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Eduard 1/48 Mig-21MF in Czechoslovak Service Limited Edition

By Winston Gould

Introduction

Mig-21MF (From the instructions for the Mig-21MF in Czechoslovak Service Limited Edition, Kit # 1158):

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This kit offers the option of building either the MiG-21MA, MF or MFN serving with the Czechoslovak Air Force, as well as with the forces of the separate Czech and Slovak Republics. A total of thirteen options were chosen to represent all of the time periods in which this aircraft served. Among them is found aircraft numbered 5303, which carried the Eduard logo on its fin. In the hectic period after the fall of communism, members of the Czechoslovak armed forces found themselves able to display symbols of affinity. Besides scantily clad ladies and, to a lesser extent, sharkmouth decorations, plastic modeling was also represented. Interestingly, this was not a paid advertisement, and the marking was the result of having a fan base in the armed forces. The MiG-21 MA and MF served in the Czechoslovak Air Force and with its successors for several decades. The first examples arrived from the Soviet Union at the end of the sixties and into the seventies. Most of the last serviceable examples outlived their intended successors. Czech MiG-21s flew over the country after their more modern MiG-23 replacement ended up in scrap heaps or museums, and the MiG-29 with the Polish Air Force. The final replacement in the Czech Republic finally came in the form of the Gripen, while the Slovaks maintained their -29s, and these flew alongside the MiG-21s. The MiG-21MA (factory designation Izdelye 96A) was delivered to the tune of 24 aircraft between 1969 and 1970. These were intended as replacements for the MiG-21R, and came from production series 11, 12, 26 and 27. During their service life, these MAs were upgraded to MF standard, and there remained certain differences that are for modified aircraft characteristic. Generally, these centered around the shape of the air brakes, the
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absence of aerodynamic fences at auxiliary intakes on some aircraft, a missing rear view mirror, and so on. The delivery of the MiG-21MA was followed by the MF (factory designation Izdelye 96F). Between the years 1971 and 1975, the Czechoslovak Air Force accepted 102 units of the type. They came various production blocks from two plants. Their camouflage colors tended to also give away their intended role, and there were minor differences. It can generally be said that aircraft delivered in a natural metal or light grey scheme were intended for the air defence units, and aircraft camouflaged in green and brown were destined for frontal units. The differences could be observed, for example, in the cockpit. At first, between 1971 and 1972, twenty-four aircraft arrived from production blocks 43, 44, 52 and 53, built at Moscow's Factory No.30 'Znamya Truda'. These aircraft were intended for the air defence units, and as such, were delivered in natural metal. Over the next two years, the Czechoslovak Air Force received another 58 MFs from blocks 76, 77, 78, 82, 94, 95, 97, 98 and 99. These too came from the Moscow factory, but these aircraft were destined for frontal units, and carried a brown-green scheme. The last batch supplied came in 1975, and this was composed of twenty aircraft from series 22, 24, 25, 30, 40, 41, 43, 44, 54, 55 and 56, produced at Gorkii (formerly and currently Nizniy Novgorod, only named Gorkii under Bolshevik control). These were also destined to equip the air defence units and came in light grey overall. The MiG-21 formed the backbone of the Czechoslovak
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fighter force for many years. They began to be supplanted by the MiG-23 at the end of the seventies, and in the following decade, the MiG-29. Aerial assets understandably became a point of discussion between the states that came out of Czechoslovakia. The Czech Republic was allocated four MAs and 52 MFs. Slovakia acquired thirteen MAs and 36 MFs In 1999 and 2000, ten Czech aircraft were selected to be modernized to at least partially satisfy NATO standards, of which the Czech Republic became a member in 1999. The aircraft passed through the upgrade at Aircraft Repair Works Kbely, and were given the designation MiG-21MFN ('N' for NATO). The history of MiG-21 in Czech service drew to a close in 2005. Slovakia retired their last MiG-21 at the end of 2002.

Czechoslovak / Czech aviation units, List of abbreviations:

slp – Fighter Regiment, pzlp – Reconnaissance Regiment, sbolp – Fighter-Bomber Regiment, lsp – Training Regiment, sslt –Independent Fighter Squadron,

tl – Tactical Squadron, slt – Fighter Squadron

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Mig-21MA/MF/MFN markings in kit (Thirteen markings, some are minor variations):

  • A. MiG-21MA, Black 1209, 2nd Air Base, 1st Flight, Malacky AB, Slovakian AF, 1993.
  • B. MiG-21MFN, Gray 2500, 41st Fighter Squadron, Caslav AB, Czech AF, 2002, Tiger Meet Scheme.
  • C. MiG-21MA, Black 2707, 9th Fighter-bomber Regiment, Bechyne AB, Czech AF, 1989.
  • D. MiG-21MFN, Black 4017, 211th Tactical Squadron, Caslav AB, Czech AF, 2000-2005.
  • E. MiG-21MF, Black 5212, 11th Fighter Regiment, Zatec AB, Czech AF, 1991, 40th Anniversary Scheme.
  • F. MiG-21MF, Black 5303, 2nd Squadron, 11th Fighter Regiment, Zatec AB, Czech AF, 1991, Eduard Emblem on Starboard Vertical Stabilizer.
  • G. MiG-21MF, Black 5303, 28th Fighter-Bomber Regiment, Caslav AB, Czech AF, 1993-1995, without Eduard Emblem on Starboard Vertical Stabilizer.
  • H. MiG-21MF, Black 7702, C.O. of 6th Fighter-Bomber Regiment, Prerov-Bochor AB, Czech AF, 1980-1985.
  • J. MiG-21MF, Black 7801, 4th Squadron, 1st Regiment, 1st Air Base, Sliac AB, Slovakian AF, 1995-1999.
  • K. MiG-21MF, Black 8208, 6th Fighter-Bomber Regiment, Pribram-Dlouha Lhota AB, Czech AF, 1986
  • L. MiG-21MF, Black 9414, 43rd Fighter Squadron, Caslav AB, Czech AF, 1995.
  • M. MiG-21MF, Gray 9805, 211th Tactical Squadron, Caslav AB, Czech AF, 2003.
  • N. MiG-21MF, Black 5212, 11th Fighter Regiment, Zatec AB, Czech AF, 1991, 40th Anniversary Scheme (11th Fighter Regiment Badge on Port Nose).

Yes – "I" is skipped in the sequence for markings on the instruction sheet.

The Kit

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The kit comes in a top-opening box containing eight sprues (Seven in gray-colored plastic, one clear plastic). Thirteen decal options are offered, as previously listed. This Limited Edition kit is the standard Eduard Mig-21MF ProfiPACK offering (Cat. No. 8231) including the photo-etch sets, masks and adds Brassin UB-16 Rocket Pods. A bonus 420 x 293 mm Poster depicting a couple of Czech AF MiG-21MFs, including aircraft No. 5303, by Pavel Rampír and a 30 mm Dress Pin of the Eduard Knight as it appeared on the fin of MiG-21MF '5303' are included.

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The surface detail is nice with a smooth finish, engraved panel lines and raised detail as appropriate for the aircraft. The twenty-eight page instruction sheet is a black and white, A4 sheet folded in half with full color marking instructions. Construction is shown in 19 packed and very busy steps. Note - you will need to decide which version you want to build as the versions are called out throughout the instructions. Color references are Mr. Color, Mr. Metal Color and Aqueous, with the appropriate paint manufacturer reference numbers and names. No FS or Soviet equivalents are offered.

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Construction starts with a very detailed cockpit – extensive photo-etch is applied at this step. Exercise care as you build – double-check your work before applying glue to metal or plastic. You have a choice of two different instrument panels, based on the version you are building. This is the start of choosing between the traditional Soviet-era version or the updated NATO-compatible version. Next is the afterburner/exhaust section, including photo-etch parts; the main gear wells and the cockpit sidewalls Once again, you have different photo-etch parts depending on the version you are building. The fuselage is then closed up and the vertical tail and spine are added.

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NATO-compliant antennas are added at this stage, if applicable. This is the first time you are introduced to the masks that are included with the kit. The lower wing details are built and the lower wing is added to the fuselage, as well as the horizontal stabilators. The molded in speed brakes are removed if you want to make open speed brakes (added at a later step from separate parts). Top wings and flaps/ailerons followed by lower fuselage details. Pay attention to the option to scribe or use a decal to represent the upper panel lines on the wing. A photo-etch template is provided, including the warning to not glue the template to the upper wing. The speed brake bay is added at this time, to include the open or closed option. The landing gear is completed and added to the lower wing/fuselage. No flattened tires are offered.

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Small antenna and other details complete the lower fuselage. Complete the cockpit by adding the coaming, building the seat, including the extensive photo-etch seat belts and details. The canopy has several small photo-etch parts that will be a challenge to add to the interior. Add the canopy in the open or closed position and then move on to the pitot. The unique Mig-21 pitot is a complex structure that is fragile when complete. I recommend buying an aftermarket one-piece brass pitot that will be more robust and add detail.

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Next, the external stores are built, to include the Brassin UB-16 rocket pods. The external pylons are added to the lower wing and fuselage. Review the external stores before adding the applicable pylons, as the stores configuration will dictate pylon placement. Under wing stores include drop tanks, unguided rockets, air-to-air missiles, bombs and Rocket-Assisted Take-Off (RATO) bottles. The unique IAB-500 Soviet Tactical Nuclear Weapon is missing, but available from Eduard as a separate resin item (Brassin Number 648047). Verify your references if the IAB-500 was issued to Czech units. Page 13 of the instructions provides comprehensive external stores configurations to choose from. That's it for construction. Paint and decal per the instructions for the option you want and you have a sharp-looking Mig-21MA/MF/MFN.

Conclusion

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This kit is exactly what Eduard advertises for its 'ProfiPACK' kits: Multiple versions (Thirteen Czech and Slovak), photo-etch, masks and bonus Brassin UB-16 Rocket Pods. As a bonus, you do get plenty of external stores for the spares box. Highly recommended, especially if you want to build a quality out-of-the-box Czech or Slovak Mig-21MA/MF/MFN.

Thank you Eduard for providing the review sample.


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