AVSIM Commercial Aircraft Review

Captain Sim's Mig-21UM

Rating Guide

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FS2002 Mig-21UM

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Real Mig-21UM

Publisher: Captain Simulations
Description:
The legendary Mig-21 for FS2002
Download Size:
Special Issue - 28.9MB
Regular Issue - 12.9MB
Format:
.Exe
Simulators
FlightSim 2002
CFS2 - Coming Soon
Reviewed by: Liam Coyle, AVSIM Library Reviewer

Possible Commercial Rating Score: 1 to 5 stars with
5 stars being exceptional.
Please see details of our review rating policy here

Here at Avsim we like to give add-ons the time that they deserve, especially when they are as stunning as Captain Simulations latest offering. Hot on the heels of their 'TLK-39C Pilot Training Device', they have released their rendition of the infamous Mig-21. Having greatly raised people's expectations of what standards commercial add-ons for FlightSim should reach, this latest offering continues their established level of excellence.

Getting Started

The package is available from the team by two different means; you can purchase the CD or you can download it over the web. You can also choose a special issue of the product (that's the one being reviewed here), or a regular issue. With the special issue you get three versions of the plane:

  1. Standard: one 490L tank and 2 APU-13 rails.
  2. Clean: 2 APU-13 rails.
  3. Long range: one 800L tank and 2x490L tanks.


Reader Survey

This survey is intended for those that have used this product or add-on. If you have used it, please let your fellow simulation enthusiasts know how you rate it by taking this survey. Please, if you have not used this product, do not take this poll (you can view the poll from the "Results" link below).

Review Poll
Have you used Captain Sim's Mig-21?
Excellent
Good
Average
I can live with it
Taking it off my system

view results

You also get 10 different paint schemes ranging from real life, Soviet, and Indian versions through to fictional RAF and USAF versions. With the special issue you get an Interactive Training Course; also available separately if you buy the regular issue.

Installation is a breeze; it comes as an .exe, so just point it in the direction of your FlightSim folder and away you go. After it goes in it places an icon on your desktop for the training course and the Flight Manual.

Captain Sim gives you two versions of the flight manual; one in the PDF format which most people will be familiar with, and the other one is an Interactive Flash version which is an excellent touch and allows you to get familiar with the layout of the cockpit in a quick and simple fashion.

What's it like then?

When I loaded up FS2002 and selected the aircraft from the selection menu I was slightly concerned. I run FS2002 on a rather dismal PIII 550 with a Creative Geforce2 MX400. I was concerned that it was going to be a chug-a-thon and I wouldn't be able to give it a proper review. Low and behold this is one of the most frame rate friendly aircraft I have ever reviewed. What especially amazed me was the level of detail I was able to achieve without killing my computer. The visual model is absolutely stunning with possibly the best and most realistic paint scheme I have ever seen grace a FlightSim aircraft. Screenshots honestly do not do the level of detail here justice. While it seems that the fictional "Norma Jean" US livery is most people's favourite, I personally prefer the weathered Soviet scheme, as it shows off what the team have achieved best of all.

Captian Sim recommend at least a PIII 800 with a 64MB Graphics Card, and maybe this is minimum to get the very best out of the aircraft, but with my measly PIII 550 I was more than happy with the balance between detail and frame rates.

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It's all in Russian
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Powering Up
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The virtual panel
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A flyby!

Being a Gmax-modeled aircraft detail abounds, from full moving flight surfaces to 3D gear bays, moving wheels, opening canopy, moving shock absorber struts, braking chute, nuts and bolts, weathered camouflage, pilot names and more.

One of the biggest problems FS Developers have when designing an aircraft is trying to disguise the different sections that the aircraft is constructed from with the paint scheme—too often you can see where one section stops and another begins. The construction on the Mig is flawless, it looks as real as I imagine is possible with FS.

Should I wind up the speakers?

Absolutely! Captain Sim have very thoughtfully included a custom sound set for the package, and the sounds are loud!! Everything is there from startup and shutdown to custom clicks and a very impressive afterburner soundtrack!! Some developer's lately have gone down the road of creating great products, that for some reason doesn't include a custom soundset and instead opts for using the default FS sounds. Thankfully the developers here have gone that extra length for realism.

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Underside View
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Cruising
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Playing with the camera

The Panel

How's your Russian? Unless it's pretty good or you spent time with the Flight Manual I suspect you'll struggle with the panel, because... it's all in Russian! Hey we're going for realism here, and what a job these guys have done. The panel is a treat to look at and operate and doesn't hurt your FPS. If you did spend time with the Flight Manual, the interactive one in particular, then operating the panel shouldn't be too much bother. It's relatively easy to hop in and head off, but to get the best out of it and get to know the various functions and HUD Displays will take time.

Yes I did say HUD Displays—there are several various displays and I particularly liked how they implemented the gunsight into the display.

The virtual cockpit is usually a FPS killer and I thought that might be the case here, but no not at all; it was as smooth as you could hope for and the level of detail was very pleasing indeed. It is far more pleasurable to fly from this viewpoint I thought than the main panel, because it's just that bit more realistic.

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Climbing out and away
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Look at that detail!!
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Fictional livery

Test System

Custom PIII 550 MHz
Windows ME
256 Megs RAM
Geforce 2 MX 400 32MB
40X DVD ROM
Sound Blaster Live Value
Logitech Wingman Digital 3D
17" Monitor (Unknown Make!)

Flying Time:
6 Hours over 7 Days


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Topdown view of the Indian Mig

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The camouflaged Soviet Mig

OK so it looks good, does it fly well?

Hmnn like the majority of folk who'll fly this I suspect they won't have flown a real Mig-21 either. Based on what I know, have read, have been taught the aircraft handles as close to the real thing as is possible within the limitations of FS2002.

If your used to props this will be a real shock to the system. The Mig-21 does not like low speed flying and is far more comfortable cruising at high speeds. It'll take you a while to get used to its characteristics. At low speeds it is very definitely a hands-on aircraft and is very light to the touch. Take off isn't overly complicated but landing is something to be undertaken with caution! This is a plane that has to be landed at high speeds, much like the SR-71. A long runway and your drag chute are vitally important. While it might put some off I found it great fun and a great challenge.

Once you're up to cruising speeds its a comfortable plane to fly and rather agile. It was reputed to be a "pilots' plane" and this shines through.

The Conclusion

This is one aircraft that should definitely be in everyone's aircraft folder who is a fan of military aircraft. If your a fan and can afford it there is no reason not to own it. The level of visual detail is astounding. The sound is superb. The panel and virtual cockpit and some of the best I've yet seen.

It's challenging and fun to fly, and is full of nice little touches from the Norma Jean livery to the Interactive Flight Manual. It's simple to download and install and should you have any problem's they even have their own support forum.

It is very reasonable priced at $24.95 and is a real all rounder.

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Nice metalic finish
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Menacing silhouette
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Soviet scheme
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High detail levels
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View from the tower
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Hit that afterburner!

What I Like About Captain Sim's Mig-21UM
  • The stunning visual model
  • Quality of the panel and virtual cockpit
  • Frame Rate friendly – even on my PIII 550
  • Reasonable price

 
What I Don't Like About Captain Sim's Mig-21UM
  • Nothing at all


 

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The review above is a subjective assessment of the product by the author. There is no connection between the producer and the reviewer, and we feel this review is unbiased and truly reflects the performance of the product in the simming environment. This disclaimer is posted here in order provide you with background information on the reviewer and connections that may exist between him/her and the contributing party.

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