With homemade and Begemot decals
Soviet Air Force, 294.ORAP, USSR 1968
As mentioned on the MiG-21SM page, this was a very happily received gift from my friend Alan.
In addition to the notes on the SM’s page, the following is specifically relevant to the MiG-21R:
This was the Weekend boxing, so didn’t have any photo-etched parts. The kit cockpit is actually excellent, and with careful painting, a good setting solution for the decals, and a closed canopy, cannot be distinguished from the pre-painted PE version.
The wing is an entirely new moulding, different to that in the MF and bis boxings. It doesn’t seem to fit quite as well, and at the rear end where it mates with the fuselage I had to use plastic sheet to fill the gap. This is a real pain as there is a great deal of delicate surface detail in this area. I can’t believe the wing is dimensionally that different to that in the other boxings, but I didn’t have this problem with the other two.
Eduard would have you add the forward fuselage strakes (parts D6). Don’t! I didn’t realise until painting was underway, but the MiG-21Rs I looked at didn’t have these parts. I also omitted the canopy periscope as the example I was building from the late 1960s didn’t have this fitted.
The MiG-21R nose pitot didn’t have vanes, which makes life easier, but I still cut the kit one off its mount and used a turned brass one from an old Academy MiG-21 kit.
This Weekend boxing included some ‘superfabric’ seatbelts. These are basically like a thick decal that is peeling from its backing and draped over the seat. They do the job though a closed canopy, but don’t come close to photo-etched or fabric belts.
As far as I can tell, no aftermarket company yet makes decals for a NMF Soviet MiG-21R. Linden Hill do market one, but the instructions say they can’t be sure it is an R. I found some good photos of Soviet MiG-21Rs here, and in particular Bort 06 here. This is what I was going to model. Sadly, I cannot establish the colour, but I like red, so went with Red 06.
After trawling through all my models and decals I couldn’t find a suitable red 06. The closest I got was red 06 from Authentic Decals for an Su-24 that looked the right shape, but had a white border. I can’t tell from the photo, but I wanted my red 06 to have a black border. I was going to have to make my own.
I’ve done this before and it worked well. What could possibly go wrong this time? Well, I neglected to remember that I have replaced my HP printer, which did a good job with Red 47, with a cheapo Canon PIXMA. The print quality was nasty, the inks ran on the decal paper when coated with Microscale Decal Film, and the result was a nasty mess. I made things more difficult by doubling the decals up to make the red more opaque, which just made the decal look thicker and made the inks on the underlying decal run. It all looks horrible, but in the absence of any other quick solution, I powered onwards. It is what it is. No more making decals at home unless I get a better printer!
As with the other MiG-21s I was building, I needed to source some Soviet stars. The Weekend kit comes with some for a Soviet camouflaged example that were still correct for this aluminium scheme. I used them, but unfortunately they are slightly out of register and the white shows around the edge. To be honest I expected better from Eduard in this day and age. The stencils are from Begemot’s MiG-21 stencil set.
Note that on the photo, the tips of the mass balances at the end of the tailplanes are dark in colour. I assumed they were the same green as the antennae panels and nose cone. It’s worth checking photos to see which panels were this green; some are noted on Eduard’s instructions, some are not, and from photos it’s clear there’s some variation anyway.
The recon pod is a good fit to the fuselage. It was a complete pain to mask the green panels, but they do look great. The serial number should be the same as the aircraft, but I didn’t have anything suitable and just used what came with the kit.
This is a nice addition to the collection, especially with the big fat reconnaissance pod and the details that differentiate it from other MiG-21s, like the pods on the wing tips. The decal disaster at the nose is unfortunate, so come on aftermarket decal manufacturers, let’s have some options for NMF MiG-21Rs!
Year bought: 2014 (Gift from Alan Smith)
Year built: 2017 (New Addington, Croydon)