Category: Russia


Beriev Be-200ChS Altair

Beriev Design Bureau was established in 1934 and is the synonym for the amphibian aircraft not only in Russia but on the world level as well. While most of the amphibians were propeller driven like WW2 era MBR-2 and Cold War Be-6 ‘Madge’ and Be-12 ‘Mail’ aka ‘Chaika’ with the advent of jet age, the constructors soon started to look into application of jet engines on amphibian aircraft. R-1 was the first experimental jet powered amphibian in the early ’50s with the Be-10 entering service later in the decade. Later in the ’70s, Beriev teamed up with Bartini for the experimental futuristic looking VVA-14 of which two prototypes were built. The next Beriev’s jet amphibian project was A-40 Albatros; developed in the ’80s only one prototype was finished with another in the works, when Soviet Union collapsed and the financial crisis shelved further development. To this day, the A-40 is the biggest jet-powered amphibian in the world and the single prototype set 140 world records. It’s current status is unknown as there were some reports of order for the Russian Navy.

be1

Beriev Be-200 is based on the A-40 Albatros design and entered service in 2003. It’s name, ‘Altair’, has two meanings – one is the name of the star in ‘Eagle’ constellation. The other one is the acronym for Al (as Albatros A-40), ta (Taganrog – the place where sea trials take place) and ir (Irkut – the production place). The aircraft is mainly used in firefighting role for which it can carry up to 12 tonnes of water but can also be used as maritime patrol, search and rescue, cargo and passenger roles, seating up to 72 passengers. While the aircraft was built in Irkut, the production line has recently moved to Taganrog.

Be-200s are currently in service with the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations and Azerbaijan with further orders from Russian MoD and China. It’s first operational use was in 2004 on Italian Sardinia, fighting the forest fires with the Italian services. The success of the operations saw the Be-200s used in Italy, Portugal, Indonesia, Greece, Israel, Serbia and Russia.

be2

The kit

EE’s Be-200 kit is a typical short run kit. Inconsistent panel lines (engraved though), clunky details and ill fit on most of the parts were plaguing this build. But I have to admit it is not that bad in the end. Engines, although rather complex to assemble, represent nicely the depth of D-436TP turbofans. While it is certainly not a ‘shake and bake’ kit, with a little bit of putty, sanding sticks and patience, the lump of plastic can be built into a nice miniature of this unique aircraft. Decals, although flat, are really thin and get into the engraved details without the need of setting solutions. The only inaccuracy I noticed were the main gear doors. They are designed to be attached to the sides of the well and close towards each other. Reference photos show, that they are actually hinged at the front of the wells and close backward. There’s also a third small door covering the forward support strut. I’ve scratchbuilt the missing doors and attached the others according to photographs. Oh, and don’t forget to add a lot of nose weight – the more the better. All in all, despite some problems during construction, this was a rather pleasurable build and brought me another unique looking aircraft into my collection.

 

Model Data
Company: Eastern Express
Scale: 1:144
Aftermarket: /
Paints used: Mr.Paint (MRP-4 White, MRP-41 Red, MRP-45 Dark Blue, MRP-186 Light Grey)

cover

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.

su-30m2-504_04_big

Pavel Sukhoi

pavel_sukhoi

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)

su30m2_cover

MiG-29 9.13 ‘Fulcrum-C’; Swifts

Mikoyan MiG-29 doesn’t need a special introduction. One of the most famous (and feared by the West) 4th generation jet fighters in the world, it first flew in 1977 and entered service with Soviet Air Force in 1982. Designed to replace the MiG-23 in Frontal Aviation units, the requirement to operate from rugged, damaged or unprepared runways resulted in reinforced landing gear and anti-FOD measures, including the mudguard and closing jet intakes with auxiliary intakes on the top of leading edge root extension.
First version to be put into service was MiG-29A, which was externally recognized by having small ventral stabilizers (like Su-27 series) and different landing gear and airbrake design. MiG-29B which soon followed was built in more than 800 examples, a lot of them downgraded for export, which are still in use today in many air forces including Serbia, India, Bulgaria, Iran, to name but a few.
The next upgrade that happened in the ’80s was the so called izdeliye 9.13, which is also the subject of this build. MiG-29S 9.13 ‘Fulcrum-C’ introduced an enlarged dorsal hump, which is the most recognizable feature compared to 9.12. 9.13 could carry the longer ranged air-to-air R-27ER missile, the enlarged dorsal hump carries an active radar jammer as well as additional fuel and the airframe strengthening brought the total armament capability to 4.000kg. This version also included an improved flight control system slightly improving maneuverability.

16

Swifts / Strizhi / Стрижи

The beginnings of aerobatic group Strizhi go back to the late ’80s, when a group of pilots started training in precision formation flying through aerobatic maneuvers with their debut performance on May 6th, 1991 and their international debut a few months later at an airshow in Sweden. In the beginning, the group performed with 9.12 version of MiG-29, painted in white and blue, but later switched to 9.13 and repainted their aircraft into current scheme of red and white with blue swift symbol on top and bottom of the aircraft. UB (9.51) twoseaters were also used in both liveries. Strizhi recently celebrated their 25th anniversary and Zvezda celebrated this event by releasing their new 9.13 kit with Strizhi markings and box artwork.The team is based, like the Russian Knights Flanker equipped team at Kubinka Air Base and usually performs as a 5- or 6-ship while a 4-ship flight usually flies with a 5-ship Russian Knights team during celebrations of special events, like the 9th May parade over the Red Square in Moscow.

171

The kit

There isn’t much to say to this kit, that I haven’t already said in my previous in-progress threads (PART1, PART2). Despite some small shortcomings, the kit is really a joy to build, is accurate and it’s the first MiG-29 kit in 1:72 that has correctly depicted open jet intakes and closed auxiliary intakes. The later are open only when the aircraft is on ground and the engines are running (from start-up to take-off and from landing to shutting down the engines). The engraved detail is well defined if a bit shallow, mostly on the curved surfaces like LERX. There are no engraved rivets present but I don’t mind that, as they are more often than not over emphasized and don’t look real. With a multitude of riveting tools present today on the market, making you own shouldn’t be a problem. If building the Swifts version, the easiest way of applying the top decals would be to wait with vertical stabilizers installation until after decaling. Decals themselves proved excellent, thin enough and didn’t require any setting solutions. All in all, an excellent kit and I’ll be sure adding a few more to my collection.

Model Data
Company: Zvezda
Scale: 1:72
Aftermarket: none
Paints used: Mr.Paint (MRP-4 White, MRP-45 Dark Blue, MRP-98 Light Gull Grey), Revell (36 Red, enamel)
Alclad (ALC-101 Aluminum, ALC-104 Pale Burnt Metal, ALC-111 Magnesium, ALC-123 Exhaust Manifold, ALC-405 Transparent Smoke, ALC-416 Hotmetal Sepia)

cover-1

 

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.

Mikoyan MiG-31BM ‘Foxhound’

MiG-31 ‘Foxhound’ is a supersonic interceptor aircraft developed in the late 1970s for the use with Soviet Air Forces. It is an evolution of a legendary MiG-25 ‘Foxbat’ interceptor. After its first flight in 1981, it has entered the service in large numbers (more than 500 aircraft), protecting the vast borders of the Soviet Union. After the end of Cold War and breakup of the SU, the remaining aircraft continue to serve with the Russian and Kazakhstan Air Forces.

166988
Copyright – Yurij Vladimirovich – full res photo at http://russianplanes.net/id173408

MiG-31 is very capable interceptor. Using the datalink, four aircraft could cover the area 800-900km in length and could intercept cruise missiles, UAVs, all kinds of aircraft at any altitude. It’s great speed of M2.83, powerful radar with detection of 200km and IRST and advanced targeting computer that could track 10 targets and attack 4 of them in combination with Vympel R-33 long-range missiles, made the ‘Foxhound’ a really dangerous foe.

MiG-31BM (and BSM in case of aircraft without in-flight refueling capability) is an improved upgraded version of the baseline B version. It’s radar’s range was increased to 320km and its weapons computer can track 24 targets and simultaneously attack 6 of them. Its datalink system was improved, so it can interact not only with MiG-31s but also with other fighters and even surface-to-air missile batteries. BMs received new partially digital cockpits as a part of the upgrade. The most noticeable external differences between the B and BM are rear view mirror on the pilot’s canopy and 4 smaller under wing pylons instead of 2 larger. MiG-31BMs do not carry R-40 and R-60 missiles anymore, but they are equipped with short-range R-73s for self protection and medium-range R-77s, which are just entering service with the Russian Air Force.

Avantgarde Model Kits 1:48 MiG-31BM/BSM ‘Foxhound’

cover.jpg

There is little more that I can say about this kit. If you have followed this build through the last 3 months (you can still check the in progress posts up in the menu), you know what can be expected. I will first point out the “bad” things – panel lines could be slightly narrower, weak landing gear, no decals for the instrument panels (corrected for the upcoming B/BS kit), no photo-etched seat harnesses (corrected for the upcoming B/BS kit), omission of some smaller antennas (that could be included on PE fret) and there might be some other smaller details that have slipped my mind (but are noted in the in progress posts). Apart from these, as you can see rather trivial things, the kit is a joy to build. Very little filler was used, parts are nicely detailed, from the landing gear wells and struts up to missiles, exhausts and cockpit. If you don’t dig into the details, you can actually finish one in under a month.

It took me three months to finish this model. A lot of time was spent on searching for references and cross checking them with kit parts and painting little details, which will probably never be seen anyway. This model was also my first contact with the new Mr.Paint range of acrylic lacquers and all I can say is that I am sold! Hundreds of hours of work later, I can safely say that was my biggest modelling achievement yet and I am very thankful to AMK for sending me this sample and I hope, that I have done this kit a justice.

Tips on recreating realistic model

Each aircraft has a unique weathering scheme – check sites like russianplanes.net and airliners.net for reference photos. AMK give you multiplay display options, especially regarding maneuvering surfaces. If you are modelling your aircraft parked, slats and flaps should be in the up position. Flaps are deployed only during take-off and landing, while slats are deployed only during air-refueling. Horizontal stabilizers should be posed either neutal/level or with trailing edge slightly dropped. Air-refueling probe is most likely stowed, but can be deployed sometimes. IRST sensor is stowed 99% of time. Weapons system operators forward periscope can be either stowed or deployed.

Stepan Karnach

The model represents MiG-31BM ‘Foxhound’, Red 37, RF-90901 based at Novosibirsk airport in 2015. The aircraft carriers the name of a Hero of the Soviet Union awardee pilot Stepan Karnach. More photos of Red 37: http://russianplanes.net/regs/RF-90901

karnach_30573_s

Stepan Andreyevich Karnach was born in 1918. He graduated from the pilots school in 1940. He fought in the Great Patriotic War since its beginning in June 1941. He was fighting on Southern, Krim and Steppe fronts flying initially the I-16 fighter. On 9th August 1943, he rammed his fighter into a Bf109 fighter and safely landed his damaged plane. On 4th February 1944, he was awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union and Order of Lenin awards for flying 270 combat sorties, 70 air battles, 12 personal kills and 4 shared kills. After that, he served on 1st and 2nd Ukrainian fronts and finished the WW2 with 346 combat missions, 84 air battles, 16 personal and 4 shared kills. After the war, he continued his career in the Air Force until his retirement, reaching the rank of General-Major. He died in 1991 in Odessa.

 

Typhoon SSBN

Typhoon (aka by its Soviet name Akula, Project 941) was the largest class of submarines ever built. They got most famous in the West in the movie adaption of Clancy’s novel The hunt for the Red October.

This kit came together in the so called value boxing together with USS Cole. While I normally build subs in 1:350 scale, I did an exception here. The model itself is quite easy to build, but there are a number of inaccuracies, the rear part being almost completely fictitious.

typhoon-1

MiG Ye-150

Ever since I’ve seen Ye-166 (actually a Ye-152-2) at Monino museum near Moscow, I wanted to build a model of it. Unfortunately no-one would release such a model… well, not until recently. Modelsvit released not only the “father” of the family, the Ye-150, but also I-3U, which preceded the heavy interceptor program, and they promised to bring us other models of this program as well – I just hope crisis in the Ukraine will not impact the release schedule too much.

Mikoyan-Gurevich-Ye-150

MiG Ye-150 – author unkown

Ye-150 first flew in July 1960. While it bears the resemblance to the MiG-21 fighters, it is a much much bigger beast altogether. Just the information, that it is powered by an enormous Tumansky R-15 engine (of the MiG-25 fame), tells something. While the flight testing was plagued with extremely short lived engine (this early versions of R-15 had barely enough service hours for a ground check and one flight), aileron buffeting and other problems, the aircraft did achieve several successes – the highest speed achieved during testing was M2.65 using less than half a throttle, while the service ceiling of around 70.000ft (21.000m). Weapons systems was never integrated and flight tests ended after a little more than 40 flights.

Modelsvit’s Ye-150 is a typical short-run model. Some modelling experience is required as parts need to be cleaned up and the fit is tricky with some components. Especially troublesome was exhaust area (you can see it in the WiP section of this site), wings to fuselage join and the canopy area. Panel line engraving also lacks the finesse of their Su-7/17 kits and is a little bit on the heavy side. Model was painted with Alclad Polished Aluminium and finsihed with Alclad Semi-Matt coat.

And you have to admit it – it does look like it’s gonna punch holes in the skies, ain’t it?

And three of the Soviet X-fighters of my collection.

Je-150-10

 

MiG-21 was built in more than 11.000 examples so it is no wonder, many of them were used in experimental roles. MiG-21I’s main task was to test different wing shape profiles for the upcoming supersonic airliner Tu-144. Two prototypes were built, based on the MiG-21S airframe. Second prototype was tested at Gromov Flight Research Institute at Zhukovsky. Many cameras were added to the hump and top of the tail and the center-of-gravity was regulated by weights added to the nose and tail of the aircraft. MiG-21I first flight happened on 18th April 1968 and both aircraft made more than 140 flights – first prototype crashed during aerobatic routine, killing test pilot V. Konstantinov while the second prototype was transferred to the Monino Air Force Museum near Moscow, where it stands besides the Tu-144 until this day.

Kit: Modelsvit 1:72 MiG-21I Analog, 2nd prototype – out of the box

mig21I-26

And an interesting and rare video of some Analog flying I found on Youtube

 

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.

DSC_7274

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

Kit: Zvezda 1:72 built out of the box

 Su-27sm-21

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

Su-27sm-35 Su-27sm-36

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:

su35s

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

Su35S-74

Su35S-65

Su35S-67

Su35S-78

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