The MiG-21 was a continuation in the line of Soviet jet fighters built by Mikoyan-Gurevich, starting with the subsonic MiG-15 and MiG-17, followed by the supersonic MiG-19. Preliminary design studies for the MiG-21 began in the early 1950’s. The project was reworked after some tests discovered its planned engine was underpowered. Early prototypes also discovered that the best design for an interceptor and fighter was the combination of delta wings and a tailed fin with a design similar to the now familiar profile. This was also the first successful Soviet aircraft combining both fighter and interceptor characteristics in one aircraft.
When I first received the plastic bag containing the kit, I couldn’t help but wonder why it was so thick. Upon opening the bag I was amazed at the number of sprue trees inside. I found six of them that were about 20 cm. x 30 cm. in size plus six smaller trees about 15 cm. x 15cm. It also had a sprue tree for canopies and clear parts which were, unfortunately blurry (testshot standards). Also included was what appeared to be a rough representation of an instruction manual making assembly a bit easier. As an added bonus, they also had parts for the MiG-21’s Tumansky R-11 F-300 powerplant which could be built on its own or into the fuselage.
Like most modelers, my attention was first directed to the main sprue trees which contained the major model components (fuselage). After some scrutiny, I have come to believe that the bag mainly contained parts for an early MiG-21 version, which of course was the F-13. The rest of the trees were, perhaps, made for some other variants of the MiG-21 as a follow up on their release of this kit.
After checking the sprue trees, I saw that the parts were well-detailed and molded, except for some that had flash and short runs on them. I then leafed through the manual and used it as my construction guide. In the first few steps of assembly it should be noted that the front landing gear and wheel should be assembled and painted prior to the closing of the fuselage (I usually do this as the last stages of assembly so as not to damage the landing gear when sanding etc.). Some of the parts like the main landing gear were a little difficult to comprehend since the illustration wasn’t all that clear. There were lots of small parts that could have been included in the main gear injection mould and were not clearly illustrated. I had to painstakingly put them together and check research materials before assembly.
For this kit one should be familiar with what the landing gear and associated components of the MiG-21F-13 look like. I suggest that one do research on the plane before assembly to be familiar with the pieces since the manual provided with the test shot does not exactly give the right details and proper locations.
There was a ton of clear parts to check, with all of them being fairly detailed. Some had short runs on them, and were a bit blurry, which is understandable since this kit is still just a test-shot. Judging from the manual and parts sprue, one has a choice of the rear portion of the canopy to be either clear or not.
This build is incomplete with some visible parts missing, like the wing fences since these are supposed to be depicted using a photo-etched part as per their manual, however this was not included in the test shot.
The manufacturer allows for the posing of the airplane’s various control surfaces as per builder’s taste. This is good news to modelers since they now wouldn’t have to perform surgery if they decide to reposition the control surfaces.
This kit is a fair representation of the MiG-21F-13. It is a relatively well-done scaled reproduction of the fighter, with most of its components, lines, and general shape conforming to the real thing (from pictures I have gathered). The parts fit well and the details were good, which made it a fun build. One thing, though, I hope that the manufacturer incorporates some of the smaller pieces into the larger parts of the kit to further ease the construction process for the modeler and lessen breakages during assembly.
Unfortunately, the kit does not come with a dolly to mount the beautiful scaled depiction of the Tumansky engine. It would be a waste if its details would just be hidden inside the fuselage, away from the eyes of viewers. I hope the Trumpeter comes out with one when the production releases hit our shores. With that aside, I can safely say that this kit is great for all modelers who are Russian aviation enthusiasts, especially for ones interested in Cold War-era aircraft. I enjoyed this build so much that, when it hits the shelves, I will surely get my hands on at least one copy.