Tag Archive: zvezda

MiG-29 9.13 Swifts pt.2

Painting is my favorite part of model building and this scheme provided some challenge.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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!


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).



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.



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.


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.

Su-27SM ‘Flanker-B’

Su-27SM (serial modernized) is a program similar to NATO’s F-16 Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) one. The aim is to increase combat capabilities of Russian Flanker fleet as well as overhaul the airframes extending their service life. The results of this modernization are improved cockpit ergonomics with the so called glass-cockpit (majority of needle instruments replaced by three LCD displays), improved forward visibility due to offset IRST sensor as well as the ability to carry ‘smart’ air-to-ground weapons including laser guided bombs, TV and laser guided missiles as well as lethal anti-radar and anti-ship missiles. First airframes were completed in 2004 and the program is ongoing with several dozen fighters in operational use. Parallel to the SM, export version, labeled SKM, was derived, which differs from the SM by the inclusion of in-flight refueling probe. Indonesian Air Force is the sole operator so far.

The model represents a Flanker in use by the elite 4th Combat and Conversion Training Center (4 TsBP i PLS) at Lipetsk Air Base in Russia.


Red 06 from the same unit – I took this photo at MAKS 2007.

Kit: Zvezda 1:72 built out of the box


And on my Norwegian friend’s request, a family photos with Su-35S

Su-27sm-35 Su-27sm-36

With the model nicely coated with Alclad Aqua Gloss, first thing I did, was paint the bare metal area around the gun. Su-27 uses a big caliber 30mm GSh-301 – a light weight single barrel gun that is able to destroy aerial targets with just 3-5 hits. It’s location in the side of Leading Edge Root Extension (LERX) means, that the projectile travels very close to the surface of the aircraft for quite a while and to prevent scorching paint, the area is left unpainted. I used Alclad Magnesium as a base colour, followed by Alclad Dark Aluminium for highlighting panels, to break up the monotony.

Looking at the photos of the real aircraft on russianplanes.net (http://russianplanes.net/regs/RF-92211), I noticed that the red paint on the bigger markings faded quite quickly; top wing stars turned to white, while side painted markings got pretty faded as well. Fading as done using some technique as I’ve used on MiG-15bis last year – decals, while still on backing paper, got slightly rubbed with a cotton bud damp with enamel thinner. While Eduard’s decals reacted perfectly, Zvezda’s were a bit more reluctant – bigger markings started tearing up as thinner ate its way through the backing film of decal. I would recommend to try this method beforehand on a decal, you don’t intend to use with the build – better safe than sorry 😉 This was also the reason why I haven’t faded the stencils. I plan to use oil filters and hope they will blend the markings nicely.

Decals themselves are not bad – quite thin and I got just a little bit of silvering which was taken care of using decal softener. Some decals seem a bit out of size – stars on the fins as well as VVS ROSII titles. Instructions are not the best either, especially for this markings scheme – luckily, there’s a lot of photos of this particular bird on the above link to help you out.

Till the next time!






And here we are – the paint is on and the thing looks like the real deal now. Well not really yet, as engines area is still masked, some parts are still not installed and of course, it hasn’t been weathered yet. But all of this in due course.

Paints used for the camo are ModelMaster 1508 Light Blue and 2032 Bright Blue FS35183.






As I said in the previous post, I am not entirely satisfied with this kit. And bringing it close to painting stage showed its faults even more. The plastic is very soft, panel lines rather shallow and there’s way too many sprue gates. In practice, this means, there’s gonna be a lot of clean up work, which will sooner than later lead to some lost detail, while sanding will create dents in the soft plastic, which will need puttying, sanding and rescribing to complete the circle. And this is the work I hate the most at modelling. But anyway, I have managed to bring the model somehow to this point, where I could start painting the engine/exhaust parts, so characteristic of the Flankers.

Here is how I do it.


The parts are first primed with Alclad Grey Primer.


Followed by Alclad Magnesium – you can use any other darker shade like Steel or Titanium for example.


Panels were then brush painted using ModelMaster Stainless Steel (any light metallic paint will do for this part).


Whole area was then lightly randomly airbrushed with Alclad Pale Burnt Metal.


Followed by Random strokes of Alclad Jet Exhaust. Procedure for the bottom part is the same.


Picture of the whole airframe with dryfitted exhausts. Later in the build, heat staining will be added to finish.


I mentioned in my previous post, real life got the better of me during the last couple of months (modelling wise) and one of the victims of those circumstances was this Flanker, that I’ve started in October.

Su-27SM (serial modernized) is a project, similar to Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) project, F-16 upgrade project which brought up capabilities of mostly European F-16A operators, to similar level of Block 50 aircraft. Similar to both projects, changes were mainly internal – analog dials were replaced with large multi-function displays and Su-27s can now fire various guided air-to-ground missiles, transforming this potent fighter-interceptor to a true multi-role fighter.


Two Su-27SMs flanking two Su-27UBs  – I took the photo at MAKS 2011

The kit used for this project is the “new” long-awaited Zvezda 1:72 one. It is by far the most accurate Flanker model in any scale, but I have mixed feelings about it. While accuracy is always appreciated (it’s not totally accurate though), I am quite bothered by the lack of details – there are no rivets represented, cockpit is rather basic with instrument decals (not bad though) but the are that bothers me most are the gear wells, lacking any kind of plumbing representation. Assembly is quite tricky, too – multi part intakes, sprue attachment points in awkward positions and other little inconveniencies throughout the model might make building it a core, especially for less experienced modellers.



Cockpit is basic but more accurately shaped compared to Trumpeter’s and Hasegawa’s (Su-33, -35S) Flankers.


Flanker’s flaps and slats drop when the aircraft is parked. The kit features separate slats but not flaps. I think the reason lays in modular nature of Zvezda’s models. Some Flanker models feature leading edge antennas while other’s don’t while the wings remain the same – Zvezda will just have to include different types of slats for other versions. So what I did was to cut out the flaps and glue Evergreen half rod to the front of the wing and flaps, making a circular transition between the moving surfaces.


Engine intakes were painted and masked prior installation – turbine faces were painted with Alclad White Aluminium and washed with ‘The Detailer’ Black Wash.


Revell (Zvezda rebox) 1:72, out of box with a few scratch built details



Model to be published in Scale Aircraft Modelling magazine

7th May 2013


You know a feeling where you’ve been modelling a lot but there’s not much to show? It’s happening to me at the moment. The Su-7 build was halted because I had to wait for the shipment of Tamiya’s Lacquer Thinner to arrive from the other side of the world – wiping away Mr. Surfacer with a cotton bud dipped in this thinner has never been easier. So not to get rusty in the meantime, I’ve started work on a Revell’s reboxing of an excellent Zvezda kit of Mi-24V Hind. I will be building it in Czech Air Force scheme with Tigermeet 2011 markings. All I can say is that I’m sorry that I am not allowed to show you progress photos as this is the most detailed 1:72 model I have ever built. Unfortunately the fit is another issue. Well it is a bit my fault as I didn’t take enough dryfitting sessions before trying to close it up. Thing is that you build the entire interior beforehand and you have to wrap it, so to speak, in external skin. Now I am left with a few gaps to fill but still it makes a hell of a model and will certainly build a few more!

I’ve also bought my first armor kit after some two decades – not that I would have particular interest in armored vehicles or models but just for the fact, when I saw a model published on some internet site, the shape of the thing caught my attention as it was the most brutal and awesome piece of metal I have ever seen. I am talking about a Russian heavy flamethrower TOS-1A ‘Buratino’. Mounted on a T-72 chassis a big rocket launcher is fixed, firing thermobaric rockets at targets up to 6.000m away from the vehicle. Being a short range weapon TOS-1 system is used in an armor group of main battle tanks and APCs.


Source: Wikipedia

As it is quite a rare model of a rare vehicle from a rare new manufacturer I also plan on making a review of this model in the following days.

I also updated my plan and What I got lists 🙂


Model was first smeared with White and Payne’s Gray artist’s oil colours.



Later the oily mess was wiped away – first with paper tissue and then followed by straking an old paintbrush down the hull.



Letting the paint dry further a bit, random streaks of Burnt Sienna were added to simulate light rusting.



White was also used for lightening the deck colour and provide for some discolouration.