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Sukhoi T-50-5R ‚Äď part 2

Hi everyone!

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

pak-5

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! ūüôā 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.

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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.

2016 retrospect

Hello everybody!

2016 is in it’s last hours and I guess it’s time to wrap things up.

2016 hasn’t been my most productive year, to be honest. After projecting most of my modelling energy into finishing the ‘model of the year’ – AMK’s MiG-31BM ‘Foxhound’, I’ve set up a leasurily pace of modelling. It feels really good, not to worry about speeding up, but taking time to build something.

My readership also showed increased interest in my work with yearly page view rising from slightly more than 108.000 in 2015 to more than 186.000 in 2016! THANK YOU!!!

What brings in 2017? I’ll try to follow the same path – build unorthodox looking prototypes, challenge myself with complex builds and/or paint schemes, try something new and build something other than aircraft. Oh and the first project will be a double WW2ish project so stay tuned.

To my readers and followers – have a happy modelling year 2017!

2016 finished builds

March
AMK 1:48 MiG-31BM ‘Foxhound’
https://vvsmodelling.com/2016/03/17/mikoyan-mig-31bm-foxhound/
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April
Planet Models 1:72 Saab 210-I Lilldraken
https://vvsmodelling.com/2016/04/29/saab-210-draken/saab210-1-2

May
RS Models 1:72 Nothrop XP-79B
https://vvsmodelling.com/2016/05/10/northrop-xp-79b/cover

June
Hasegawa Eggplane Su-33 Flanker
https://vvsmodelling.com/2016/06/04/su-33-eggflanker/eggflanker-2

August
ICM 1:72 Polikarpov Po-2VS
https://vvsmodelling.com/2016/08/26/polikarpov-po-2vs/
title

September
Eastern Express 1:288 Antonov An-71 ‘Madcap’
https://vvsmodelling.com/2016/09/24/an-71-madcap/title

October
Zvezda 1:72 MiG-29S ‘Fulcrum-C’
https://vvsmodelling.com/2016/10/23/mig-29-9-13-fulcrum-c-swifts/cover-1

November
Trumpeter 1:72 Su-30M2 ‘Flanker-G’
https://vvsmodelling.com/2016/11/13/su-30m2-flanker-g-4th-prototype/su30m2_cover

HobbyBoss 1:350 Yasen class submarine
https://vvsmodelling.com/2016/11/26/k-560-severodvinsk-2016-yasen-class-ssn/cover

December
Eastern Express 1:144 Beriev Be-200ChS Altair
https://vvsmodelling.com/2016/12/27/beriev-be-200chs-altair/cover

 

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.

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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.

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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)

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K-560 Severodvinsk is the first submarine of the new Russian Yasen class of nuclear powered attack subs. It is supposed to replace both Akula class SSNs as well as Oscar class SSGNs.

Construction work started in 1993 but due to the Russian financial crisis of the ’90s after the break-up of the Soviet Union, work on the newest sub restarted in 2003. Unfortunately launch date slipped even further when in the second half of decade, the Borei SSBNs were given a priority and Severodvinsk made its first sail and sea trials in September 2011, with official introduction to the Russian Navy in May 2014. There are 5 Yasen class submarines under construction at the moment, with the 6th scheduled for summer next year.

The submarine is equipped with the latest sensors and weapons of the Russian Navy. Besides 650mm and 530mm torpedoes, this sub also carries the latest anti-ship and anti-submarine missiles, cruise missiles, land-attack cruise missiles and mines. The heart of the sensor suite is spherical sonar MGK-600 Irtysh-Amfora mounted in the forward hull – the reason why the torpedo launchers were moved to the sides. The crew consists of only 90 sailors – 44 less than comparable USN Virginia class.

The kit

Modern nuclear submarines are quick and easy models to build and Yasen is no different. It goes together quite nicely but there is a hull long seam to take care of and unfortunately torpedo tubes are right in the way of it, so some care has to be taken of. Yasen subs are all grey – very dark grey. To break apart the monotonous single scheme, I’ve used an off-black paint as a basis and black for the sonar parts. I’ve noticed a tile pattern on one of the close up photos and tried to recreate that as well to even further break up the all grey scheme and I am quite happy with the result. Unfortunately the biggest fault of this kit are decals – especially the one on the bow as it doesn’t contour the shape of the bow well – I thought it was my fault but after checking several other builds on the internet, I’ve seen every modeller was struggling with that. That apart, it is a really nice kit and a welcome addition to any modern sub collection.

Model Data
Company: HobbyBoss
Scale: 1:350
Aftermarket: /
Paints used: Mr.Paint (MRP-4 White, MRP-5 Black, MRP-173 Tire/Rubber)
Alclad (ALC-101 Aluminum, ALC-104 Pale Burnt Metal, ALC-110 Copper)

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23rd Slovenian Nationals

BIC, Ljubljana, Slovenia; 19th November 2016

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)

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.

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Swifts / Strizhi / –°—ā—Ä–ł–∂–ł

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.

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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)

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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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mig29-13

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.

mig29-1

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.

mig29-2

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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mig29-5

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.