At the moment of writing this review Eduard's MiG-21PFM is one of their latest plastic model kits. After the series of later types of third and fourth generation “21's” (MF, SMT and Bis) the time has come to add a version of the second generation (Izdeliye 94) to their offerings. Although the PFM kit keeps to the very high standard of all Eduard's MiG-21 family, plastic parts technology has its limitations. To avoid it somehow and provide the best possible quality of details, Eduard have developed a product line called “Brassin”, which consists of details casted in resin and photo-etched metal frets. PE parts are partially pre-painted. Combination of these two producing technologies resulted in the line of one of the best shake-and-bake improvement sets on the market. In this article I will take a look at one of these Eduard sets, dedicated to the latest plastic kit of the MiG-21PFM from the same producer.
This set focuses on the cockpit interior. It provides absolutely everything that can be found under the cockpit glazing, from the rudder pedals at the deep bottom to the framing of the back periscope and pilot's helmet. Together we are given 28 resin castings and 75 photo-etched parts.
The biggest resin castings are the parts for cockpit tub and its back side. These are just two parts containing all the structural details and piping attached. On the cockpit tub side panels we can find a lot of switches and fuses. Side panels are provided also on the colour photo-etched fret. The idea of their design is a combination of photo-etched parts and resin castings. PE fret provide “flat” details like buttons, surrounding casings or placards while more protruding details, like aforementioned switches, are made in resin. This combination makes the whole detail much more solid and three-dimensional. It is also makes final assembly and painting pretty easy, all you have to do is paint the switches their base colour but you don't have to pay extreme attention to paint the surrounding as it will be covered by a pre-painted PE part.
A real kit inside a kit is a pilots ejection seat. To build it you have to assemble in total 23 resin and photo-etched parts. The seatbelts consists of eleven pre-painted PE parts. The design of the seat is also very clever. You can assemble the major construction but without the cushions and seatbelts, spray the base paint on it and paint the smaller parts in other colours on side, and just made the final assembly with a minimal risk of making a mess during painting. On the back of the seat I have noted the only casting error in the whole set. When you take a look at the biggest tube on the back of the seat you will see a misalignment of the casting mould which resulted in the step on the round detail. After putting the seat into the cockpit it won't be visible at all but if you wish to display it next to the model you will have to pay some attention for removing of this step of the mould halves.
A combination of resin and PE fret enables you to choose the most suitable for you option to build the instrument panel. You have at least three options to choose from using just this Brassin set. First of them is “all metal” - resin back plate and four pre-painted metal parts. This should be the easiest and fastest way. Next option is combination of resin backplate, pre-painted PE instrument gauges and resin fronts. In this option you only have to paint the dashboard. This would be the best option for those who want to finish their kit in other colour than “emerald green” suggested by Eduard. The last option is “all resin”. In this option you have to paint yourself all the gauges and indicators on the instrument panel. I have no idea why in this option Eduard suggests to add the PE part with instruments under the full resin front panel as the gauges will be completely covered by the resin front. Maybe just for correct thickness of the instrument panel? I just guess and really don't know. In each of these options you can easily add a drop of clear lacquer or other similar medium to make a nice shine of the indicator's glass front.
When you use all these fine details it would be a real shame and waste of effort to cover it under the glass, without proper presentation. So when you make your kit in the “open cockpit” configuration you can easily notice a significant detail of all MiG-21's – the gaskets between glazing movable parts and the fuselage and windscreen. Brassin set contains a PE fret only with these seals. Separate parts are designed for movable hood and corresponding gaskets on the fuselage edges and windscreen back edge. Eduard provides also some placards and other mechanisms visible on the glazing so in the final effect it all looks really busy.
Smaller details, which are not less important, are parts for rudder pedals, control stick, radar display screen, weapons sight, front of the cockpit (under the windscreen) or a pilot's helmet. All these often tiny details make a final effect and taste of finesse and subtlety of modellers work.
Very wide variety of possible solutions and ways of achieving the best possible effect makes this set attractive for many modellers so each of us can find his/her best technique. If you want to build some less popular user or modification the Brassin set enables us to finish the cockpit in any colour without wasting the pre-painted photo-etched parts. Anyway, these are just one of many advantages of this set. What is most important it is a complete upgrade for the weaknesses of the plastic kit. I don't need anything else for my PFM kit.
For advanced modellers this is a superb improvement for their PFM's, I'm really impressed by the Eduards designers finesse as they created a real jewel of improvement sets.
related reviews Eduard 1:48 MiG-21PFM Profipack kit review by Paul Cotcher
Brassin exhaust nozzle set for Eduard's MiG-21PFM review by Michał Sindera
Photo etched set for Eduard's MiG-21PFM review by Michał Sindera
Comparative review of Eduard 1:48 MiG-21PFM Profipack kit with Brassin and photo-etched improvement sets by Michał Sindera
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Highs: great attention to details, jewellers precision, complete cockpit interior.
Lows: none for me.
Summary: Highly recommended, will surely elevate the final effect of your finished model kit.