Tag Archive: russian air force


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.

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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Mikoyan MiG-31BM ‘Foxhound’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tips on recreating realistic model

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

Stepan Karnach

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

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

 

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.

MiG-31BM; pt. 13

I can slowly see the light at the end of the tunnel. This previous week I have completed the canopies and I am now onto painting the missiles.

MiG-31BM; pt.12

Hi everyone! Just a short update tonight. I was working on landing gears and had quite some problems with them. I managed to break the pin on the front landing gear and had to improvise, but it turned out, the front assembly was suddenly all too high. I am quite sure, it was entirely my mistake, but to this day, I haven’t figured what I did wrong and I probably never will. Anyway, I managed to fix it – case closed! The other problem was sagging of one of the main gear dollies. The model is balanced in the way, that the main landing gear carry almost all of the weight. And I kid you not – this monster is heavy. Anyway, one of the dollies started to give way under the weight and with time, started leaning to the side. If I’d build another MiG-31, I’d definitely go for a metal gear, like the SAC one – it definitely is a sound investment.

On to the photos!