1/48 Trumpeter MIG-23MF Flogger B

Gallery Article by Burt Gustafson

 

 

For your viewing pleasure, here are some photos of my Trumpeter Soviet MIG-23MF Flogger-B. The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 (NATO reporting name: Flogger) is a variable-geometry fighter aircraft, designed by the Mikoyan-Gurevich design bureau of the former Soviet Union. It is considered to belong to the Soviet third generation jet fighter category. Designed as a point defense fighter, the MIG-23 Flogger offered a powerful radar, an infrared search and track system, a selection of radar and infrared guided weapons and tremendous speed (Mach 2.35).

The MIG-23 was designed in 1964-66 as a successor to the MIG-21. In addition to a much more powerful engine, the MIG-23's most significant new feature was its variable sweep wing; the sweep of the wings could be changed in flight. Fully spread, allows for a shorter takeoff/landing roll while carrying a heavier weapons load. With the wings fully swept back, the MIG-23 has greater speed. The wing has three sweep settings: 16, 45, and 72 degrees. 

Note that the MIG-23 was the first attempt by the Soviet Union to design a fighter with a look-down/shoot-down radar. It was also one of the first to be armed with beyond visual range missiles. Additionally, the MIG-23 was the first MIG production fighter aircraft to have intakes at the sides of the fuselage. Production started in 1970 and reached large numbers with over 5,000 aircraft built. Today the MiG-23 still remains in limited service with some countries.

 

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Construction
This was an out of box build and a complex one. There a lot of small parts and a good many photo-etched parts. However, the parts fit was very good. Construction began with the ejection seat that went together nicely, including a PE seat belt. Next came the cockpit tub which also went together easily. The kit provides decals for all the instrument panels, but I chose not use the decals for the side instrument panels. The side instrument panels have raised detail that I painted. I did however use the decal for the front instrument panel. To complete the cockpit, the ejection seat fits nicely into the cockpit tub.

The rest of the kit went together pretty well, following the well illustrated instructions. Some filling and sanding was required when installing the air intakes. Attaching the wing assembly to the fuselage created some serious gaps that required filling and sanding. Attaching the tail assembly to the fuselage also created gaps that required filling and sanding. I was impressed building the wing assembly. The moveable wing mechanism is well engineered and goes together with ease, and it works really well. I also installed an egg shaped lead fishing weight into the nose cone to prevent any tail sitting.

Building the nose gear and the main landing gears is a little difficult because of all the small and PE parts. Where I ran into some difficulty was installing the main landing gears into the main gear cabin. The illustrations provided for the installation are very poor. I had to go to the Prime Portal website and see how the main landing gears fit into the main gear cabin. The Prime Portal website has some excellent photos of MIG-23s and the landing gears. Even with understanding how the main landing gears fit into the gear cabin, it was still difficult to install them. Fortunately the parts fit was very good, and once installed, they are quite sturdy. For weapons I equipped my MIG-23 with two R-60 Aphid and two R-23 Apex air-to-air missiles.

Painting
MIG-23s have been painted many different colors and camouflage schemes because so many were exported to the air forces of other countries. However, I chose to paint my MIG-23 a solid color, Medium Gray. Here are the colors I used:

  • Fuselage and wings    MM Medium Gray 

  • Landing gear doors    MM Medium Gray 

  • Radome    MM Gunship Gray 

  • Landing gears    Floquil Bright Silver 

  • Engine exhaust    MM Stainless Steel and Burnt Metal 

  • Missiles    Floquil Reefer White.

Decals
In preparation for decaling, I hand brushed the model with two coats of Future and let it dry and cure for three days. The kit provides decals for two aircraft. I chose to use the decals for a Polish Air Force MIG-23. The Polish MIG-23 has a lot of decals, mostly small stencils, but the decals are excellent. They are well printed, easily placed on the model, and snuggled down nicely to the model. Once the decaling was complete, I wiped down the model with a damp cloth and applied a light coat of Future to the model. To finish off the model, I airbrushed it with a coat of MM Gloss Lacquer Finnish.

Comments
I enjoyed building the Trumpeter MIG-23, even with the troubles I had with the main landing gears. The parts fit was good, cockpit and external detail is quite good and the decals were excellent. I was very pleased with the look of the finished model. I recommend this kit to any experienced modeler. This is not a kit for novice modelers because all the small parts and the difficulty of building and installing some of the assemblies.

Burt Gustafson

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Photos and text by Burt Gustafson