Eduard 1/48 Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21bis ‘Fishbed-L’

With Cold War Studio resin nose and Begemot decals

234 GvIAP, 3rd Squadron, Soviet Air Force, Soviet Union 1974

The MiG-21bis is all about the nose. When Eduard released the bis, ARC erupted with the news they weren’t going to retool the fuselage in plastic and simply go with what’s in the MF box. I love a good accuracy controversy and enjoyed the thread immensely. It was also highly educational. Once you get your eye in, you can really see that the bis has a more muscular nose with a wider front opening. Whilst subtle, it’s this geometry I find particularly appealing in early Soviet jets, especially the Su-9 and Su-11, and so I was quite glad to be ‘obliged’ to build this model once I’d inadvertently obtained the Cold War Studio nose.

The CWS nose is adequately moulded. I think the shape is spot on, but the moulding quality is a little rough. There was one significant air bubble which needed filling, and the original seam between the two halves of the master was faintly visible in the resin copy; these were sorted out with super glue. The scribing quality of the nose panels was not quite up to the standard of the kit, but I am nit-picking; it’s a good set and has the advantage of a separate nose cone to ease handling and painting.


Cutting off the nose using HiQ Carving Tape and a Trumpeter scriber. The new resin nose stands by!


Job finished with a saw and a test fit of the Cold War Studio nose. A pretty good fit! Note the air bubble in front of the undercarriage opening.


The nose glued on and sanded smooth on the right side…


…and the left. It looks gappy but actually that’s all filled with super glue and it’s super smooth.


The finished nose job.

Unlike the other MiG-21s I was building, the bis has a bigger spine split in two halves, requiring the joint to be eliminated. This, in turn, caused the raised panel line that cuts across the spine to be eliminated. This was replaced by finely stretched sprue glued in place using Tamiya Extra Thin. As with the other MiGs, the main joins that would require subsequent removal were all glued using super glue to ensure 100% seam elimination.

This kit was made from the Weekend boxing of the bis, but happily the ProfiPack MiG-21MF contained a colour PE panel for this kit in addition to that which I used on the SM. The pitot vanes are from an old Academy photo-etched sheet that came with one of their MiG-21 kits.

The markings on this kit came from another option on Begemot’s sheet. The red stars were sourced from Trumpeter’s 1/48 Su-15 Flagon-A; unfortunately they shattered when they came into contact with water. The stars on the underside were pieced together whilst those still on the sheet were coated with Microscale’s decal film, which beautifully restored them and prevented any other problems. Begemot’s decal sheet has two issues. The first is that they don’t supply enough of decal 30 to make both blue 18 (MiG-21SM) and blue 40 (this MiG-21bis). Decal sheets really should have enough of the basic unique markings to make each option. Fortunately a kind chap called Dave Hill on Scalemates came to my rescue and sent me a spare decal he had left over. The second issue is that the size of the blue lettering on the port side of the nose is much smaller than what photos show, as here, and the positioning on the instructions is wrong. Of course, I only saw this once the decal was on… Begemot identify this MiG-21bis as visiting Finland in 1985, but actually it was in 1974.

I used the later pattern wheels for this kit, but suspect that since it’s an early bis, I should have used the earlier spoked kind. Never mind; it adds to the variety. Seatbelts were made from masking tape and photo-etched buckles from Reheat. I’m about to run out of these and wish some other enterprising manufacturer would make some.

From the box Eduard’s MiG-21bis is inaccurate enough that I wouldn’t bother making it, but with the addition of the CWS nose, it makes a handsome addition to the collection. Aside from the nose issue, the Eduard kit is exceptionally nice and made adding the correction set really very easy.

Year bought: 2015 (Eduard, Telford)

Year built: 2017 (New Addington, Croydon)

© Copyright 2017. All Rights Reserved. Jonathan Bryon.