Book Review
MiG-21MF/UM Variants Fully Uncovered
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by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Wings & Wheels Publications have recently published a second edition of their photographic study of the MiG-21MF/UM variants. The softcover 167-page book by František Kořán, Josef Martinek and Petr Soukop will be an absolutely goldmine for anyone modelling the aircraft, with over 750 excellent colour photos forming one of the most detailed “walkarounds” which I’ve ever seen.

The 240x225mm book is printed on high quality glossy stock and divides its coverage broadly in two. Firstly, there are longer range external shots which are ideal as references for colour schemes and weathering effects (and there is some quite remarkable wear and tear evident on some of the aircraft featured). There’s something to suit pretty much all tastes among the schemes illustrated, from standard n/m and camouflage, though to some quite spectacular “specials”, including “Tiger Meet” schemes and the intricate splinter camouflage seen on the book’s cover. The majority of the aircraft are Czech and Slovak, but there are a number of other nationalities featured - a Cambodian 2-seater caught my eye in particular.

Secondly, there’s comprehensive close-up coverage of the airframe and systems, and it’s these detail shots which form the overwhelming bulk of the content, making the volume a real must-have for modellers seeking to enhance the many kits of the MiG-21 which are available.

The crucial aspect of the shots for me is that they appear to show airframes in their standard condition and colours - not pampered “warbirds” or exhibits which have been restored and repainted in (often) non-authentic ways. So, there’s weathering and oil-staining evident in many cases, which will serve as a very useful guide for accurately adding some general wear and tear if you wish.

With such a wealth of reference material included between its covers, an easy way if navigating the book is essential. Wings & Wheels Publications have handled this very neatly with coloured “filing tabs” on the pages, so you can flick through the book and quickly find the section you need.

These tabs break the coverage down into the following categories:

MiG-21MF Early Production Series
MiG-21MF Late Production Batch
Russian Original Cockpits
CzAF Cockpit Since '89
Upgraded MiGs
CzAF Upgraded MFN
CzAF MFN Cockpit
All Series Walkaround
MF 23mm Gun
UM 12.7mm Gun Pod
Pylon and Weapons
MF Avionics
MF Battery
MF Top Fuel Tank
MF/UM Fuel Pump
Main Wings
R-13-300 Engine
Removable Fuselage End
Engine Access Panels
Ground Equipment
Pilot’s Flight Suits

That’s a very comprehensive list - but it’s really only a snapshot of the full content included, because many of the sections are further subdivided. For instance, the All Series Walkaround breaks down its coverage into no less than 16 sub-sections. All in all, I counted a phenomenal 58 separate topics (and I may well have missed something tucked away amid it all)!

The actual photos are excellent, printed large enough on the page to allow the details to be picked out easily, and are taken with a real for what’s important to modellers, with angles chosen carefully for clarity and often multiple views of items to show shapes and context. Each section included a concise description of what’s shown, noting points of interest and differences specific to individual airframes.

The size of the book is well chosen, as the landscape format means it can sit neatly on your lap while you’re at your workbench.

I am highly impressed by Wings & Wheels Publications’ study of the MiG-21MF and ‘UM. It’s many years since I built Eduard’s then new MiG-21SMT, but this is one of those books that triggers the modelling itch and inspires you to build a kit of its subject, so I may well tackle another in the series! I think anyone detailing a MiG-21 kit in any scale will want to have a copy of the book handy, as it’s among the most comprehensive modelling references I’ve come across. Highly recommended.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE
Highs: Excellent photography throughout and an absolute goldmine of reference material. The book is easy to navigate and compact enough to sit neatly on your lap when you're at the workbench.
Lows: None noted.
Verdict: This really is a go-to modellers' reference for the MiG-21 variants covered. Whether you're a full-on super-detailer or simply want to have close-up shots to make the most of what a kit provides, this book will be extremely useful.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 978-80-887509-68-5
  Suggested Retail: £33.00 / $47.00
  PUBLISHED: May 15, 2019

Our Thanks to Wings & Wheels!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright ©2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Thanks, Rowan, it looks like a winner. Like you said, it inspires one to pick up a kit and build it.
MAY 16, 2019 - 08:49 PM
Nice review Rowan, this book is now on my want list as I have a few MiG-21s in the stash. Now where I have seen that camo scheme before. Andy
MAY 17, 2019 - 08:01 AM

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