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Vietnamese MiG-21 markings


DaneBramage
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Greets my friends!!!!

Ok here's the deal. I was watching my copy of "Dogfights: Hell over Hanoi" and there was one Mig-21 and I was wondering if it's for real or just some CGI model that was not so accurate.

It had a Soviet style star on the tail. The paint scheme was a white/very light gray base with a black/green what I am calling an "amoeba"/"giraffe" mottling camo. Did this MiG exist?

Just asking.

MiG_21camo001.jpg
kinda like this

MiG_21camo018.jpg
Exactly like the rudder on this one

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There was nothing like you wanted in 'Migs over North Vietnam', but I can confirm the lower profile. It's not impossible as there was no formal camo pattern applied. There are profiles of Mig-21s in green tiger stripes along with pictures and profiles of them in solid green upper. I doubt there would have been a soviet star on the tail though.

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Off the top of my head I'd have to say that N Vietnamese Mig 21's never had a Russian star on the tail, though I could be wrong. I'm also reminded what a darned attractive aircraft the Mig 21 really is.

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Nothing on the tail. Some Mig-17s had a red tip to the fin and some mig-21s had solid green on one of the upper panels but no flag or other markings. Check this thread and scroll down to post 15 and you will see a pic which confirms red 5015 (there are also pics from the other side in the same line up of migs in the book)

 

http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?158660-warbirds-questions

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Dielectric panel. Green was the one and only color of that kind of material used on russian warplanes. Just check the radar conus.

 

Regards!

- dutik

 

p.s.

Check your references for the underside colour. I am not sure if the Vietnamese AF used a comouflage colour at the undersides. Most images from Vietnam War I remember show the bottom in plain metal, even with camo at the upper sides. Maybe there was a wraparound green striping or sometimes an overall dark green paintjob (especially at the few night interceptors going for the B-52s). "Conventional" camo with painting the lower sides of Vietnamese Airforce MiGs is more common in post-war/recent times. I strongly recommend the "Migs over North Vietnam" book for the plethora of images found there. Not to mention the (first ever) analysis of air combat based on Vietnamese sources and archives.

Edited by dutik
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The large Yefim Gordon book calls out a "Gray/green mottled camouflage" for 5015. But no hint if the lower side was gray or not. The book shows also a profile of a PFM in overall light grey. There was also a PFM, 6122, from soviet stocks, that still had the soviet camo of sand, brown and tan with russian blue undersides, the soviet markings painted out with dark green and the usual Vietnamese AF markings painted on.

 

"Migs over North Vietnam" calls out for a light green with dark green mottling for 5015. This must be an typo, because the colour profile in the book is the same as the one you posted above: green mottling over gray. The book shows a photo of that bird standing in a line with bmf Migs. The canopy frame, pylons and wing leading edge are metal. The belly appears to be of a darker shade than on the bmf Migs further away. Looks like overall gray with mottling on top, but when looking closer at the image there seems to be a demarcation line running along the middle of the fuselage. So light gray upper surfaces with dark green mottling and silver belly and wing bottom might be the correct paintjob; but I am no image analyst to be honest.

5040 was a night interceptor with an overall dark green paintjob, having just the canopy frame and the pylons left in metal finish. 5041 and 5066 had dark green wraparound zebra stripes.

 

Postwar the Migs got other camouflages of somewhat mor conventional type, i. e. with painted undersurfaces too.

 

Kind regards

- dutik

Edited by dutik
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  • 1 year later...

A bit late to reply on this one. Vietnamese camouflage on their planes was very unstandardized; somewhat in the way that late war german and japanese camo was on their planes.

 

For Mig 21's specifically, it seems that camouflage paint, usually a bright or dark green was applied over both natural metal and a light to medium grey base. Some Mig 21's were overall light/medium grey, not natural metal and it seems were later camoulfaged further with green. Little standardization is seen, although it is usually a mottle of some kind, rather than stripes, patterns or solid.

 

As for markings, definitely no soviet style stars on the tail or anywhere else. The soviets would have forbid this. I have seen pics of examples of Migs that had no vietnamese airforce national markings anywere....at least as far as could be seen in the picture. Just a buzz number on the nose.

 

So it seems that there is a great latitude of freedom for painting up a Vietnamese Mig, or if complete accuracy is desired, then careful attention must be paid to a specific photo of a specific plane. Lack of standardization gives great freedom to some modellers and great headaches to others. :)

 

Oh, and i wouldn't pay much attention to the paint schemes in the series Dogfights. They are often not very accurate.

Edited by aferguson
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The camo was added to the Mig-21 out of need, and no standardization was ever developed..... i wouldnt discount the possibility of a mig-21 airframe with Russian markings though... Russians sent pilots to train the North Vietnamese pilots. Perhaps what was caught on video was an actual Soviet aircraft that was part of this training contingency..... Or maybe it was a russian tailmarking that had been painted over, that was subjected to weathering and showing back through

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