The MiG-21 jet fighter was a continuation of Soviet jet fighters, starting with the subsonic MiG-15 and MiG-17, and the supersonic MiG-19. A number of experimental Mach 2 Soviet designs were based on nose intakes with either swept-back wings, such as the Sukhoi Su-7, or tailed deltas, of which the MiG-21 would be the most successful. The MiG-21 was the first successful Soviet aircraft combining fighter and interceptor characteristics in a single aircraft. It was a lightweight fighter, achieving Mach 2 with a relatively low-powered after burning turbojet, and is thus comparable to the American Lockheed F-104 Starfighter and Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter and the French Dassault Mirage III. the characteristic layout with the shock cone and front air intake did not see widespread use outside the USSR and finally proved to have limited development potential, mainly because of the very small space available for the radar. The MiG-21 was exported widely and continues to be used. The aircraft's simple controls, engine, weapons, and avionics were typical of Soviet-era military designs. The use of a tail with the delta wing aids stability and control at the extremes of the flight envelope, enhancing safety for lower-skilled pilots; this in turn enhanced its marketability in exports to developing countries with limited training programs and restricted pilot pools. Approximately 60 countries over four continents have flown the MiG-21, and it still serves many nations six decades after its maiden flight. It made aviation records, the most-produced supersonic jet aircraft in aviation history, the most-produced combat aircraft since the Korean War. A total of 10,645 aircraft were built in the USSR.
The Eduard Mig-21PFM comes is a moderate sized top open tray type box
with the lower half being thin corrugated cardboard. The box is packed
to brim with parts. Inside the box are two large resealable bags, one
with three sprues and one with four and a smaller zip lock bag with the
clear parts. There is also a small zip lock bag with two photo etch
frets and one with the canopy masks. The parts are molded in a dark
gray color, a departure from their usual olive tan color. The parts are
very clean and crisply molded and I found no flash on any of the parts
in my kit. The surface finish is smooth and semi matte. Surface detail
is recessed panel lines and rivets and fasteners. There are a few
raised details where appropriate. Some of the small rivets may well
disappear under a coat of paint. Ejector pin marks appear to be kept
out of visible areas. Most of the sprue attachment points are of
reasonable size and I did not find any surface defects on any of the
air frame parts.
The clear parts are thin and crystal clear, some optional canopies are provided to mesh with specific markings. There is also a clear instrument panel but it not called out as being used and has an ejector pin mark on one side and tower on the other so it doesn't look useful anyway.
The decals are printed by Cartograph and appear to be up to their usual high standards. Marking are provided for five aircraft; Vietnamese People's Army Air Force, 921st Fighter Regiment, 1968; Czechoslovak Air Force, 11th Fighter Regiment, Zatec AFB, March 1991; Baurnal Higher Air Force School, Soviet Union, 1988; Egyptian Air Force, Inshas airbase, early 1980s; and Polish Air Force, 1st Squadron of 62nd Fighter Regiment, Poznan-Krzesiny AB, 1994.
An extensive sheet of stencils is included not only for the air frame but all of the missiles and launch racks. It looks like it would take a week just to put them all on.
The instructions are typical for an Eduard ProfiPack kit, an A4 format booklet, in this case 20 pages long, stapled at the spine and printed on glossy paper in color. It is complete with history, icon chart, parts map and paint chart with Gunze numbers. Ten pages contain the assembly diagrams which uses color for high lighting areas and includes a weapons load out chart. One page of masking instructions, five pages with color profiles for the markings included and two pages of diagrams calling out all of the stencil locations, whew ! The assembly diagrams are a nice size and clear.
After Market Goodies
Probably not needed but I couldn't help myself. First up is a Barricuda Cast (BR48294) radome and adapter ring. Perfectly cast as is the norm from these guys.
Next is a set from Eduard under their Brassin label (648110) one piece wheels so no seam to deal with and nicely done separate wheel hubs a replacement yoke for the nose wheel some photo etch brake lines and other details to dress up the gear and a set of masks for painting the wheels.
All in all a very nicely done and detailed kit that shows that Eduard is at the top of their game. I can't speak for the accuracy of the kit and with so many produced a good reference for the aircraft you want to build might be in order. In spite of the detail level the parts count isn't so high that I think most new modelers could handle this one with care and patience. Recommended !
Links to kit build or reviews
An in box review can be found here
Encyclopedia of Russian Aircraft by Bill Gunston
the Post WWII Jets page