Tuesday, June 24

Review : Eduard's "Fishbed" MiG-21R in 48th scale

Our own MiG-21 expert here at TMN Gary Wickham has seen and reviewed most of Eduard's 48th scale MiGs here on this site - he has even made a chart to show you how each kit is different to the others in the series. He takes a good in-depth look at Eduard's 1/48th scale MiG-21R in this his latest review..

Eduard's MiG-21R
Kit No: 8238
1/48 scale
Plastic Sprues: 7
Clear Sprues: 1
Photo Etch Brass Fret: 2
Decal Sheet: 2
Available from Eduard Directly..

Eduard’s latest boxing of their excellent 1/48 MiG-21 kit is the R (Recon) version. The MiG-21R tactical reconnaissance fighter (1965; Izdeliye 03/94R) with NATO reporting name "Fishbed-H" was the first third generation Fishbed to enter production. The R had many distinctive features when compared to earlier generation two MiG-21s including wing tips RWR pods, enlarged spine (to accommodate 340 litres of additional fuel) and an additional set of underwing pylons which were plumbed to accept 490 litre tanks. 
For recce missions, the MiG-21R could carry a Type D daylight PHOTINT pod, a Type N nighttime PHOTINT pod, a Type R general-purpose ELINT pod or a Type T pod housing a TV system, making the MiG-21R one of the first Soviet recce aircraft to make use of ELINT equipment. In the air-to-air role, the MiG-21R could carry two RS-2US or R-3S AAMs, and in the strike role it could be loaded with two UB-16-57UM or UB-32 rocket pods, two S-24 heavy unguided rockets or two bombs of up to 500kg weight (each).
As a result of the way that Eduard has engineered their MiG-21 family they have only needed to mold up two new sprues (P+R) to be able to furnish us with an MiG-21R

Eduard have released five (5) distinct variants of the MiG-21 so far (not counting different boxings of the various versions).

I thought it would be useful to see a tabular comparison of the sprues provided in each variant. Not surprisingly the PFM (being the only Generation Two variant) has the most “unique” sprues so far.
The MiG-21R has two new sprues previously unseen:
  • Sprue P – contains new wing parts. The MiG-21R has wingtip RWR antennae which Eduard have molded directly onto the wings.
  • Sprue R – contains the reconnaissance pods.
For the sake of brevity in this review I will be focusing only on these parts that are specific to the MiG-21R and have therefore not been covered in numerous reviews previously, including this one I did of the PFM.

Sprue P contains the upper and lower wing parts. The Eduard MiG-21’s come with separate flaps and ailerons. The all moving horizontal tails are also provided on this sprue as is the ventral fin and rudder.

As far as I can tell the only parts that have actually changed on this sprue are the two upper wings (P8 & P9)
Eduard have molded the RWR wingtip pods onto the wings rather than provide them as separate parts. This will result in a much cleaner finish for most modelers as it does not require any gluing and filling as would have been needed had the pods been separate.
Sprue R contains parts various reconnaissance pods commonly fitted to the MiG-21R. Interestingly three (3) pods are provided but only two are referenced in the instructions for fitment to the various aircraft that can be built out of this box.
The MiG-21R could carry a Type D daylight PHOTINT pod, a Type N nighttime PHOTINT pod, a Type R general-purpose ELINT pod or a Type T pod housing a TV system, making the MiG-21R one of the first Soviet recce aircraft to make use of ELINT equipment 
This photo shows a clear view of a pod fitted to a Soviet MiG-21R (note the tell tale RWR bullets on the wingtips). This pod has a large portion of the center section dedicated to chaff/flare dispensers to aid in self defence.
Each of the pods is delivered with the same attention to detail we have come to expect from each new Eduard release. 
I was not able to find too many clear pictures of the various pods in real life. The ones below show well enough the general details of the pods and the colors used.
Eduard provide all the stencilling (as decals) that should be fitted to each type of pod.
As with each of the Profipack series, this kit includes two small photo-etch frets. The pre-painted colour fret focuses entirely on the cockpit interior whilst the un-painted fret includes exterior details such as the wing fences, assorted antennae and brake line cabling etc.
Paint Schemes and Decals
As with most Eduard ProfiPack releases you get a significant range of marking options. Five schemes in total are included covering Cuba, Yugoslavia, USSR, Poland and of course the Czech Republic. As with all previous Eduard MiG-21 kits a separate decal sheet containing over 100 stencils is provided (ouch!!) 
As usual the Eduard kit decals are of a high quality being thin and in register. The stencils provided with these kits are extensive and will occupy a large amount of your time in the decaling phase.  
Note that if you prefer to use decals in the cockpit (rather than the PE) these are provided on the sheet (but not referenced in the instructions). These will be required for the inevitable Weekend Edition that will exclude the PE fret.

Once again Eduard has provided us a very well researched and executed kit. With this ProfiPack release you have a wide range of colorful paint schemes to choose from and if you have been collecting each variant as Eduard issues them, here is another one for you.

As I’ve said before these kits almost build themselves and it will be a long time (if ever) before anyone releases a new MiG-21 family in 1/48 that surpasses the Eduard MiG-21. These kits are the new benchmark for MiG-21s in 1/48. Enough said.

Highly Recommended.

Gary Wickham

Thanks very much to Eduard for the review kit.
To close out this review, here are some photos of the completed model from Eduards website.