I have always been fascinated by IAF Migs and when I decided to rejoin scale modeling the Mig-21 was a natural choice. The Matchbox kit is not a true representation of a Mig-21 bis and needed a lot of work on the tail and nose (and many other areas). The kit’s inaccuracies are substantial and I have not attempted to rectify them all. Except for the homemade decals, scratch built antennas and cutting the canopy in two, this was an out-of-the-box build.
This Mig-21 bis is from the Flying Lances squadron, No 15, of the Indian Air Force that converted to Mig-21 bis aircraft in 1975. Aircraft C-2196 sports an air combat training aggressor color scheme that immediately caught my eye. In addition, the Flying Lances squadron insignia was really beautiful and adds character to the aircraft. More information about the squadron can be found on the Indian Air Force website: http://indianairforce.nic.in/afsqnn15.htm
The best part of the kit was the excellent wing-root fit that required minimal filler. The rest of the fit was sadly Matchbox quality, and I practiced filling, filing, sanding and polishing for hours. I also decided to cut the single-piece canopy and pose it open because it fit poorly on the aircraft. However, getting a clean cut through the thick plastic was an effort. Pencil lead was used to prop the canopy open and I used sheet styrene to fashion various antennae unique to the IAF Mig-21 bis.
While painting, my airbrush failed and the finish was marred by the infamous ‘orange peel’ effect. I stripped the paint job using EZ-Off™ (an oven cleaner) and repainted with acrylic ghost gray, lightened with white in sections to simulate weathering. I made most decals at home as none were available for this particular a/c in the aftermarket.
I printed my art on Experts-Choice™ laser decal paper that was sealed with Micro Liquid Decal Film. The Flying Lance insignia, black tail stripes, and a/c serial number are all home made. I took the IAF roundels, fin flash and other stencils from a spare decal sheet. Finally, I used shaved hard pastels to create a panel wash to capture the dirty, used look of most IAF Mig-21s. Hope you enjoy the finished model!
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