1/72 MPC MiG-23 MS

Gallery Article by Majd Abbar on Apr 17 2011

 Syria Independence Day 


A tribute to Captain Al-Masri and his bird SN 2217 (As published by Tom Cooper, courtesy of AICG.org)

In 1974, and in Captain Al-Masry’s words: "At the time, MiG-23 was the most modern plane in our arsenal, but we had only eight of the type. On that day I was flying on a lone mission when I saw seven to eight enemy Phantoms ahead of me - in one formation. I never saw eight enemy planes in one formation before and never encountered so many Israelis at once before. I tried to contact the ground command by radio, but there was very heavy jamming. I tried the secondary frequency, but it was also jammed. So I switched to the open frequency and sent a help request explaining the whole situation. Then I engaged the enemy. I did not have really much of a choice: they would have attacked me anyway, so I engaged them first."

Flying at low level, he accelerated to offset from the enemy formation, turned as tightly as his plane permitted and rolled right behind the Israeli formation:
"I fired three missiles, two of which hit two enemy planes and I watched them go down in flames."

The rest of the Israeli formation spread immediately into different directions, and the Syrian turned behind the closest one trying to engage with guns. The Phantom in front of him executed a break to the left, but, while maneuvering behind the target, Al-Masry’s plane shuddered from a direct hit:
"While I was maneuvering, trying to get a lock on one of the remaining Phantoms, I was hit by a missile. It was a terrible situation: the plane was on fire and I did not know what to do. I said my last prayers and suddenly the plane broke in two pieces."

Capt. al-Masry couldn’t maneuver any more when another missile struck his MiG (subsequent analysis of his engagement concluded that his MiG-23MS was shot down by two SA-6s fired from a Syrian SAM-site nearby) causing it to break into two large sections and plunge to the ground. Until today, he can not clearly remember how he survived this mission:
"I fell to the ground together with the crashing aircraft, but was rescued immediately. I was hurt very bad on the shoulder and chest, and awakened from coma only one month later."

For his success in that battle, and downing of two F-4E Phantoms (until today, the IDF/AF confirmed the loss of only one Phantom on that day; the pilot, Capt. Yigal Stavi, was killed; WSO, Benny Kiriyati, captured by the Syrians; another Phantom seems to have been lost as well, but the crew was recovered), Al-Masry was subsequently promoted to the rank of Lt. Colonel and decorated with the "Hero of the Republic“ Medal by General Mustafa Tlas. However, he was never to fly again: his injuries precluded him from passing rigorous tests when he tried to qualify several years later.

Continuing my “Syrian Air Force” build, here is my Mig-27 model.  

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The kit went together very well with a few small gaps and was built OOB except for the ejection seat. For painting, I used Model Master Acrylic Duck Egg Blue 4748, Model Master Acrylic Dark Green 4726 and Model Master Dark Tan 4709. This was followed by a coat of Future then I used Hi Decal HD72015 decals coated with MicroSol, then sealed with Model Master Acrylic Flat Clear coat.

Hope you enjoyed this and stay tuned for more to come!!

Majd Abbar

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Photos and text © by Majd Abbar