by: Andy Brazier [ ]
In the 1960's the Mikoyan design bureau developed the first Mach 3 Interceptor, in the MiG-25 (NATO codename Foxbat). The production of this aircraft began in 1971.
The MiG-25PD (NATO codename Foxbat E) version was produced between 1978 and 1984 had improved avionics.
The most significant improvement in the MiG-25PD was the new "RP-25M Saphir 25" radar, based on the Saphir-23 developed for the MiG-23 fighter. It was a great improvement over the Smerch-A, having slightly greater range and, more significantly, pulse-Doppler operation to provide a look-down / shoot-down capability. The aircraft's nose was slightly stretched to accommodate the new radar. The Saphir 25 was complemented in later MiG-25PD production by a TP-26Sh-1 "infrared search & track (IRST)" sensor mounted under the nose to provide passive target detection and tracking. There had been upgrades in other avionics systems during MiG-25P production, and the MiG-25PD was fitted with the most up-to-date standard of radios, navigation systems, data-links, and IFF.
These fighters served with the Soviet PVO (air defense), and were also delivered to Iraq, Syria, Indian and Libyan air forces.
Packed in the standard lidded box, the three grey sprues and one clear sprue hold a total of ninety eight parts. The kit is flash free and pin marks are near enough non existent on the parts.
In 1/72nd scale this is a pretty big kit, with a length of 307mm and a wingspan of 195mm.
The fuselage is split into 4 parts, with the nose/cockpit section in the usual right/left parts and the rear fuselage in a top/bottom configuration.
Detail wise the kit is a bit of a mixed bag. The cockpit is very basic, with the ejection seat not having any detail, and the instrument panels are just plain bits of plastic, without any raised dials. My first thought was that there was decals included for the instruments but a check of the decal sheet shows there isn't any.
The detail of the undercarriage and wheel wells is pretty good with the undercarriage legs moulded as one piece each, and look a little delicate.The wheels are split into two halves each and feature a nice tread pattern and hub detail. The wheel well bays have some detail moulded into them, with some raised spars, but no wiring.
The engine exhaust has some basic fans moulded onto the a bit of plastic, so that should stop the see through effect, as the air inlets are blocked off at the other end, with a similar configuration. The exhaust nozzles have some raised detail for the afterburners and once painted should look quite good.
The fuselage and wings are adorned with recessed panel lines which are fairly shallow and very thin. Quite a few rivets and fasteners cover the airframe and are wonderfully reproduced in this small scale.
A nice selection of ordnance is supplied with the kit in the form of two large R-40s anti aircraft missiles, four R-60" (NATO "AA-8 Aphid") missiles, and a large center-line fuel tank. All the ordnance is nicely reproduced with thin fins and recessed panel lines.
The clear parts are free of any blemishes and although they seem fairly thick are distortion free.
Printed on a small folded piece of paper, the instructions have a handy parts guide on the front page. This is very useful as the sprues don't have any numbers on them for the parts.
The build sequence is done over thirteen stages and is very easy to follow as each stage only have a few parts to attach per stage. The downside of the instructions are the diagrams which are quite blurry photos of the parts in a grey colour.
Internal and external colours for Modelmaster paints are given along the way.
Decal and paint schemes
The paint and decal sheet is a separate piece of paper and is in the more familiar line drawing style.
The decals are nicely printed, very colourful and bright and have very little carrier film around the edges.
Four aircraft schemes are given.
MiG-25PDS, 146th GvIAP, 8th USSR Air Defence Army, Vasilkov, 1985
MiG-25PD, Ukrainian Air, Vasilkov, 1995
MiG-25PD, 1025th Ariel Squadron, Libyan Air Force, Benin, 1981
MiG-25PDS, 96th Ariel Squadron, Iraqi Air force, Qadissiah, 1991