Jump to content

Mig-25PD/PDS - 1:48 Kitty Hawk


Recommended Posts

1:48 Kitty Hawk


The Mig-25 was the "scourge" of the West in the 80s, believed to have super-human capabilities that fuelled our aircraft industry to create new and expensive aircraft to oppose them if ever the Cold War got hot. After the famous defection of Red 31 the truth about this behemoth of a point defence interceptor was somewhat different. Whether it was propaganda from our side, the USSR or the Western defence companies is anyone's guess, but it's still an impressive aircraft.

It first flew in 1964 and entered service some six years later, as an answer to the B-70 Valkyrie project that was still-born in the US following vast overspends, and the nascent SR-71 that was under development as the A-12. After many designs were considered and dropped, the final planform of the aircraft known in the West as Foxbat was decided upon, with two huge engines from Tumansky in the rear of the fuselage, twin tail fins and swept wings. Up front was a large radome, behind which was a powerful radar that was very capable of guiding its missiles to target.

Following Viktor Belenko's defection to Japan in then brand new Mig-25P, the PD was developed, entering service in 1979 with better engines and radar, plus some upgrades to the weapons systems that resulted in is being referred to as the Foxbat-E by NATO. The PDS retained that designation, as they were simply earlier Ps that had been retrofitted out to the PD specification.

Capable of speeds in excess of Mach 3, the aircraft was actually limited to speeds just under, as the engines had a tendency to over-spin, which resulted in heat damage. The heat generated made choice of materials difficult, and as a result, a lot of nickel steel alloy was used around the airframe, which has resulted in many people thinking that it was quite agricultural, made of simple steel. While that could well be levelled at the initial valve-powered radar, it wasn't the airborne tractor it was made out to be eventually. It certainly seems to have given enough pause for thought in the West to bring the F-15 into being.

The Soviet defence forces were the main customer for the Foxbat, but other Soviet friendly countries also maintained them in their arsenal, most notable of which was Iraq, who famously buried some of their airframes to protect them from destruction by the Allies during GWII. Syria, Libya and many former Soviet states have used them, and Russia still had a number on charge following the break-up of their empire.

The Kit
In this scale we had to make do with the Ageing and inaccurate Monogram kit, which was sometimes seen in Revell boxes on these shores. This is the first new kit of the Foxbat in many years, and of course Kitty Hawk's designers have brought their customary level of detail to the party. The kit arrives in a fairly small box, which has been achieved by folding many of the larger sprues in half, which is a mildly annoying practice because you have to cut them apart to view the individual sprues. It's only the work of moments with a pair of sprue cutters, but it's clearly irritated me a little because I've mentioned it. Inside the box, which has nice artwork by the way, are twelve sprues in a blue/grey styrene, two fuselage halves, a clear sprue, a small Photo-Etch (PE) brass fret, a bag containing a large ball-bearing and two bent pieces of metal rod, a sheet of decals and of course the instruction booklet with painting guide printed on the colourful and glossy fold-out covers.








The first thing that struck me was the size of the engines, with a huge diameter, and a massive fuel tank that stretches almost 22cm from tip to tip. Detail is up to KH's usual standards, but I spotted an issue with the moulding of the wings where a matrix of stiffening ribs and stringers has been added to the inside, and this has resulted in a few sink marks on the outer skin of the wings, although nothing that couldn't be fixed with a bit of Mr Surfacer. For a while I was wondering why the ribs were there, but when I put that together with the additional mould-release agent present on the parts, it set me to wondering whether it was to cure a moulding issue. Perhaps the wing skins were difficult to pull off the tooling without strengthening, or something similar.

Construction starts with the cockpit, and the KM-1 ejection seat is made up from a well detailed central section with two side pieces, two which you add some PE belts. Previously, KH's seatbelts have been somewhat skinny, but this set are more representative of the real thing, so you don't have to wait for the aftermarket to come flooding in. The cockpit tub has separate side consoles in styrene, a rear bulkhead with an upper skin added from PE, throttle quadrant on the port console, short control column and sidewalls, all of which are covered with fine detail. The instrument panel is a PE part, with a choice between PD and PDS, which affixes to a styrene backing part that isn't numbered on the sprues, but can be found in the corner of the sprue with the nose cone on. Also on that sprue are two styrene instrument panels with engraved detail in case you don't fancy your chances with the PE, or make a mistake. The cockpit is incredibly confined, and the detail present from the box should be suitable for most modellers, but of course you can always add more!

The nose gear bay is next, and it is made up from slabs to give a more detailed finished article, with a simple depression for the gear leg to give you the option of installing it later. The leg is a single part with one two-part wheel on either side of the axle. A two-part mudguard affixes to a nub on the rear of the axle, and the whole lot fits into the bay with no retraction jacks present. This and the cockpit are then fitted within the front fuselage halves, minus the radome and housing for the radar equipment. You are advised to put "weight" in the nose, but no value is given as a guide. A large 17.5mm ball bearing is included in the box that weighs in at almost 22g, which should be more than enough to accomplish the task of keeping all the wheels on the ground. The two sloping intakes are built up from two halves, plus the built-in FOD guards, which are then skinned with a detailed PE part. They are then glued onto the forward fuselage, for later attachment to the aft fuselage parts.


Main gear is buried in the aft fuselage under the wings, and Kitty Hawk have included a pair of pre-bent metal inner legs to give the main gear some strength. Cleverly, one is gold coloured and the other silver. This makes it easy to determine which is which, because although they look very similar in shape, they are most definitely handed, and would look terrible if you got them swapped around. The outer legs close around them in sections, with a knuckle around half-way up to which some nicely detailed actuator rams and scissor links are added. The large rough-terrain wheels are then added to the axle that sits outboard. There has been some talk about the hubs being too small on the wheels, but having looked at some pictures of the real thing, there's not enough in it to get too excited. I'm sure some resin alternatives will be along soon though, but if you're happy with these, you can just sand a flat on them to give the impression of weight and be done with it. Tread and hub detail is quite good with brake detail on the rear, with a flat contact patch. The gearbays themselves are again built from separate walls, and ribbing detail is good, although I'm sure there's scope for improvement with some additional wiring if you think it will be seen. Again the gear legs fit into keyed slots and can be added later if you wish.


The final act before closing up the fuselage is building the huge exhaust trunks that dominate the rear of the aircraft. The main trunking is made up from two halves with deep ridges running fore and aft, which should hide the seamline well enough. They aren't too long, so can be painted once built up, and you can further hide the join with putty if required. The rear engine faces are supplied as a single figure-8 part to which separate afterburner rings are added, before the exhausts are glued in place to form a single assembly. A set of inner petals are moulded together, tying the rear of the engines together, and the outer petals are then added around them in sections to complete the job. The assembly then drops into the lower fuselage half along with the main gear bays. The upper and lower fuselage of my review sample seem to be a little warped, although this could firm up with the addition of the internal parts. If this persists, simply glue one side at a time and let the first side cure well before you do the second. A pair of lower intake lips are added to the underside of the fuselage, and a pair of sensor assemblies that won't really be seen are added to the top side.

In KH's usual format, the lumps, bumps and gear bay doors are added during the main build, along with the ventral strakes and elevators on the underside, the fuselage spine insert, airbrake and pen-nib fairing on the upper side before the wings are added. The wings are two parts each, and as mentioned earlier the strengthening web inside has caused some light sink marks here and there. Before fixing them though, it would be wise to remove the excessive mould release agent to ensure a good join with both the putty and the following primer and paint. The wing tips are separate, as are the flying surfaces on the trailing edge, but check their orientation on the ground before gluing so you don't make a mistake. The two tail fins have separate rudder parts, plus bullet fairings at the root, both of which have moulded in static wicks that will probably get damaged during the built if you're like me. The four wing hard-points have pylons that fit into large paired slots in the lower wing, onto which you can hang a plethora of stores that are provided with the kit.

The long nose of the Mig-25 bulges substantially in plan view to accommodate the large and powerful radar it needed to fulfil its role, and this is a separate section of the fuselage behind the radome. The two halves trap a nicely detailed radar, which will disappear forever if you close up the radome. The radome itself is in separate halves and butt-joints with a small lip on the fuselage front. Under the nose a glazed insert is included for the PDS variant, with a blanking plate for the PD. Two types of Infrared Search and Track blisters are also included for under the nose, as well as AoA probes on either side and behind the IR blister, and a probe on the very tip of the nosecone, with small prongs added to each quadrant. The glazing for the cockpit is in two parts, with the windscreen glued over the separate instrument coaming, with a retraction jack for the canopy to hold it open to the correct angle. A pair of clear formation lights are also present on the sides of the intakes to finish the job.

There is a wide choice of munitions for the Foxbat, as follows:

4 x R-60 missiles on dual ejector rails
2 x R-40 missiles with alternate heads for the T and R variants
2 x Electronic Warfare pods
1 x huge underbelly fuel tank
2 x FAB-1500 iron bombs
4 x FAB-500 on either 2 x dual or 2 x single racks


A diagram shows which weapons are carried where, although if you are going for realism, it would be best to check your references for a likely war load or training layout.

There are three options from the box, all of which are overall grey with green or grey dielectric panels and the decals being the only way to differentiate. As a bonus, the Red 31 decals are included in case you'd like to model the defector's jet, which would require the removal and fairing over of the IR blister. From the box you can build one of the following:
  • Mig-25PD Blue 75, Russian Air Force, 1979
  • Mig-25PD Blue 56 Ukrainian Air Force
  • Mig-25PD Iraqi Air Force


The decals are a step up from the previous kits, with better registration all round, and only a tiny offset of the black and dark blue, the latter exposing a sliver of backing paper on the right side of the 75s that is only really visible on close inspection. Stencils are crisp and clearly Cyrillic, although I have no idea whether they are spelled correctly due to my ignorance of the language, but even if they are gibberish, they'll fool most of us!

It has been worth the wait for a new tooling of this brutal Cold War Interceptor, and Kitty Hawk continue to cover subjects that interest me, and a lot of other happy modellers. They have taken the trouble to listen to the feedback from test shots to correct any issues that have been pointed out, which is good news, as there is a lot of knowledge out there on most subjects. We are already aware of the 2-seat variant that will be along shortly, which will be another odd-looking beast to add to the cabinet.

The issues I spotted so far are easily to correct, and with some care and attention to test-fitting it should build up into a fabulous looking aircraft that will knock the old Monogram kit into a cocked hat.

Highly recommended.

Review sample courtesy of


and available soon from major hobby shops

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great review Mike, I can't wait for this one. I've just noticed the R-73 (AA-11 Archer) missiles on one of the weapon sprues which the MiG-25 never carried as far as I'm aware.

Edited by Stephen
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great review Mike, I can't wait for this one. I've just noticed the R-73 (AA-11 Archer) missiles on one of the weapon sprues which the MiG-25 never carried as far as I'm aware.

Possibly pointing to more Russki airware in their future? They re-used the Mirage F-1 sprues a little already, so maybe we'll be getting something else with the red star on the tail? Hope so :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Possibly pointing to more Russki airware in their future? They re-used the Mirage F-1 sprues a little already, so maybe we'll be getting something else with the red star on the tail? Hope so :)

Well as far as I know, the R-73 is only used on the MiG-29 and Su-27 families.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wikipedia reckons the following:

MiG-21(Upgraded), MiG-23-98, MiG-29, MiG-31, MiG-35
Sukhoi Su-24, Su-25, Su-27, Su-30, Su-33, Su-35, Su-34, Su-47, PAK FA <- my personal favourite reason
Mil Mi-24, Mil Mi-28, Kamov Ka-50, Kamov Ka-52
Yak-141, Yak-130
HAL Tejas (Future)

Link to comment
Share on other sites


thanks for the review!

looks like a winner to me.... where to put it?? ;)

small boxes are definitely better for shipping costs, sometimes this makes up quite a big part of total costs...

anybody spots if the main issues brought up from previews (canopy shape, forward fuselage shape) has been changed?

Edited by exdraken
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very nice preview! I don't have my refs at hand, but isn't there a rather prominent "tree" structure visible inside the Foxbat's intakes? I see no hint of it on the sprues.

Any chance of posting scans of the instruction sheet a la 1999.co.jp??

Third sprue down, on the left hand side in between the rear tailplanes. They are marked '20' & '21' ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Third sprue down, on the left hand side in between the rear tailplanes. They are marked '20' & '21' ;)

Ah so! Glad they're there in their kit.

Also, Mike - the other 1/48 Foxbat is an original Revell kit, back when Revell and Monogram were bitter arch-rivals. AFAIK it has never appeared in a Monogram box. I have an original 1977 release, and it's definitely Revell all the way.

Edited by Jennings Heilig
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ooh! Look at all the lovely plastic. Must resist, must not buy, must not add to stash...ah sod it, first one I see is coming home with me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...