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1/72 Clear Prop Models Mig-23MLA Czechoslovakian Air Force Aircraft No. 4850


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Hello!

 

In this article I would like to describe the build of the Clear Prop 1/72 Mig-23 MLA model (CPA72030). You can find detailed photos of the kit contents on the manufacturer's website here.

 

A few words about the model.

The basic kit includes:

  • Sprues of the model with highly detailed surface. Pane lines are clear, thin and neat. The riveting is imitated well.
  • Sprues with armament, for nearly all underwing combinations available for Mig-23MLA;
  • Transparent elements sprue. The canopy is given in two versions - separate for the open cockpit option and one-piece, if the cockpit is closed.
  • Two photo-etched panels, one for the model and the other for R-60 rockets.
  • Decal is made by silkscreen printing method. It consists of four sheets: technical stencils of the aircraft, pylons, armament, and identification marks for 4 variants (two Czech, one Soviet, one GDR). The decal has a thin lacquer underplayed and works well with fixing fluids.
  • Detailed colour instructions.

The model itself has a number of features, which I think it is important to dwell on in detail.

The first thing I would like to mention is the wing. As you know, all Mig-23/27 aircraft had a variable sweep wing. Literally all manufacturers of these planes made the wing movable. But Clear Prop has chosen a different approach. The kit allows you to set the wing in one of two wing positions: 16 and 72 degrees. For each wing position there is an individual set of parts covering the hole in the fuselage where the wing fits. This approach provides the best possible match to the prototype and takes into account all the kinematics of wing movement, which is impossible to achieve on a model with a movable wing. This is the only model of this plane for today that offers such precision.

Another important advantage of the kit is the duplication of early and late modification of the aircraft, such as the front landing gear strut, rudder, keel fin, front cockpit instrument panel sight. Thus you can select a set of parts to match your chosen prototype exactly.

 

To complement the kit I used the following aftermarket from Clear Prop, designed specifically for this model:

  • Cockpit canopy and Wheel Mask Set CPA72077
  • Set of landing gear doors CPA72096
  • Set of wheels + dirt shield on nose strut CPA72079
  • Set of exhaust nozzle + combustion chamber exterior + external air intakes CPA72080

In addition to the aftermarket from Clear Prop, the following third party aftermarket was used:

  • Nose Pitot tube by Master AM-72-040
  • Pitot set + antennas + cannon by Mini World A7292
  • Missile set of AIM-9D ResKit RS72-0233

 

In order to give a complete picture on aftermarket for this model, I can add that Clear Prop released 2 more sets of add-ons specially for this model, namely a set of cockpit parts + cannon (CPA72098), as well as a set of masks for exterior (CPA72099). However I didn't use them in this build because by the time they were ready I had already finished these stages.

 

I chose Czechoslovakian Air Force (Czechoslovakia) Aircraft No. 4850 as of February 1983 as a prototype.

 

 

Final photos of the model

 

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Building process

In the article I will summarize the main stages of the build. If you want to know as much detail as possible, you can go here.

 

Cabin

 

One can assemble a great cabin straight out of the box. Assembly starts with the front instrument panel, which includes PE parts and decals:

 

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I hardly refined anything on the instrument panel except for the sight (black panel on top centre). The rest of the cockpit is pretty much untouched except for the space under the front canopy visor. These parts ended up looking as follows: 

 

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Next, I assembled and installed the seat and also installed the front canopy visor:

 

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The final stage included the tilting part of the canopy. Changes here mainly concerned the of the blind screen, I also added a few details:

 

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I should note that a set of masks for the canopy makes it much easier to paint it.

 

Nose landing gear niche and strut

 

I made a number of modifications here, which caused me to change the assembly order suggested by the manufacturer. Below are some photos of the process:

 

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The nose chassis strut was reworked according to the prototype photos:

 

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Main gear niches and struts

 

Out-of-box version of main landing gear niches are quite highly detailed.

The left niche in the OOB version may look as follows:

 

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Next I made some changes, with the following result:

 

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The right OOB niche version may look like this:

 

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Here is what we got after the modifications:

 

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General view of the main niches:

 

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The main landing gear struts and landing gear flaps have undergone a number of refinements:

 

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Air intakes

 

The air intakes are in my opinion one of the most difficult steps in the assembly of this model. I recommend to be especially careful when fitting all the parts, and double-check the assembly several steps ahead.

To start with I added some of the trim lines, riveting, and holes:

 

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Next I advise to paint some elements beforehand, otherwise it will be problematic to paint them later on the assembled model:

 

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After that I continued the assembly of all elements of the fuselage, and fixed the air intake. I painted the air intake inside at the final stage with a brush.

 

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A distinctive external feature of Mig-23 air intakes is its riveting, which I reproduced on the model. Also it is necessary to add a line of decking on the air intake cowling:

 

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The final stage of air intakes included internal imitation of the air intake cowling which I with the help of painted pieces of decals:

 

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Wing and tail unit

 

I chose a wing position of 16 degrees. In the process, the wing was further riveted, and a few panel lines and other small elements were added.

 

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The fixed part of the wing is one of the challenging stages of assembly. At this stage extra caution is advised as well.

 

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General view of the wing and tail unit when assembled:

 

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Stabilizer

 

The stabilizer and its base is made in one piece. I have separated them in order to deflect the stabilizer downwards by a small angle - typical parking position.

 

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Ventral fin

 

Assembly of the ventral fin is easy, but some additional details are required:

 

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Nozzle and heat resistant panels

 

The heat resistant panels should be riveted for better realism.

 

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Combustion chamber assembled from plastic parts, PE and parts from the CPA72080 add-on kit.

 

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As for the nozzle, its distinctive feature on the Mig-23 is the sagging of the blades in the parking configuration. This is imitated perfectly in the Clear Prop CPA72080 add-on kit. The nozzle from this kit compared to the plastic OOB version is shown below for comparison.

 

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Weapon carriage points and pylons

 

The fuel tank is taken from the kit, I just added my own simulation of the outer welds using pulled sprue.

 

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I decided to make the following variant of the missile armament.

2 R-60 missiles under the fuselage, assembled from the box with some modifications.

R-13M (Soviet copy of the American missile AIM-9D) missile under the fixed part of the wing. The R-13M missile is included in the kit, but I chose to buy AIM-9D missiles by ResKit and use them to make the R-13M missile.

 

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I spent a lot of time finalizing the pylons and beams for the missiles.

 

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General view of the weapons carriage:

 

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Exterior details

 

I imitated a lot of different exterior details throughout the build. Some of them are from the kit, some are scratchbuild, some came from other manufacturers.

 

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Painting and filtering

 

The main painting of the model was done with Mr.Color paints and varnishes. Most of the colours are available in their color range, but two camouflage colours have to be mixed independently.

The main difficulty of colouring the model was to reproduce the shapes and positions of camouflage spots:

 

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Unfortunately, at the stage of colouring I made one mistake in weathering, which was pointed out by my ukrainian colleague Andrey aka palanbor:

 

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There was unfortunately no opportunity to correct this mistake. Well, there is probably no such thing as a perfect job. Respect to colleague palanbor for his attentiveness.

Other traces of wearing and other artistic methods were carried out with the help of Revell enamel paints, oil paints and Tamiya pigments. Weathering is moderate, as the model was made for the period when the aircraft was just delivered to the troops.

 

 

Conclusion

 

The new Mig-23 MLA model by Clear Prop is in my opinion the best kit at the moment for this aircraft. The model is complex, aimed at modellers who already have some skills and experience.

This project took me approximately 9 months. This time I spent to squeeze the most out of this kit, as well as my skills and capabilities.

I would like to thank the team at Clear Prop for giving me the opportunity to work on this project. Moreover, I had the opportunity to start familiarising myself with this model even at the stage of castings testing. I am happy that in the final stage of the pre-production development before I was able to make a small contribution.

I would like to thank everyone who supported me during the building of the model. My sincere gratitude to my ukrainian colleague Karpenko Bogdan aka bogdan777 for all information support at all stages of this project.

 

Sincerely, Dmitry Ahopian aka DimaADA

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Great build, so many photos.  I need to get back to the Job that pays so I didn't have time to really have a detailed look st all the photos and all the details.  But I'll be back later to give this a proper look, it deserves that.

 

Colin

Edited by Philly1860
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I've seen many models in 72 scale with incredible detail work, but this one is just unreal!

I`m more of a propeller plane person and only a very insignificant part of my 500+stach (less than 100 built) are jets. But these few are carefully selected and the Mig 23 is one of them. Besides its fascinating look, this plane has a special place in my life.

In Soviet-occupied Estonia in the 1980s, these planes were located on a large airfield next to the small town of Haapsalu. However, very close to this runway was a small harbor where ships left for the island where our summer house was. The ships were small and rarely left, so you had to wait hours in the port for the next ship. So there we were, sitting in the car waiting for the next ship. It happened quite often that Mig23s were staring over our heads while waiting for this.  My memories are from when I was in the first grades, and the noise these planes made was breathtaking. I felt like the air was being torn apart. Because this port was so close to the runway, the planes taking off were very low when flying overhead, and it seemed to me that these pilots deliberately accelerated to maximize the noise. I still don't remember if they were all gray or spotted, I remember how I was waiting with my ears covered for the next overflight to end and I had a little pain in my chest.

I've known for some time that based on these memories, I wanted to put a Mig23 on my shelf. Before the Clear Prop box was even rumored, I purchased an R.V. Aircraft 1/72 box, because it seemed the best option at that moment. So far I felt like I'll do it anyway because the C. Prop is quite expensive to re-acquire again. Looking at the level of this model here made me not want to even look at my box for a while:)  Just stunning!!

Edited by kalle
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Once in a while built model appears that raises the bar to impossible levels. This is one of those. A magnificent kit built by a true master. Thank you for sharing and showing what is possible. Your write up is also a work of art in it’s self.

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Dear colleagues, thank you very much for your kind reviews!

 

 

3 hours ago, Vultures1 said:

Absolutely fantastic work - a real masterclass from start to finish and a great reference for getting the best from the Clear Prop kit.

Well done and thank you 

Chris 

 

Chris, thank you for your support throughout the entire model building process!

 

 

2 hours ago, kalle said:

I've seen many models in 72 scale with incredible detail work, but this one is just unreal!

I`m more of a propeller plane person and only a very insignificant part of my 500+stach (less than 100 built) are jets. But these few are carefully selected and the Mig 23 is one of them. Besides its fascinating look, this plane has a special place in my life.

In Soviet-occupied Estonia in the 1980s, these planes were located on a large airfield next to the small town of Haapsalu. However, very close to this runway was a small harbor where ships left for the island where our summer house was. The ships were small and rarely left, so you had to wait hours in the port for the next ship. So there we were, sitting in the car waiting for the next ship. It happened quite often that Mig23s were staring over our heads while waiting for this.  My memories are from when I was in the first grades, and the noise these planes made was breathtaking. I felt like the air was being torn apart. Because this port was so close to the runway, the planes taking off were very low when flying overhead, and it seemed to me that these pilots deliberately accelerated to maximize the noise. I still don't remember if they were all gray or spotted, I remember how I was waiting with my ears covered for the next overflight to end and I had a little pain in my chest.

I've known for some time that based on these memories, I wanted to put a Mig23 on my shelf. Before the Clear Prop box was even rumored, I purchased an R.V. Aircraft 1/72 box, because it seemed the best option at that moment. So far I felt like I'll do it anyway because the C. Prop is quite expensive to re-acquire again. Looking at the level of this model here made me not want to even look at my box for a while:)  Just stunning!!

 

Dear colleague! Thanks for your feedback.
I am pleased to hear that my model evokes such associations in your memory.

I wish you to build your Mig-23. But I'll take the liberty of giving you one piece of advice: don't waste your time on the R.V. Aircraft model. At one time it was a good model, but not now.

 

 

2 hours ago, Robin-42 said:

Once in a while built model appears that raises the bar to impossible levels. This is one of those. A magnificent kit built by a true master. Thank you for sharing and showing what is possible. Your write up is also a work of art in it’s self.

 

Great thanks for this feedback!

 

 

2 hours ago, gaputz said:

Simply amazing.  No need for a walk-around of the real thing when you have these photos of the model.  Well done.

 

Thank you for feedback!

One of my ideas for the photo shoot was to make it look like a walk-around. Since you said this, it means my idea was a success.

 

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Dimitry,

 

I have had a chance to look more closely at this build and I don't have the words to do it justice, so I'll just make a few observations.

  • Can't believe this is a 1:72 scale, i thought it must be a 1:48 or 1:32 or even bigger.
  • The detail of the cockpit, wheel wells to name just two areas is amazing.
  • The panel lines and rivet details are fantastic and very subtle.
  • The Exhaust looks metal.
  • Overall, the paint job is great.

I can understand how this took 9 months to build, I'm not sure I would have the patience for such a long build.

 

Top marks from me fantastic work, look forward to seeing more of your builds in the future.

 

Regards

Colin

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14 hours ago, Philly1860 said:

I can understand how this took 9 months to build, I'm not sure I would have the patience for such a long build.

Colin, thank you for your feedback!

I can say that this work took me only 9 months because Clear Prom made an excellent kit with very high OOB detail and additions (photo-etching, etc.). My other models, brought to this level of detail, took me much longer to build. For example, in my signature there is an F-15C model. So it took me about two years to build. It turns out that thanks to a good set, I managed to save one year and 3 months, achieving approximately the same result.

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Dimitry,

 

I've just taken a quick look at those other models all I can say is WOW.  Of all the detailing the one that impresses me the most are the Exhausts.  They look like metal.  I'm also blowen away by the fact these are all 1:72 scale.  I am in awe of you skills.

 

Colin

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