1/72 scale kits of the MiG-23 and MiG-27 family (NATO "Flogger")
review / modelling report
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RV Aircraft MiG-23ML
This kit #72002 was released in 2011 and is another very nice kit of the series of MiG-23 kits of RV Aircraft. The number of parts in this kit is again as in previous RV kits about 100 (now in light brown plastic) and includes a photo etched fret for the details and some extra parts.
The stencils markings are incredibly detailed and extensive but not all are seen on the instructions.
Kit instructions are a bit unclear and very tiny drawn. Make sure to use the correct sub-drawings as more versions ML, MLD, P are depicked.
Main assembly was done. Putty and sanding was needed at for example the glove leading edge inserts. White car filler was used of the brand "Alabastine".
The wing halves were snug in place and glued. I had to insert thin bits of plastic inside the gloves (that are hard to notice) to get a correct symmetric wing dihedral. Superglue was used here. The lower belly gun fairing was also set in place, but the pylons will be added much later.
After sanding, a light grey base coat was airbrushed to check for any flaws, next would follow the colours.
The model will be made in the peculiar scheme (5) of the "Free Libyan Air Force" as per kit. Colours used were these acrylics:
- lower surfaces "FS35450" or better russian blue: AKAN 73008 ;
- green using "FS34079 " Gunze Sangyo 340 ;
- sand brown Revell 16 aqua ;
- dark brown "FS30219" Gunze Sangyo 310 ;
- radome and antenna panels: about "FS36118" using Gunze Sangyo 305.
The colours were airbrushed with soft edges (except the lower blue).
Some "patches" were hand painted to get a bit different weathered look.
After colouring, a gloss Johnson Future/Pledge varnish coat was airbrushed to get better decal adherance and prevent "silvering". The many stencils were also added but not all of them. When completed, a light mist of paint was airbrushed with the similar colours over the various decals "to blend them in". This gives a very nice effect and decals look painted.
Rest of model assembly was now done....
The undercarriage assembly (STEP 7) is quite vague and difficult with multiple bits. Make sure to have a symmetric gear. The gear parts were painted light grey with green wheel hubs.
Fitting the folding lower dorsal fin (part #32) required a bit trimming. For an aircraft in non-flight e.g. parked it is folded.
The windscreen needed a bit white glue to fill the tiny gaps that were painted when dried; I had to make the gun sight display a bit smaller as well.The etched metal parts are not always realistic. Pitot tubes and sensors are better made from rod or metal round needles. Static dischargers were made from fishing line and set in place at the tips of the flying surfaces.
Armaments were obtained from an ICM weapons set as the kit does not provide missiles, only the pylons. I fitted a AA-7 / R-23MP and a R-23MT "Apex" missile.
NOTE: in many model kit Soviet weapons are very inaccurate in shape. I recommend using the "Soviet Modern Air Armament" ICM set #72101. ICM released later various other sets as well.
Finally, on the MiG-23 model a matt coat was airbrushed with the usual technique. The canopy was set (after it got 2 tiny pilot rear view mirrors) in place and that was it!
For some historical info on the Libyan Air Force, look at the F-5 page here...
This MiG-23ML was operated during the Libyan liberation conflict as represent a confisquated aircraft for the "Free Libya A.F" at the East of Libya with the city of Benghasi in April 2011. Obviously only other markings/roundels were set in place with the rest being the standard camouflage pattern.
"situated in a desert air field..."
A peculiar Air Force model is now in the World Air Forces collection.
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November 10, 2017