MiG-21 BIS

Model review

Eduard 1/48 MiG-21BIS ProfiPACK (8232)

Box cover and painting guide


This Eduard ProfiPack kit contains eight sprues of dark grey plastic packed individually and one clear sprue of transparent parts in its own wrap. In the box there are also painting masks, two photo-etched frets and two decal sheets. Instructions and painting guide booklet includes 20 pages and detailet instructions of the building process and coloured painting guide for six different planes. Detailing level is excellent. Parts fit together like a dream. Shape and dimensions of the model is exellent apart from one minor exception but more of this later. Earlier Eduard has announced in this scale MiG-21MF and MiG-21SMT kits. This kit includes one new sprue for making a MiG-21BIS model. New parts of the sprue includes new spinal fuel tank/vertical fin, new part for air intake ring and some small parts. Most of the kit parts are equal with the previous MiG-21 kits Eduard has announced.

Because this kit is based on earlier announced Eduard MiG-21MF and MiG-21SMT kits and because there is no new fuselage parts for the BIS, one can find small imperfections on the nose of the kit. MiG-21 BIS nose diameter should be a little bigger just back of air intake ring. Difference between the right diameter and that of the kit in 1/48 scale is only 0,38 mm! I didn't bother to fix that to my model, I think that I can live with it:). If you are more intrerested of the shape and the diameter of the nose of the kit more discussion can be found in Eduard's web page. The kit has also an inclusive assortment of missiles, bombs, rockets, fuel tanks and pylons for them. Also RATO-rockets can be found in the box if one wants to use them on the model.

Worth noticing when building Finnish MiG-21 BIS model:

- Finnish planes had later type windscreen (part G12, sharp front corners of the side windows). Exceptions were MG-111 and MG-114 which had earlier type windscreen (part G11, rounded front corners of the side windows
- Finnish planes had KM-1M type ejection seat
- Finnish planes had only closed rims
- Cockpit modification to all Finnish planes was done approximately 1982 onwards. All planes got new instrument panels and western avionics (kits photo-etched instrument panel depicts original russian instrument panel)

I used few Eduard's resin detailing sets when building this model, actually Eduard has quite a many sets available. In my opinion the most visible areas to use resin alternatives are ejection seat, wheel wells and wheels. When building a plane after the cockpit modification also instrument panel needs to be replaced to Finnish one. I also acquired resin air intake scoops and a brass pitot-tube as improvement. List of improvement sets used on the model below.

- KUIVALAINEN KPE 48009 MiG-21BIS Finnish AF
- Eduard 648 030 MiG-21 seat late
- Eduard 648 026 Mig-21 wheels
- Eduard 648 049 Mig-21 wheel wells
- Quickboost QB 48 367 MiG-21MF air scoops
- Master AM-48-062 MiG-21BIS pitot tube


My model depicts MG-129 which came to Finland on 17 July 1980. Cockpit modification started on 19 August 1981 and was completed on 30 June 1982. Instrument panel color changed to grey and instruments were changed to "Finnish" type. Small antennas was added under the nose and to the spine of the plane. Spine antenna was situated behind the cockpit little left of the centerline of the plane. Low black antenna cover was added behind the nose gear bay and a small hatch of the flying time counter was added behind the canopy to the left side of spine. Air intake mud covers on both sides of the front fuselage were converted to antennas. During 3 August 1987 - 22 February 1989 the plane was overhauled and it was modified to reconnaissance aircraft. At the same time the plane got a new Finnish camouflage scheme with new colors and new small national insignias. The last flight of MG-129 was flown on 9 February 1998. Total flying time was 1571 h 20 min. At present the plane is a teaching machine of mechanics school at Kuopio and it was still in taxiing condition in 2004. My model depicts MG-129 between 30 June 1982 and 3 August 1987 (after the cockpit modification but before being modified to reconnaissance aircraft).

Finnish / Russian instrument panel

Building a Finnish plane before the cockpit modification is easy, just follow kit's instructions and use the photo etched instrument panel included with the kit. If you are going to build a Finnish MiG-21 BIS after the cockpit modification you need to acquire a new PE instrument panel (I acquired mine from Tmi. Kuivalainen). To be precise Kuivalainen's photo etched instrument panel is for reconnaissance (T) version. Fighter version had a small radar screen. MiG-21 BIS T-planes (recce) had operating unit for cameras and recce pods in place of the reflector sight. Radar was removed and instead of it there was recce equipments. In place of the radar screen there was a display for reconnaissance equipment information. When the planes went back to Fighter Squadron 31 to Rissala they got back their reflector gun sights but not radar and radar screens. Reconnaissance variants were MG-114, -124, -125, -127, -133 (modified to recce-version in 1988) and -129 (to recce version in 1989). It's very important to study well the history and photographical evidence of the plane you are modelling. A totally satisfying Finnish fighter version instrument panel can be made easily by adding a sun visor (tube) over the recce equipment display of Tmi. Kuivalainen's PE sheet. To a recce plane Tmi. Kuivalainen's PE panel suits as such of course.

I started building from fuselage. First I builded and painted small sub assemblies such as cockpit, ejection seat, engine, wheel wells of nose and main gears and nose cone. (Remember to add about 10 grams weight to the nose cone!). When the fuselage halfs were glued together I glued in place covering of the instrument panel. Between the back end of the cover and the instrument panel there was left an ugly gap. I got rid of the gap by coating the instrument panel covering with silver tape and painted it matt black. Above the nose of the plane there is a fairing with open back end. Inside the faring there was an anti-ice liquid tank and it's nozzles. The kit include two types of the fairings and it took some time to decide which one to use. After studying a lot of photographs I ended up that part J5 is right at least to MG-129. I'm quite sure that it is also right part to other Finnish BIS planes too.

Fit of fuselage halfs and wings is generally good and no putty was needed with one exception. A Joint under the fuselage and wings to fuselage joint underside didn't fit so well. Also a seam above nose needed putty. After puttying and sanding the seams I had to engrave panel lines. First I thought that I would to use Quickboost QB 48 367 MiG-21MF air scoops instead of the kit parts. After comparing kit's parts to Quickboost parts I decided to use only those Quickboost scoops which comes to upper side of the back fuselage near the front edge of the fin. When you drill out kit's scoops they are just as good as Quickboost ones and much easier to handle and glue in place with liguid glue than Quickboost's resin parts.

I used Eduard's 648 026 Mig-21 PE-set on my model, the set included also resin wheels and nose gear leg. Main landing gear legs were easy to assemble in place but you have to be careful when assembling wheel well covers and all those small parts and PE parts to the main gear legs. Eduard's instructions should have been better in this area but there's a lot of good photos on internet.


My model depicts MG-129 in it's original Soviet Union paint scheme. Colors of the scheme varied a lot. Upper sides darker colors varied between planes and depending on which batch the plane belonged. Color scale varied from red brown to almost black. Variation of the green color was slighter but over time it turned lighter and a little yellowish. Color changes of underside bluegrey was slighter.

I used Lifecolor UA036 for undersides and for uppersides I used Humbrol HU150 which was tinted little lighter with white and ExtraColor's X209. Dark brown is Humbrol's HU 10 straight from the can. I didn't like the tone of Humbrol's brown, it was too light and too brown. I blended a mix of purple black color from XtraColor's Night Black X12 and Topside Purple X242. With this color I sprayed several thin layers over Humbrol's HU 10 brown to get more photo like tone of dark reddish brown color.

A good turquoise color which match to Kuivalainen's photo-etched cockpit parts can easily be mixed from Mr Hobby Color Aqua colors H46 and H25. Mixing ratio is 50% + 50%. Seat pad and back rest of ejection seat is painted with Humbrol's HU128 which is a little yellowish light grey color. Sides of the chute box/ headrest is painted with Humbrol's HU 28 wich is toned a little lighter and top sides are dark grey WEM ACS10 grey. Nose cone, antenna panels of tail fin, belly fin and on leading edges of the wings and under the rear fuselage are painted with Revell's SM 360. Differing from painting guide Finnish planes had after the cockpit modification a black round antenna panel rear of the nose gear well.

Paints used on the model:
The first figure which indicates sheen level of a color on FS number is dropped off. X=XtraColor, LC=LifeColor, HU=Humbrol, R=Revell, WEM=White Ensign Models. (Between brackets alternative paints).

Dark brown FS - HU10 (over sprayed with thin layers of Night Black X12 and Topside Purple X242 mix) Topside painting scheme, read the text!
Green FS - 4127 HU150 (toned a little lighter with white and Extracolor's X209:llä) Topside painting scheme, read the text!
Lightgrey FS - 6373 LF UA036 (HU127 near) Undersides
Vihreä FS - 4138 R360 (Vallejo MC 7089) Nokkakartio, antennien panelit
Vihreä FS - R48 Wheel hubs
Light grey FS - 6495 HU147 (LF UA023) Wheel wells
Light grey FS - 6440 X137 Landing gear struts, inner sides of landing gear doors
Light bluegreen FS - 4233 LF UA120 Ejection seat
Light grey FS - 6496 HU 28 Seat pad and back rest of ejection seat
Turquoise FS - 5275 Mr Hobby Color H25+H46 50%+50% (X629 not so good match) Cockpit
Metal colors FS - Different shades of Alclad Injection pipe, engine, backend of nose cone


I used kit's own decals which were in good register and well printed by Cartograf. Also Finnish national insignia's blue color looked right (not too light). Decals didn't react well with Micro Sol and I had to apply several layers to get proper reaction. I just noticed a small imperfection at Finnish register markings after the decals were in place. The fault was minor so I did not fix it at this stage of building. Did you notice the thing?

The kit has two decal sheets, first has national insignias and plane markings for six different planes in six different air force service. The second sheet has all small text markings for a MiG-21 BIS plane and for missiles. I didn't use all small text marking on my model. In my eyes they looks little too "thick" and "visible" compared to original markings on real planes. This can be seen if you compare the markings to photos of a real plane.

Kit's decal sheets has markings for six different planes / squadrons / countrys:

- MiG-21BIS, product 75A, "MG-129" HävLLv 31, Kuopio, Finland, 1980 - 1981
- MiG-21BIS, 1st Air Division of the Polish Navy, late 90's, Gydnia - Babie Doly airbase, Poland
- MiG-21BIS, Izdelye 75B, 47th Combat Air Regiment, Griff Squadron, Pápa airbase, Hungary, 1991
- MiG-21BIS, Tactics & Air Combat Development Establishment, Jamnagar airbase, India, September 1986
- MiG-21BIS-D, Izdelye 75A, 22nd Fighter Squadron, Pula airbase, Croatia, 2008
- MiG-21BIS, Izdelye 75B, 3rd Air Base, Graf Ignatevo, Bulgaria, 2002-


Excellent kit of one of the most important jet fighter of all times and also an important type in Finnish air force. It's hard to say anything negative of this kit. Shape and dimensions of the model are exellent. Detailing level is also very good. The kit offers six different decal options and many kind of weapons so it's hard to be nothing but satisfied. I did use some aftermarket accessories on my model but without them you can also build an exellent model of MiG-21 BIS.

Photos from different stages of the work
Hold mouse cursor over thumbnail for a while before clicking !


Source: Suomen Ilmavoimien lentokoneet 1: MiG-21 in Finnish Air Force (Jyrki Laukkanen)

Translation: Jari Juvonen

In autumn of 1953 burocracy of the Soviet Union released requirements for a new battlefront fighter which were to be based on the study of Korean air war. Requirements called for 2 Mach top speed and 20000 meters ceiling. OKB (design bureau) A.I. Mikojan decided to take part to the competition with it's testing machine which based on MiG-17 and MiG-19 fighters, which allready were in production, and to totally new constructions. Mikojan OKB got permission to build four different versions to verify various alternatives. Every machine had a fuselage quite of the same type only engines and wings changed.

Development and prototypes:

The first prototype that led to MiG-21 series was OKB Mikojan's Je-2/1 with very similar sweepback wing that MiG-19 fighter had. Also the AM-9B engine was the same as on the MiG-19. Maiden flight was in February 14 1955.

The second flying prototype that led to MiG-21 was Je-4 which was equipped with delta wing and had the same AM-9B engine. Je-4 flew for the first time in June 16 1955. The plane didn't fulfill expectations, it's maximum speed was 1,21 Mach and ceiling 16400 meters. Je-2 had maximum speed of 1,8 Mach and ceiling of 19 km. Main difference between the planes was the wings. Designing bureau focused on wings of Je-4 by modifying the wing with different types of flow control fences.

The third prototype Je-5 was almost identical with Je-4 but it had a new and powerful Tumanskij AM-11 engine. Because of the new engine cross-section of the aft fuselage was bigger which reduced drag of aft fuselage. Sharp pointed delta wing was also tested on Je-5. First flight in January 9 1956. Je-5 achieved 1,85 Mach speed and 17650 metre ceiling.

The fourth prototype was Je-6/1 which linked together all experiences gathered together from the previous prototypes. Plane looked much like MiG-21. First flight was flown in May 20 1958. A new and more powerful Tumanskij R-11F-300 engine was installed. Compared to Je-5 the wing span was reduced from tips of the wings and also ailerons were shorter in chord. Cross-section of aft fuselage was enlarged considerably which led furthermore smaller drag of the aft fuselage. Horizontal stabilizer was moved backwards and two fins under the back fuselage were replaced by one bigger. Plane met all the requirements of performance expectations and immediately achieved 2,05 Mach speed. Je-6/1 destroyed and test pilot was killed on the seventh test fight. Flaws found on the accident inquiry of the Je-6/1 were worked out and two new prototypes Je-6/2 and Je-6/3 were built. These planes looked completely like upcoming first serial model. Maiden flight of the Je-6/3 was in December of 1958.

Production versions:

MiG-21F (product 72) was the first production version which entered in squadron service. It had Tumanskij R-11F-300 engine and was armed with two 30 mm NR-30 cannons. Vertical stabilizer was narrow like that of the Je-6 prototype. Size of main wheel tyre was 660x200 mm and nose wheel tyre 500x180 mm. 40 planes were made in Gorgi factory number 21 between the years 1959 - 1960. The first three planes were delivered to OKB Mikojan for development purposes designated Je-6T.

MiG-21F-13 (product 74) based on the Je-6T prototype. It was the first mass production aircraft which was also made for export. Armament included two K-13 (R-3S) missiles from where the plane got its type number and one 30 mm cannon, other one was removed. From the 115th plane onwards vertical stabilizer got its broader shape. Engine was the same Tumanskij R-11F-300 that powered the F-model. Engine thrust was 3900 kp and 5740 kp with afterburner. Planes for VVS were made in Gorgi factory in 1960 - 1962. Export planes were made in MMZ Znamja Truda factory in Moscow in 1962 - 1965. Totally 194 MiG-21F-13 version planes were made in Tshekkoslovakia in Aero factory during the years 1962 - 1973.

MiG-21PF (product 76) was next mass production version. It was based on Je-7 serial prototypes and a small batch of pre-production MiG-21P planes. MiG-21PF was the first model which was equipped with fighter radar and it could operate also in bad weather. PF differed from F-13 by having a larger nose cone. Moving nose cone of PF contained a RP-21 radar. Pitot tube was moved above and middle of the nose. To increase fuel capacity an enlargement was fitted to the spine of the plane behind the cockpit. Starting from MiG-21P model main wheel tires were enlarged (800x200 mm). Armament consisted only two R-3S (K-13) or RS-2US (K-5MS) missiles, the cannon was deleted. Later it was possible to install a separate GP-9 gunpod under the plane. MiG-21PF was produced in Gorgi factory for VVS in 1962 - 1964 and export planes in MMZ Znamja Truda factory in 1964 - 1968. At the final stage of production vertical stabilizer was made broader and a landing chute case was placed over the jet exhaust. These changes varied a lot before they settled down on the final production planes. MiG-21PF had also newer and more powerful R-11F2-300 engine (3950/ 6120 kp).

MiG-21FL (product 77) was near the previous MiG-21PF model. It had older R-11F-300 engine and inferior R-2L radar. It was primarily export version and meant for licence manufacturing in India. It looked much like later PF versions. FL-versions were made in MMZ Znamja Truda factory in 1965 - 1968 and later in India from 1966 onwards.

MiG-21PFM (product 94) got changes to its appearance and systems e.g. vertical stabilizer was made bigger and landing flaps blowing system (SPS) was installed. Engine was still the same as in PF but addition of SPS system changed the version to R-11F2S-300. Thrust with afterburner was 6175 kp. Radar was RP-21M and armament was the same as in PF that is RS-2US. The most significent change of the appearance was the cockpit canopy. Because of the new KM-1 ejection seat old forward opening canopy was replaced with separate windscreen and a side folding canopy. MiG-21PFM was produced in Gorgi factory for VVS in 1964 - 1965 and export planes in MMZ Znamja Truda factory in 1966 - 1968. Before the PFM-version was ready a small batch of PF-versions was built with SPS system with the designation MiG-21PFS.

MiG-21R (product 94R) was planned for tactical reconnaissance (R=Razvedtshik=reconnaissance) and it based on MiG-21PF. MiG-21R's appearance differed considerably from the previous versions mostly because of the enlarged dorsal tank and it looked much like next MiG-21S fighter version. Engine was R-11FS2-300. Pitot tube on upper side and middle of the nose was moved a little right from the center line where it stayed on all forthcoming versions. MiG-21R and all forthcoming versions had an angle of attack sensor situated to the left side of front fuselage. All reconnaissance equipment was situated in recce pod under the fuselage. MiG-21R was built in Gorgi factory in 1965 - 1971 both for VVS and for export. A special MiG-21RF version was made which based on MiG-21R. It had camera equipment situated under the front fuselage in a fixed protrusive case.

MiG-21S (product 95) fighter version was externally like MiG-21R and also had the same engine. The S came from new RP-22S Sapfir-21 radar. New armament consisted of K-13R radar missile (R-3R). The first version which had four pylons (two/wing). There was not a fixed cannon yet but a GP-9 gun pod could be installed under the fuselage. S-version had the big dorsal tank like MiG-21R. S-version was made only for VVS in Gorki in 1966 - 1968.

MiG-21SM (product 15) based on MiG-21S. New innovation was a fixed Gsh-23L 23 mm cannon with 200 rounds under the fuselage. MiG-21SM had also new R-13-300 engine with 4070 kp of thrust and 6490 kp with afterburner. SM version was built only for VVS in Gorki plants in 1968 - 1974.

MiG-21M (product 96) was an export version of the VVS MiG-21SM. It had older RP-21MA radar, K-13R missile armament and less powerfull R-11-F2S-300 engine. It was built only for exporting in MMZ Znamja Truda factories in Moscow in 1968 - 1971. India built MiG-21M under licence in 1971 - 1981.

MiG-21MF (product 95F) was a modified MiG-21M with the same R-13-300 engine and RP-22 radar that the VVS MiG-21SM had. Practically it was M version which was boosted to the level of SM. MiG-21MF was export model and it was built in Znamja Truda plants in 1970 - 1974 and Gorki in 1975.

MiG-21SMT (product 50) was a special version. It had same fuselage structure, engine and armament as the MiG-21SM. Fifteen MiG-21MT's were built in 1971 (95T) which had considerably increased fuel volume in their dorsal fuel tank and a RF-13F-300 engine. Continuation of the MiG-21SM was MiG-21SMT which was easily identified of it's chubby dorsal fuel tank. Fuel capacity was now increased to 3250 litres. Big dorsal tank weakened directional stability. That's why the dorsal tank had to make smaller so reducing fuel capacity to 2950 litres. This change was made at production lines to newer planes and to older planes modifications were made afterwards. Type designation was changed with the modification to MiG-21ST. This version was built only small numbers for VVS in Gorki in 1971 - 1972.

MiG-21BIS (product 75) was the latest version of the series. Externally it differed from MiG-21MF mainly by having bigger dorsal tank. Size of the dorsal tank was now about the same than that of MiG-21ST. Internal fuel capacity was now 2880 litres. The most significant difference compared to older versions was totally new R-25-300 engine with 4100 kp of thrust and 7100 kp with afterburner. Additionally the new engine had a super-afterburning system (WEP) which increased thrust to 9900 kp. This was limited only for a short time (1 minute) at low altitudes. New armament consisted R-13M, R-55 ja R-60M infrared missiles. Production started in Gorki factory in 1972 and with licence in India from 1974 onwards.


Jet pilot's advanced trainer in the Soviet Union before proceeding to MiG fighters was until the beginning of the 1960th the two seat MiG-15UTI. Flying characteristics of the Mach 2 MiG-21 fighters differed very much from the older jet fighters. It was thought in the OKB MiG that it was necessary to develop a two seat trainer of the MiG-21 to ease type training. None of the two-seaters had cannon armament or fighter radar but K-13 missiles or rocket cassettes could be attached to the two wing pylons. Performance of the two-seaters was approximately equal with the single-seaters. Two-seat trainers were commonly called in the Soviet Union as UTI that is Utshebno-Trenirovotshnyj Istrebil.

MiG-21U (product 66). Designing of the two-seat trainer started in 1959. The new plane based on the MiG-21F-13 and prototype series of the Je-6U planes. The first MiG-21U (U=Utshebnyj) flew its first flight in October 17 1960. Engine was the R-11F-300. It differed from one-seater by having the pitot tube mounted over the nose. Initial serial production planes (21U-400) had similar vertical stabilizer that the MiG-21F-13 had but rather soon it was made broader (21U-600) and a landing chute case was placed over the jet exhaust like in the PFM-model. Two-seaters had bigger main wheels from the beginning of the production than the MiG-21F had. MiG-21U was produced for the VVS at Tbilisi plants in 1962 - 1966 and for export at MMZ Znamja Truda factories in Moscow in 1964 - 1968.

MiG-21US product 68 (S = SPS-system) based on the MiG-21U. Essential change was the newer R-11F2S-300 engine and SPS landing flaps blowing system. A periscope mirror was installed to the rear cockpit to improve instructors front view visibility. Newer KM-1M ejection seat was used on this version onwards. 347 planes were built solely at Tbilisi plants in 1966 - 1970.

MiG-21UM product 69, (UM = Utshebnyj Modifitsirovannyj) was the latest two-seat version. It differed from the MiG-21US mainly from its equipment. Good experiences with the useful rear cockpit periscope mirror and an angle of attack sensor were now standardised in the UM. Initial production planes had the same engine than the MiG-21US but in final stage of production the engine was changed to R-13-300. Totally 1133 planes were built only at Tbilisi plants in 1971 - 1975.

Chinese models:

In May 1962 Soviet Union delivered to China five MiG-21F-13 planes. They were used as examples when the license production started at Shenjang factory. The first Chinese built plane designated as J-7 flew just in January 17 1967. Initial production planes were quite identical with the MiG-21F-13. China also started production for exporting the plane with the designation F-7. Chengdu factory started developing J-7 II version from the year 1976. Essential external difference compared to the older model was the cockpit canopy. Canopy had now a separate windscreen and up and back opening canopy. The most significant differences between the two versions were at the systems and equippements. Chinese built also a two-seat trainer designated JJ-7 which based on the MiG-21US. In 1986 J-7 III flew its first flight. It was largely copy of the MiG-21MF. China has succeeded selling a large amount of planes mostly to developing countries in Africa and in Asia. Export versions are known with designations F-7A, F-7B, F-7M ja F-7P. Two-seat export model is FT-7.

Acquiring and usage of MiG-21 in Finland more on Wikipedia (in Finnish only) MiG-21 Suomessa

MiG 21 BIS technical data

Engine Tumanskij R-25-300, max. thrust 4100 kp, with afterburner 7100 kp
Dimensions Span 7,15 m; lenght without pitot tube 14,50 m, overall lenght 15.50 m
Weight Empty weight 5843 kg; max takeoff weight 9914 kg
Performance Max. speed low altitude 1300 km/h, high Mach 2,05
Ceiling 17500 m
Climb 225 m/s low altitudes (from brakes 10000 m 2,9 min)
Armament (In Finland) One GSh-23L two barrel 23 mm:n cannon, 250 rounds, rate of fire 3400 shots/min; four wing mounted missiles R-3S-, R-13M- or R-60-infrared missiles or R-3R-radar missiles; two UB-32A- and two UB-16-57-rocket casettes each having 32 ja 16 S-5M- or S-5K-rockets, totally 96 rockets
Designer / User countries Mikoyan-Gurevich designing bureau, Soviet Union / approx. 50 countries
Range 1210 km with internal fuel
Production 10645 (Soviet Union), 194 (Czechoslovakia), 657 (India), ? (China J-7, JJ-7, F-7)


  • Suomen Ilmavoimien Lentokoneet 1 - MiG-21 in Finnish Air Force: Jyrki Laukkanen (APALI)
  • Wikipedia: MiG-21
  • Scale Plastic @ Rail
  • Pienoismallit.net
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