Now for the undercarriage.
I recently looked in on a talented (albeit controversial) Texan's build the MLD version of this kit via his internet sites. He built the gear as per the manufacturers instructions, stood back to assess the result, and then deciding it was a lost cause - destroyed the model. Many of you have probably seen what I am referring to, and I must say that his summation has been quite useful.
The MiG-23 comes in a couple of differing versions, all with their own character. The M/MF is the easiest to identify, as it looks like a bit like a pregnant dragon to me. She really squats on her main gear, yet the nose gear seems unimpressed with the weight and stays extended. The ML/MLD is lighter than the MF by 1250kg dry weight, so the main gear is not as compressed and she has a more level stance. Same gear by the way. This stance does differ by degree however, depending on fuel and weapons load. Here are two photo's to illustrate how the gear reacts to the weight, most noticeable on the angle of the horizontal arms. Firstly a MF...
Then a ML...
The trailing link also comes into play, but appears more affected by the fuel, weapons load.
Trumpeter chose a very lightly loaded trailing link angle for this kit, which makes it look as if the aircraft is on tippy-toes. It may be possible, but not often seen. Here you can see it is about midway between the airborne and fully compressed angles.
Fortunately they include the trailing link for what I assume is the MF version. It is considerably more compressed, but with the horizontal arms angled slightly downwards could do the trick and look like a loaded ML. In the build link I posted earlier, you will see the modeller shorten the trailing link, which is cool but I chose not to. Here is how it should look when I finally get to installing the gear.
I added a bit of detail to the legs, and some styrene to the gear doors that fit over the wheels. They are somewhat undersized. I also changed the attachment points so that they don't sit at too much of a rakish angle on the wheel.
Theses gear legs have a further complication. The horizontal portion is angled forward. Like this...
Between the resin wheel bays and the limits of the mountings, this is difficult to replicate. I put in a brass ferrule as close to the bay wall as possible to try and get an angle going. It didn't do much, but it is as far as I am going to go. Now lets hope that it all fits once the painting is done At least the Aires wheel wells are great to look at.