Tag Archive: air force


Sukhoi Su-17 series developed from the fixed wing Su-7 – the latter having poor low speed handling and the variable sweep wing on the -17 series improved this dramatically. First versions of Su-17 entered Soviet Air Force in 1970 and thus becoming the first swing-wing aircraft in Soviet inventory. The ground-pounder became very popular and was exported to many countries and saw combat action all around the globe. Several countries still use the type today, including Poland and Peru.

Su-17M3 evolved from the revised Su-17UM twin-seater, but instead of the second cockpit, it carries another fuel tank and some additional electronics in the enlarged hump. Doppler radar from the M2 was moved internally, air-to-air missile pylons were added under the wings and laser rangefinder/designator installed in the nose cone. Production of this variant lasted from 1976 until 1980 and almost a 1.000 were built.

Unfortunately I have not found a lot of information regarding Azeri Fitters. I would assume they remained in Azerbaijan after the collapse of Soviet Union in late 1991. The four aircraft were sent in 2003 to Ukraine for overhaul but have seen little use upon returning to their home base and were put into reserve.

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The kit

I have to admit, I love the Fitter family – not matter if it’s a fixed wing Su-7 or the swing wing -17, they have this kind of purposeful and powerful image to them that attracts me to them like moth to a flame. I guess part of this fascination comes from the fact, that I did take care of a museum Su-7 for a couple of years. So, when I’ve seen Modelsvit started expanding their -17 range, I was more than thrilled. Getting the kit, it struck me, as how much this small short-run company has advanced in just a few years. When I built their Su-7BM a few years back, I was really excited, as it was a new tool, fit well and looked great! I have to say that this new kit sets the quality bar really high – not just for short-run kits but injected moulded kits in any scale!

The level of detail in this kit is better than in 1:48 KittyHawk and HobbyBoss Su-17 kits! Just check the in-progress post! The fit is really good throught and the only problem that I’ve had were main wing fences (again check the in progress post) and even they were sorted out with some patience. And that’s not all – Modelsvit include a thin foil masks in the kit (for both inside and outside of transparencies plus doppler radar, gun blast areas,…) and a small photo-etched fret which includes counter-measures dispensers and several antennas and aerials. There are also options to pose airbrakes open or closed and the canopy comes in single part for closed option or divided into windshield and canopy for open position. Marking options include several Soviet Air Force machines that fought in the Afghanistan war in 1980’s. While I initially planned to build one of those war horses, I’ve stumbled upon a photo of Azerbaijani M3 with a striking splinter camouflage and upon finding Linden Hill decals for it, the decision was easy. I also chose to replace the plastic/PE combo of complicated pitot tube with new Master Model pitot tubes, which really improve the overall look of the model.

Step-by-step build: https://vvsmodelling.com/2017/12/06/modelsvit-172-su-17m3-fitter-h-build-article/

If you like Fitters, Soviet aircraft, or if you’re just looking for a first foray into the world of short-run models, I can’t say anything else but – GO FOR THIS KIT! You won’t be disappointed!

Model Data
Company: Modelsvit
Scale: 1:72
Aftermarket: Master Model brass pitots, Linden Hill Azerbaijani decals
Paints used: Mr.Paint (MRP-197 Su-27/33 Light Blue Grey, Tan (Mix of MRP-167 Light Earth and MRP-214 Yellow Brown), MRP-166 Chestnut Brown, Dark Green (mixMRP-32 Green for Wheels and MRP-5 Basic Black), MRP–246 Light Arctic Grey, MRP-32 Green for Wheels, MRP-195 Sukhoi Cockpit Blue)
Alclad (ALC-103 Dark Aluminum, ALC-111 Magnesium, ALC-116 Semi Matt Aluminum, ALC-123 Exhaust Manifold, ALC-413 Hotmetal Blue)

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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.

Saab 210 Draken

Swedish aviation designs have always been one of a kind and looking at the Saab J-35 Draken, 60 years after its maiden flight, the double-delta wing design still makes it look futuristic. As it was such a revolutionary design, Saab decided to build a 70% scale prototype to test the flight characteristics of such design. This was the only time, Saab designed a prototype testbed for any of its aircraft designs.

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Saab 210 performed its first take-off on 21st January 1952 in the hands of a test pilot Bengt Olow. The main goal was to test the flight characteristics at low speeds. Over the course of four years, the prototype made over 1.000 flights. With the revelation of J-35, the Saab 210 got an unofficial nickname of Lill-Draken (Little Dragon). The intake design was changed during the testing, my model representing the initial configuration. The aircraft can be now seen on display at Air Force museum in Linköping, Sweden.

PLANET MODELS 1:72 Saab 210-I Lilldraken “Initial Configuration”

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As this is quite an obscure aviation subject, chances are we will never see it in the injection molded form. But fear not – Planet Models deliver the kit in both Initial and Final configuration. Keep in mind though, that we are talking about a true multimedia kit – landing gear in white metal, canopy in vacform and all the rest in resin, which makes building this little model quite challenging. The resin itself is of great quality – no evident air bubble holes, finely engraved, thin edges. Unfortunately, building it was not as easy. The whole cockpit/front fuselage is too low, which creates quite a big step on the lower side of the fuselage. The same thing goes for the intakes as well. A lot of puttying and sanding had to be done to blend in all the steps. The fit of the intakes on the top also gave me troubles which even resulted in sanding through the top of the nose, followed by a lengthy repair works. Vacform canopy is also quite tricky to attach and lots of trimming was required along with the addition to canopy rail guides that fixed it in place. As for the accuracy goes – I don’t have any plans to compare it to, but according to the few available photos, the canopy appears slightly too long and not as bubbly as on the real thing. The front section from the windshield to the nose might also be slightly too long.

Model was finished with Alclad paints for the metal finish and Mr.Paint for Black and lacquer finishes.

Su-35S ‘Flanker-E’ – pt.7

Maybe still remember, how much time I’ve spent masking all those tiny details on the bare metal areas of the engines and the exhausts. If you don’t – click HERE to see the painting and masking process.

The time has finally come to finish those. I admit, it was a bit of a gamble as I’ve never before worked on such a complex pattern and the aim was to achieve uniform pattern on one hand and still some randomness on other.

All the work was done using Tamiya Weathering Master Set D, using a thin paintbrush (the included sponge brush is too cumbersome to work on details).

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First I tried this method on one of the tailplanes and I really liked the outcome. Keep in mind however, that this was a laborious project that lasted several hours. The final effect is also quite hard to photograph, as both the Alclad and the blue of the weathering set reflect differently under the changing light and the angle of view.

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Su-35S ‘Flanker-E’ – pt.6

Hi everyone!

My first post after a much needed holiday. Spent a great week with my wife and friends road tripping around Norway and understandably, the modelling pace has decelerated a bit. But I am slowly gaining momentum again and here’s a new, albeit short new update for you.

In my previous post, you have seen my Flanker turned from Grey to colorful; I guess it’s no surprise, it gained some more colors after decaling!

Decals lay down nicely on a glossy surface, courtesy of Alclad Aqua Gloss. Additional coat was sprayed over decals for protection and an oil color wash – mix of Raw Umber and Payne’s Grey heavily thinned with (non aggressive) white spirit – applied.

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Since Su-35s are fairly new machines, I don’t plan on weathering her any further. In the meantime, one more Hasegawa mistake was corrected. Nose gear strut is a few millimeters too high – when the model is put on its wheels, it looses the characteristic Flanker kneel down pose. I cut a section of gear strut above the taxi/landing lights and shortened the supporting side braces. Oh and yeah, some wiring was added to the struts, using thin copper wire and stretched sprue.

I can slowly see the end of the tunnel now. Stay tuned for new updates in the coming week and have a great remainder of Sunday!

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Quick update, not much of in progress photos this time. After masking bare metal areas, the model got a nice even coat of Alclad Grey primer followed by 5000 grit polishing to make the surface perfectly smooth. First colour was Model Master Flanker Pale Blue. Looking at these pics, I wish someone already released canard equipped Su-30 series so I could build an Algerian machine – this blue-grey combination is quite striking!

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Next came grey and blue colours. Grey was giving me some problems – I tried ModelMaster Dark and Light Ghost gray but didn’t have enough blue in them, then I tried Agama R27 Light Grey Blue but was too blue – in the end I mixed a roughly 5:3 mix of Agama R27 and Lt. Ghost Gray and I think I nailed it quite good. The Blue is Agama R31 Light Blue.

At this point it was time for detail painting. I must admit, I wasn’t really looking forward to all the masking required by extensive dielectric panels all around the aircraft. Beside that, looking at the model with basic camo applied, it looked just like another Su-27, nice, but ordinary and that sense. The revelation came just a bit later, when I sprayed the black antiglare coat around the canopy – it felt like the aircraft transformed. Anyhow here she is in all her splendor! I am off for a week long holiday in Norway so expect some more colour on her in 10 days or so! Cheers

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One of the main challenges building any Flanker variant has to be natural metal finish on the engine areas as well as tail planes on Su-35S. I guess there is as many methods as there are modellers, but if you are struggling with this part of the build, I hope my step by step guide will be helpful to you. All paints used are Alclad II unless otherwise stated.

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Interior of exhaust cans was painted White and weathered using Brown, Black and Sand pigments and dry pastels.

 

 

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Afterburner (forsazh) chamber was painted with Jet Exhaust and then drybrushed with ModelMaster Stainless Steel.

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Drybrushing effect can be seen through the exhaust apertures.

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In preparation for the metallic treatment, surface was primed with Grey primer with microfiller.

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The whole area was then given a coat of Jet Exhaust.

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Using reference photos, the tiny grids were masked using thinly cut Tamiya masking tape.

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Next step was applying White Aluminium to the lighter shaded areas.

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Copper was applied next in thin coats.

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Notice how darker the bottom side appears because of the darker background paint (Jet Exhaust vs. White Alu on top).

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All the engine servicing panels were picked up next using a thin brush and ModelMaster Stainless Steel.

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Using Pale Burnt Metal was the next step, blending everything together and giving the area that yellowish tint.

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And finished result. In the end, some Exhaust manifold was applied to the exhaust petals. Notice that the grid effect can barely be seen, just like on the real deal. This however is not a finished deal yet. The bare metal areas will be masked next and when all the painting is finished, they will be unmasked and Tamiya weathering set used for those blue metal effects.

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Tail planes also went through similar treatment – Jet Exhaust base and a lot of masking…

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… followed by Copper…

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…and finished using Pale Burn Metal. Note that all the surfaces reflect light differently so the effects are depending on the source of light and view angle – just the same as on real aircraft.

Working schedule and weekend away from home prevented much work to be done on the Sukhoi, but the progress is steady as I see it!

Next thing I tackled were wheel wells. They are usually devoid of much details which can be seen on real aircraft. Armed with some reference photos I’ve decided to improve the looks, armed with 0.3 and 0.5mm soldering wire, bits and pieces of plasticard and good old classic stretched sprue.

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Front wheel well on the real deal isn’t really busy wiring-wise, but there are some small wires, cylinders and black boxes present.

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While Hasegawa represented some of the wiring of the main wheel bay with faint raised lines, the real deal is much more busy. Thin stretched sprue wire bundles were made, as well as some soldering wire attached to spice the rather accurate shape-wise wells.

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One should not forget the area behind the main landing gear struts, which is also wired and features some cylinders – probably an emergency hydraulic for lowering the gear in cause of main hydraulic system failure.

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Sprue K indicates that we can expect a future release of a prototype Su-35S version – the area behind the cockpit is different, while the smooth insert at the top, was a strengthening plate on the prototype.

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Insert in place – some Mr. Surfacer will be needed to smooth out the little gaps.

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As with their Su-33, Hasegawa again moulded radome in two halves. It is a bit awkward solution and since there are small static dischargers (?) on it, extra care must be taken not to sand them away when fixing the seam. There are, however, two SD’s that run through the entire length of the radome, one on top and the other on the bottom. They were recreated with a thin stretched sprue – actually a leftover from a KC-135E project.

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I hate these parts with Su-33 and I hate them again. Intakes are, as you can see, full of pin marks, some quite visible if you don’t fill and sand them. Construction of them can also be a core.

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My method is to glue the intake halves together, and while the glue hasn’t set yet (the join is still soft), you dryfit the intake to the lower fuselage part and adjust the sides to a perfect fit. After that is done, insert auxiliary intakes at the bottom (closed if doing a bird on the ground, open (ribbed in this case) if doing her in flight), and paint the intakes with some neutral Grey colour.

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Masking Flanker intakes can be problematic as well as they feature a thin edge of the outside colour on the inner sides of the intake lips. It will be easier if you mask most of them before installing the top and just mask the corners, after the top was attached.

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Intakes were painted with Alclad White Aluminium (notice the turbine blades reflection in the cone) and washed with The Detailers Black wash.

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A view of the assembled intake just before installing it on the lower fuselage.

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As you can see, the fit of the intakes is pretty good and just some small touch ups will be needed.

 

If you are one of those, that follow my blog and my projects, it should come as no surprise, that I have a soft spot for Flankers. Sukhoi’s big twin jet fighter first flew the same year that I was born and in its distinguished career proved its worth, forming the backbone of Soviet and later Russian Air Force, while the basic variant developed from a fighter/interceptor to power multirole versions (Su-30 series), fighter bomber (Su-34), naval fighter (Su-33) and its final guise, a modern 4++ generation, super maneuverable fighter, the Su-35S ‘Flanker-E’.

In my airshow ‘career’, I have witnessed displays of many fighters, all of the American ‘teen-series’, European 4th gen fighters, MiGs and even the famed F-22 Raptor. Yet when I’ve seen Su-35S for the first time, display what it’s capable of, it was like a cherry on top of the Flanker cake. Here’s a photo of the first Su-35S prototype I made at MAKS 2011.

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So you can imagine my excitement, when I first heard that Hasegawa announced the release of this version in gentleman’s scale. A few months later, HLJ enabled the preorders, and the kit arrived early August. As you can expect from Hasegawa, the plastic is crisply moulded and full of detail.

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As you can see the raised detail is very crisp. I was comparing the side consoles layout with the photos of the real thing and Hasegawa nailed it almost to a button! Hats off. However not everything’s perfect. Two big Multi Function Displays on the instrument panel should be rectangular, not square and there are side(wall) consoles missing. The latter is not such a big deal as with cockpit installed, you won’t see much inside anyway.

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K-36 seat is nice. Not surprisingly harnesses are missing but as I will use a pilot, that doesn’t bother me at all. And if you wanna improve this section, there’s tons of aftermarket K36s out there.

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Ejection seat finished. Nice touch are head rest placards decals. Ejection seat handle was made from 0.19mm copper wire as the supplied one is of wrong shape (inverted bell) and too thick. Also notice that painting diagram is wrong – instructions want you to paint whole seat black, while newer version of the seat use olive-green fabric instead of black leather.

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There is an option to use decals for side consoles and instrument panels, but unfortunately they are mostly wrong, as all panels are painted black with white buttons, like on american fighters, while Flanker’s cockpit is a bit more colourful. I have used a few decals though, for the radio station and for all the MFD’s. One little detail I’ve added were new better shaped rudder pedals and the bare metal area before them. Won’t be visible in the end, but it’s there 😉

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The ejection seat and instrument panel fit without problems.

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Meat Boris! You actually get two pilot figures in the kit and they’re very nicely moulded as you can see. With positionable head and arms, there’s no problem positioning him to have his hands on HOTAS.

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Mandatory coin comparison check!

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And as I said before, while you install the pit, there’s not much left to be seen of those beautiful details.

 

Till the next time!