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Paul A H

MiG-25 RB Soviet Reconnaissance Plane (72173) - 1:72

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MiG-25 RB Soviet Reconnaissance Plane (72173)

1:72 ICM

 

mig25rb_01.jpg

 

In the early part of the Cold War, the strategic bomber was seen as the obvious means by which to deliver a nuclear payload. The interceptor - large, heavy and fast - was seen as the equally obvious countermeasure. The MiG-25 Foxbat was, in many ways, the ultimate embodiment of this technology. It wasn't particularly groundbreaking and nor was it particularly sophisticated, but it was capable of incredible speed and could carry four large missiles to high altitudes very quickly indeed. The MiG-25's shortcomings as a combat aircraft were largely addressed through the MiG-31 Foxhound, but the type continued as an effective reconnaissance platform in a variety of guises. The RB was an updated version of the original R reconnaissance variant, fitted with updated reconnaissance equipment as well as a bomb computer and the ability to carry up to eight 500kg bombs. 

 

This kit is the second iteration of ICM's new 1/72 MiG-25 family, following on from the later RBT variant. The model is pretty much a scaled down version of their 1:48 kit, which is a jolly good thing indeed. Inside the very sturdy top-opening box are seven frames of light grey plastic and one of clear plastic. The kit is almost identical to the previous iteration, but includes two extra sprues for the bombs and revised parts for the nose. The airframe is covered in crisp, recessed panel lines which look very good indeed, and the mouldings are crisp and clean. The instructions are an A4 stapled booklet which has been printed in colour and the decal sheet is clear and well printed. The overall impression is of a well-executed, modern kit which looks like it should be thoroughly enjoyable to build. 

 

mig25_rbt_02.jpg

 

mig25_rbt_03.jpg

 

mig25_rbt_04.jpg

 

Construction begins with the cockpit and nose gear bay. Some detail is moulded in place on the sidewalls of the cockpit, with extra parts provided to represent additional details. Before the main structure of the cockpit can be completed, however, you have to add the bulkhead that forms the front wall of the cockpit and the rear wall of the nose gear bay. The instructions have you installing the nose gear leg at this stage, but I can't see any logical reason as to why this can't be done at the end. This would, of course, save you from breaking the leg part way through the build. The cockpit itself is nicely detailed, with the ejector seat alone made up of no fewer than five parts. An instrument panel and control column completes this section of the build. 

 

Once the forward fuselage halves have been joined together, the whole sub-assembly fits onto a spart that holds the huge engine air intakes. I've noticed that kit manufacturers are moving increasingly toward this style of construction, where certain parts are provided for purely structural purposes instead of the older slot and tab style of construction. I guess the main advantage, other than strength, is that everything can be positioned at exactly the right angle - a helpful feature for kits that feature quit a complex breakdown of parts, such as this one. Each engine intake is full-length, with engine compressor faces provided. What results is a complete forward section of the aircraft up to the wing roots, with the internal structure of the air intakes protruding from the rear. The lower face of the main fuselage can be joined to this structure once the main landing gear bays have been added. ICM suggest that you add the main landing gear legs at this stage. Again, I can't see any reason why they couldn't be fettled into place after the main construction has been completed.

 

mig25_rbt_05.jpg

 

mig25rb_02.jpg

 

mig25rb_03.jpg

 

mig25_rbt_07.jpg

 

Once the lower face of the main fuselage is in place, another structural bulkhead can be added, after which the slab-sides of the fuselage, including the outer faces of the air intakes, can be added. The dustbin-like jet exhausts are added at this stage, and very nicely detailed they are too. Once in place, the upper face of the fuselage can be added. Some modellers have noticed that the central spine has a flattened profile instead of a rounded shape. This is true, but I imagine most modellers will choose to live with this flaw. All that remains now is to add the nosecone, flying surfaces and finishing details. Each vertical tail is split vertically, with a seperate rudder. The outer face is moulded with part of the rear fuselage in place, so presumably it will be impossible to fit these parts at the wrong angle. Somewhat surprisingly, the upper wings are not moulded in one part with the upper fuselage. Instead, they are split into separate port and starboard halves, with two seperate flaperons and upper wing fences and fittings for bomb shackles below. The nosecone is simply split vertically, with a separate part for the camera pack and clear parts for the camera lenses. 

 

The canopy is nice and clear and can be finished in either open or closed position. Eight 500kg bombs are provided, along with the low profile pylons. Two are carried under each wing, while four are carried in pairs along the fuselage centerline. Other than that, and a few aerials, lumps and bumps, the huge aircraft is now finished. Four options are provided for on the decal sheet:

  • MiG-25RB, 154th Independent Air Detachment, Cairo-West, May 1974;
  • MiG-25RB, Soviet Air Force, late 1970s; 
  • MiG-25RB, 63rd Independent Air Detachment, UAR, 1971-1972; and
  • MiG-25RB (Late Production), Iraqi Air Force, 1980. 

The decals look nicely printed and a full set of stencils are included.

 

mig25rb_04.jpg

 

Conclusion

 

We've waited a while for a new, more more modern kit of the Foxbat in this scale. ICM's new effort is excellent, with high quality mouldings and plenty of the detail. The surface structures are fine and crisp. Overall this is a well executed and carefully designed kit which is very appealing indeed. Highly recommended.

 

Review sample courtesy of


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