Tag Archive: prototype


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

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Pavel Sukhoi

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

The kit

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

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

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

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Antonov An-71 ‘Madcap’ was based on the popular An-72 STOL transport series. The aircraft needed only 620m for take-off and 420m for landing and could operate from rough unpaved runways. Over-wing mounted engines greatly reduced FOD risk but also improved its STOL capabilities.

Only three An-71 were made with the first take-off in 1985. Unlike An-72, An-71 was equipped with more powerful engines and was also equipped with a third, fuselage mounted jet engine of the same type as Yak-38, that helped with take-offs. Rear fuselage was redesigned and a broad, forward swept fin installed with a radar dome mounted on top.

During the times of Soviet Union, each aviation branch had its own Early Warning Radar system in use which it didn’t share with others. So while the PVO (main fighter/interceptor and SAM branch) was equipped with A-50 AWACS, VVS-FA (frontal aviation) strike fighters lacked the capability and the An-71 was developed. There was also a carrier borne version considered under the designation An-75 but it remained a paper project. The two flying prototypes flew around 1.000 hours but the problems with the radar and the eventual fall of the Soviet Union killed the project.

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The kit

I picked up this kit really cheap in Club-TM shop on one of my trips to Moscow. I didn’t have much expectations of this 1:288 Eastern Express kit but in the end, I really enjoyed building it. The fit is rather good, but the plastic is somewhat weird, as the seams were constantly cracking open, as if the solvent wouldn’t work on it (I washed it before building!). The panel lines are engraved although somewhat heavy for the little scale. Decals went down fine, but I had many problems with the size and had to trim them while I couldn’t get a perfect cheat line on the right side of the model. Landing gear are a thing of fiction and the wheels are WAAAAY too small. You get a nice display stand with the kit though.

Model Data
Company: Eastern Express
Scale: 1:288
Aftermarket: none
Paints used: Mr.Paint (MRP-4 White, MRP-5 Black, MRP-38 Light Gray, MRP-42 Red, MRP-47 Dark Gray, MRP-105 USN Modern Blue Gray)
Alclad (ALC-101 Aluminum)

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Northrop XP-79B

XP-79B is one of the Northrop’s lesser known flying wing designs. Jack Northrop conceived the aircraft in 1942 as a rocket powered fighter, which would destroy enemy aircraft (primarily bombers) by ramming into them. The aircraft featured several advanced solutions – pilot would be flying in prone position to be able to sustain higher G loads, while the airframe would be constructed by welded magnesium instead of usual riveted aluminum, as the volatile rocket fuel would corrode the later too quickly.

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To test the radical design, several full scale glider models were built, which started testing in 1944. As the rocket testing turned out to be unsatisfactory, the aircraft was instead equipped with Westinghouse 19-B turbojets.

The first flight of the XP-79B was also its last. After days of taxi runs at Muroc Dry Lake (today’s Edwards AFB), the aircraft finally took off on 12th September 1945. 15 minutes into flight, the aircraft performed a slow roll, uncontrollably pitched nose down and crashed in vertical spin. Test pilot Harry Crosby attempted to bail out, but was hit by the tail and died on impact. As the result of the crash, the second prototype as well as the project were cancelled.

RS MODELS 1:72 Northrop XP-79B

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RS Models’ XP-79B is a typical short run kit. While not a multimedia kit, some experience is still needed to achieve best result. The surface of the plastic is not smooth – it actually reminds of a very fine sanding paper – some polishing is required before painting. Instructions call out for the Yellow Zinc Chromate as the interior color, but I guess Interior Green is safer bet. Another wrong color call out is for the exterior paint – RS Models suggest you paint the model white. A few available photos show that the surface was darker (compared to the white on the stars&bars), so I used a light grey, similar to the one used on P-80s. Construction is pretty straightforward and probably the most tricky part of assembly is the two-piece canopy. It was a two piece on the real aircraft as well, but the short run nature of the kit and the complex contour make a perfect fit almost impossible. Some blending in with a water soluble putty was required. Unfortunately due to the rather thick plastic and the curve, due to the light refraction, the join line is too pronounced.

Model was finished with Mr.Paint paints and finishes.

 

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.

BAC TSR.2

BAC TSR.2, Great Wall Hobby 1:144

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Full article will be published in one of future Scale Aircraft Modelling magazine issues.

Chengdu J-20 Mighty Dragon

Trumpeter, 1:144

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

Meteor F.8 prone

MPM 1:72 kit out of the box

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

out of the box build

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out of the box

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out of the box build

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