Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-23 and MiG-27 in 1/72 scale
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1/72 scale kits of the MiG-23 and MiG-27 family  (NATO "Flogger") 
kit review / modelling report
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Academy MiG-23MS 
Kit #1621 from 1993 is for a MiG-23S  "Flogger-B" as quoted by Academy. It looks very similar to kit #12455 but some parts have different numbers and look slightly different. It has the vertical tail with dorsal fin and the thick radar nose. 

The kit itself is very basic and the cockpit is a basic seat "hump" with a floor and no side consoles and no control stick. 
Decals are simplistic for Soviet aircraft with red stars and ignore the colour instructions. 

As noted for the MiG-27D, it seems that the nose section looks inaccurate. So similarly as described above, another RV Aircraft spare nose was crafted on this model.....

Another extra was replacing the Academy kit vertical tail with a spare one from an RV Aircraft kit #72019 using part #18. NOTE: I made an error by using the kit boundary layer splitter plates for the Academy kit , so now had to make new ones from plastic card. I used the RV kit intake parts are template.

And similarly with the horizontal stabilizer, using RV Aircraft #72019 spares. These replacement parts have nice recessed panel lines. 

  Above, the revised kit with new nose, new tail and new horizontal stabilizers using RV Aircraft spare parts. 

Considerable filler and sanding was needed, but it can be done. The model got a light grey base coat with the airbrush and any surface irregularaties were corrected.

This model was made in a scheme of a MiG-23MS of the Sudan air force seen in the book "Soviet and Russian Military aircraft" in Africa (see references) shows a drawing on page 236. These aircraft were delivered by Khadaffi's  Libya and I used old Sudan style roundels found in the decal spares box. 

Colours to be airbrushed used were:
Lower blue:  AKAN 7003 acrylic "russian blue" (this being applied first);
Dark green: Revell Aqua 165 ;
Sand: Revell Aqua 88 ;
Brown: Revell Aqua  85 ;

The nose section radar "demarcation" line was set more forward and painted to suggest the simpler nose and the nose pitot configuration adapted. 

The model was ready for the decals, but first a couple of gloss coats were added with my usual technique. The Sudan AF markings came from the decal spares box.

I added a control stick in the cockpit and the interior was painted Russian green/blue with AKAN 73005 "emerald green". Finishing this model was done and the nose wheels have here no mud guards so some spare wheels from a RV Aircraft kit were used. A R3S missile (retrieved from an ICM 1/72 weapons set) was set in place. With all stuff installed, the model got the usual semi-mat coat to get an even sheen. The canopy came last, completing the model.


[ initially as one Sudan:  2,500,000 sq.km | between 25 - 35 million inhabitants ? | capital:  Khartoum ][ now "north" Sudan 1,880,000 sq.km | between  ] 

The former British colony Sudan was the biggest country in Africa. Some local aircraft were in the 1950s C-47, Provosts and Pembrokes in this British region. In 1961 the just independent country turned to the Communist Block for economic cooperation and after an military coup in 1969, Soviet aircraft were starting to be delivered. Also the relations with China were strengthened. In 1987, a dozen of MiG-23 including MS aircraft  and a UB were delivered that came from Khadaffi's Libya up North. The country was divided with a civil war with a separate South Sudan declared independent in 2011. Local conflicts are still ongoin. 

The MiG-23MS is shown in a Sudan scheme. 

 and at the tarmac at a Sudan airbase with SU-25 in the background....

and at Khartoum airport


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Zvezda MiG-27  (kit# 7228) kit

This kit from Russia looks fine, but there are quitre some issues as it is rather basic. In the cockpit only the "floor" and main panel #38A was installed at this stage. Here the parts are shown:

Note: some parts I allready "pre-painted". 

This particular kit issued has the intake parts with a LERX, so is a slightly different version than the drawing on the box top. The intake (part #6a) has the LERX. 

The kit's panel lines are "raised" but I did not bother to rescribe these as the model would get a camouflage paint scheme. And it has the small splitter plates, the simple MiG-27 shorter exhaust and as separate parts the LERX: extended wing root glove for a MiG-27M. 

The model requires considerable sanding and the old mould has many raised "ridges". 

It is very surprising that, when compared with the much better RV Aircraft MiG-23 kits, the "duck nose" shape of this kit is not all that bad. The same is true for the vertical tail: 

The scheme choosen now was for the Cuba air force (" Defensa Anti-A?rea Y Fuerza A?rea Revolucionaria")  using the Aztec decal set 72-049.

I had to interpret the Cuban colours and using for years now acrylic paints, choose the following:
FS34540 green:  Gunze Sangyo 50 "lime green" 
FS35183 : Gunze Sangyo H25
FS15200 lower blue:  AKAN 7003 russian blue
and also some "patches" of very dark grey/black due to "wear" on the operational aircraft.

Masking was obviously needed using low tack tape and paper. 
I again checked photos and found out too late that Cuba did not use the MiG-27 but the MiG-23BN version! So it also does NOT have the LERX leading edge extension at the wing glove. 
So some changes were needed! I had to made couple of new intake "larger" splitter plates from plastic card. I should also make the intake fronts larger, but I will put on later a couple of covers so that hides this emission. 

Discovered too late, I had to saw off these LERX bits. I than used a lot of putty to get a straight leading edge at the wing glove as all other MiG-23 versions have.... Now it was a MiG-23BN....
After this correction, I had to airbrush the repaired area of the model.

Next came the decals, but first two gloss coats of Johnson Future were airbrushed at very low pressure ( 0,8 bar) at a mininum nozzle-model distance of 20 cm. Wait 30 minutes between each coat application. 

The Aztec decals went on fine.

I used a PAVLA resin KM-1 seat from set S72010 and completed the interior with some spare "instrument" decals. 
Below the fuselage, a pair of pylons were put on with the "simple" R-3 Atoll missiles. below the fuselage a "barren" gun was put on as well. On the nose a couple of probes and pitots were set as seen on photos. As noted before, I added various covers on the model. The model got a semi-matt coat to get an even sheen and protect the decals. The canopy was the last thing to set in place.

[  110,800 sq.km | 12 million inhabitants | capital:  Habana | GDP US$ 7,800 per capita ] 

Being in "America's  back yard", the first military aircraft in Cuba were Curtiss trainers in 1917 and some DH.4 bomber biplanes. A hurricane destroyed many of these in 1926 and not earlier than the mid thirties that a small Army aviation and navy aviation was established with WACO and Stearman aircraft. After the war, in 1948 some P-51 Mustangs and B-25 Mitchells were obtained. The  first jets were T-33's from 1955 by the Fuerza Aerea Ejercito de Cuba. 

Fidel Castro became active with guerillas in that period and March 1959 the existing Batista regime over thrown and a Socialist regime established and support from the Soviets announced. (The USA still had and has their Guantanamo Bay base). The Cuban "Defensa Anti-Aérea Y Fuerza Aérea Revolucionaria" got their first MiG-15 in 1961. The first of the MiG-17 were obtained in 1964. 

The first MiG-21 starting with the F13 arrived in Cuba end September 1962 in utmost secrecy. Many more followed and these hundreds of MiG-21 formed the back bone of the Cuban air force for many years. 

Only much later from 1978 over 80 MiG-23 MF, MLA, ML and UB trainers aircraft were supplied. Also the strike MiG-23 BN "Flogger H" was obtained with some 40 to 50 aircraft delivered from mid 1978. 

> For more information about Cuba look on the MiG-21 page here...

. MiG-23BN , code 723, l/n 8542 that also flew from Santa Clara, Cuba


Above at Cuban MiG-23BN  "at Habana terminal...

... at San Antonio dos Banos and below during a visit to Santa Clara" with MiL helicopters  ...

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Italeri MiG-27M  (kit #075) 
This kit originally comes from Zvezda of Russia which has a number of MiG-23 kits in 1/72 scale. But here the Italeri kit box top shows the peculiar LERX "extended wing root gloves" of the "M" and this is nice! A lot of comments as noted with the Zvezda kit as  described above.  This kit was made in a similar fashion and all parts are better separate from the sprues  with a razor saw to avoid damage. 

Main parts assembly was done simply as per kit instructions. 

Note also the large gaps and steps at the LERX root glove. This needs quite some putty and sanding. 
The model got a base grey coat, to check for any sanding errors (not shown). Smaller gaps were closed with white glue that when dried up closes these gaps. 

A very nice photo was found on the internet of a Kazachstan Air Force MiG-27M.
Before setting on the smaller parts, the model got its basic colour scheme.  The Kazachstan colours airbrushed were:

Light blue lower surfaces:  AKAN 73008 acrylic: applied first also not forgetting the doors and pylons.
Olive green:  Revell Aqua 361
Light green: Gunze Sangyo 312
Dark brown "maroon": AKAN 73026 acrylic
Light brown: AKAN 73080 

The model was ready for the decals, but first a couple of gloss coats were added with the usual technique

Some decals came from a SU-25 set from "Authentic decals" 72-47 to get the Kazachstan markings. These decals are very thin, so better put on top a coat of Microscale Decal Film to keep each decal in one piece. 
Next, the interior was refined, discarding the very basic too large kit seat #37. I used a PAVLA resin KM-1 seat from set S72010. The instrument panels were suggested with spare instrument decals. 

The main wheels have "holes" to fit the main gear legs, but I found these pegs to pose an inaccurate look as with the Zvezda kit. This was adapted to get a correct "sit". Also, there are 2 types of main gear doors. The nose wheel doors #2C and 3C have small bulges which is correct. The nose wheels have here no mud guards so some spare wheels from a RV Aircraft kit were used. 

Also, an extra pitot tube on the nose was set in place. The laser window did not fit in the nose, MicroScale Kristal Clear did the job. The various blade antenna's are way too thick, replace with plastic card. 

From an ICM 1/72 missile set, an Air-to-Air R27 missile and two FAB500 bombs were set in place. On the intakes, red protection covers made from thin card were set.

The model got a final semi-matt coat with the usual technique

Canopy was the final thing to do. The kit canopy #1B has the "central frame, so this was sanded off as it is not on the "M". The canopy polished after that. Inside, a few mirrors were added made from thin aluminium foil. 

That completed a very nice model of a Kazachstan MiG-27M.
...... ...
The Kazakh Air Force used to operate large number of Mig-23's and MiG-27s. Only a handf
The Kazakh Air Force used to operate large number of MiG-27s and later on a few MiG-27M aircraft have been upgraded by a company in the Ukraine. In 2012 a dozen MiG-27M's were still used, many flown by the no. 604 AB unit.


....Kazhastan MiG-27M with a mountain back drop at Astana Airport. 

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July 20, 2016