FUJIMI 1:72 MIG-21bis "Black Lynx"
Reviewer: John Hall (rec.models.scale)
The MiG-21bis is the third generation model of the MiG-21 - one of the most successful fighter planes in history. It has been exported to more countries than any other aircraft in the past three decades, the Western F-4 Phantom being the closest rival in this regard. The MiG-21bis main difference to distinguish it from the earlier models is that it has a larger spine that stretches further into its tailfin. The bis model has been exported to a number of countries but one of its main users is the air force of Finland.
Fujumi have had this kit as well as a number of other MiG-21 versions on the market for the last 15 or so years, and this kit is really typical of the 'state of the art' engineering back then. The real poser is the price, it is not a cheap kit, especially when you know that the company has produced a multi-number of versions. Essentially, they have marketed the kit so that all the common parts of the MiG-21 - wings, fuselage etc - are on one sprue and obviously placed in all of their different MiG-21 version kits. Those other parts specific for the version in the box are added as extra. The one thing that strikes you with this kit is that there are a dozen small parts that have to be attached which will make the kit a bit of a hassle in terms of this - but other than that it oozes quality, considering it is 15 year old manufacturing.
Construction starts with the forward fuselage and cockpit and you get only a basic interior. With mine set for flying configuration I decided not to spend time or money on a detailed interior and simply made use of the seat, stick and panel supplied by Fujimi. Once you slap the fuselage halves together you realise that things are going to fit quite nicely with only a small amount of filler being used in some parts. Parts get a bit difficult as you move onto the various vents and intakes because these are all separate and provide a bit of a challenge.
The wings also fit in nicely and the kit allows for separate flaps, ailerons and speedbrake. While I did not tangle with the positioning of any of these other than in general flight, it's good to know these options are available if I go onto another kit sometime in the future. You have the option of installing a fuel tank to the fuselage belly and it is fairly clear that the speed brake won't be fully open if you decide to do this - the tank is in the way.
Most of the other parts presented no problems in construction, although the smaller pieces were fiddly and provided a bit of a challenge. In most cases you're best bet is to use curved tweezers rather than straight ones to allow for the optimal alignment and attachment. Just allow for a bit of patience in refining the small parts and you shouldn't have any real dramas.
Two examples are produced by the kit, a Soviet natural metal example and a Finish "Black Lynx" as depicted on the box cover in an overall green, black and light blue scheme. I chose the latter and it certainly paints up to look something different in the model cabinet. The decals were good quality but there is a bit of excess carrier film so a bit of trimming needs to be done to ensure a smooth Finnish - er..finish! :)
Overall the kit is very good providing you don't mind all the small pieces and the doh you have to fork out to get the kit. Fits of all the parts, including smaller bits (it's just a challenge to line them correctly) is very good. Recommended to all but the novices of novices and providing you can pick it up on a sale.
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Three examples of the exact Finnish MiG-21bis Black Lynx version (but not same aircraft) the kit produces
Another version in flight - Finish Black Lynx - both are obviously different aircraft
Yet another version taxiing