Category: WiP


 

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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.
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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.

MiG-29 9.13 Swifts pt.2

Painting is my favorite part of model building and this scheme provided some challenge.

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Some dread over painting white, but with Mr.Paint paints, opacity is not an issue – even with the dreaded White. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get the suitable red from their range and had to resort to a Revell enamel from my collection. Masking the tails for the MiG inscriptions was a process of its own – first tracing the decal on a piece of paper, then cutting it out, retracing its outline on the tail with a 1mm offset and masking it.

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Metal shrouds on the exhaust are were painted alternating with two different Alclad paints – Dark Aluminum and Magnesium, but unfortunately the effect is not really shown in this photo.

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Exhausts on MiG-29s are truly interesting from the painting perspective. I’ve used a bunch of different Alclad paints, chipping, Tamiya weathering sets and oil washes to bring the details out. No, they are not as detailed as resin replacement, but with proper weathering techniques, they look great nevertheless.

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Decaling was an interesting affair as well. They perform nicely and do not silver. However the design is a bit complicated. The bird motive on the top is made of only 3 decals – the body and separate wings. The problem arises when you apply the wing decals over the tail extensions. I actually cut the decals to remedy this problem. Fortunately Zvezda’s design team was clever enough to include spare strips of blue, white and silver to correct such problems.

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Despite being broken into more pieces, the lower bird motive was even harder to apply than the upper one – mainly due to the fact, the shape of the fuselage with engine intakes is more complex. In the end though, with the help of hairdryer, the decals settled down and into the engravings nicely enough.

MiG-29 9.13 Swifts pt.1

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Hi everyone! Another day, another project!

Earlier this year, Zvezda released long anticipated new model of the famous MiG-29 fighter, namely the 9.13 version with slightly bigger spine than the baseline 9.12 version. Just a few months later, a new boxing was released with decals for the Swifts aerobatic group, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Upon first inspection, the model presents a typical new generation Zvezda kit. Finely engraved details but without rivet detail, nice wheelbay surfaces of correct shapes and dimensions but no wiring, basic cockpit and a nice selection of armament. Indeed, buying the Swifts version of the kit will considerably fill your armament spares box. Decals are printed in matt and appear slightly thick, but more on that when we get to decalling.

I will bring forward some downsides of the build so far, but follow closely, as not everything is as black as this post might suggest.

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Part of the main wheel wells. There are pin marks in there, but truth be told, when installed, they are hardly visible, they are easy to remove if spotted before assembly (or warned by me :D) and are the only visible pin marks I have noticed in the entire kit.

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Engine intakes are done similar to their Su-27SM – they are two part and split along the edge. I am not a fan of such design as it requires the seam cleanup along the entire length of the engine nacelle – luckily, there’s not a lot of details in this section, so the lost panel lines are easily rescribed and a plus – intake lips are really thin!

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An unusual design of the forward part of the fuselage leaves some gaps (I am quite sure it’s not my fault as I’ve seen other modellers with the same problem). Luckily, cleanup again is quite straightforward, especially using water based putty like (Deluxe Materials Perfect Plastic Putty).

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Cockpit and the ejection seat are basic – decals (slightly out of register) for the instruments mimic the photos of the real aircraft. As I am building this model OOB and with closed canopy, I didn’t bother with super detailing, but the next will certainly be improved.

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The new generation of Zvezda kits includes the transparent plastic which has a soft elastic feel to it. Good thing is that it is not as brittle as normally transparencies are but on the other hand, clarity of the parts can be an issue and in my case, the main canopy was sort of squashed a little, sitting too low and too wide. Due to its elasticity, I force-glued it to the fuselage but nevertheless I couldn’t get a really perfect fit.

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Despite my critics, I have to admit, those are the only ones I had during the construction of the model. Apart from some minor things mentioned before, the model really falls together, is very accurate and so far, I have been really enjoying building it.

MiG-31BM; pt.14

Last days, I took time and finish the missile loadout. Several modellers have asked me why I won’t use the R-77 missiles, you get in the kit. Well, I am building aircraft according to photos and I have no proof yet, that the unit this MiG is assigned to, have received R-77s yet. The R-77 missile is just entering service with Russian Air Force, so in the near future, I guess all MiG-31 units can expect to receive these missiles, so if you want to include them on your model, it will most likely be just a little “in the future” build.

Anyhow, here’s how I dealt with the missiles.