Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21

Posted: October 1, 2014 in Books, Cold War, Vietnam War

by Alexander Mladenov

Illustrated by Adam Tooby


The MiG-21 Fishbed holds the title of the world’s most widely built and used jet fighter, with more than ten thousand units rolling off the lines of three plants in the former Soviet Union.  Designed as a Mach-2 light tactical fighter, its original prototype was first flown in 1958; with the first production variant appearing two short years later.   It was a simplified daytime short-range, clear-weather interceptor and tactical fighter.

This new entry in Osprey Publishing’s Air Vanguard series is a solid one, packed with information, art-work, and in-depth profiles of the inner workings of this iconic fighter.  A solid intro covers all of the base statistics, as well as a very detailed overview of what the cockpit contains, and its layout.

The sections on the armament options on the Fishbed presents us with a solid list of what it could have carried, but I was left feeling that I would have liked a little more information on the actual missiles themselves.  After a while, “Serial Number Blindness” sets in, a little bit of detail on key differences between these weapons would have gone a long way.

As we’ve come to expect from Osprey, the photos and illustrations are superb, with plenty of black and white action shots, load-outs, and some great depictions of the various colour schemes used for those of us who look for painting references for wargaming and modelling.  The research is – as always – second to none.

The latter half of the book is given over to the various wars and forces that used the MiG-21 Fishbed, and it’s a good solid overview, with key areas such as the Vietnam War receiving excellent write ups.

Overall, despite one (very) minor complaints, this is an excellent and highly detailed reference guide to one of Mikoyan-Gurevich’s most iconic craft.

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 is available now in paperback and Kindle format.


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