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  1. Mig-21PFM 1:48 Eduard Surprisingly to my goldfish brain, the initial release of the (then) newly tooled Mig-21 was as long ago as April 2011, beginning with the MF, followed by the BIS and SMT editions with adjusted sprues to suit each variant, plus suitable decals. Roll the clock forward to today, and there's been a substantial gap between the last new Profipack edition of the Mig-21 and this one while Eduard have concentrated on other projects. The PFM is a modernised export version of the PF, which was the first of the second generation of the aircraft to reach production. Later models also had cannon armament capability and could carry the AS-7 "Kerry" short range air-to-surface missile manufactured by Zvezda-Strela. Just to confuse matters, there was a second PFM that related to East German nomenclature for PFs that had been updated to a newer radar installation and changes to the avionics. Polish authorities further complicated matters by calling their standard PFMs with an extra A, making them PFMAs. What were they thinking? The Kit The Eduard Mig-21 is already established as the premiere kit of the type in 1:48, and this edition shares five sprues with the original MF, and even the three different sprues bear a passing resemblance, so keep them separate, or you'll regret it! Inside the top-opening Profipack box are seven sprues of grey/blue styrene, one of clear parts, two frets of Photo-Etch (PE) metal, a sheet of pre-cut flexible masking material, two sheets of decals and the instruction booklet with integral painting guide. The new sprues perfectly match the old in terms of quality and style, and that means a lot of crisp engraved detail that exudes quality. Construction follows broadly the same format as the earlier editions, but as it's been some time since they were released, I'll cover it again. As is common with single-seat jet fighters, the cockpit is almost directly over the nose gear bay, and the build begins with the fabrication of the boxed in bay under the cockpit floor from individual panels for extra detail. Flipping the cockpit floor over, the instrument panel is built up either from a styrene panel or laminated PE panel with styrene backing plate, to which the same auxiliary parts are added for the centrally mounted radar screen and shroud. The control column and rudders are added next, with a pair of PE straps on the tops of the pedals, and at the rear of the cockpit, a mystery insert is placed in the floor of the cockpit only if you plan on posing the canopy open. This appears to raise the seat to the correct height for the open canopy, and if left out allows the seat top to clear the closed canopy, and it also looks like it would be fiddly to retro-fit, so decide early. Unusually, the side consoles are attached to the insides of the fuselage rather than the cockpit floor, and here again a set of replacement detail skins are added, both of which have pre-painted surfaces to improve detail. The console instrumentation also receives the same treatment, plus a number of extra detail parts to give it greater depth. The rear bulkhead with the ejection-seat rail moulded in is affixed just before the fuselage is closed up later. Interestingly, there is a box in the top left of the first page of the instructions giving a mixture of three Gunze Sangyo colours to create the correct colour for the cockpit interior colour that will match the pre-painted parts of one of the PE frets that is well worth reproducing here in case you've not seen it before. 60% C34 Sky Blue + 20% C66 Bright Green + C80 Cobalt Blue The rest of the cockpit is added quite late in the build, starting with the instrument coaming, which has a convoluted shape that is further complicated by the addition of some extra boxes. Two inserts in the anti-dazzle panel area are also added at this point, to cater for some odd shapes and differences between the variants. The windshield fits over the coaming, and has an inverted HUD unit added to the top of the hoop, with a choice of three canopy openers thrown in for good measure, depending on which decal option you are planning to use. If you've opted to display the canopy open, a support strut is included, although the instructions don't make it too clear where the retaining end should fit. The all-important ejection seat is a well detailed assembly, made up from 17 individual styrene parts, plus a full set of pre-painted seatbelts included on one of the frets of PE. Next up is the exhaust for the single Tumansky R-11F2-300 axial-flow turbojet engine that is fitted to this aircraft. The forward section includes a representation of the rear of the engine moulded into a bulkhead that keeps the assembly in place. To this is added a single piece forward exhaust tube, the afterburner ring, and a two-part aft exhaust tube that is without any interior detail. To the rear of this four actuator jacks attach in equally spaced recesses, with the exhaust petals set within an external ring that attaches to the rams. The bulkhead helpfully has the word "up" moulded in, to ensure that the engine is installed correctly in the groove on the inside of the fuselage halves. The engine itself is absent from the kit, but the likeness of its sides is moulded into the main gear bay that is buried within the fuselage. This is made up as a single unit with bulkheads at each end, additional detail parts within the two sides, and a nicely detailed inner wall as already mentioned. In order to close up the fuselage, the cockpit floor with rear bulkhead, a pair of additional stiffening bulkheads in the wing aperture, and the engine are glued in one side, and of course the various parts of the interior of the fuselage that will be seen need to be painted. The nose cone also needs to be installed with an unspecified amount of weight added to keep all three wheels on the ground without assistance. The cone is pretty large on a Mig-21 though, so you should be ok. Once you've sorted out the lower seams, you can add the spine and fin, which happily hide the majority of the top fuselage seam into the bargain. A separate rudder part allows you to pose the rudder, and a small bulkhead is added at the wide end of the spine to help keep it at the right width as it approaches the rear of the cockpit. A single lip to the intake is installed too, hiding the thickness of the fuselage halves. The wings include a good portion of the lower fuselage in the one-piece lower part, into which you must first place the gaggle of spherical tanks and the main bay side-walls. You can also decide whether to pose the forward airbrakes open, which will require some surgery to the part, removing the moulded in brake outers by cutting round the panel lines and inserting some recessed parts from within. At this point, the fuselage sited part of the main gear bays is dropped in between the two triangular apertures, and the whole assembly is offered up to the fuselage. The two upper wing parts are added later, along with all the flying surfaces, which can be posed as you see fit, and the wing fences on the outer section, which can be either styrene or PE. The elevators slot into tabs, and are surrounded by a number of intakes at the rear of the fuselage, which are then joined underneath by more and a single ventral strake. Forward of those is a large additional air brake, which is cleverly made to pose open or closed by placing a different insert into the recess in the fuselage. The closed option requires only one part, while the open option has a separate air brake and deployment jack, and the brake has the prominent circular cut-outs that mate with the corresponding lumps within the bay. Further forward still is the site of the optional GP-9 cannon pod, which is made up from two halves with a separate barrel of the GSh-23 cannon, and two bulkheads within the part that both hold it to the correct shape and provide the pins that hold it in place on the underside of the fuselage. The landing gear on these kits is well detailed, and the single nose wheel is clamped in place by a two-part yoke that also fits around the bottom of the gear leg, with an actuator providing the upper portion of the oleo-scissor link. Two gear bay doors sit at either side of the narrow bay, linked to the fuselage by a pair of hinge tabs, with some detail moulded into the inside, and a kink in the doors to match the profile of the fuselage at that point. The main gear is a single strut for each leg with a two-part oleo-link, and a narrow door attached to the strut. The wheels have separate hubs and two-part tyres, and you get a lovely set of kabuki tape masks to help you paint them into the bargain. What Cold War Warrior would be complete without weapons? There are plenty in the box, of which you can use the following with impunity, referring to the accompanying external stores chart for the capabilities of each weapons station. 2 x 490L external fuel tank 2 x S-24 rocket 2 x RS2US Missile 2 x R3S A2A Missile 2 x R3R A2A Missile PBP-2-3S Monsun dual rail launchers 2 x RATO pods There are of course a few spares left on the sprues that cover pretty much all the standard weaponry carried by the variants covered so far by Eduard. Add the prominent probe on the nose, an aerial on the spine, plus a number of PE static-wicks on the wingtips and tail feathers, and you're done. Markings Eduard's Profipack boxing usually contains a set of masks to assist with painting, and as mentioned earlier this is no exception. As well as the aforementioned wheel masks, a set of canopy masks are provided, plus a number of masks for the dielectric panels on the tail, underside and on the wing leading edges. There's even a pair of rectangular sections for the HUD to protect it during painting. A healthy five options are included on the main sheet from a number of foreign users of this export model, and all the stencils that cover the surface of this jet are found on the rather long and busy second sheet. There's a separate page just for the stencils, to avoid duplication and confusion during the process that although a little tedious, adds an extra layer of realism to the model IMHO. The main sheet is printed by Cartograf, the other is printed locally in the Czech Republic, and they're both well done. The National Markings are beautifully done with crisp colours, good registration and very closely cropped carrier film, which seems to be the norm on recent Cartograf offerings. The Cyrillic lettering on the stencils is legible if you read Russian, and although the carrier film isn't as crisp as the other sheet, it would be difficult to crop it too close without rendering the decals unusable due to their small size. Some of these will be used on the weapons and pylons, which will cut-down on those needed depending on your chosen load-out. From the box you can build one of the following: Vietnamese People's Army Air Force, 921st Fighter Regiment, 1968 – All-over aluminium with green mottle on upper surfaces. Red 5015 on the nose. Czechoslovak Air Force, 11th Fighter Regiment, Zatec AFB, March 1991 – all-over aluminium with yellow fuselage band and shark mouth motif on the cannon pod. 7909 in black on the nose. Baurnal Higher Air Force School, Kamen Na Obi/Slavgorod airbases, Soviet Union, ca 1988 – Three tone symmetrical sand/brown/green uppers with azure blue lowers. White 105 and red chevron on the nose. Egyptian Air Force, Inshas Airbase, early 1980s – Sand/dark earth striped camo over light blue. Polish Air Force 1st Squadron of 62nd Fighter Regiment, Poznan – Krzesiny airbase, 1994 – all over aluminium with gold band on fin. 6910 and a black raven motif on the nose. Conclusion Another winner from Eduard's Mig-21 stable with some colourful decal choices one of which should appeal. The addition of extra parts in the form of PE upgrades and paint masks marks out the Profipacks as special, and well worth the slight premium over the Weekend editions that usually follow along. Keep your eyes open for the additional upgrades in the shape of a resin cockpit, exhaust assembly and additional PE to further enhance the skin of your model. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
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