Academy 1/48 MiG-21MF "Soviet Air Force & Export"
The MiG-21MF (Fishbed J) was an export version of an uprated MiG-21M. It shared the 21M's Tumansky R-13-300 engine and RP-22S Sapfir radar. GAZ 21 built the MiG-21M for the VVS (Soviet Air Force) and GAZ 30 built the MF for export between 1970 and 1975.
It comes in Academy's customary stout box with a computer generated color profile on top. It consists of 128 parts on 6 sprues, one of which is clear. My initial impressions of the kit are positive. The clear parts are very well molded. The parts are flash free, and very well molded. Sink marks are minor and are confined to the under wing pylons. There are ejector pin marks on the inside of the landing gear doors. If you have a punch set, you can cut some disks out of thin styrene to fill those pin marks.
Surface detail is by way of fine recessed panel lines, and some well done rivets. The MiG-21 cockpit was a fairly busy office and the kit's interior is rather simplified. I would recommend an aftermarket resin ejection seat. Detail parts like the landing gear, landing gear doors, wheel wells, air brakes, etc. are well executed.
Under wing stores are fairly extensive, and consist of a 130 gallon drop tank, UB-16 and UB-32 rocket pods, Gsh-23L cannon pod, and K-13 "Atoll" and K-13A "Radar Atoll" missiles.
Academy's instructions are very well illustrated, with parts map, a logical build sequence, and color callouts for popular model paint brands Humbrol (enamels and acrylics), GSI Creos (Acqeous Hobbycolor and Mr. Color), Lifecolor, Testors/Modelmaster (enamels and acrylics), Revell (enamels and acrylics), and Vallejo (Model Color and Model Air).
The decal sheet is printed by Cartograph of Italy. It is very well printed, in-register, and features bright colors, and more than 140 stencils that cover the air frame. It includes marking options for 5 MiG-21s:
"Red 23," MiG-21SM, Russian Air Force, Invasion of Czechoslovakia, 1968. This plane was natural metal with red/white/red bands around the aft fuselage.
MiG-21SM, Iraqi Air Force, Gulf War. Sand and Earth Brown over Pale Blue Gray.
"Red 1904," MiG-21bis, Hungarian Air Force, Sky Hussars display team "Capeti," 1983. This plane was natural metal.
"C2788," MiG-21bis, Indian Air Force, 24 Sqn "Hunting Hawks." This plane was natural metal with yellow bands around the entire air frame.
"White 8676," Egyptian Air Force, 1982. Black Gray, Sand, and Russian Green over Pale Blue Gray, with large swaths of orange on the outer wings, fin, rudder, and upper fuselage.
This is a decent kit. It has been superseded by Eduard's newer kit in terms of detail, but it can still give a good account of itself in the hands of a skilled modeler. I would recommend some aftermarket items, such as a resin ejection seat, wheels, and perhaps a turned brass pitot tube. The MiG-21 is an iconic modern fighter jet that served air forces all over the world. Academy's kit strikes a reasonable compromise between complexity and ease of construction. I recommend this kit and I would like to thank Model Rectifier Corporation for the review sample.
Walk Around, MiG-21 Fishbed, Part 2, Walk Around Number 39, by Hans-Heiri Stapfer, Squadron/Signal Publications, 2005