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ICM MiG-25RBT “Foxbat-B”

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/48 scale plastic model aircraft kit
I have waited for a decent 1/48 scale MiG-25 for a long time — other kit manufactures have tried but missed the mark, in my opinion. So when I heard ICM was releasing an all-new MiG-25RBT, my hopes were high.

The model is molded in a light gray styrene that I found was slightly flexible and soft. Panel lines are very finely engraved and consistent, and the trailing edges are some of the finest I have ever seen.

Parts break was slightly unconventional. The fuselage had multiple sections, including vertical stabilizers molded to the rear fuselage pieces. ICM cleverly included several fuselage bulkheads to help stabilize all those sections during construction.

The kit has full-length intake trunks, but the engine compressor faces look small when compared to the massive MiG-25 afterburner ducts. The forward fuselage is molded in halves, as is the nose cone; this portends future fighter versions, I’m sure.

Cockpit detail was adequate, with raised detail on the side consoles. The multipart ejection seat captured the look of the MiG’s seat and would look even better with some aftermarket belts. However, the instrument panel had just holes for the instruments and a clear part that is attached to the back side to replicate them. A decal would make the panel look more realistic.

Wheel wells were nicely detailed, with structural ribbing in both rear wells. I found the landing-gear struts and tires somewhat lacking in detail compared with the rest of the kit, and I worried the soft plastic might not support the weight of the finished model. Hopefully, the aftermarket will come to the rescue with cast-metal replacements.

Because the kit is the recon version, no weapons are included.

The decal sheet provides markings for two Russian, one Libyan, and one Iraqi version, plus a full set of stencils.

Assembly was amazing! I expected troublesome fits with the complicated fuselage  — and the instruction steps must be followed — but the fit was excellent! I needed no filler; a light buffing with a nail-polishing stick and the seams vanished. The only areas that required much sanding were the wing roots. I used Tamiya Extra Thin cement, which might have been a little too “hot” on this soft ICM plastic; when adding the wings, some plastic oozed out of the seam and needed to be sanded down.

I decanted Tamiya spray paint to airbrush the main color, wheels, nose, and antennas. For metal sections, I used various Alclad II metal colors to replicate the MiG’s distinctive look. Once all the paints were dry, I used a two-sided nail polisher to buff to a nice, almost glossy smooth finish. This saved me the step of adding a clear coat.

The decals went on nicely with a little setting solution to conform to the panel lines. I gave the whole model a sludge wash of flat back, wiping it down to make the panel lines pop. Once I was satisfied with the wash and everything dried, I applied a flat clear coat.

Adding the landing gear and gear doors, I was impressed with the tabs on the doors; they provided positive connection points, which made the doors easy to attach.
This MiG-25RBT was an extremely enjoyable build. ICM did a great job of capturing the aircraft’s look. I know there have been some discussions about the shape of the nose, and there is an aftermarket piece to replace it. But I would say look at the kit, compare it to all the pictures on the internet, and make your own decision.

Even though the fit is outstanding, I would still recommend this kit to builders with a little experience — assembly is somewhat complicated and could be daunting to a new modeler. Still, the results are worth it! Based on the kit’s breakdown, I hope a fighter version will be released soon.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2017 issue.
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