Tag Archive: Su-17


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.