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Sukhoi Su-17 series developed from the fixed wing Su-7 – the latter having poor low speed handling and the variable sweep wing on the -17 series improved this dramatically. First versions of Su-17 entered Soviet Air Force in 1970 and thus becoming the first swing-wing aircraft in Soviet inventory. The ground-pounder became very popular and was exported to many countries and saw combat action all around the globe. Several countries still use the type today, including Poland and Peru.

Su-17M3 evolved from the revised Su-17UM twin-seater, but instead of the second cockpit, it carries another fuel tank and some additional electronics in the enlarged hump. Doppler radar from the M2 was moved internally, air-to-air missile pylons were added under the wings and laser rangefinder/designator installed in the nose cone. Production of this variant lasted from 1976 until 1980 and almost a 1.000 were built.

Unfortunately I have not found a lot of information regarding Azeri Fitters. I would assume they remained in Azerbaijan after the collapse of Soviet Union in late 1991. The four aircraft were sent in 2003 to Ukraine for overhaul but have seen little use upon returning to their home base and were put into reserve.

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The kit

I have to admit, I love the Fitter family – not matter if it’s a fixed wing Su-7 or the swing wing -17, they have this kind of purposeful and powerful image to them that attracts me to them like moth to a flame. I guess part of this fascination comes from the fact, that I did take care of a museum Su-7 for a couple of years. So, when I’ve seen Modelsvit started expanding their -17 range, I was more than thrilled. Getting the kit, it struck me, as how much this small short-run company has advanced in just a few years. When I built their Su-7BM a few years back, I was really excited, as it was a new tool, fit well and looked great! I have to say that this new kit sets the quality bar really high – not just for short-run kits but injected moulded kits in any scale!

The level of detail in this kit is better than in 1:48 KittyHawk and HobbyBoss Su-17 kits! Just check the in-progress post! The fit is really good throught and the only problem that I’ve had were main wing fences (again check the in progress post) and even they were sorted out with some patience. And that’s not all – Modelsvit include a thin foil masks in the kit (for both inside and outside of transparencies plus doppler radar, gun blast areas,…) and a small photo-etched fret which includes counter-measures dispensers and several antennas and aerials. There are also options to pose airbrakes open or closed and the canopy comes in single part for closed option or divided into windshield and canopy for open position. Marking options include several Soviet Air Force machines that fought in the Afghanistan war in 1980’s. While I initially planned to build one of those war horses, I’ve stumbled upon a photo of Azerbaijani M3 with a striking splinter camouflage and upon finding Linden Hill decals for it, the decision was easy. I also chose to replace the plastic/PE combo of complicated pitot tube with new Master Model pitot tubes, which really improve the overall look of the model.

Step-by-step build: https://vvsmodelling.com/2017/12/06/modelsvit-172-su-17m3-fitter-h-build-article/

If you like Fitters, Soviet aircraft, or if you’re just looking for a first foray into the world of short-run models, I can’t say anything else but – GO FOR THIS KIT! You won’t be disappointed!

Model Data
Company: Modelsvit
Scale: 1:72
Aftermarket: Master Model brass pitots, Linden Hill Azerbaijani decals
Paints used: Mr.Paint (MRP-197 Su-27/33 Light Blue Grey, Tan (Mix of MRP-167 Light Earth and MRP-214 Yellow Brown), MRP-166 Chestnut Brown, Dark Green (mixMRP-32 Green for Wheels and MRP-5 Basic Black), MRP–246 Light Arctic Grey, MRP-32 Green for Wheels, MRP-195 Sukhoi Cockpit Blue)
Alclad (ALC-103 Dark Aluminum, ALC-111 Magnesium, ALC-116 Semi Matt Aluminum, ALC-123 Exhaust Manifold, ALC-413 Hotmetal Blue)

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Progress shots

su17wip-1su17wip-2Ejection seat consists of, believe it or not, 23 parts! What you see here is 22 parts as I left of the commendably thin ejection seat lever to add at the end. All in all a model inside a model I could say and the level of detail is just great. The only problem are instructions as they are not very clear with the location of some of the tinier parts.

su17wip-3Nicely molded exhaust turbine

su17wip-4The exhaust pipe is of correct length and made out of 3 parts. It is a bit tricky to assemble, but for some time lost during the assembly, you get some really nice interior details and the dreadful seam lines that usually plague the exhaust halves, won’t be seen here.

su17wip-5Cockpit and front wheel well details is awesome as well – larger companies should be learning from a small short-run company like Modelsvit.

su17wip-6I’ve bypassed the instructions a bit here – instead of building the cockpit/front wheel well assembly first and then gluing everything into the fuselage halves, I found it easier to just glue the cockpit halves into each respective fuselage half and build on from there. And guess what, the fit is perfect!

su17wip-7Just look at the back wall details. Much better than with KittyHawk kit in larger scale. You get two different instrument panels – one with flat surface if you choose decal and one with all the little details if you fancy painting all the little details. I guess I’ll go with the later option and if I fail miserably, I still have a back up.

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As I suspected adding a few colours and some weathering to the front wheel bay brought out all the details. You even get some decals for this area!
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Another view of the front wheel well.
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Combination of decals for the side panels and carefully painted details creates a very convincing cockpit right out of the box.
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I am really sorry the beautiful details of the back wall will be mostly hidden by the ejection seat.
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View of the left hand cockpit/wheel well. Modelsvit, unlike so many bigger producers, didn’t forget to include throttle lever.
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23-piece K-36D ejection seat. I am really sorry that they are painted black with black leather and details get hidden away.
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Some drybrushing with Gray brought out details without exaggerating the effect.
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Fuselage went together rather fine – I only had some problems on the join line in front of the cockpit. It is possible that was of my own doing though.
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Main wheel well sidewalls have two functions – apart from the obvious details and the depth of the well, they also serve as spacers for the swing wing.
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Wings themselves are made of two halves; they are a bit too thick, but easily sanded down to achieve a perfect fit.
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Unfortunately I experienced a little bit of setback during this build. When sanding the intake ring for a better transition to the fuselage, I accidently sanded throguh the rather thin plastic and created a bite on the upper side. I somehow managed to fix this by using Milliput Superfine putty. Using metallic paint dry-brushed over the seams, reveals any seams that still might fixing.
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Wings completed without any hassle and dryfit to the fuselage shows a perfect fit!
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The main problem I had during the construction so far is the big wing fence near the wing pivot. It’s made of one piece with an aperture to slide the whole wing assembly through. And while the fit is great in the frontal area, there was quite a nasty gap on both top and bottom side along the way towards the trailing edge.
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Windshield is up, instrument panel with sighting glass and gun camera installed.
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Finally the wings attached and it looks like a Fitter at last!
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A bunch of little details added to the airframe. All the little intakes on the sides of the fuselage were drilled out. If you are asking what’s with the metallic paint – I drybrush it on to see the state of join lines and puttied areas.
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Although I’ve only seen Azerbaijani Fitters equipped with drop tanks, I don’t see any reason, why they wouldn’t carry classic Soviet weapons – I’ll be equipping it with two underwing drop tanks, two S-24 rockets and four FAB-500 M62 bombs.
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The only aftermarket item used on this bird will be a set of Master pitot tubes. Delicate little things that proved a bit challenging (diameters didn’t match perfectly) and I still have to fix the longer one a bit, but they look really awesome and 3D printed vanes are so thin yet flexible and a little mishandling won’t break them.
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Nice coat of primer makes a whole bunch of difference to the overall looks. Some little touchups were needed but nothing serious.
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First top colour. I had some problems determining the right paint to use, as all the photos of this rare birds I found have really bad photo reproduction resulting in colours appearing different from one photo to another.
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And first part of splinter camo pattern is applied. No major problems, apart from some slight overspray, but that will be easy to remedy.
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Green splinters added.
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Camouflage finished!
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Painting the details now – green dielectrics, exhausts and aluminum on the wing-sweep area.
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su17wip-36.jpgMix of Modelsvit stencils and Linden Hill Azeri decals was used. Although LH decals are a bit on the thick side, they caused no silvering and settled down nicely with some setting solution.
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Some details were added like different antennas, pitot tubes, fuel tanks etc.

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Flat coated, weapons attached, clear parts unmasked and almost ready for action. Canopy received a scratchbuilt hood.

24th Slovenian Nationals

BIC, Ljubljana, Slovenia; 18th November 2017

5th anniversary coming up

Hi everyone!

I can’t believe the time flies so fast – 5th anniversary of VVS Modelling blog is just around the corner. Just looking at the statistics, it look it’s been a good decision to set it up – more than 200 posts, 94 showcased models, in-progress shots, competition photos, reviews and more with several 100.000s of views.

But times go on and I’ve decided to refresh my blog and posting habits a bit. The first change you can find in the right side menu – Instagram and Facebook windows. As it is, social media sites are extremely popular and easier to reach viewers with than an old-fashioned blog sites. The later however enable you to showcase your work the way you want it and in much more organized way. So what I will try to do is combine the two technologies together.

For some time now, I am posting my work on Facebook and Instagram, where you can check basically on my daily progress with my models. When the model will be finished, two posts will be published on the blog – one with a full article, as is the case for a couple of years now, with short history of an aircraft and/or unit, the review of the kit and full gallery of finished photos. The other article will be a work in progress one – whole build in one post unlike the wip posts so far, that were broken up in several ones, the new way being more “reader friendly” I think.

Oh, and fear not – even if you “hate” social media sites and don’t have account for either that I am using – fear not. You don’t need an account to view the sites. Either click on the links on the right side menu or follow these direct links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VVSmodelling/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/vvs_modelling/

Happy modelling!

MiG-21MF ‘Fishbed-J’

I don’t do a lot of commission builds so this is more of an exception. A flight-simming friend did me a lot of favors in the last few months for which I am very grateful. And he’s a big MiG-21 fan so one thing led to another and I present you a ‘Fishbed’ made for him. It’s a well known Eduard MiG-21MF model in 1:48 scale. As he wished that the aircraft is on ground with a pilot in the cockpit, I’ve decided to go for weekend edition of this popular kit. I used Aerobonus resin pilot with ejection seat and Begemot decals for the stars and bort number as the kit comes only with one Slovak option.

The build was pretty much uneventful although I did experience some minor fit problems in the lower fuselage/wings join to the fuselage. Painting was done with combination of Alclad metallics and Mr.Paint lacquers.

Model Data
Company: Eduard
Scale: 1:48
Aftermarket: Begemot 48-002 MiG-21, Aerobonus MiG-21 pilot with ejection seat
Paints used: Mr.Paint (MRP-001 Russia Turquoise Cockpit, MRP-004 White, MRP-32 Green for Wheels, MRP-051 RLM04 Yellow, MRP-098 Light Gull Gray, MRP-049 Light Gray Blue, MRP-131 Interor Green, MRP-173 Tire-Rubber Matt, , MRP-186 Light Gray)
Alclad (ALC-101 Aluminum, ALC-103 Dark Aluminum, ALC-104 Pale Burnt Metal, ALC-106 White Aluminum, ALC-111 Magnesium, ALC-113 Jet Exhaust, ALC-123 Exhaust Manifold, ALC-405 Transparent Smoke, ALC-416 Hotmetal Sepia)

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Sukhoi Design Bureau doesn’t need special introduction. Established in 1939 by Pavel Sukhoi. While the WW2 designs didn’t reach much fame, it was the jet age, that made the OKB-51 (as the Bureau was labeled) most famous. Supersonic Su-7 fighter bomber developed into interceptor (-9 and -11) and attack line (-17, -20, -22 series), the Su-15 was made infamous shooting down KAL B747 and the sturdy attack jets Su-24 and Su-25 still form the backbone of Russian Air Force. But it was the Su-27 and the subsequent Flanker family, that made the Sukhoi name very famous in the West. Flanker’s long range, high payload and high maneuverability made this fighter an instant star of international airshows and a serious new threat to Western forces. Su-27 has evolved since its first flight 4 decades ago into a Su-35S ‘Flanker-E’, a highly capable super-maneuverable generation 4++ multirole fighter.

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After such a successful line of fighters, it is no surprise, Sukhoi OKB won the bid to produce new 5th generation stealth fighter with a factory designation T-50, also known as PAK-FA (Perspektivny Aviatsionny Kompleks Frontovoy Aviatsii). The prototype first flew in 2010 and to this day, 10 aircraft were built – 2 for static testing by TsAGI and 8 for flight testing. Currently, the aircraft use the same engine as Su-35S, the Saturn 117, while the production aircraft are expected to be powered by the izdelyie 30 engine, which will be even more powerful and have fewer parts and lower fuel consumption.

Modelling the PAK-FA prototypes however poses a challenge. As we are talking about developmental aircraft, each new aircraft has certain differences compared to the previous. And even the same airframe gets changed during the testing scheme. For example, all the aircraft from 3rd prototype on feature slightly enlarged wingtips and modified tailfin root intakes. Luckily, there are plenty of photos available – I recommend checking the russianplanes.net for references.

The subject of my build was the fifth flying prototype T-50-5 (Blue 055). The prototype first flew on 27th October 2013. While the first four prototypes shared the white-grey geometrical splinter camo, the T-50-5 was the first to sport the new light blue/grey camo with feathered edges which soon gained the name ‘shark’. In June 2014, while landing, the right engine caught fire – test pilot Sergey Bogdan managed to safely land the aircraft but the airframe was extensively damaged. The aircraft was sent for repairs and was later returned to flight testing with the new, hard-edged shark camo. It is also of interest, that despite being repainted, several parts of the airframe remain unpainted and/or are painted slightly differently.

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The kit

I have described my opinions of the kit during the work in progress articles (click HERE) so here’s just a little recap. There are only two injected plastic kits available on the market in 1:72 scale – Zvezda (also reboxed by Revell and Academy) and HobbyBoss (also reboxed by Ark Models). While both models suffer several shape-based inaccuracies, especially in the intake area, HobbyBoss made a better effort with the nose area. However, they also managed to misjudge the scale, making this model more of 1:60 scale, so forget of using any aftermarket items, not designed exactly for HobbyBoss kit – ejection seats for example. As with Zvezda, you can build the first two prototypes from the kit – with the included decals and two different canopies as option. The model builds rather nicely but the fit of the intakes is challenging and will require filling and sanding. Landing gear is rather complex to build while the rear wells are basic (front one is covered on ground). The exposed engine/exhaust area is also rather basic with some oversized details.
The decals used were the new Begemot T-50 decals designed especially for this kit. They are thin, settle down nicely but unfortunately, my copy was slight misaligned. While the wingwalk dotted lines are rather tricky to apply, the decals themselves are great, enabling you to build any airframe of the T-50 project. Stencils however are more oriented towards the first four prototypes so for a shark scheme, a trip to the spare decals folder or some ingenuity are necessary. And you get stencils for all the weapons that PAK-FAs were so far seen armed with during testing.

Model Data
Company: HobbyBoss
Scale: 1:72
Aftermarket: Begemot 72-065 Sukhoi T-50 (HobbyBoss)
Paints used: Mr.Paint (MRP-197 Su-27/33 Light Blue Grey, MRP-40 Gunship Grey, MRP-105 USN Modern Blue Grey, MRP-202 Su-34 Light Blue, MRP-89 USN Light Gull Grey, MRP-38 Light Grey, MRP-90 Lemon Grey)
Alclad (ALC-110 Copper, ALC-123 Exhaust Manifold, ALC-113 Jet Exhaust, ALC-104 Pale Burnt Metal, ALC-416 Hotmetal Sepia)

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Sukhoi T-50-5R – part 6

It’s painting time!

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The model was first primed with Mr.Paint Fine Surface Primer Gray.

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Followed by Flanker Light Blue Grey and the patches made by Su-34 Light Blue and USN Lt. Ghost Grey. Dielectric panels were painted with USN Light Gull Grey.

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I was under the impression, that the top should be Aubergine Grey of the rather infamous “Eggplant scheme” worn by some Su-34s and Su-35S’. But it proved to be too violet in reference to photos of the real bird. I opted to go with the Gunship Grey in the end and I don’t regret it. The ‘Shark scheme’ is born!

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With all the details painted up, it’s time for some decal work, courtesy of Begemot decals and some light weathering to bring out some of the details and to adjust the tones of some colours.

Sukhoi T-50-5R – part 5

It’s been quite a while since my last post, but between soon becoming a parent, modelling in 1:1 scale (building apartment) and hectic work schedule (keeping aircraft safe), there’s little spare time left. Anyhow, some progress has been made anyway. I also apologize for the lower quality of some photos – moving things around, I cannot have a dedicated mini photo studio anymore – I promise the finished model will be properly photographed.

pak-27Ventral missile nacelles are located a few millimetres too forward, preventing the option for the levcons to move – see the difference between the corrected and not corrected position.

pak-28The radome has several dielectric strips on top and bottom side which were added using stretched sprue.

pak-29Thrust vectoring engine equipped Sukhois have downward and inward turned nozzles when shut down. According to the reference photos, they can be either closed or open. I’ve cut the nozzles at the angle and while this not being the perfect solution, with some sanding and adjusting it creates convincing enough effect.pak-30Painting commenced by applying Alclad Exhaust Manifold, followed by Pale Burnt Metal and masking thin strips.

pak-31This was then oversprayed with Copper and after unmasking it revealed the effect I was after. But no worries, this ain’t the final result yet.

pak-32I brushed painted some Aluminum next.

pak-33And added further Aluminum staining with a sponge. At this point, I wasn’t really satisfied with the hand brushed details, so I had to improve the looks in the next steps. pak-34pak-35This is how the engine/exhaust area looks now – still not entirely satisfied but looks much better than it did before – unfortunately, these photos don’t do justice to the work. There are still washes to be done as well as some additional discolouration, but I think I can now move on painting the airframe!

Sukhoi T-50-5R – part 4

After a short vacation I am back with PAK-FA build!

As I want to depict aircraft at rest with engines shut down, several modifications are needed. As is the case with most aircraft, hydraulically operated control surfaces drop when the former bleeds off after some time.

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I have already prepared the ailerons so I’ll show you, how I prepared the flaps. I first glued the flaps actuator covers to the bottom of the wing.

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In the next step, I temporary attached flaps to the upper wing with some masking tape and as the flaps were in the correct position, I glued the actuator covers to the flaps.

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Next step was cutting off the flaps actuator covers attached to the flaps.

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The material of the actuator covers is quite thick so it needs to be thinned. I just used fresh No.11 blade to scrape the interior of it. You can see the difference between the thinned and freshly cut covers on the above photo. What you achieve by thinning is that the narrower cover will slide into a wider (and thinned on the inside) cover, that’s fixed on the wing.

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I attached an Evergreen half round strips to the edges of flaps, ailerons and slats.

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Half round strips were also used for the rounded mounting points for LEVCONs.

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HobbyBoss’ kit depicts early 1st and 2nd prototypes. They were not equipped with radar and featured several panels on the nose which were removed on later models and had to be filled and sanded. Also the massive nose mounted pitot tube is missing on later prototypes and had to be cut off in the kit and nose remodeled using some putty and sanding sticks.

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The base of the tails feature air inlets with a splitter plate in the middle. Basic plastic parts had just a shallow representation of these intakes so I cut them out, sanded and added the splitter plates made of sheet styrene.

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And here she is – All the manuvering surfaces temporarily attached to finally show her shape. There are some little things still to be done, but she is surely getting to the primer stage.

 

Since the last update, I’ve been working on the cockpit so I can finally put the fuselage together.

Ejection seat itself is sufficiently detailed in the scale. I however cannot understand why, if they included the photo-etched details, they did not include the harnesses as well. Oh well, out with the Tamiya masking tape – maybe not perfect but much better than the stock seat.

I’ve mentioned the scale problem earlier. Here’s a comparison of kit’s seat to NeOmega resin one. See the difference! That’s exactly one of the reason, you cannot use any available aftermarket sets and I haven’t found any for the HobbyBoss kit.

Adding some colour to the black seat. At least the newer generation K-36 seats have olive padding instead of black leather as on earlier versions.

Adding some dark wash and drybrushing brings out all the lovely details and gives more depth, more 3D feel to the seat. Ejection seat handles are included on the PE set, but they were lost to the Styrenosaurus Rex so I’ve made my own from thin copper wire and correctly depicted the black cover for them, missing on the PE fret.

Cockpit tub detailing is done mostly with PE parts. I have to say that I haven’t seen any of the actual PAK-FA cockpit photos yet, only simulator ones, that highly resemble the ones found in the 4++ gen Su-35S. Accuracy, apart from the front instrument panel, is questionable at best. The problem is, that while the PE parts are sized spot on for plastic parts, the details on them are really faint and are a core to paint.

Using tooth pick, needles and similar pointy tools and with the helpful magnification of my Optivisor I managed to paint the pit adequately, I would say. Thin dark wash helped to bring out some details, mainly the panel lines.

Large MFDs with green buttons on the frames, were painted gloss black for shut-down monitor views. Instrument panel not yet fixed on this shot.

And the tub finally fixed into the fuselage. The fit so far is great. There are some details still missing in the cockpit, especially the HUD and details behind the ejection seat, but they will be added later, before closing the canopy.