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Mig 21MF Cuban Airforce

Academy 1/48 scale

by Mike Parr 2007 Modeler Site

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I decided to take a brief break from the Argentine Navy series I have been doing and delve into another Latin Air Force machine, namely the Mig 21. The Fishbed as it is commonly known was one of, if not the most produced jet fighter in history and was flown by most of the Soviet backed airforces in the world including Cuba. The Mig 21 has been the mainstay of the "Fuerza Aereas Revolucionaria" since the 1970's and all major versions have been operated, the MF giving the Cuban's limited all weather capability for the first time. This model depicts an aircraft based at San Antonio de Los Barlos airbase in 1993.


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The Kit

It's the Academy 1-48 Mig 21MF, a really nice kit and the first Academy kit I have built. I was really impressed with the fit and the finely engraved panel lines. The overall detail level is excellent and building this kit was a real pleasure.
The only real area of concern to me was the cockpit, which common to most kit cockpits is rather poor in detail and accuracy. Fortunately Black Box came out with a nice resin cockpit set and I purchased it for this model.


The Black Box set came first of course and went together as most of them do, which is to say you spend a lot of time cleaning up the resin and painting and fitting. There were no special fit problems encountered. There is nearly always some surgery required on the kit parts to remove the detail they have provided. I have found a Dremel type motor tool to be invaluable in cleaning up the resin parts and getting rid of the unwanted kit supplied details.

Editor Note: When you use a Dremel on resin parts, you MUST to use a 3M disposable mask, or better yet a respirator with a appropriate filter. You also must to avoid to smoke while resin dust are in the air

Once the cockpit was finished basic construction proceeded fairly quickly with very few fit problems. I painted the intake cone and the green panels on the tail and underside strake prior to closing the fuselage.


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The only putty needed was on the wing roots and a little around the airbrake on the belly, and I used my usual trick of removing excess putty with nail polish remover on a cotton swab instead of sand paper and files. Give this a try if you haven't, you will save a lot of the surrounding detail and time. Just apply the putty as normal, then once it has had a few minutes to dry, dip a cotton swab into nail polish remover and wipe away the excess putty. Keep wiping until you are left with only the putty that's filling the crack.


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I masked off the canopy and the green areas previously painted and sprayed the model overall gloss gull grey F.S# 16440. This served as both the underside color and an overall primer. Once it was dry I masked off the underside and proceeded to paint the topcoat of Turquoise. 

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Unfortunately the color I had chosen was more of a turquoise green than blue and I knew right away that I had the wrong color.


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It was back to the hobby shop to find the right color to match the photos I was using as reference and the decals paint instructions. Finally with the help of my better half I found the right shade in Humbrol #89 which is listed I believe as a medium blue. Happy with that I left the model a few days until really dry and proceeded to lay out the camo pattern using blue tac.
Again if you haven't tried this product or something like it please give it a try as it works wonders with multi color camo schemes. Its sold in art supply stores and hardware stores as a picture and poster hanging material. It kind of like modeling clay, and comes in a variety of colors. It has a low adhesion and wont pull off you paint but can be molded around any curves and corners to lay out your camo patterns.
Again after much trial and error and consultation with my friend Fabian Nevarez who by the way also provided both the kit and decals built here I decided that the best color match for the upper surface green was Model Master interior green #24151
After the green was sprayed the model was given a coat of micro satin to give a gloss finish for the decals.

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The kits decals were made by Albatros and as you can see from the photos are few in number. They were applied with micro sol and set products and went on fine, although I did get a bit of silvering which required me to poke some very small holes through the decals and re-apply micro set with a small brush. I also used a few of the kit supplied decal stencils.


The kits panel lines were the perfect depth for a watercolor wash of black applied with a small brush. I prefer this to using oils because of the easy cleanup and if you put too much on or make a mess it's very easy to get rid of the excess. All panel lines top and bottom were treated in this way and I was pleased with the final result.

Summing up...

Landing gear, doors, missiles etc were all weathered in the same way and then added to the model. I built the Mig in the standard interceptor loadout of centerline drop tank, and four Atoll missiles, two heat seekers and two radar guided. After all the parts were attached and the final paint touch ups were done the model was over spayed in Model Master flat. Lastly the cockpit canopy was unmasked and attached and a small brace was built from stretched sprue to support it.

Color chart

Underside- Model Master Gloss Gull grey #16440
Turquoise Blue- Humbrol #89
Upper surface green- Model Master Interior Green #24151
Intake cone and antennae panels- Model Master Medium Green
Cockpit Interior- Model Master Interior Blue-Green

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