1/72 scale kits of the MiG-23 and MiG-27 family (NATO "Flogger")
review / modelling report
The famous Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau of the Soviet Union designed in the nineteen-sixties a high speed MACH2 fighter design as successor of the MiG-21. The new single pilot design should have more firepower and range but also short take-off field distances. It initial design Model 23-01 ("MiG-23PD") had a delta wing which was no success and the later 23-11 design of 1967 got a variable geometry swing wing for better take-off and landing performance which was revolutionary at that time. The new wing got full span flaps and no ailerons, this function was done by the rear horizontal stabilizers referred to as tailerons.
The later MiG-23 got the NATO reporting name "Flogger". The type came into production in the late sixties and seventies and thousands of aircraft were manufactured in various versions and exported to Warsaw Pact countries and other Soviet "friends". Also, a ground attack MiG-23 version was developed that later on evolved into the MiG-27 series.
Versions of the MiG-23 fighter are:
MiG-23S: the first operational MiG-23 with Lyulka R-27 engine had a clear a fighter role. First flown mid 1969, it got the NATO designation "Flogger A" but only produced in limited numbers and with a lot of teething problems; it often had a MiG-21 radar fitted with in its very pointy long radome but could fire 2 "Atoll" missiles. A twin barrelled 23mm GSh-23 gun was installed on the lower fuselage. Four pylons could be fitted, two below the wing glove and two below the fuselage. It had the first "type-1" wing had leading edge slats and straight leading edge. It also got four speed brakes at the aft fuselage that became standard for all MiG-23 production versions. The air intakes for the engine were relatively small with a simple splitter plate design.
("Flogger-A" also) of 1971 was an upgraded S that had the first good usable
Sapfir "high lark" radar and could fire the R-23 missile (NATO: AA-7 "Apex");
Systems allowed the short range R-60 (NATO: AA-8 "Aphid") missile to be fired, replacing the earlier K-13 (NATO: AA-2 "Atolls") missiles. Also the R-23 (AA-7 "Apex") long range missiles could be fired, positioned on a new pylon "with a gap" below the wing glove. On two outboard wing pylons, rather large fuel tanks could be fitted but these would need to be jetttisioned before swinging the wing aft. As a secondary role, also bombs like the FAB-100 could be fitted and dropped as well as unguided rocket pods. Often, a Doppler system was fitted with a small port fairing at the lower forward fuselage far below the cockpit and antennas were repositioned.
MiG-23MF ("Flogger-B" NATO code retained) was the export version similar to the MiG-23M and widely used by the Warsaw Pact like Bulgaria, CzechoSlovakia, East Germany DDR, Hungary, Poland, Romania and countries like probably Angola, Cuba, India, Syria.
("Flogger-E") was the export version of the M. It had the simpler Jay Bird
RP-22 radar (with a bit shorter fiberglass radar radome but same nose length)
and it could not fire the AA-7. MiG-23MP (Flogger-E") was
an MS with a dielectric head above the pylon. Used probably by Cuba, Libya,
MiG-23UB ("Flogger-C") was similar to the MiG23U but with R-29 engine. It had no Sapfir radar but got a illumination pod below the starboard wing root to allow for the AA-7 "Apex". The MiG-23UB also had double slotted trailing edge flaps. Later aircraft got the "type-3" wing that also enabled 3 external fuel tanks (as the "U" design required the internal fuel tank to be removed for the rear cockpit). Of the UB was many hundreds were produced and the aircraft was used by many countries for jet training.
("Flogger-C") trainer was based on the MiG-23M but was a two seat trainer
using also the changes of the earlier U. Early aircraft had the R-27-300
engine but this was soon the R-29B that looked very similar and early aircraft
had a single hinge rudder and no trimtabs on the tailerons. The small Jay-bird
intercept radar was installed in a similar nose as the "Flogger-E". The
lower ventral has a straight leading edge. For training, it had required
systems and pylons to fire the "Atolls" and "Aphid" missiles as well as
bombs or rocket pods. A GSh-23L cannon could also be fitted. This UM was
exported in large numbers as trainer also for other type of Soviet aircraft.
MiG-23P was a dedicated air defense interceptor for the Soviet "PVO Strany" and similar to the MiG-23ML but got a datalink. It only served in the Soviet Union.
("Flogger-G") was a later production version of the ML from 1978 with newer
avionics, Saphir-23ML radar and HUD. It could also fire R-24R/T missiles.
Many MLA aircraft were manufactured and also exported to both Warsaw Pact
countries like Bulgaria but also to Third World countries but with some
simpler systems and radar;
The MiG-23 as a fighter is still widely used around the World but in the Soviet Union has been replaced by other aircraft like the MiG-29 ("Fulcrum").
"Ground attack" versions were:
(OKB type 32-24) with NATO code "Flogger-F" was based on the MiG-23S
but significantly modified forward fuselage to become the first dedicated
ground attack version. It flew first mid 1970 and got a completely new
"duck" nose contour as the fighter radar was deleted and a nav-attack system
installed. The nose particularly improved pilot visibility for ground strafing
runs. Engine used was probably the R-29 with the shorter jet afterburner
nozzle and the maximum speed is about MACH 1,6. The larger intake splitter
plates with use of boundary layer were retained, but the intake sensors
were replaced with a single one to the port side of the canopy. It had
first the "type-2" wing as the MF and later the "type-3" wing. A each cockpit
side, armour plates were fitted. Armament was still the GSh-23L cannon
below the fuselage. It retained some systems to fire the infrared guided
missiles like the AA-2 "Atoll" and AA-8, AA-11 "Archer". The missile guiding
pod was moved just in front of the starboard wing glove pylon but longer
range TV systems were not used as the radar was not installed. Pylons below
the fuselage (also under the rear of the fuselage) and wing gloves could
carry a wide variety of armament of bombs like the FAB-100 and FAB-500,
canon pods like the UPK-23 and rocket pods like the UB-16, UB-32 and S-240.
(only a few dozen MiG-23B aircraft were manufactured).
MiG-23BK (OKB 32-26 "Flogger-H" also) was similar to the MiG-23BM (with thus the simpler fixed intakes) and the ground attack version for the Warsaw Pact countries with some systems and additional radar warning receivers on the air intakes.
got a laser designator and could fire TV guided air to ground weapons and
also had the GSh-6-30 gun.
MiG-27D was the upgraded version of mostly MiG-23BM aircraft to the same MiG-27M standard and thus looking very similar. Probably also used by Kazachstan.
MiG-27L / ML was the export variant of the MiG-27M "Bahadur" for India starting from 1986. It had a "single window" for the infra-red search and track (IRST) sensor. India used large numbers of this version that was license built by Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL).
MiG-27H was an Indian version of HAL with other (French?) avionics established in the early nineties (after the collapse of the East Europe block).
These ground attack MiG-23/ MiG-27 versions were used by the Soviet Union (later Russia, Kazachstan, Ukraine) , Warsaw Pact countries and also in large numbers in India and also by Sri Lanka. Many Third World countries still use them today.
OK, now the kits..
In 1/72 scale there are numerous models. Even in 1/32 scale there is a Trumpeter model which I allready completed a few years ago in a Czech scheme (look at my modelling report here...).
These are some of the 1/72 MiG-23 kits ....
The very old Airfix probably
from 1980 and USAirfix releases:
kit for a MiG-27 "Flogger" attack version:
I did not have all these kits on the stack, but quite a few... so let's start modelling the MiG-23 kits......
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February 8, 2016