1/72 scale kits of the Mikoyan Gurevich MiG-21
review / modelling report
... continued from MiG-21 page 5....
Another kit of the fine Revell MiG-21 F13 kit #04346 (as described on page 2) was tackled but now to be converted into a Chengdu J-7 with the modern version redesignated F-7 M "Air Guard".
The first J-7 was the Chinese license built MiG-21 F13 version of the China Air Force which first flew at Shenyang in China January 1966 and the engine is the WP-7. (see previous model made on this page....). The J-7 grew into a fighter family with various Chinese versions with big modifications. The J-7 "I" could fire air to air missiles and had a relocated parachute fairing, many also had now 2 canons. The J-7 "II" got a new ejection seat, new rear hinged canopy and uprated WP-7B engine.
The J-7 "III" (J-7C) and "IV" (J-7D) were based on the MiG-21 MF but ran into poduction problems and not a lot of these were put into service. Meanwhile a two seater trainer was the Guizhou JJ-7 based on the MiG-21U "Mongol-A" but fitted with 2 ventral fins (and not 1 as on the Soviet original) and Type 2 ejection seat; JJ-7 first flight was in 1985 with the following he JJ-7 "II" fitted with Collins avionics.In 1987 it was decided to further develop the J-7 "II" with also export version F-7. The canopy was bigger and the rear side windows removed.
For the following J-7E a major design change was a new double-delta cranked wing and better avionics. This J-7E was powered by a WP-13F jet and equipped with a sort of copy of the GEC Marconi radar and a HOTAS system. It had a single 30 mm canon and 4 pylons that could fire PL-4 and PL-8 missiles. First J-7E flight was in May 1990. The J-7G followed with new radar from Italian origin and helmet mounted sight and different windshield. (The J-GB is the unarmed version for the aerobatic display team "August 1").
Next version was F-7M "Air Guard" offered particularly for export and featured Western avionics and main externnal changes to the initial J-7 "II" are .
[A] 2x 30mm canons,
[B] brake parachute installed in a fairing below the rudder,
[C] a different large canopy,
[D] main tyres are about 60cm in diameter.
[E] other weaponry: it appears the "Air Guard" can fire Rafael Python 3 and probably "Magic" air-to-air missiles with now 4 pylons below the wing, all enabled by the Western avionics.
This model will be converted for a F-7M of Myanmar ("Burma") air force with a camouflage scheme. Myanmar obtained probably some 10 aircraft with delivery starting in 1991. These were followed by about 48 F-7BK, very similar to the previous F-7 "II" K, but which had a rear fuselage change to cope with the uprated hotter engine heat.
The Myanmar markings are from a AZTEC set 72052.
[A] As one canon fairing is fitted standard on the F13, I crafted on the kit the second canon fairing at the other side for the F-7M.
[B] The parachute fairing below the rudder was made from a spare "bomb" blended in with putty.
Some putty was used. After sanding the basic model got a light grey base paint to check for any corrections that may be needed.
The camouflage colours are difficult to determine: Aztec suggests FS36280/34226 for the grey and FS34094/34079 for the green.
I settled for these airbrushed acrylics after studying numerous photos:
- lower surfaces AKAN 73008 light blue;
and after masking....
- grey Gunze Sangyo 331 approx RAF Dark Sea Grey BS 638;
- green Gunze Sangyo 302 approx FS34092.
Between the camouflage colours the demarcations are soft, this was done by free hand airbrushing and a bit of masking.
[C] The canopy was now tackled. It has a different configuration as the old standard MiG-21 F13/ Shenyang/ Chengdu J-7 and the "Air Guard" has now a windscreen and upward tilting rear canopy. I simply cut the kit parts with a razor saw.
The F-7M windscreen and canopy parts were set in place. Fill any small gaps with white glue and paint the frames in the surrounding camouflage colours and the rear small window was "over painted". It is may be not 100% correct but good enough at this scale.
The cockpit interior was painted medium grey. Probably another type of modern ejection seat is used in this F-7M / F-7iiK but I could not find which specific type. (in Pakistani F-7M Martin Baker mk.10 seats are used but not on the cheaper Myanmar aircraft). I simply kept the Revell seat as per kit.
The decals were set onto model as per Aztec instructions after a gloss surface was achieved by airbrushing gloss Gunze Sangyo H30 clear varnish (often alternatively I also airbrush Johnson Future / Pledge).
The remainder of the parts were installed like the landing gear. I used the standard kit parts and wheels although it is reported that the F-7M wheels are a bit larger in diameter.
[E] Four pylons below the wing (with 2 extra coming from other kit spares). I got a Python-3 missile from a AMK Kfir model that was installed on launch rail made from plastic strip.
A few small antennas were added as well as the standard central fuel tank.
Finally a bit weathering was done with thinned darker paint applied in the recesses of flaps, brakes with a fine brush. The model got a matt varnish coat airbrushing Johnson Future / Pledge with some 15% mixed in Tamiya X-21 Flat Base, giving it a matt sheen and to protect the decals.
[ 676,500 sq.km | population: 54 million | capital: Naypyidaw | GDP per capita USD 1,400 ]
Burma or Myanmar as the country is known from 1989 is in South East Asia. It became independent in 1948 but the Burmese air force was set up earlier in 1947 though it was still under British rule. Read more about the air force on the K-8 page here....
The F-7M "Air Guard" was a modernized J-7 II ("F-7B of F-7iiK"). Myanmar obtained probably some 10 aircraft with delivery starting in 1991. These were followed by about 48 F-7BK , very similar to the previous F-7iiK, but which had a rear fuselage change to cope with the uprated engine heat.
Chengdu F-7M / F-7iiK "Air Guard", Myanmar air force, coded "16 - 55"
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July 25, 2018