MiG-23BN is a derivative of the sweep wing fighter jet MiG-23, being altogether very beautiful and very controversial at the same time. This plane was a symbol for couple generations of one of the sides of the Iron Curtain, however never made good name for itself, due to its poor fighting performance in real life.
Although very capable, fast, agile and with very responsive engine, MiG-23 was never even close to the fame of MiG-21. It served shortly, especially compared with the famous Fishbed and proved to be a burden when it comes down to maintenance and expenses for a flight hour. With that said, everybody who flew and work with it, loved the hell out of that streamlined beast. If not anything else, as part of world’s aviation history, it deserves a ton of respect because of the sweep wing technology,and it was definitely a milestone for Mikoyan.
Eduard already released a fighter version in a form of a Limited Edition kit, repacking Trumpeter’s latest 48th scale tooling of the early variant of the fighter-interceptor version. In late 2019, the Czech company decided that they will repack the fighter-bomber version too – the BN, more widely known as “Gena, the Crocodile”. Named after a famous Soviet animated character, because of its nose, the BN was used with several air forces, one of which was of course: Czechoslovakian.
Eduard’s decision was great in theory. However, BN released by Trumpeter is one of their worst kits ever released – full with discrepancies, wrong shapes, etc. Not only that, but Eduard didn’t even tried to alter the worst thing about the kit: its frontal part. MiG-23BN nose is what makes it distinctive and that is where Trumpeter dropped the ball and with enviable splash too.
Now, Eduard are a company that releases only nice Limited Editions, full with improvements, nice camo schemes and important alterations. Their Phantoms as well as their A-4s, F-14 /and others/ are a perfect example. However, with the MiG-23BN they made a very nasty mistake.
The kit is practically unfixable, except if one doesn’t change the whole nose section. Which beats the purpose of it all. Did we mention that the canopy needs to be replaced too? Well, it does. Eduard never put an effort in that though. Why?
Another thing Eduard missed – maybe on purpose – was that they included Soviet versions, omissing Indian and Bulgarian ones, which are more closely tied to the history of MiG-23BN. When MiG-23BN came to Bulgaria and India, in Soviet Union they were already gearing up with MiG-27. In Soviet service the plane wasn’t loved and lived relatively shortly when it comes down to active service. However, with India and Bulgaria, the case was very different. And on top of that, both countries featured very nice camouflage schemes and both of them had unusual single-tone gray MiG-23BNs in service.
It is rare to see low-lever fighter bombers to be painted in light gray, and from modeling standpoint this provides for superb weathering options as shading, chipping, worn and dirt effects. Great for an earth digger, right? But no. Eduard decided to give their respects to Czechoslovak /later Czech/ MiG-23BNs, Soviet ones /who knows why?!/ and East German air force. With the exception of Czech variants, the other two were never very tightly connected with the BN. Nobody get that tingle in the stomach when thinks of East German BN.
It is quite surprising, considering the fact that Eduard released MiG-21bis in Indian service as Limited Edition. And Indian modelers are constantly begging for more models oriented towards their area. T-90s, MiG-21s, -23s and -29s, all they are very respected and longed for by Indians. Not to mention the option to release MiG-21-93 or Bison version in a separate pack from Eduard’s nearly-perfect line of Fishbeds. Something that Eduard still can cash on. But again, big, fat NO.
Quite surprising indeed…
And in conclusion, this is probably the first time that Eduard dropped the ball with their choice. The Trumpeter kit by itself is worthless and can be fixed only if tons of modifications are made by the builder, which includes plenty of money spent for aftermarket. On top of everything, removing Bulgaria and India from the equation called “Limited Edition MiG-23BN” was another bad decision from the Czech company. But even the best companies make mistakes sometime.
With that said, we won’t provide you with pictures for that kit, besides the boxart. We think it simply isn’t worth the time nor the effort to get it and build it, except in cases when you might want to stash it and have it there just for the sake of it. Because Trumpeter’s MiG-23BN neither looks nor tastes like a real Gena the Crocodile, and lacking the nicest camo schemes seen out there, well, it all beats the purpose.
Did we mention that Cuba had those too? Yeah, this blueish Gena is not included in this kit either. And many of the MiG-23BN fans know about that famous Mikoyan parked on the US soil in Florida, freshly defected from Cuba. Well, it is not here. Instead, you can build Soviet and East German versions though.
Probably if resin nose and new canopy were offered, if not in this kit at least as a Brassin set. Just a hope for those who wants their kit to look like the real thing. Because the only thing certain about this BN release is that if you build it it won’t look like the real thing.
Thank you, but no thank you Eduard! Maybe next time!