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Mig-25RBF (48904) 1:48 ICM In an attempt to fulfil the perceived need for a supersonic interceptor that could take off, climb to height and attack an incoming bomber stream, which at the time was the most efficient method for delivering the newly invented nuclear warheads, The Mig-25 Foxbat was created. It managed the job to a certain extent, but as it never truly achieved its goals, it was left to its successor the Mig-31 Foxhound before the task was handled competently, by which time the role of ICBMs was about to make the primary role redundant. The prototype flew in 1964, and was constructed primarily of stainless steel, and reached service at the turn of the decade, although it had been seen before that, both in reconnaissance photos of the West, as well as at some parades. The Mig-25's inadequacies were hidden from the West however, until the famous defection of a Soviet pilot to an airfield in Japan revealed that the Foxbat wasn't as high-tech and all-conquering as we had been led to believe, having many steel parts instead of the high-tech alloys that the investigators were expecting. The West assumed that the large wing was to aid manoeuvrability, when in fact it was a necessity due to the aircraft's enormous weight, which made it a fast aircraft, which was not very manoeuvrable. It was also lacking in the avionics department, especially in one crucial aspect. It had no capability for targeting aircraft that were lower than itself, which coincided with the change in tactics to low level attack by the Western Allies, so a lack of look-down/shoot-down capability was a serious deficiency. Nevertheless, several hundred were made, with the last one rolling off the production line in 1984 with a number of export orders into the bargain. The MiG-25RBF was a Conversion of the MiG-25RBK (Single-seat dedicated ELINT platform, with the Kub-3K Elint system) but fitted with a new Shar-25 Elint system. NATO would call both the RBK & RBF the Foxbat-D. Attempts to improve the Foxbat design were unsuccessful, and the Foxhound was its eventual replacement, which delivered everything that was expected of its forebear, staying in service until it is replaced by the Pak-Fa at some point in the near future. The Kit This is the latest Foxbat from ICM. Inside are seven sprues of grey styrene, plus a clear sprue, two sheets of decals and a colour printed instruction booklet with painting guide to the rear. The clear parts are bagged separately from the rest of the sprues, and both are secured with resealable tape in case you prefer to keep your kits in the bags. The decals are inserted between the pages of the instructions, and have a waxy cover sheet lightly adhering to each sheet. If you think that construction is going to start with the cockpit, you'd be kind-of right. Cockpit parts in the shape of one of the side consoles are added to the inside of the cockpit section first, followed by the rear bulkhead and then the nose gear bay, with gear leg included but easily left off 'til later. Rudder pedals are then added to a short cockpit floor; the base of the seat with its stirrups and ejection actuator handle; control column and the instrument panel are joined before being added to the side console in the short fuselage section. The back and headbox of the seat are then installed, the opposite side console made up, and then fitted to the fuselage, which is then joined together. A large M-shaped former is added at the rear to hold the intakes, which are built from three sections and are then fitted to the former. At the rear of the intakes a pair of conical intake trunks are glued in place with the front engine face, leaving you with a rather odd looking assembly. This is set to one side for a while as you add the main gear bays to the lower fuselage. The nose (minus radome at this stage) is then joined with the lower fuselage, the main gear legs added, and a capital B shaped bulkhead fitted to the rear to hold the exhausts in place. Fuselage sides are then fitted to the bulkheads, with the rear missing, as it is attached to the two big fins that are made up next with separate rudders and lower strakes. The exhausts are next, with the afterburner flame-holders attached to the rear fan section, which is shaped like a figure-8 and linked to obtain the correct exhaust spacing. The trunking is then added in four parts, with detail within, and with careful alignment, you should be able to get away with a hidden seam. Another figure-8 part, the base of the exhaust rings links the rear of the tubes together, and two further layers give it depth and detail, with the inner petals added in sections to complete the assembly. The fronts are slid into the rear bulkhead on the fuselage, and the top fuselage panel is added along with the twin fins and the tops of the intake nacelles. It finally looks like an aircraft, but a wingless one at this stage. The pen-nib fairing between the fins is added from two parts, and it's then time to give her wings. The are separate from the top fuselage, and their tabs fit in traditional slots once they have their control surfaces and strakes added. The elevators fit into holes in the sides of the fuselage too, in much the same way as the full-size parts. There is no mention of it but I would add nose weight to avoid a tail sitter. The gear bay covers are fitted along with the wheels, which are well detailed and the mains are split vertically around their circumference, while the dual nose wheels are single parts. Due to its prodigious thirst, the Foxbat was often seen carrying a huge belly tank, which is supplied in the kit as a two-part assembly, split horizontally. The final act sees the windscreen added along with the coaming, and a choice of either open or closed canopy parts. Stick the pitot in the nose and you're done. Markings There From the box you can build one of the following: Mig-25RBF, 47th GRAP, Shatalov AB, August 2001(Brown / Light Green / Ochre / Olive Green camo) Mig-25RBF, 931st OGRAP, Werneuchen AB, Germany 1991(Brown / Green / Tan camo) Mig-25RBF, 47th GRAP, Shatalov AB, August 2001 (all over grey) The decals are printed with ICM's logo and have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. The stencils are printed on a separate sheet, are legible and their locations are called out via a page in the instructions so as not to clutter the profiles with too many arrows. Conclusion Detail is excellent, the panel lines are restrained, and construction follows a logical process. Just take care with the location of the internal assemblies to make sure that they are correctly placed, and the outer skin should fit well. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
Deciding what to do for the future EB-66E build once I have cleared a space - its a big lump for a 72nd scale kit! Looks like a backate to a RB-66B is out due to lack of clear references to the camera positions and details, so OOB EB it is. Decided to go with the sharkmouth 54-438 simply because you don't see it often on such big birds. Nice picture of it p22 of the Aerofax monograph - but in 4 colour not 3 colour camo the kit instructions say. In itself not a problem except theres lack of an overall set of pix to complete the scheme. Can anyone help? .... It wasn't a one off panel or partial repaint as there are ages scattered shots of others with similar light+dark tan & greens but limited to partial side shots. If I could get a look from above then I could guesstimate the pattern using the standard 3 tone tan/field green/dark green. Note: appears to be JW coded birds only from what I've seen with the ref pic being 42nd TEWS/388TFW and maybe a Vietnam mod removed during a later stateside repaint (iaw with standard + kit scheme)