by: Tim Hatton [ ]
Originally published on:
The Mig 25 was one of those weapon systems that had a perceived reputation that made it feared in the west. Its huge wing and engines gave the impression of a fast, highly manoeuvrable and capable dogfighter. That is until one flown by defecting pilot Viktor Belenko fell into the lap of NATO. After Belanko landed his MiG-25 at Hakodate, Japan and the subsequent examination by the US there was a collective sigh of relief when NATO discovered that the MiG-25 was not the wonder fighter they feared. Still it was a very capable interceptor and its list of speed records is still impressive.
The west belief that the MiG 25 was an agile air-combat fighter rather than an interceptor spawned such designs as the F-15 and F-16. The MiG-25 had mixed fortunes in combat. It was used to great effect by Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. One shot down a US Navy A/F-18 during the first night of the Persian Gulf War. On 23 December 2002, an Iraqi MiG-25 shot down a U.S. Air Force unmanned MQ-1 Predator drone. The first time a drone had been successfully engaged in combat.
The MiG-25RB is a single-seat reconnaissance-bomber derivative of MiG-25R, fitted with improved reconnaissance systems and a Peleng automatic bombing system. The aircraft can carry a bombload of eight 500 kg bombs. The MiG 25-RG entered service in 1970 and the NATO codename is Foxbat-B. Two MiG-25RBís were sent to Egypt in March 1971 and stayed until July 1972. Operated by the Soviet 63rd Independent Air Detachment they overflew Israel on numerous reconnaissance missions. They operated up to 75,000 ft and one was clocked at Mach 3.2. Soviet-operated reconnaissance Foxbats returned to Egypt in 19Ė20 October 1973, during the Yom Kippur War. Detachment 154 remained in Egypt until late 1974, the markings of one of the aircraft is depicted with this release.
RusAdventures a Moscow based adventure business offers high altitude rides in a two seat MiG-25 for those looking to fly on the edge of space.
All the grey sprues are bagged together and the small transparent sprue is packed separately. The decals are placed within the instructions. Overall the quality of the mouldings looks first class. Good crisp detail, no obvious flash and the recessed detail particularly the rivets are delicately done.
The seat is made up from four parts. The detail on the lumbar cushion looks very good. The instruments and switches are nicely represented on the instrument panel [IP] and side panels. Itís a pity there are no instrument faces on the decal sheet as they would have really lifted the great detail on the IP. There is some detail moulded onto the sides of the cockpit walls. The colour of the cockpit is a bit unclear in the instructions, but a quick Google check shows that the interior is that distinctive turquoise.
The crystal clear canopy and windscreen are separate so the canopy can be modelled open. There is even plastic actuating arm supplied if you want to display the canopy open.
There are around thirteen parts that make up the fuselage including the intakes and nose. It seems at the outset overly complex, but the more you look at the fuselage, the more sense this arrangement is. There are a couple of solid looking frames which will give the fuselage a great deal of strength. They are also used to attach the air ducts and engine nozzles. The ducts are each made up from two parts with the primary fan at the end. The jet engines are made up from nine parts. The detail is pretty good. Itís good to see the jet pipes moulded in one piece and the ribbed lining is nicely represented. The re-heat matrix is also nicely represented. The distinctive vertical tails so typical of Mikoyan jets are each made from two pieces. The rudders are separate. If you want to fit the bombs then holes need to be drilled underneath the fuselage. Instructions provide accurate details of where to drill and size of drill bit to use.
The detail in the main undercarriage bay is worth noting, itís nicely represented with raised detail.
The fact that the nose is separate is handy for attaching ballast. The nose is made up from three parts, the separate lower part of the nose contains the cameras. The part has deeply recessed depressions into which the camera lenses are fitted.
The wings are each two piece and there are two large tabs on each wing so the fit into the fuselage will be positive and strong. The missile rail is attached to the wing tip and there are slots to attach the longer of the wing fences and the pylon fairings. The shorter wing fence is moulded onto the wing. The flaps and ailerons are separate, but the instructions would have you fitting them in the neutral position. There is a hint that the ejector of marks on the surface of the wing. Some may need some attention with fine filler and a bit of sanding. The tail planes are each two piece and unlike the substantial attachment on the wings, the tail plane attachment points are pretty slight.
The forward gear bay is made up from three parts. There is some good detail on the walls of the bay. The nose wheel leg is finely detailed and ICM suggest fitting during the construction of the bay. As already mentioned the three part main wheel bays are nicely detailed. Again ICM suggests fitting the legs during the construction of the bays. This suggestion makes sense as the legs will be tricky to attach once the fuselage is completed. The two part main wheels and the two one piece nose wheels have really good detail, particularly the hubs of the main wheels.
There are eight bombs two are fitted on each wing and four in the centre of the fuselage. The body of the bombs come as two separate parts. The fins and stabilising ring are separate; the fins are really thin. There is an under fuselage fuel tank supplied, but there is nothing in the instructions about fitting it.
There are two small sheets of decals printed by ICM. Colour density and definition looks very good. There is very little carrier film evident except of course around the numbers. The numerous stencils look very good, even the smallest of the stencils is legible. There are a lot of stencils to apply: there are 75 types and some of these comprise up to 24 stencils. So there are a lot.
There are 82 stages in the build of this MiG-25RB. Seems like a lot, but it just means that each illustrated stage is pretty easy to follow.
There are four marking options including:
●MiG-25RB, 154th Independent Air Detachment, Cairo-West [ARE], May 1974
●MiG-25RB, Soviet Air Force, late 1970ís
●MiG-25RB, 63rd Independent Air Detachment, United Arab Republic [UAR], 1971-1972
●MiG-25RB [Late Production], Iraqi Air Force, 1980
All the aircraft are painted light grey overall, with bare aluminium and titanium gold around the rear part of the fuselage. ICM use Tamiya and Revell as paint references.
This looks like a superbly detailed representation of the MiG-25RB. The attention to detail is impressive whether itís the cockpit, airframe, undercarriage or bomb pylons. How the complex looking fuselage builds only time will tell and this will make or break this kit.