MiG-21I Analog, was an experimental project to test the aerodynamic properties of the wings for the Soviet supersonic airliner Tu-144. Two prototypes were built, based on MiG-21S version but with a more powerful R13-300 engine. Flight testing began in 1968 and continued into 1970 when the first prototype was lost. The second prototype, which will be the subject of this build, was retired to Monino aeronautical museum, where it still resides, alongside the Tu-144 supersonic airliner.
When I first visited Monino in 2007 I was not aware of this Fishbed variant. Yet standing there in the shadows of the big Tu-144, it caught my eye. Needless to say, when I saw Modelsvit released this variant and with my recent interest in Soviet era prototypes, buying this kit was a must. Having previously build Modelsvit’s Su-7B, one of the best if not the best short-run kit I’ve build so far, expectations were fairly high. Unfortunately, upon opening the box, MiG-21I kit is not made to the same level as their Fitter kits. Soft details, flash, big chunky parts and wobbly panel lines promise another build using hammer and sickle instead of more traditional modelling tools.
Cockpit details are raised but barely noticeable. Using some drybrushing and picking instruments and certain buttons out with different colours at least made the small pit a bit more interesting. Ejection seat is made of 7 parts and when you try to insert it into the cockpit tub, you realise it is too wide. I scraped some plastic off the side panels to get it in and added some seatbelts using thin stripes of Tamiya masking tape.
Side panels feature slightly more pronounced details compared to the other cockpit details. However when you finish the tub and try to insert it, you will notice that it doesn’t fit. Why, you might ask? Because these side panels are about 2-3mm too long and the instrument panel doesn’t fit in. Cutting off the panels slice by slice and dryfitting eventually solved the problem.
Eventually everything dropped in with a little luck or use of sheer force 😀 As I write this, fuselage halves were already glued together and I am dryfitting the wings and trying to mentally solve this upcoming problem.