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Academy 1/48th Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21bis Iraqi AF

1st review of the year is Academy’s MiG-21 kit that was issued back in 1998. And in keeping with the early theme of Mig 21’s and also a week ahead of the start of Operation Desert Storm back in Jan 1991. The Mig-21 in the Iraqi Air Force saw a lot of action against the Iranian Air Force during the 80’s and as well as seeing action against coalition forces early on in the Gulf War before air superiority was gained. On Jan 17th, 2 MiG- 21’s were shot down by F/A-18C’s of VFA-81 on a strike mission, the only 2 shoot downs of any Iraqi fixed wing aircraft by the U.S Navy during the Gulf War. 2 more MiG-21’s were shot down by one F-15C of the 53rd TFS/36th TFW on Feb 6th. Pretty much what the Iraqi Air Force had to face during the war.

Academy released this kit in 1998, first new mould MiG-21 in years. With only the OEZ and not so bad Revell MIG 21 in this scale available up to this point. The kit itself is the PF version and not really the variant used by the Iraqi Air Force during the Gulf War. But not knowing at the time Academy would bring out the MF and Bis variants later in the year. As you open the box for the first time you can tell that Academy had planned to make several versions eventually with the modular design of the fuselage. Separate spine, tail and forward fuselage sections. To bring the kit up to a Bis standard was the availability of an update set, don’t recall who was the manufacturer of the update set was, but it provided a Bis style spine, a tail and cockpit set with a Bis style ejection seat. The only item lacking was the correct windscreen and canopy. The PF has a forward hinged opening canopy, the later variants have a side opening canopy with a separate windscreen. At the time I couldn’t get one to modify this kit, I just built it closed. Which was too bad as it really hid the updated seat and cockpit details. The cockpit details were rather bland in the kit, the resin set really enhances this area. Using Aeromaster War Bird Acrylics and Xtracolor enamel for the scheme of Sand/Lt Green over Russian Lt Blue. Russian Green for the wheels,shock cone and dialectric panels. Russian Interior Grey/Green for the cockpit. Super Scale sheet for the Iraqi markings. Model Master Aluminum for the metal areas and exhaust for the interior of tail pipe. Though built when the kit was released back in 98, not totally accurate for a Gulf War era MiG-21, it is what was available at the time. The kit itself had accuracy issues even if it was built as a PF, and has since been surpassed by the Eduards offerings now available. Still it was welcomed when it first appeared at the time, still a good kit, it was fun to build, the resin bits has with stood the test of time as it is now over 15 years old, surviving several moves over the years. Thanks for viewing.

Fly Navy

15 additional images. Click to enlarge.

8 responses to Academy 1/48th Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21bis Iraqi AF

  1. Looks none the worse for wear considering its’ age….I like it.

  2. This is Mig-21PF Irak no camuflage flew in aluminium
    paint .

  3. I’ve built this kit as well in North Vietnamese markings and it really is a great kit. The neat thing about the Mig-21s with the front hinged canopy is that it didn’t jettison before ejection. As the seat ejected, a pair of rollers engaged hooks at the aft end of the canopy. As the seat rode up and out on the rails the canopy came loose from the forward hinge (may not have even been bolted in, just slid into a track) and rotated down to shield the pilot from wind blast. I noticed this a long time ago on the Fishbed that EAA got from Combat Jets Flying Museum and was quite impressed with how simple the design was for protecting the pilot, while not having the added weight of an encapsulated seat! I do wonder why they went away from it.

    I do like the Iraqi camouflage and the sun baked patchiness you depicted suits it well!

    • Thats correct Josh, when this kit was released everyone was happy and then disappointed it was a PF and an early one at that which kind’ve limited to what you can build as most of these were in Natural metal. But an update set was released to upgrade it. Which I used to bring it up to what the Iraqi’s used, the only drawback it didn’t have the side opening canopy that is used on this variant.

  4. Nice looking 21. I like the way you used lighter colored post shading on the panel lines – I hadn’t thought of that for desert-baked subjects! It’s a nice touch.

  5. Thanks Greg, it is something I saw someone do on a similar scheme when I started this project back in the late 90’s, before I tried pre-shading, the post shading is 36375 Lt Ghost Grey. At first I thought I ruined it. That is why I never posted it on any modeling website or webzine until now.

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