Monday, May 19

A great Looking Mig-21 PFM Needs a good cockpit and pilot - we couln't help with the pilot but we could help with the Mig-21 PFM Brassin cockpit review

Gary is a bit of a man to ask when it comes to the Eduard Mig-21. He has built the lovely kit and has reviewed a few of the variantes here in on TMN - Today he takes the most in-depth review we have seen on the Brassin Interior set of the Mig-21 PFM in 48th scale with lots of reference pictures. It's a great read
Eduard Brassin MiG-21PFM Interior 1/48
Kit No: 648 111
1/48 scale
Resin parts: 28
Photo Etch parts: 2 frets, 1 pre-painted
Available from: Eduard directly & most model shops

This review will examine the Eduard Brassin Interior (i.e. cockpit + seat) detail set designed for the Eduard MiG-21PFM kit, which I recently reviewed here. The set is a direct replacement for the kit parts and is made from resin and Photo Etch (PE).

As with most Brassin sets you get a lot of parts that cover the following items:
•           Cockpit with the side panels and back bulkhead
•           KM-1 seat with cushion and headrest (and a bonus KS3 helmet)
•           Instrument panel (resin or PE)
•           Gunsight, the reflective glass for the optical gunsight is made from clear resin
•           Rudder pedals
•           Control stick
•           Colored and non-colored photo-etched details
The MiG-21PFM (1964; Izdeliye 94) with NATO reporting name of "Fishbed-F" was a modernised MiG-21PF, with an upgraded RP-21M radar, SRZO-2 Khrom-Nikkel IFF transponder and other changes in avionics.
The Brassin set is broken down into two major sub-assemblies, the tub and the KM-1 seat. Photo etch details are provided to enhance the canopy framing and the pressure seal on the sill as well as miscellaneous parts in the tub and on the seat that are better represented in brass than in resin (the seat pull handle for example)
Eduard provides the modeller with a choice between a full resin instrument panel, a full pre-painted PE instrument panel and a combination of resin and PE instrument panel. I myself will probably opt for the resin panel with the pre-painted PE for the dials.
Construction begins with the single piece main tub where there are many small pre-painted PE panels to be attached. Because these are pre-painted I’d suggest they be attached after you have painted the resin. Matching the paint color to pre-painted PE is often tricky and even more so when trying to accurately match the cold war era soviet turquoise cockpit color.

Eduard suggests a three part mix for the interior color (Mr Color C34+C66+C80) or for those who cannot be bothered (or do not have access to the Mr Color paints) can use H46 Emerald Green straight from the bottle. I myself found that a 50:50 mix of Emerald Green (H46) and Sky Blue (H25) was almost a spot on match for the pre-painted PE.
As we have come to expect from the Eduard Brassin resin, the parts are virtually perfect containing no visible blemishes and the level of detail is second to none. I know it’s a small thing (and probably a personal preference anyway) but I also like the color of the resin that Eduard uses. There is no better choice for plastic or resin than neutral gray.
As mentioned earlier, you have three choices of how you can construct the instrument panel. Technically all three are the same set of instruments (ie these three options are not so you can model different variants of the PFM IP). The reason you get three options is because Eduard allows you to decide which material you prefer to work with:
•           Option A:  A full PE instrument panel and PE dials.
•           Option B: Resin instruments bezels and switches with hollow dial faces backed by a pre-printed PE dials (my personal favourite)
•           Option C:  Resin instrument bezels and switches with resin dial faces (which you have to paint)
With the tub complete you will need to perform some basic surgery on the kit cockpit floor. This part also doubles as the roof of the nose wheel well and we need to retain that section and attach to the resin tub. The color coded Eduard instructions make this very obvious and clear to follow. TIP: The printed paper instruction sheet that comes with the set is NOT color. Download the PDF version of the instruction sheet from here, which IS in color.

The rear bulkhead is also mated to the tub at this point and I’d suggest that you detail paint this part before gluing it as there is a lot of detail you will want to pick out and trying to do so once its glued into the tub will be quite tricky
The remainder of the assembly will be done once you have glued the fuselage halves together. The main instrument panel front shroud is now attached and onto it goes the radar scope display. The ASP-PF-21 gunsight, which is cast in clear resin is also attached to the interior of the windscreen frame and the PE ribbing and framing is added to the canopy.
The radar scope CRT display in the MiG-21 (like most such display of the era) were covered with a leather / rubber / cloth hood that the pilot could use to exclude any light when viewing the display. Eduard have done a nice enough job of reproducing this flexible shroud but it looks to me “too perfect” in so much as it does not sag or bend like the real thing. I would be tempted to shave off the resin shroud and create my own from lead foil or magi-scuplt as it is one of the most prominent features of the MiG-21 cockpit.
The canopy framing detail is contained on a second, small PE fret. It goes without saying that extra care will be needed when attaching these parts to the clear plastic of the kit canopy.
The MiG-21PFM was equipped with the PKI (ASP-PF-21) optical sight which attached at eye level to the front windscreen frame.  Eduard provide the full gunsight as a clear resin part. My review sample appeared to be quite frosted and not what I would have expected compared to the photos of the part on Eduard’s website.
This photo of a Vietnamese pilot in his MiG-21PFM provides us a good view of the ASP-PF-21 (PKI) optical gunsight attached to the canopy windscreen frame.

The photo also affords us an excellent shot of the ZS3 helmet (worn here over a black SL-60 summer leather helmet) with blue visor. Eduard provides a nice ZS3 helmet in the Brassin set which will look great on the seat or on the canopy sill of the finished model.
The Brassin resin ZS3 helmet with earpads. Care will be need when removing the helmet from the casting block to avoid damaging the visor or helmet surface.
With the tub and canopy complete our attention turns to the KM-1 ejection seat. This would have to be one of the more detailed resin seats I have seen, however not one of the most realistic. Eduard have done an excellent job in reproducing the metal parts of the seat, however the cloth parts (such as the back cushion) are once again too “perfect” and not representative to a well-worn seat. The cushion needs to more randomly deformed like real cushions do. I’m assuming Eduard is using CAD to design all their new Brassin sets and in this case the result is lacking compared to a handmade master.

I am also not a big fan of the PE seat belts as I find they do not sag or bend in a realistic fashion. In this respect the collaboration between Eduard and HGW (fabric belts) is most welcome and I wonder if we will see the fabric belt options (MiG-21 KM-1 seatbelts FABRIC 1/48) appearing in Brassin sets before long in place of PE.
For some reason my review set came with two head rests, I guess its better to have one too many rather than one too few.
Here we see the completed seat, without the PE belts. Notice what I was saying about the “unrealistic” look of the seat back cushion, it’s accurate but just not realistic. A hand mastered part here would have made this the perfect KM-1. Also note the ZS3 helmet on the seat, a nice touch by Eduard.
Eduard provides color callouts in both Gunze Aqueous (Acrylic) paints and the harder to obtain (at least here in Australia) Gunze Mr Color (Laquer) paints. If you don’t use the Gunze paints, then substitute suitable colors from your preferred manufacturer.

If you are looking for the ultimate cockpit for your Eduard MiG-21PFM then look no further. At US$22 some may consider this set a luxury (and I’d probably agree considering the kit itself costs US$40) but when you stack it up against what’s in the kit (even the Profipack) there is a world of difference and as I said if you want to build the very best MiG-21PFM you can, then you have come to the right place.

Highly recommended.

Gary Wickham
Thanks to Eduard for sending us this kit to review
Here are some photos of the finished set borrowed from the Eduard website. Enjoy