1/72 Academy MiG-23MS

by Raymond Biggs

--------------------

 

The MiG-23MS was the first MiG-23 "Flogger" variant to be exported outside of the Warsaw pact.  Initial deliveries were made to Syria in 1973, as well as Iraq, Egypt and Libya.  A small number of Soviet MiG-23MS were based at Tokmok (now part of Kyrgyzstan) to provide training to foreign MiG-23MS pilots and their crews.

The MiG-23MS differed from the Soviet MiG-23M in that it featured the Radar, avionics and weapon systems of the MiG-23MF; its armament consisting of the older R-3, R-3P or R-13 missiles (NATO designation: AA-2 Atoll family). Despite this handicap a Syrian MiG-23MS was successful in downing two Israeli F-4 Phantoms before being itself shot down by a friendly SAM in 1974.

Libya was another prominent customer of the MiG-23MS; receiving around 54 machines starting in 1974. These served as the LARAFs primary fighter into the 1980s, and saw action against Egypt; where an example was shot down by a Aim-9J equipped F-6, as well against the USN; resulting in the loss of two aircraft to F-14s. It is unclear how many examples remain operational, though  Zimbabwe and Zaire both received small numbers of former LARAF MiG-23MS'.

Click on images below to see larger images

  

  

  

This is Academy's "MiG-23S" kit, built mostly OOB.  Its a repop of an early Hasegawa model, and despite popular criticism, the kits is basically accurate for a MiG-23MS. The main modifications to make a MiG-23MS from the kit consist of:

  • The removal of the IR sensor underneath the cockpit

  • The repositioning of the offset under-fuselage aerial to the centre

  • The replacement of the fuselage missile pylons with spares from another kit

  • Filling in the leading edge flaps on the wings

I also added a burner can and pilot from Zvezda kits and R-3 missiles from the spares box.

The kit goes together fairly well, though not as precisely as the Hasegawa original.  The kits biggest problem is the intake-fuselage join, which I had to use putty and plastic card to get seamless.

The model was brush painted with Humbrol enamels, and weathered moderately heavy.  For markings I chose the older, less known Libyan roundel of an aircraft deployed to Chad.  The Libyan roundel was later changed after the war with Egypt for easier identification.

Thanks for looking!!

Raymond

Click on images below to see larger images

  

  

Photos and text by Raymond Biggs