Bilek's 1/72 MiG-21U
The MiG-21 is probably the most recognizable Soviet fighter, with its nose intake and delta wing. This fighter was quite a performer and the need for a two-seat trainer quickly became apparent. Given the NATO code-name of "Mongol", the two-seat MiG-21 came in three distinct flavors. The MiG-21U was developed from the early MiG-21s, with the narrow intake and small fin found on the MiG-21P/PF family. As the MiG-21 continued evolving, so did the two-seater. The MiG-21US had the broader fin found on the MiG-21PFM as well as the wing from the MiG-21SPS which featured "blown" flaps replacing the Fowler style on the earlier MiG-21s. The final two-seater MiG-21 variant was the MiG-21UM which built off of the MiG-21US version with improved avionics and instruments from the MiG-21M/MF series. The ejection seats were also updated to the newer KM-1 seat. Finally, the MiG-21UM could carry four hardpoints under the wing. The two-seat MiG-21 quickly found its way into service in a great number of countries, including East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, Poland, Romania, and many more.
This is the first injection-molded kit of the two-seater MiG-21, and it's a very welcome kit indeed. The parts are molded in a light gray plastic and feature recessed panel lines throughout. The detailing is somewhat basic and there is some cleanup that will be needed, but it's still much better than trying to convert an existing MiG-21P/PF kit.
The interior is the place that could use the most sprucing up, as it is very sparse. Little more than a tub, a pair of seats, and instrument panels are provided. The large and clear canopies will show off a great deal of stuff inside there, so this is definitely a place for a nice resin replacement tub. I think you could find replacement seats easily enough, and there might be a resin MiG-21P/PF cockpit tub that you might be able to modify for this kit.
The rest of the detailing is pretty decent, with separate wheel well inserts for both the main and nose gears. There is a separate tailcone piece as well. There are two different nose cones, although only one is noted for use in this kit. I suspect that the other nose cone is for the MiG-21UM kit. Speaking of different variants, this one is definitely a MiG-21U, as it has the short tail fin. Unfortunately I don't have a good set of photos showing how the wing flaps differed from the blown and the Fowler ones, so I can't comment on the accuracy of the wings. But they look like MiG-21 wings in every other respect, so I'm guessing that the only difference would be some fairings.
To hang under the plane the kit includes three drop tanks and a pair of Atoll missiles. The drop tanks are nicely done, but the missiles could probably use some cleaning up and possibly replacement fins. The landing gear is decent as well, and two sets of main wheels are provided (the MiG-21U used the larger 800mm wheels found on later MiG-21s).
The decal sheet provides markings for three MiG-21Us. All are in a natural metal finish, with one being East German, one Czech, and one Soviet. Nothing really spectacular in the markings, but the decals are well printed and thin (printed by MPD), so they should go down over the silver finish nicely.
If you've been wanting to have a Mongol on your shelf, this is pretty much your only choice out there aside from a rather hefty conversion. While it may not be up to the level of detail found in the Fujimi MiG-21 kits, it is an accurate kit and with a little bit of work should build up into a very nice replica of this trainer.