"Én Bạc": 1/48th Academy MiG-21PF
At the time (1998), this 1/48th scale Academy MiG-21PF release was the best in its class, as the previous Revell and OEZ kits were basic and lacking any fine detail. The Academy kit featured finely engraved surface detail, well molded parts and a good fit.
Notable Kit Features:
Basic construction with good fit
Finely detailed surfaces with engraved panel lines and rivets
Good wheel well details
Flaps and ailerons are molded separately
23mm GP-9 gun-pack center-line mount provided
Two 16-shot 57mm rocket pods (UV-16-57) and two 32-shot pods (UV-32-57)
Two fuel tanks (although only one was carried on the center pylon)
Coined the "Én Bạc", meaning "silver swallow", in Vietnamese the MiG-21PF would prove a formidable adversary for the USAF & USN operating over North Vietnam. Having quite a few aircraft examples from the American side of the conflict, I decided to include some NVAF aircraft in my collection as well.
The MiG-21PF had many variations, so photo references of your subject will help get the right combination of parts on your aircraft.
Only basic cockpit detail
Ejection seat missing details as well as the secondary windscreen
Best leave the flaps up as the down detail will need work to be accurate (if you care)
Kit provides the outboard pylons however these were not used on the PF
Missiles included are poor (you will be better off using AIM-9s as these looked about the same as the IR Atolls - The Radar guided missiles were not used on this type)
This type would have only a single tank on the center line pylon (if any)
Kit Additions / Modifications:
This kit was built Out-of-the-Box (I did not do too much homework before building this one.)
Michael Benolkin over at CyberModeler Online provides some insight into what you may want to do with this Academy MiG-21PF kit to make it more accurate, See Link Here
The paint scheme for this aircraft was the dreaded natural metal finish (NMF) which a lot of model makers will shy away from. This kit build would allow me to experiment with a highly thinned down lacquer-based aluminum paint from Model Master. I intended to vary the metal tones a bit to add some character to the finish. The results turned out alright as the aluminum finish worked relatively well. I may have got a bit too much in variation of panels however it was a good learning experience. I have since moved away from spaying lacquers and oils and shifted to less harmful water-based paints for my finishes.
The thirteen victories on this particular aircraft are not for a specific pilot but for the Squadron.
The After-Build Report:
The 1/48th Academy MiG-21PF was the best kit available at the time and if you didn't look too closely it built into a good model. A closer look reveals some detail and shape issue inaccuracies, despite the leap forward from its competition at the time. (Noted that earlier kits from Revell and OEZ didn't have great access to the "Behind the Iron Curtain" subject they were trying to depict.)
Now that the Eduard 1/48th MiG-21 series is available this kit has definitely been downgraded to second class. It is still an option if you want a budget MiG-21 and are less concerned about the kit accuracy, otherwise go with the Eduard kit.
Completed build #87 - September 2005 using the 1/48th scale Academy #2166 kit.
Feel free to comment or ask any questions - Keep on building, gain experience, challenge yourself if you like, but try not to stress yourself out over the build - it is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby after all - Cheers