1/48 ESCI MiG-23MF Hell Fighter 

by Jaroslav Hajecek


  Czech National Day 2006 


I am sure that many of you have this 1/48 ESCI kit in the “probably will never build” or “maybe will build it when Eduard comes with the new sets” category. To be honest this particular model was in that category for me as well. Until a friend of mine and ARC regular visitor Federico Kunz from Mexico City has approached me with the idea of joining their local modeling club called “The Seals” for their 1/48 MIGs Group Build that they will present at the IPMS Mexico. In my case it will be only a picture of the model. One of the friends built the Mig 27 from ESCI so I decided to tackle the Mig-23MF.

I had obtained the kit already with a resin correction for the tail fin and the main landing gear bays. The kit itself is regarded as quite inaccurate, features raised panel lines that are totally wrong and a pitiful cockpit detail. I have to say that it is true in almost all aspects, but with the fin correction and some sanding the model resembles the Mig and that is good enough for me. As for the kit, I rescribed the panel lines according to the drawings from 4+ publication. The cockpit was grabbed and grafted from 1/48 OEZ MIG-21MF kit. The cockpits were looking at least remotely similar between the two aircraft, and I did not feel like getting any other accessories for the kit. The seat is a Pavla Models resin seat. The fit of the kit is not the worst I have to say, just the detail is missing. The main landing gear wheels are totally unusable from the box. I have used sheet plastic to help them look better, but there are resin replacements available if you feel like getting them. Another option would be to use Mig-29 wheels as I was told they were the same size between the two aircraft.

Click on images below to see larger images




The paint scheme is a commemorative scheme for the 50th anniversary of the 1st Fighter Regiment in 1994. Now it is on display in the Czech Air Force museum in Prague , but it is quite weathered now since the aircraft is outside exposed to all the weather elements. I have tried to depict the aircraft as relatively new, so no weathering there, just a bit in the gear wells and the panel lines have been highlighted using “Payne gray” oil paint wash. Painting itself was done by multiple masking and touch ups by fine brush afterwards. It was quite time consuming but was worth the effort. Even though, I would like it to look better.

All in all I am happy with the results, and the MIG 23 is an amazing great looking aircraft and a great addition to the jet collection. It is a pity that nobody has made a better model in the 1/48 scale. The only available ones are the old ESCI – out of production, HOBBYCRAFT – out of production was basically rescribed ESCI, and now ITALERI – which is ESCI – same model same mold, new decals.

Well I hope you like the model, feedback is welcome.



Photos and text © by Jaroslav Hajecek