1/72 scale kits of the MiG-23 and MiG-27 family (NATO "Flogger")
review / modelling report
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ART MODEL MiG-23UB
In 2011 the than new kit manufacturer ART MODEL released this kit of the UB two seater. The parts are very similar as the RV MiG-23 kits but somewhat different organized in their sprues. This also means that there are no locator pins and that assembly is complex is some areas such as the undercarriage assembly. The forward UB nose section is in a separate sprue. In the kit is included a central fuel tank and indicated are some Atoll missiles (but I never saw these on a UB).
Kit instructions are a bit unclear and very tiny drawn.
The panel lines are finely engraved and a lot of detail is included. Also some resin parts are included for the exhaust pipe and 2 ejection seats (though not shown in the instructions). No etched metal parts are included.
The air brakes can be set open and the wing either swivelled fully back or forward.
The canopy is one part so if you want canopies set open, you will need to separate the parts with a fine razorsaw.
The sprue gates are bit thick and the plastic is a bit hard so take care when removing the parts from their sprues. I will replace some smaller parts with spares from other MiG-23 kits such as the smaller pitot tubes.
There are many decal options for no less than 16 schemes:
1. Cuba in camouflage scheme
2. Czech camouflaged as seen at RIAT 1997
3. Poland camouflaged of 28 fighter regiment
4. Poland grey overall 28 Fighter regiment
5. Libya camouflaged
6. Soviet V-VS camouflaged of 120 IAP at Bagram 1988
7. Russia blue'ish camouflaged 2002 (after collapse of the Iron Curtain)
8. Iraq desert camo of 84 FS
9. DDR of JBG 37
10. Romania camouflaged of 1 / 93 Fighter bomber base
11. Algeria camo of 28 / 9 SGN
12. India camo of 10 SGW
13. Ethiopia camouflaged
14. Angola camouflaged
15. Hungaria camo of 47 PTFR (after collapse of the Iron Curtain)
16. Ukraine camo
Also a sheet with stencilling and smaller markings are included. The decals are fine but very thin and have fine colours. The kit decal sheets alone are bigger than most aftermarket sets that can be bought!
I opted to make a ROMANIA MiG-23UB scheme with a typical camouflage as per kit.
Assembly of the kit was done rather straight out of the box but is complex.
The plastic cockpit tub is in fact not needed as the two tubs a in resin. These resin seat tubs are separated from their moulding gate and trimmed as well. I had to trim the mid bulkhead a bit as well.
Nose weight was added to prevent a "tail sitter". The fuselage has a break down that needs good alignment. The wing halves can be swivelled, I made the the pins a big higher. The wings are a bit "loose" and do not stay in one position so I glued these, also using some plastic strip to secure them.
Work in stages. The bulkhead part #2 was not used. Assemble the fuselage and use filler / putty and sand. The vertical tail was than installed and needed filler as well at the base.
The smaller parts and landing gears were left for later after the camouflage scheme was air brushed.
The ventral fin part #32 also needed a bit trimming. When situated on the ground, the ventral fin is rotated to one side.
The lower gun pack was set in place and also 4 smaller pylons. I had to trim a bit the pylon as it interfered with the radio guidance fairing / stub #43 fitted below onto the glove leading edge.
Applying the paint scheme was done with the airbrush but first the main model and parts got a grey base coat to check for any assembly errors and flaws.
The ROMANIA AIR FORCE camouflage MiG-23 UB scheme was choosen and colour airbrused were
- lower blue AKAN 73008 acrylic
- green/brown mix with Gunze Sangyo 330
- sand patches with Revell 17 AQUA brown
The brown patches were airbrushed through a carton mask with a hole cut in it.
The antenna panels were painted "off white" with a brush.
The decals were applied after a few gloss coats airbrushing Johnson FUTURE/ Clear. Not all stencils were applied, only the ones mostly seen. No upper stencil positioning view is provided so I used the scheme of the RV MiG-23 kit.
To get an even sheen and protect the decals on the model a matt coat was airbrushed with the usual technique.
The cockpit insides were painted in the typical cockpit Russian green/blue colour with AKAN 73005. Some seats harnesses were added made from tape. I added a few control sticks as well.
I also opted to set the canopies open. The canopies were separated with a fine razzor saw. The edges of the canopy frames were painted "brown".
Now the smaller parts and undercarriage were set in place. The gear parts were painted light grey with green wheel hubs. The gears are complex and make sure the port and starboard are symmetrical!
The mud guard on the nose strut (part #61) is often not installed on operational UB's and here not used. The various antennas like the small "odd rods" were added, such as those in front of the windscreen.
The pitots were set in place. Small static dishargers were added at the wing tips, stabilizer and tail made from fishing line. These were painted black.
That completed the model!
[ area: 238,400 sq.km | capital: Bucharest | population 20 million | GDP per capita EUR 10,000 nominal ]
The Forțele Aeriene Romāne was established in 1913 and now is the air force branch of the Romanian Armed Forces. First some Farmans were used and after the First World War some 300 aircraft acquired like Nieuports, Caudrons and Farmans. In the Second World War it alligned with the Nazis, fighting against Russia using aircraft like the IAR 80/81. After a coup August 1944, it turned and joined the Allies. In 1945 upon Soviet pressure it became part of the Communist Block and in the following Cold War Soviet aircraft were used like Yak-17, 18 and in the beginning Fifties MiG-15 and MiG-17. In 1958 the first MiG-19 entered service and in 1962 the MiG-21, starting with the F-13 version. Local manufactured aircraft were in the seventies types like the IAR-93. In 1973 the first MiG-23 aircraft arrived of which probably a few dozen were acquired. Later in addition, hundreds of other MiG-21 types followed like the MiG-21PF, RFMM, R, MF and some 27 MiG-21 UM trainers. A few days before the revolution against Ceausescu end 1989 MiG-29 Fulcrums were delivered. Since mid 1990's upgraded MiG-21 "Lancers" were used by the Air Force.
Romania modernized and became a NATO member state in 2004 and and the "Lancers" used as the main fighters until today. The Lancers are now replaced by F-16's acquired through the US "Peace Carpathian" program with ex-Portuguese aircraft being supplied end 2016.
Currently the bases are Timisoara/ Giarmata, Campia Turzii, Bacau, Boboc, Bucuresti, Fetesti and at Constanta.
MiG-23 UB , no. 135 with c/n A1037835/12500236 .
ROMANIA 1 st / 33 RD Fighter Bomber base.
This aircraft was stored at Timisoara and was probably scrapped late 2012.
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January 24, 2018