Zvezda 1/72 MiG-21 bis

KIT: Zvezda 1/72 MiG-21 bis
KIT #: 7259
PRICE: $17.50 MSRP
DECALS: Three options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 (Russian:Микоян и Гуревич МиГ-21) (NATO reporting name "Fishbed") is a supersonic jet fighter aircraft, designed and built by the Mikoyan-Gurevich Design Bureau in the Soviet Union. Some 50 countries over four continents have flown the MiG-21, and it still serves many nations a half-century after its maiden flight. The plane has the distinction of holding a number of aviation records, including 1: the most produced jet aircraft in aviation history, 2: the most produced combat aircraft since WWII, and 3: the longest production run of a combat aircraft. Its Mach 2 capability exceeds the top speed of many later modern fighter types. Estimates are that more than 10,000 MiG-21s were built

MiG-21bis (NATO "Fishbed-L") and subject of this kit:
Single-seat multi-role fighter and ground-attack aircraft. The final production model built up until 1977 in Russia and 1987 in India. This version is powered by a Tumansky R-25-300 turbojet engine, and carries 2880 liters of fuel. The engines are capable of "extreme afterburner" for up to 3 min - increasing the thrust from 7100 kgf to 9900 kgf. It can accelerate from 600 km/h to 1100 km/h in 18 seconds (the MiG-29 does it in 11,6 sec). The climb rate is 225 m/s. In comparison the F-14 has a climb rate of 152 m/s, the MiG-17F 65 m/s, the F-16A 215 m/s.

There have been a number of MiG-21 kits over the years. Each of them has had its enthusiasts and its detractors. Apparently, according to the MiGistas, there has yet to be a completely accurate MiG-21bis done in any scale. Now to those of us who are not privy to all the nuances of each MiG variant (and there are quite a few), we've seen little wrong with the ones from KP and Fujimi over the years. In fact, I've built several of those two and was pleased with the results.

However, this on is supposed to be the best of the batch, from what I've been told and the fact that it is reasonably priced doesn't hurt.

Molded in a nice neutral grey plastic with very nicely done engraved panel lines, the kit seems hauntingly similar in layout to the Fujimi version. Perhaps there are just a finite number of ways to mold a MiG-21 just as there are many other popular subjects. The four grey and one clear sprue contain the 90 parts needed to build one fully loaded MiG-21 Fishbed L. There is room for the usual nose wieght in the radome (though none is shown needed in the instructions. A fairly nice cockpit tube with seat, stick and instrument panel are provided. There is some raised detailing for the instruments. Nose and main gear wells are separate and installed along with the exhaust when one closes up the fuselage.

The fin and upper spine are separate, allowing all the near similar MiG-21 versions to be built. It also is nice that one does not have to fill the upper fuselage seam. As on other MiG-21 kits, all the scoops, shields and antennas ar separate items. Even the need to slightly bend the main gear door is the same on all the others. Weapons galore are provided that include a centerline fuel tank, two types of missiles and rocket pods. RATO units are also part of the package. There is also a somewhat lame looking centerline gun. No wing fuel tanks are provided, which is not really bad as they'd fit on the outer wing pylons, something that just looks wrong. you can also display the speedbrakes open if you'd wish. Heck, you can do the gear closed on this one and use the pilot as a display stand is also provided. An anachronism from the 1960s, but one that many modelers will find useful.

Instructions are well done and provide Model Master paint references. Markings are given for three planes. One is the box art aircraft in a disruptive camo scheme from the Russian Air Force. Of course, there is the requisite Finnish version in black and green, while a Polish AF variant in overall bare metal finishes the three. This latter one could also be in a light grey as many were later painted this shade. I should mention that upper wing markings are provided for the Polish plane, something I think was not used. These are the older Polish insignia (I think) as the newer one has the red and white checks reversed. Decals are quite matte and should provide no problems. For those wanting something different, there are a slew of aftermarket sheets for this plane.


Obviously, MiG-21 buffs will want this kit for the overall accuracy. It is certainly less expensive than the Fujimi kit and much better detailed (in an engraved sort of way) to the very old KP version.



I bought this one so you could see what it is like.

April 2008

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