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MiG-23ML in Angola


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This is the aircraft that sent shivers down my spine as a young man. It was the enemy's hot ship, and we were pretty sure they were being flown by Cuban and Russian pilots. Turns out they were. A handful of my friends have flown it, but I will have to be happy with Trumpeter's 1:32 scale version.


It is an interesting kit, with some traps for the unwary. The undercarriage and the swing-wing seem to undo many of the builds that I've seen on the internet. That being said however, many die hard MiG-23 fans build great models from it. I hope to be able to do the aircraft some justice, and have held back on posting this build until I was reasonably sure the basics were working.  


The plan is to portray an Angolan aircraft, ironically, flown by South Africans. In combat.




If one thing has kept me going on this build, it is the desire to see the Aires resin aftermarket set in all its glory. Whoever "carved" the masters for all the bits and pieces that are available for the MiG-23 deserves one of those medals with long Russian titles - First Class!


This is the level of detail I'm talking about...








The undercarriage needs quite a lot of attention. Here the nosewheel leg with its additions. Wheels are from Armory.







Edited by Madmax
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Great to see one of these being built.


Very interesting history lesson. What were the circumstances where by South African pilots flew them under Angolan colours in combat? I was aware they were previously flown by Cuban pilots.





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I'll be following this, for sure!


The Aires stuff for the MiG-23 really is superb isn't it? Needs a little fettling to get the pit to fit in the forward fuselage halves - but didn't take long when I did mine.


Have you sourced some decals yet?



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I was in Cuba about 10years ago. Most towns have memorials and plaques remembering those killed in the border war. Currently my kids are in school in Johannesburg and they are taught virtually nothing about it. Sad that such an important piece of history is being forgotten. Will follow with interest, and that resin looks superb

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Hi Zero!


Kagemusha, in the early 1990's the Angolan government turned to a private military company called "Executive Outcomes" for help in combatting the UNITA rebel forces. In a strange twist of fate, EO employed ex South African military personnel who had been fighting against the Angolan government forces up until 1989. Peace is a relative term here in Africa.


Iain, I also found the front of the cockpit a bit fiddly. I have the Linden Hill Decals, but am contemplating begging my friend Nick to try cut some masks instead.


Tim, I would love to visit Cuba too. A colleague of mine is corresponding with a Cuban pilot who did three tours in Angola flying MiG-21 and MiG-23. His stories are fascinating, and very human. It is wonderful to hear about the same war from the other side. I have slowly been gaining an insight into the larger political stage on which our conflict was fought. Your kids are going to have to find out from you.


Greetings MARU, sandokan, Kevin and RNoAF!


blackbetty, here comes your answer..

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Much has been made of the nose of this kit. I also wanted to make a resin copy the MiG-29's nose and use it instead, but then a seasoned campaigner advised me to measure first.




And guess what, the kit nose is actually pretty close to correct. I didn't scale the drawing to 1:32 but rather to fit the overall dimensions of the fuselage. The panel lines need to be redone to get closer to the actual shape, and the area immediately adjoining the pitot requires some sanding. Quite simple really.




The intakes are a bit more tricky. I know that there are some very cool replacements available, but I wanted to use the kit parts. This is a bit of a compromise in terms of accuracy, but I think it will look fine once painted. The spill doors are from QuickBoost.








It may appear that I build very quickly, but please bear in mind that this post is a bit retrospective.


More soon,



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