Category: Sukhoi


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 Su-30 ‘Flankers’ are a two-seat multi-role derivative of the famous Su-27 fighter. There are two main versions of Su-30s. Irkut plant produces the canard and TVC equipped Su-30MK series (in use with Algeria, India, Malaysia, Russia), while the Komsomolsk-on-Amur KnAAZ (ex-KnAAPO) plant until recently produced the Su-30MK2 series, which don’t have canards and TVC engines but are easily recognizable by taller, straight tipped vertical fins and are in use with China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Venezuela, Uganda and in smaller numbers with Russian Air Force. Supposedly Su-30M2s in the Russian Air Force serve as training aircraft for the single-seat Su-27SM multi-role fighters.

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Pavel Sukhoi

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Pavel Osipovich Sukhoi was born in 1895 in near the now Belorussian town of Vitebsk. In 1915 he went to Moscow’s Technical School but with the outbreak of World War 1 he was drafted into the Imperial Russian Army and was discharged in 1920 and in 1925 finally graduated. In the same year he started working as designer/engineer with TsAGI aviation institute and in the following years designed aircraft like record breaking Tupolev ANT-25 and TB-1 and TB-3 bombers. His career then rose to top positions at TsAGI and in the late ’30s he designed a light multipurpose aircraft Su-2. In September 1939, Pavel established his own design bureau (OKB) and he designed an excellent ground attack aircraft but with Stalin’s preference to Il-2, Su-6 didn’t see mass production. In 1949, his OKB was closed on Stalin’s order and Pavel had to work as Tupolev’s lead designer, but in 1953, after Stalin’s death, Sukhoi OKB was reestablish. His first successful design was Su-7 fighter-bomber which was the main aircraft of the type in 1960s, while the derivatives Su-9, Su-11 and the Su-15 formed the backbone of the interceptor units. Sukhoi OKB was also pioneering the variable-sweep design, creating Su-17 and Su-24 series of attack aircraft. One of his most ambitious projects was a Mach-3 bomber called T-4 Sotka. Pavel Sukhoi’s last design was T-10 (Su-27) but unfortunately he died in 1975 and did not see it fly.

The kit

Trumpeter’s Su-27 kits are widely available now for a few years and while they are not expensive and are readily available, most of them share several mistakes. One of the worst and basically impossible to correct is the wrong cross-section of the forward fuselage towards the nose, making the aircraft look to thin and LERX’ ending too early. The other mistake is that the main landing gear wells are posed at an angle when they should be level. Su-30MKK kit I used as a basis also has the problem that the vertical fins are too short and had to be replaced or modified. While not really difficult to build, there are some problematic areas that could be avoided by Trumpeter, especially the wing insert on the bottom of the wing.

When I first saw the photos of this memorial scheme, carried by 4th Su-30M2 prototype (Red 504), I had to build it as a tribute to a great aviation designer. When Caracal decals announced release of decals, including this scheme, I was thrilled as I could finally recreate this bird. Unfortunately, the decal application process was not a great experience. Despite being printed by Cartograf, which normally produce decals of highest quality, Caracal decals were very thick, prone to silvering, did not lay down into recessed details well and were not responding to setting solutions well. Painting diagrams can also be misleading. Unfortunately there’s just a few photos of the real aircraft, as it carried this scheme only for a short amount of time. The black colour of Mr. Sukhoi’s jacket is printed black while it should be Dark Gray. Despite all the problems, I somehow managed to pull it off and create another new Flanker for my Flanker collection.

Model Data
Company: Trumpeter
Scale: 1:72
Aftermarket: Caracal models decals, Master pitot tube, DreamModel replacement fins
Paints used: Mr.Paint (MRP-4 White, MRP-5 Black, MRP-32 Green for wheels, MRP-42 Red, MRP-47 Dark Gray, MRP-98 Light Gull Grey, MRP-196 Light Blue, MRP-198 Light Gray)
Alclad (ALC-101 Aluminum, ALC-104 Pale Burnt Metal, ALC-111 Magnesium, ALC-123 Exhaust Manifold, ALC-416 Hotmetal Sepia)

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Su-33 EggFlanker

A fun quick build to test the Su-33 line of Mr.Paint paints.

Hasegawa 1:egg scale Sukhoi Su-33 Sea Flanker.

Su-27SM ‘Flanker-B’

Su-27SM (serial modernized) is a program similar to NATO’s F-16 Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) one. The aim is to increase combat capabilities of Russian Flanker fleet as well as overhaul the airframes extending their service life. The results of this modernization are improved cockpit ergonomics with the so called glass-cockpit (majority of needle instruments replaced by three LCD displays), improved forward visibility due to offset IRST sensor as well as the ability to carry ‘smart’ air-to-ground weapons including laser guided bombs, TV and laser guided missiles as well as lethal anti-radar and anti-ship missiles. First airframes were completed in 2004 and the program is ongoing with several dozen fighters in operational use. Parallel to the SM, export version, labeled SKM, was derived, which differs from the SM by the inclusion of in-flight refueling probe. Indonesian Air Force is the sole operator so far.

The model represents a Flanker in use by the elite 4th Combat and Conversion Training Center (4 TsBP i PLS) at Lipetsk Air Base in Russia.

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Red 06 from the same unit – I took this photo at MAKS 2007.

Kit: Zvezda 1:72 built out of the box

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And on my Norwegian friend’s request, a family photos with Su-35S

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Su-35S ‘Flanker-E’ is the latest and very likely last version of the formidable Flanker series. It is not to be confused with the Su-35 of the late ’80s, which was the first to be designated Su-35 (aka Su-27M and T-10M). The first new Su-35 prototype, Su-35BM bort number 901, first took to the air in February 2008 and has since entered operational service. Featuring powerful Saturn 117 engines equipped with thrust-vectoring nozzles, reduced RCS, new sensor suit and ability to carry current and future air released weapons, this generation 4++ fighter is a force to be reckoned with. And since I’ve seen a few of its displays in person, I can safely say, it is probably the most maneuverable fighter jet in the world.

The model was built out of the box, with some little scratchbuilt details. You can visit in progress posts by clicking HERE.

Photo that inspired me to build aircraft in this configuration:

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original photo Vyacheslav Babaevskiy – http://russianplanes.net/id97785

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HD video of Su-35S display last year at Le Bourget salon.

Trumpeter, 1:144

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Model will appear in one of the future Scale Aircraft Modelling magazine issues.

Su-7BM ‘Fitter-B’

Modelsvit 1:72, Pavla vacform canopy, Pavla KS-3/4 ejection seat

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Model to be published in one of future issues of Scale Aircraft Modelling magazine.

Trumpter 1:72 UB kit, converted to UBM2, Linden Hill decals

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Model to be published in Scale Aircraft Modelling magazine

out of the box build with home made decals

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Aires exhausts, Dreammodel PE set, Quickboost nose, Quickboost stabilizers, Armory Moskit missile, Begemot decals

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