clearly makes the best MiG-21 offered in 1:72 scale.  In this Royal Class offering, there might not be a beer glass in here - but you get TWO of these great kits paired with exceptional detail parts, a masking set, and some impressive art.  It is a complete package.

Eduard’s 1:72 scale MiG-21MF kit 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.  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 breathtaking 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 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 really 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 resin ejection seats are gorgeous, especially for 1:72 scale castings.
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.

This kit features the details of either a Gorky-built or Moscow-built MiG-21MF – hence the differences you can see on Sprues A and B.  The markings choices are all awesome, and as usual, Eduard has selected some really distinctive schemes for their Royal Class edition.  Agonizing over which schemes to do falls under the category of “a good problem to have,” I suppose.  For me, the Bulgarian, Indian, Iraqi, Egyptian, and gold-over-silver Polish scheme all grab my attention.  The Iraqi Fishbed is the one featured in the ready-to-frame EduArt print that comes in the box.

The primary decal sheet was printed by Cartograf and it is technically impeccable.  The two sets of secondary decal sheets contain 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 find 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.   

The final item in the box is an insert and sticker for Eduard’s 2018 sticker game, where you collect various stickers in Eduard kits, mail it in, and get a reward.  Though the 2018 sticker game has ended for this year by the time of this writing, filled game cards are accepted without time limit.  You can see more here:  https://www.eduard.com/stickers/

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’m partial to Eduard beer glasses and feel a little let down this set does not contain said beer glass, but who knows - maybe a future Fishbed Royal Class edition might include one. 

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This is a really impressive Royal Class MiG-21MF kit set, and the inclusion of Brassin resin parts, photoetched metal details, a masking set, and an EduArt print make this a thoroughly immersive, high-quality, and detail-rich building experience.  It’s represents a great combination of plastic parts, details, great markings options, and overall allure that’s pretty hard to beat. 

Sincere thanks are owed to everyone at 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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