February 03, 2022

When MotoArt owner Dave Hall discovered a MiG-21 UM in Georgia last year, he was stoked for himself and for the PlaneTags collector community. Keep reading to learn more about the MiG-21 and how MotoArt turned the cockpit of one into one of the most exciting PlaneTags to date.


What is the MiG-21?

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 is a supersonic jet fighter/interceptor aircraft, built in the former Soviet Union. First flown in 1955, and introduced in 1959, they were well received and widely exported to around 60 countries, among 4 continents. They were highly adaptable by any air force for their specific needs. This record setting aircraft is:

  • First Soviet plane to reach Mach 2
  • Most produced supersonic jet aircraft
  • Most produced combat aircraft since the Korean War
  • Previous record holder for longest production run of a combat aircraft.

The rugged lightweight fighter was built after the Korean War, to fill a need for a short range light strike fighter and interceptor. They faced the F-4 Phantom and other US-built fighter aircraft in head-to-head conflicts throughout the Cold War.


MiG-21 Variants

There are several main and sub versions of the MiG-21, divided into different generations; however, all variants have about the same endurance and speed.

  • First Generation - This generation was built beginning in 1959 and was a day interceptor without radar. They were recognizable by their long air data boom below the intake, the forward hinge canopy, a window behind the cockpit, and a small intake cone. They were also armed with one or two 30 mm guns, and missiles on two wing pylons.
  • Second Generation - First built in 1961, this generation was a radar-equipped, all weather interceptor. The weight and power was increased, the air intake cone was enlarged, a two part canopy was added, as well as an extra fuel tank in the dorsal hump where the rear window behind the cockpit once was. They were armed with missiles on two wing pylons.
  • Third Generation - The third generation, an all-weather interceptor and reconnaissance aircraft, was introduced in 1968, featuring an increase in weight and power. The most distinct visible change was an enlarged dorsal hump which housed an increased internal fuel load. They were armed with gun and missiles on four wing pylons.
  • Fourth Generation - This gen, introduced in 1975, was an all-weather interceptor, featuring better air combat performances at low/medium altitudes and a completely redesigned airframe.
  • Trainers - Each of the first, second, and third generations also included a two seater training version, which did not have radar.


In addition to being the most produced supersonic fighter ever built, with approximately 11,496 units produced, the design was licensed and built by other countries. The People’s Republic of China, for instance, licensed and built more than 2,400 units named Shangdoj J7 or F7.


Mikoyan-Gurevich MIG-21UM Fishbed

MiG-21 PlaneTags

MiG-21UM Preschen flickr photo by Rob Schleiffert shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

MiG-21 UM Specifications

MiG 21 drawing

Drawing by Rob Schneider


  • Manufacturer: Mikoyan-Gurevich
  • Serial #: 203
  • Crew: 2
  • Wing Span: 23 Ft 5 In
  • Length: 51 Ft 8 In
  • Height: 13 Ft 5 In


  • Range: 216 Nm
  • Cruise Speed: 1174 Kts
  • Ceiling: 62,336 Ft
  • Empty Weight: 12,882 Lbs
  • Max Takeoff Weight: 22,928 Lbs
  • Rate Of Climb: 23,600 Ft / Minute
  • Engine: 1x Tumansky R-13-300 Turbojet

Why Fishbed?

Fishbed is the NATO reporting name for the MiG-21. What are NATO reporting names? They are code names for military aircraft from countries like Russia, the People’s Republic of China and nations of the former Warsaw Pact or Eastern Bloc. The Five Eyes Air Force Interoperability Council (AFIC) assigns unambiguous English codenames for fighters and military aircraft, sometimes called NATO reporting names or NATO designations. The Five Eyes is an intelligence alliance amongst the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia (non NATO), and New Zealand (non NATO) nations, created after WWII and now recognized as the largest intelligence network in history.



MiG Design Bureau Logo

The renowned MiG Design Bureau was named in 1939 by combining the names of its founders Artyem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich. MiG was mainly concentrated on developing its fighters, using a few basic elements to create a plethora of variants. The MiG-21 and other Soviet fighters were simpler than American fighters, manufactured with traditional materials and a basic design that allowed for fast production in large quantities. They were also rugged and tough, able to be maintained without skilled labor and requiring minimal logistical support to operate. They were notable for fighter and interceptor planes, used by the Soviet and Russian Air Forces, as well as Soviet allies, Indian Air Force and Arab states.



MotoArt’s MiG-21, S/N 203, was delivered to the East German Army in May 1972. 203 served with JG-3 (Fighter Squadron), TAFS-47 and TAFS-87 (Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons), and was later absorbed into the unified German Air Force as 23+84. 203 was withdrawn from use in 1991 and salvaged soon after. MotoArt acquired this mighty MiG-21 in 2021 and has now preserved it as collectible PlaneTags.



A MiG for MotoArt

MiG-21 MotoArt

When MotoArt owner Dave Hall discovered the cockpit of #203 he was elated. “Many of us grew up hearing about the MiG and what an incredible aircraft this is,” says Hall. “We were stoked to get this.”

cold war planetags

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MiG21 Photos: From Dave's Collection

MiG aircraft skin planetags

MiG21 collectible

mig21 aviation gift

mig21 internal systems

MiG-21 collectible

MiG-21 genuine skin

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MiG21 PlaneTags


The many textures, paint and colors of #203 makes our MiG-21 PlaneTags some of our most interesting military PlaneTags to date. This small series is numbered to 3,500 and is expected to be one of our best selling Cold War or Military planes. They are customizable, allowing you to engrave to use as a luggage tag or with a special sentiment or message for a gift. Add one to your collection - available now at planetags.com.



Cold War PlaneTags: In Case You Missed It

Read more about some of our favorite Cold War birds - and missiles - from the past:

Titan II: Peace Through Deterrence

The Handley Page Victor: A V-Bomber That Delivered

Convair B-36: An Intercontinental Bomber That Kept The Peace