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24th Slovenian Nationals

BIC, Ljubljana, Slovenia; 18th November 2017

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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.

Sukhoi T-50-5R – part 2

Hi everyone!

As promised, here is the second part of the slow progress on the T-50-5R.

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Insides of the jet intake trunks are plagued with 3 pin marks each. I’ve only bothered two fill the front two, as the last one can’t be seen anyway. HobbyBoss did opt at representing the full length intake, but the engineering to do so is far away from accurate as well as practical.

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The intakes themselves are too narrow – the fit to the lower fuselage is less than stellar with bad seams and even gaps on the inner side of the intakes. Filling and sanding is in order to rectify those, but width can hardly be corrected if at all…

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Intake trunks are made of two halves and turbine at the end. You then insert these sub assemblies into the lower half of the fuselage where they have to align with the forward part of the intake as well as the inner structure of the trunk, moulded on the wheel wells. So much about seamless intakes – good luck with that! 🙂 Luckily, little of them will be seen when finished, mainly obstructed by levcons. Oh and before you correct me, that the turbine blades are rather dark metal – I usually use lighter shades for pieces that will be installed in the dark places, to be seen at all.

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And finally all the lower fuselage sub assemblies fixed and calling this part done. Next step will be building the cockpit and hopefully finishing it by the end of the week.

Hi everyone!

After almost 4 months of modelling absence (had some pretty good reasons) I’m back! I am happy to say that in the meantime I have achieved Approach Procedural rating in my Air Traffic Controller career and another happy news – a new scale modeller (hopefully) is growing up in my wife’s belly. I am building a new apartment to boot, so yeah, modelling time is a bit sparse, so this build will be a rather slow one, I guess, but what the heck – scale modelling is more of a marathon than a sprint anyway.

The topic of this build will be Russia’s latest fighter, the 5th generation Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA. I have already built a model of the first prototype a few years back, when Zvezda was the first to release it in plastic form in 1:72 scale. This time, I will be building the fifth prototype. The fifth prototype was the first, not to feature the white/grey geometrical camouflage but instead a rather smart dark grey with feathered edges over light blue, a scheme that soon got the nickname ‘Shark’. Unfortunately in 2013, during one of the test flights, a problem appeared, and the plane caught fire after the pilot successfully landed and exited the stricken aircraft. The fire was extinguished and the aircraft ferried back to the Komsomolsk-on-Amur plant for refurbishment. After extensive repairs and upgrading phase, the aircraft returned to the testing program with designation T-50-5R and a hard-edged dark grey over light blue camo, similar to the airframes 056 and 058. However, it would seem that during the initial flights, some parts of the aircraft were in different colours or unpainted, giving the aircraft an interesting and patchy and surprisingly weathered appearance.

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For this build, I will be using HobbyBoss’ “1:72” PAK-FA kit. You may ask yourself why I used quote markings for the scale? Because it is quite a bit bigger than 1:72 really. Compared to Zvezda, it has better shaped nose area and the transition of engine covers into the spine, but it’s still poor in some areas, like jet intakes for example. As the prototypes differ in details between each other, I’ll try to represent the 5R to the best of my abilities and explain the required modifications as we go.

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The first thing I did was to fill the vent behind the gun port – 5R uses different kind of venting system, consisting of 3 vents, which will be added later. The second thing was to remove the dome sensor behind the cockpit – it is not there on the photos of the patchy aircraft although it reappears on the repainted one. Third mod is the addition of the panels below the back side of the cockpit. There’s an antenna of some sort installed there on both sides and additional work will go in this area at a later stage.

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Wingtips from the third prototype on, are slightly enlarged so the inserts were made from sheet styrene.

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T-50-5R also features a number of strengthening plates on its back and yet again, they were made out of sheet styrene according to the available photos.

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And last but not least – as I will be displaying aircraft parked, all the maneuvering surfaces were cut out as they will be displayed in dropped position.