Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21MF “Fishbed”
- Manufacturer: Eduard
- Scale: 1:144
- Aircraft: Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21MF
- Markings: Czech Air Force | 6th Fighter-Bomber Regiment| Pribram-Dlouha Lhota Air Base | Czechoslovakia | 1986 and Polish Air Force | 10th Eskadra Lotnictwa Taktycznego | Lask AB | Poland | 2001-2003
- Aftermarket: None
- Paints: Gunze Sangyo Mr. Color | Tamiya | Alclad II | Vallejo Model Color
Recently, for reasons I can’t explain, I’ve had an itch to play with subjects that haven’t held much interest for me since I was maybe 12 years old – jets and helicopters. And so when I saw Eduard’s “Super 44″ MiG-21MF Dual Combo, I bit. These little kits have a pretty solid reputation, and I figured they’d be a nice distraction and a quick way to scratch my jet itch.
Coming out the other side, I have to say I’m blown away by what Eduard’s put into these tiny MiGs. The last 1/144 kit I even glanced at, a PBY-5 Catalina, was a mess of vague detail and creepy, sparkly silver plastic. Not so these MiGs. The detail here is on par with anything you’ll find on a Tamiya, Eduard, Great Wall Hobby, Wingnut Wings or other top-tier kit of recent vintage. Only…tiny.
Tiny ultimately meant three things.
First, it forced me to refine some long-practiced techniques from assembly straight through to finishing. I mean, you can’t whip out a sanding stick and go to town on something this small without wiping out, say, the fuselage. Throughout, I took an attitude of “aim small, miss small” and found new ways of applying everything from glue to putty to paint in miniscule amounts that preserved the exquisite detail Eduard imbued these little guys with.
Second, it forced me to figure out some new techniques, mainly with the camo schemes. In 1/48, masking the camo for these two would have been laborious but totally doable with tape, tracing paper or white tack. In 1/144? No way. So I found a removable liquid frisket that worked perfectly.
Third, tiny means there’s just not much to work with, and as a result these two MiGs got done fast. As in two weeks from cracking the box to the final photo shoot. The last time I built a kit that fast was back in my “bomb it with CA and accelerator” days.
Ultimately, these two MiGs were a perfect change of pace that I needed more than I knew. Even if you don’t think you’d ever build anything in 1/144 (and perhaps especially if you don’t), I’d recommending picking these or their siblings (MiG-21bis and MiG-21SMT) up. You just might love them.
Detail – 5
Considering their diminutive nature, the detail offered up on these kits is breathtaking. Not just the fine panel lines, but even individual instrument faces in the cockpit. Honestly, these things surpass the detail found in many 1/72 scale kits, and even in some archaic 1/48 tools.
Engineering – 5
As far as I can tell, these micro-MiGs borrow heavily from Eduard’s 1/48 toolings, albeit highly simplified. The result is some solid-yet-simple engineering that removes some potential fit nastiness – kind of a big deal when you’re talking about kits the size of business cards.
Fit – 5
With kits this small, any amount of sanding or putty work is bad. Fortunately, Eduard’s MiGs are nearly push-fit in their tolerances. The lone exception is the tail/fuselage spine assembly, but even that fits well with a slow-burn plastic solvet like Roket Plastic Glue. Honestly, if their 1/48 MiG-21 kits are anything like this, I can’t wait to build one!
Instructions – 4
Eduard’s instructions are generally excellent, and these are no exception, though I do feel that the paint callouts could be more comprehensive in places. Still…that’s a minor thing.
Markings – 5
What can I say? Eduard does markings better than any other manufacturer in the industry (Wingnut Wings being the sole exception), with a slew of interesting options and decals of phenomenal quality. My set was in perfect register, slid easily, didn’t suck down immediately the way some decals tend to, but once they settled, they sucked down into details wonderfully, without a single instance of silvering.
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