The Irkut MC-21 (Russian: Иркут МС-21) is a Russian single-aisle twinjet airliner, developed by the Yakovlev Design Bureau and produced by its parent Irkut, a branch of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). The initial design started in 2006 and detailed design was ongoing in 2011. After delaying the scheduled introduction from 2012 to 2020, Irkut rolled out the first MC-21-300 on 8 June 2016 and first flew the aircraft on 28 May 2017. It has a carbon fibre reinforced polymer wing and is powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1000G or Aviadvigatel PD-14 turbofans. The standard MC-21-300 has a capacity of 132–163 passengers in a two-class configuration and 165–211 in a single class, and a range up to 6,000–6,400 km (3,200–3,500 nmi). It will be followed by a shortened MC-21-200 version.
МС-21 "Магистральный Самолёт 21 века" – "Magistralny Samolyot 21 veka" translates as "mainline aircraft of the 21st century". It is marketed in the West as the MC-21, despite the aircraft's original Russian model name being МС-21, which transliterates as MS-21.
In 2013, Russian deputy premier Dmitry Rogozin indicated that it will be designated Yak-242 once it enters serial production, the name of a 1990s proposal of an aircraft of similar size. In 2014, Oleg Demchenko, the president of Irkut at the time, also preferred the Yak-242 name, claiming it would better reflect the design bureau behind the aircraft, however he has also said that any of these renaming decisions would be after the aircraft first flight and certification work.
The kit comes packed in a very sturdy cardboard box with a flip-top lid slipped tightly into Zvezda's
traditional flimsy end-opening box. The mouldings are crisp and clean, with very little flash and no sink marks. The fine scribed panel lines are out of scale for 1/144 but will still look good under a coat of paint. The panel lines match up very nicely. The plastic has a slightly satin texture which can be polished out, but which will disappear under the primer paint. It is noticeably smoother than previous Zvezda
The fuselage is two halves from nose to tail. The cabin windows are open, with clear parts provided for them. The cockpit windows are an Airfix-style strip, which is a bit of a disappointment compared to previous kits. The panel lines are nicely engraved and match up well. The APU exhaust is blocked off, and could benefit from being drilled out and filled with a short piece of tubing. If the windows are left open, the interior should be painted black to prevent the model from looking toy-like. There is no bulkhead to help confine the nose weight, which Zvezda
says should be 10g. The nose gear well must be inserted before the fuselage is closed. The antennae are separate, and very finely moulded. Care must be taken when removing them from the sprue gates if they're not to be broken. There is a cockpit with floor, seats, rear bulkhead and instrument panel. This is sufficient detail to be seen through the relatively large cockpit windows if the modeller chooses to leave them clear.
The wings have a one piece lower half comprising a portion of the lower fuselage and the full lower wing. The trailing edge is moulded into the upper wing halves. The wings will need a little work to ensure that there is no step in the lower surface. There is not very much structural detail in the wheel wells. Some may be added if you wish but they are quite small, and your work may not be seen. Only the strut doors are moulded open so only the portions of the gear wells in the wings are portrayed. Large portions of the wing to fuselage fairings fore and aft of the wings are separate parts, to be added to the fuselage at the same time as the wings. There are two small intake parts which fit inside the forward fairing part. Each wing gets 4 flap track fairings, the middle two made up of left and right halves.
The tailplanes are two piece mouldings. The elevators are moulded with the lower halves, making the trailing edges nice and thin. They have only two small pins to hold them in place.
The engines are delightfully detailed little models. There is a two piece interlocking fan which fits into an intake tube, and which is then backed by a representation of fan stators. The moulding of the fan blades is extremely fine. The hot section is made up of several parts to which is attached the fan cowlings and previously construed fan assembly. The nacelles are finished off with a one-piece intake ring and vortex generator.
The landing gear struts and wheels are finely moulded and nicely detailed. They could use some brake lines and whatever else the modeller likes, but will look good without them. The wheels themselves are properly thick and the detail moulded into the hubs is very good. There is an option for raised gear, and a very large heavy stand is provided. As with all 1/144 kits, the gear doors are overly thick and may be replaced if the modeller wishes although Zvezda
has made an effort to get the door edges thin and they have nice mounting tabs.
I don't compare models to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it looks like an MC-21
Decals & Markings
Markings are provided for the first prototype. No window decals are provided, and only the red portions of the colour scheme are on the sheet. The blue must be masked and painted. Several airlines have ordered the MC-21, but as of the date this review was written none are in service, so the colour schemes for them have yet to be announced. As time goes by the usual aftermarket companies will no doubt be offering decal sheets.
The Real Thing
The first prototype
shortly after taking off on its maiden flight.
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