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A Saharan Sparka – KP/Eduard MiG-21UM Mongol-B “TZ-358” Force Aérienne de la Republique du Mali 1/72


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Hi all,

 

Another roll-out from the Williams’ production line. This one could be described a conversion but truly it was not converted and remained the original type. It is more of an amalgamation. The work was in the incorporation of Eduard parts to raise the detail level of the final model. It is, therefore a KP/RV MiG-21UM “Sparka” (popular name) enhanced by parts from Eduard MiG-21MF and PFM kits. That is an awful waste of plastic and hard earned cash you’ll be crying out but this, for me, was an experiment to see what was possible, given the mainline manufacturer’s (I mean Eduard’s 😉) resistance to producing a high quality twin-seat MiG-21. The leftover PFM and MF bits will help my future builds, including the FL. If you are a rivet-counting kind of modeller I’d better put out my disclaimer now – some panel detail will be inaccurate. I also forgot to change the small panel on the port side of the fin. It is vertical in orientation on the UM as opposed to horizontal on the PFM. It was too late to change when I realised ☹

 

On reflection I should have set up a WIP – I am sorry that I didn’t. The main work was the insertion of the lower fuselage section from the Eduard kit. This took a fair bit of wrangling before it settled okay. It also meant using the entire Eduard main undercarriage and doors. In addition to that there was: a new nose intake (resin), different jet pipe (Eduard), different fin from the PFM (Eduard), new various scoops (resin and Eduard), a new cockpit (resin). I made and added the AoA vane on the port-side nose, and a few other little bits and pieces. I attempted to use the Eduard tail pipe surround too but the dimensions were too far out from the KP so I didn’t bother. I also cut out the forward speedbrake housing and fashioned a brake from a spare MiG-21 fuselage, giving me a matching curve. Here she is at the dry fitting stage:

 

BM3

 

At this point she still had the KP fin and rudder.

 

And a couple later on:

 

IMG_4773A

 

IMG_4787A

 

The baseline KP/RV kit is actually not too bad. However, it does lack some features which are obvious to anyone who has even the scantest knowledge of the type. For example, it has no forward or aft positionable speed brakes. Of course, the fighter variant MiG-21s had a different arrangement in the forward bay but the rear was identical - one area where the Eduard helps enormously. This is the parts breakdown:

 

MiG-21UM sources

 

I’ve chosen to finish the model as MiG-21UM “TZ-358” (c/n 5169570016) of the Force Aerienne de la Republique du Mali (FARM) and operated from Base Aerienne 101, Bamako-Senou. She was last seen in a derelict condition in 2014, having been delivered to the air arm in the mid-1980s. As a proficiency and recurrency trainer she and the other UMs supported the mixed fleet of MiG-21MFs and Bis fighters. What is interesting to me, apart from the unusual colours, is the wide range of finishes that these machines acquired during their service. I seemed there was a mix of locally applied colours as well as factory-applied finishes after maintenance in the Czech Republic and Soviet Union (or Ukraine).  Here she is when stored in the hangar at Bamako-Senou. Note the "weighted" tyres ;): 

 

TZ358scan001

Credit: E.B via Jean-luc Debroux 

 

So, what did I do or use?:

 

1.       Kit – KP MiG-21UM 1/72 (KPM0132), the Eduard MiG-21PFM (70144) and the Eduard MiG-21MF (7451). The KP provided the fuselage. The PFM provided the fin with the separate rudder (not available on the MF kit and an essential for a MiG-21). The MF provided the lower fuselage section with the wings, the undercarriage, elevons (pivoted on brass), jet pipe and many small bits and pieces.

 

2.       Decals – The Aviation Megastore neglected to include a stiffener in the packaging ofmy Lift Here order and the postal service folded it! Fortunately I had the roundels in the spares files from the Blue Rider Chaco War set. The stencils came from the Begamot set (72-021) and Giorgio @Giorgio N produced the serial for me. The Aviation Megastore did me a favour! (They did refund me :) )

 

3.       Paints – Colourcoats MiG Cockpit Blue Green ( ACSM07), Eau-de-nil (ACRN30 ), Desert Pink+Chestnut ( ACRN16+ACGW06 66%&33%), Sand (ACSM10 ) and Pale Blue Grey (ACSM01). Various Humbrol – Polished Aluminium (27002) and Steel (27003), Glosscote, Mattcote, etc. 

 

4.       Aftermarket -  Aires MiG-21UM Cockpit and seats resin set, wheels, Pavla intake, Aires scoops,

 

5.       Weathering etc – Tamiya Powders and Flory washes (Dirt and Sand) plus silver pencil

 

Conclusions?

 

In my view it was absolutely worth doing. There was a fair bit of wrangling to get the lower wing and fuselage section to match up with the KP fuselage, but you can get there, as you can see. I had to whittle down the main undercarriage housing get it in. You can probably achieve the same thing by using just the PFM kit as the donor rather than going my expensive route. I’m not a MiG expert at all and so I can’t be sure. I chose to add the entire section because it added detail to the wings too. The use of the PFM fin also added a lot of crisp detail too.

 

For any MiG-21 there is a need for the speed brakes to be open to varying degrees. When the hydraulics were off these always dropped. You can see on every photo that this is the case. This is another reason why the use of the Eduard parts is an advantage. What you will not get is the forward brake and so you will have to make one yourself.

 

By employing Eduard’s far superior moulding and engineering you can get a very good Sparka. Would I do it again? Yes, and I will 😊. One day I will build an Indian MiG-21U-400, specifically “U455” of the MOFTU at Tezpur. It will be in memory of Phil Camp. That will bring more challenge, of course, but why not! 😊

 

I hope you like her as much as I do!!

 

tz358c

 

tz358d

 

tz358g

 

tz358a

 

tz358b

 

tz358e

 

tz358f

 

Martin

 

PS: It was my first set of photos using my two new ring lights (£7.98 each in the "cheap" shop :) )

 

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Absolutely fantastic result Martin, certainly one of the best 1/72 Mig-21's I've seen, and although I do regard all your builds as crackingly good, this has to be one of your best yet!

 

We will have to start calling you the "Mig mixer"!

 

Well done.

 

Terry

 

 

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Well, my dear friend, you've done it- again! Your UM looks spot-on, and the surgery was successful! Paint looks great and the cockpit, too. I'll most likely use more of the PFM kit, as I'm not as skilled a micro plastic surgeon as you. For me, the hardest part will be building the new forward speed brake well, but since it's basically a sheet metal trough that follows the curvature of the fuselage, I like your idea of using a section of a Mig-21 fuselage- Lord knows I have enough of them lying around. One of your very best jets, Martin, and it was fun exchanging ideas on the "conversion" Crosskitting would be a better term. Thinking mine will either the Finnish, or the Czech one that was camouflaged. Good to see you haven'r lost your touch! :worthy:

Mike

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That looks superb. Excellent paint job & you'd never know there was three kits in that. Superb plastic engineering!

I was thinking about getting that KP kit to do one of the Croatian twin seaters but now I'm not sure! 😆

 

Martin

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19 hours ago, VolkerR. said:

Great model, great fotos!

Well worth the extra work!

Thanks a million, Volker

 

18 hours ago, swralph said:

Great modelling.😀

Much appreciated
 

18 hours ago, Terry1954 said:

Absolutely fantastic result Martin, certainly one of the best 1/72 Mig-21's I've seen, and although I do regard all your builds as crackingly good, this has to be one of your best yet!

 

We will have to start calling you the "Mig mixer"!

 

Well done.

 

Terry

 

 

You’re generous with your praise, Terry. Thank you. There are a few small flaws but overall I’m very pleased.

 

18 hours ago, 72modeler said:

Well, my dear friend, you've done it- again! Your UM looks spot-on, and the surgery was successful! Paint looks great and the cockpit, too. I'll most likely use more of the PFM kit, as I'm not as skilled a micro plastic surgeon as you. For me, the hardest part will be building the new forward speed brake well, but since it's basically a sheet metal trough that follows the curvature of the fuselage, I like your idea of using a section of a Mig-21 fuselage- Lord knows I have enough of them lying around. One of your very best jets, Martin, and it was fun exchanging ideas on the "conversion" Crosskitting would be a better term. Thinking mine will either the Finnish, or the Czech one that was camouflaged. Good to see you haven'r lost your touch! :worthy:

Mike

As always, thanks a bunch. 
 

16 hours ago, SAT69 said:

Much praise expressed above and all of it well deserved. That's an exquisite model you've produced!

Many thanks
 

15 hours ago, keefr22 said:

That's a beauty Martin - seamless plastic engineering and a lovely paintjob! And that's a superb camo scheme!

 

Top job!

 

Keith

Thank you for calling by and for your comments, Keith
 

14 hours ago, ForestFan said:

Magnificent,  very nice indeed

Thanks a lot mate

 

14 hours ago, Mr T said:

Very nice indeed. I built the original KP Mig 21 many years ago, the kit you used looks much better. 

I’ll sure yours will be great, mate! The KP/RV is a good kit but lacks some detail.

 

14 hours ago, Lightningboy2000 said:

That looks superb. Excellent paint job & you'd never know there was three kits in that. Superb plastic engineering!

I was thinking about getting that KP kit to do one of the Croatian twin seaters but now I'm not sure! 😆

 

Martin

Thanks, Martin. A Croatian machine would look good :)

 

14 hours ago, VG 33 said:

Hello

 

What a fantastic conversion you made. Congratulations. Thank you for sharing.

 

Patrick

A million thanks, Patrick 

 

13 hours ago, russ c said:

Superb MiG there Martin, thought it was `48th at first glance. Great job

A trick of the eye, Russ ;). Many thanks

 

12 hours ago, Pete in a shed said:

I just love a UM and this is an absolute beauty Martin. The Mali scheme is a real show stopper.

Cheers

Pete

Thanks Pete. I’ve longed to build this machine. I tried a few years back with a Bilek kit but stopped as it wasn’t pleasing me ;)

 

11 hours ago, Sky Keg said:

Just superb Martin!!!!  Just when I think that it cannot get any better from you............it does!!!!!  OUTSTANDING all around as usual :clap2:

 

Mike

Thanks a lot, Mike! :)

 

 

Martin

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11 hours ago, Giorgio N said:

Fantastic model Martin, really impressive ! Looking at the pictures it's impossible to tell that this is the result of parts from different kits and the painting is also very realistic. Really something to be rightly proud of

Thank you, Giorgio. Yes, I’m amazed she came together so well in the end. I went through bouts of cursing over a few days. You can see that your decals settled beautifully :). 
 

10 hours ago, Courageous said:

Fantastic work Martin. Lovely blend of kits and AM bits and finished off a lovely scheme. Well done.

 

Stuart

Your praise is always welcome, Stuart. Thank you. On looking at my photos the KP nose wheel looks slightly oversized :(. If I get brave I might replace it with an Eduard part :)
 

8 hours ago, dragan_mig31 said:

Great work bravo.

Thank you so much, Dragan

 

8 hours ago, John Masters said:

Beautiful perfection Martin!

Gratefully received praise, John. Thank you

 

7 hours ago, Wulfman said:

Marvellous Mongol, great modelling !

 

Wulfman

Thanks a million, Wulfman :)

 

Martin

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It turned out well didn't it Martin, I know you had a few setbacks along the way but the final outcome is brilliant!  Well done sir!

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23 hours ago, Wez said:

It turned out well didn't it Martin, I know you had a few setbacks along the way but the final outcome is brilliant!  Well done sir!

Thanks Wez. I really appreciate your comments. I may do the third in the Mail trio for the Africa GB :). 
 

13 hours ago, fox1_BE said:

Lovely Mig, great build and interesting subject!

Thanks mate :)
 

Martin

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