Academy 1/72nd MiG-23MF Flogger G, Iraqi Gulf War 1991
This is my 2nd completed aircraft for the new year (though not so new we are at the end of February). The MiG-23 first flew in 1967 I was 7 at the time, but remember a news report about the new MiG at the time and how “shocked” the average civilian was about the new Russian fighter. Considered the 3rd generation of Soviet fighters, the first MiG that had intakes along the side of the fuselage. Introduced into service in 1970, over 5000 were built as production ended in 1985. Still appearing in limited service with various air forces to date. Influenced by the F-111 and F-4, though the F-111 was originally drawn up to be a fighter, and solve a USAF and USN need, its ability to carry long range bombs and stability kept it as a long range strike aircraft and never became the envisioned fighter and the Navy opted out of their version. The Mikoyan philosophy was to keep the MiG-23 light, with a single engine and be a dedicated fighter, or M series, while the B series (MiG-23BN), could also be used in the ground attack role. Which evolved into the MiG-27 Flogger. The MiG-23 was the first Soviet fighter to be a “beyond visual range” once the radar system was improved and able to fire AA-7 Apex missile. Though disappointing at first when the radar system intended for the MiG-23 was not ready, the system available was what being used in the MiG-21, which was limited in range and kept the first 80 Floggers relatively close to the Russian frontier. The GSh-23L 23 MM cannon was installed in a pod under the fuselage. By 1973 the more capable Sapfir 23D radar system was available,. improved power plant, Tumansky R-29-300 engine it became what the MiG bureau intended. Able to fire the aformentioned R-23 (Apex), and R-60 (Aphid) missiles. Later variants would be able to also launch more advanced missiles in the Russian inventory.
The Iraqi export version, was the Mig-23MF, Flogger G, retaining much of the same capabilities as their Russian counterparts, a much more improved engine, the Tumansky R35-F300, a 4th internal fuel tank, the radar system was upgraded Sapfir-23ML, which gave it a range of up 57 miles over the 35 miles of the previous system. During the Gulf War the Iraqi air force had claimed that 2 F-16’s a Tornado were shot down by MiG-23’s and also damaged 2 F-111’s. The USAF claimed 8 MiG-23’s shot down with 6 confirmed. Official reports show no coalition aircraft being destroyed by any Iraqi aircraft during Desert Storm.
This is Academy’s simple and not so complicated build of the MiG-23. It is also a direct copy of Hasegawa’s MiG-23, as I remember building it when it first appeared in the Minicraft/Hasegawa boxing away back in 1978. It is built right out of the box except for the Hi-Decal marking for a MiG-23, which is for a jet that participated in the Iran/Iraqi war. If this particular aircraft participated in the Gulf War or it could be one of those that just took off to Iran during the war. Who knows. It is more of a representation of one of the MiG-23’s used by the Iraqi Air Force.
I used Aeromaster Russian interior Grey/Green for the cockpit, Gunze Earth for the the Tan, Tamiya Dk Green and Dark Earth over Russian Lt Blue for the scheme. Aeromaster Russian Dark Green for the wheel hubs and MM Dk Grey for the nose dialectric panels. A typical load out of 2 AA-7 Apex and 2 AA-8 Aphids along with the twin barrel 23MM cannon under the fuselage. This kit did not have a drop tank that would normally ride along the center line. All in all nothing special. Just took too long to build what should’ve taken only a month but over 2 years instead. Now imagine how it will take to build the 48th Trumpeter MiG-23!!! Thanks for viewing.
14 additional images. Click to enlarge.