Eduard 1/48 MiG-21 MF WIP

Here’s the work done on the MF so far. Essentially the model builds itself. On this dry-fit picture the only glued parts are the halves of the vertical stabilizer and the rudder, which is offset to port.

Dry fit
Dry fit

Glued main office parts together and gave them a splash of color – my own mix, which when dried turned out to be very different from the kit-supplied PE variation…

Painted cockpit
Painted cockpit

Here you can see the floor. Everything in this area is basically “click-fit”. Rudder pedals were inserted later on.

Cockpit
Cockpit

Since closing the fuselage also involves a number of other parts being prepped – I worked on the nosecone. It’s sprayed Revell 62 green, with the aft part in Model Master Burnt Metal and some Revell 93 (copper) to accent the thermal effects on the circular radar housing.

Nose cone with paint and decals
Nose cone with paint and decals

The dots you can see are rows of full-stops printed on decal paper and glued on the “metal surface” ๐Ÿ™‚ Because I had no idea about the balance of the model I glued a 15 gram lead fishingย  weight into the cone, using universal epoxy.

A 15-gram lead fishing weight glued in the nosecone
A 15-gram lead fishing weight glued in the nosecone

The kit engine is filled with details you will NEVER EVER SEE, unless you have a optical wire-equipped camera. However it lacks the distinctive curved sheet for the afterburner, so I set off to make it by myself:

Self-made afterburner :-)
Self-made afterburner ๐Ÿ™‚

The base for the dies is a 2mm sheet of foamed PVC. I superglued pieces of copper wire. The metal sheet comes from disposable backing dish – really easy to shape, which is helpful if you get some of your attempts lopsided as in the pic here ๐Ÿ™‚

Here the entire affair is glued together and painted. Did I mention you aren’t going to see anything if you do not have the right equipment?

Engine complete and painted
Engine complete and painted

Completing the work on the cockpit, gluing the nosecone, engine and formers in the right-hand half.

Fuselage support frames
Fuselage support frames

With the basic fuselage construction complete I now turned my attention to the wings. As I intended to drop the airbrakes some drilling and hacking was at hand – the modeller has to open the bays himself and use the supplied parts to comp

Cutting forward speed brakes open
Cutting forward speed brakes open

A lot of filing later I ended up with this:

Forward speed-brake bays opened
Forward speed-brake bays opened

As it turns out I had to use the speedbrakes themselves as a guide – the bay floors are narrower then them…

Fitting speed-brake bay floors
Fitting speed-brake bay floors

Since I plan a diorama where the aircraft is on the ground and some power supply cables are plugged in it – I drilled out the inlets for the cables:

Ground power supply ports drilled out and backed with sprue
Ground power supply ports drilled out and backed with sprue

A piece of sprue from Airfix B-26 is placed behind the openings to allow the construction to support the weight of the cables.

Next I worked on the main landing gear bays. The model is cleverly engineered – in order to avoid the limitations of the technology the base of each MLG leg is a separate part. The bays are also boxed in, so you do not see through the entire wing cavity.

Here’s the assembly with some metal paint on:

Assembled main gear bays metal paint
Assembled main gear bays metal paint

Depending on… SOMETHING the gear bays of the 21s are either green or grey, with the shade varying and weathering with time and use. Here’s my interpretation:

Landing gear bays - green paint on
Landing gear bays – green paint on

There are a number of oxygen, nitrogen and air high-pressure bottles and of course – the engine compartment sidewalls, doubling as MLG walls as well. Eduard used two more “formers” to shape the unit, which you can see in the middle of the wing here.

Compressed gas bottles painted and installed in MLG bays
Compressed gas bottles painted and installed in MLG bays

Here’s a shot of the underside. You will notice that I’ve already glued the insert for the dropped ventral speedbrake, as well as the pylons (all of them “dry”).

Engine walls, doubling as MLG bay walls, painted and detailed
Engine walls, doubling as MLG bay walls, painted and detailed

A picture taken from the other side. You can appreciate the detail Eduard has included on this bird. A 490l fuel tank will be hung from the center pylon – the wings of this model are reserved for missiles!

Another shot of the bottom
Another shot of the bottom

Canopy and windshield masked in preparation for basecoat, cockpit internal color and airframe assembly.

Windshield and canopy masked on both sides
Windshield and canopy masked on both sides

Next – finally it starts to look like and aircraft. On of the few location where filler has been used is between top wings and fuselage, and around the intake ring at the front. Flaps and ailerons are neutral.

Assembled airframe components
Assembled airframe components

The 490l fuel tank is a WELDED affair, made from metal sheets. This means that the WELD must go all around the tank, not just 1/2 of it. I added a weld seam out of stretched Revell sprue (beige), glued with a lot of Humbrol Liquid glue that partially melted it and gave it an uneven look.

Weld line added to fuel tank, hydraulic lines glued on LG struts
Weld line added to fuel tank, hydraulic lines glued on LG struts

Same material was used to add some hydraulic lines to the gear legs. Part of the details and retaining straps were sources from the Brassin wheel set, others were made from Tamiya tape or aluminum kitchen foil.

Some time, a failed paint attempt, a paint-strip and a number of sanding sessions later the airframe has been sprayed Alclad Polished Aluminum. Note tips of horizontal stabilizers are masked – that’s after they have been painted red.

Airframe painted Alclad Polished Aluminium
Airframe painted Alclad Polished Aluminium

A look to the bottom of the aircraft:

Prepared for camouflage
Prepared for camouflage

Next: camo, weathering and final assembly.