/ modelling report
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/ Su-33 "Sea Flanker" model in 1/32 scale
(conversion based on the Trumpeter kit)
The Sukhoi Su-27 series air superiority fighter aircraft from Russia are very capable and high performance aircraft. It made a large impression on various air shows in the Western world back in the nineties demonstrating the "Cobra manoeuvre" which Western fighter aircraft were incapable of executing. So it is certainly a match for any contemporary NATO fighter like the F-15 and F-16.
Designed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau (OKB), it is a huge aircraft forming the air defense backbone of todays Russian Air Force. When emerged from secrecy in the cold war, the type was code named "Flanker" by NATO. China, Ethiopia and India also operate Flankers in their Air force.
In due time,
the aircraft was adapted with new systems, airframe changes and new engines.
Many variants were developed although no large numbers were produced, with
different type numbers being used and both single seat variants, double
tandem seat and twin seat Flankers have appeared. There are the Su-27UB
two-seat trainer, Su-30 multi-role fighter, Su-34 fighter-bomber, and improved
types like the Su-35 and Su-37.
(China developed their own Su-33 version, the Shenyang J-15...)
|For a Flanker in model shape at 1/32
scale, there was in the past only a very rare and basic vacuform kit available.
Fortunately, dreams of 1/32 scale builders came true when mid 2004
Trumpeter from China issued a 1/32 scale kit.
kit (# 2224) is for a Su-27 "Flanker B".
Overall the kit is quite good. However, some areas may be improved in shape, and that wil be in this build done along with some conversion work and in addition using some commercial accessoires sets.
The basic Trumpeter kit may be improved in these main areas:
Regarding the shape of the model:
-A1- Nose shape: this should be a little bit more massive, a bit longer an a bit more tilted down; you can use the Zactoman (website: ZACTO MODELS) nose as I did ;
-A2- Canopy: unfortunately the hinged canopy and its windshield is not very well shaped; it is to flat and the curve in side-profile is not accurate; An very good solution to that is to order and use the Zactoman canopy set as I did ;
-A3- Intakes: the kit intakes are too small in forward view and they are too bulged at the lower section in side profile ; you can use the Zactoman intakes but I decided not to use it and correct these intakes myself with some relatively easy work (see notes later on);
Regarding detailing, improvement
on a Trumpeter Flanker model is recommended on..:
the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker "B" as provided by the kit of Trumpeter was attractive
enough, I had a look at the "naval Sea
Flanker". As I always like Soviet and
naval aircraft, it would be a very nice exercise to get a naval Flanker
on the modelling shelves: a Sukhoi Su-27K / or Su-33
a look at the real naval "Sea Flanker"
The Sukhoi SU-27K (later designated also SU-33) is a naval variant flown from the Soviet (now Russia) carrier Admiral Kutznetsov. This ship is fitted with a special launch ramp similar to the British SkyJump; this ramp gives the plane a higher angle-of-attack, improving lift at the end of the ramp before the plane gets into the air. Also, the airframe itself got various modifications for this role.
In order to get an idea on the required modifications I used very good drawings from the website
drawings can be found, also for several of the "land based" Flanker types.
I strongly recommend you take a look if are modelling any Flanker kit.
NOTE: some sources indicate that the Su-27K vertical tails were also changed, having less height; however, no real evidence was found looking at pictures and scale drawings. I suspect this was only the case on the naval Flanker prototypes.
Also on the Internet, quite some useful pictures were found, also from details.
The Sea Flanker
modifications compared to a "land" Flanker B SU-27 are:
will take considerable work to actually carry out this conversion to the
Naval Sea Flanker Su-27K / Su-33 , but I decided to give it a try. So these
items will be taken into account when modelling this 1/32 scale Sea Flanker
OK, now back to the kit....
I will go through this build in the
step-by-step approach that I used for the "Sea Flanker SU-27K or SU-33"
. Note however that you may find some useful guidance on how
to build your "normal Flanker B" also as the Trumpeter kit has some inaccuracies
that you may improve as noted above.
Trumpeters' kit has their usual approach for the instruments, which are provided on a clear film to be sandwiched between a front panel and a flat part. Although quite OK, it was decided to go for somewhat more detail and accuracy.
Aires set Number
3026 for Su-27 Flanker B Cockpit was purchased
and has very fine resin parts with lots of details; you also get
some etched metal.
WARNING: when working with resin, take safety precautions for your health. When doing any cutting and sawing, use plenty of water to prevent dust coming into the air you breath!
The interior of the canopy is also supplied by Aires. (I however used the Zactoman set instead as it has a little more detail. I think that if you only have the Aires parts, use them as they are quite good also) .
I checked photos and saw that for a Su-27K / Su-33 Sea Flanker, the cockpit looks very
to the cockpit of the Su-27 Flanker B, so the Aires set can and is used.
The Aires rear
backing plate replaces the kit part #F15 also.
|Next, for all
Flanker models airframe work on kit parts:
First some rough work will be done on major parts as this will not damage the model at this stage:
- Regarding A1 (Nose shape): if you use the Zactoman nose: adapt the facing front sections at the front of the main upper and lower fuselage part to meet the Zactoman nose cone.
- Regarding A2 (canopy shape): if
you use the Zactoman canopy set:
the raised bump / section in front of the wind screen on the kit.
Important: because of this, the Zactoman vacu windshield front section is clear as it is not covered. By cutting a little bit forward and NOT at the moulded in windshield line of the Zactoman canopy, a longer satisfactory Su-33 windshield can be made.
for Naval Sea Flanker only [ S5 ]:
- Tail cone of the Sea Flanker is different;
it has a slightly higher (about 2 mm) side-profile and shorter tail cone,
which is also flat on the lower side to accommodate the arrestor hook.
First, make 2 saw cuts at the rear
tail cone in the upper fuselage part.
Next, remove the lower curved tail
cone section at the lower fuselage part. Make a flat piece of card.
Trumpeter steps 13/14 (Intakes) [applicable for all Flanker models]
- Regarding A3 (Intakes): First tackle these steps for the intakes to get this sorted out now. The Trumpeter intakes are to small in front view at the front and too bulged in side profile.
Note the drawn black line on the kit part at the lower section of the picture as how it should be.
It was decided to correct this shape with some card. (Alternative is to buy the Zactomanintake set, which is a bit expensive; also for the Naval Sea Flanker the main gear-strut fairings are different).
The good news: you can improve the intakes yourself! I will show you how.
The pictures give you an idea, but
the whole mod makes the intakes 3 mm wider and flatter.
Lower bottom intake sections
In each part # C26 and D52 make two
saw cuts with a razor saw about 71 mm long. A piece of card will be set
in here to make the intakes flatter and wider.
The engine compressor fans #E26 were simply used.
The parts C54 and D24 you replace by two pieces of flat card, the same length but 23 mm wide in front and 31 mm at the rear; Upper intake "ceiling"
Make a round gap in each to accept the cut out main gear wheel well curvatures.
Finally, fill with putty the edges
and sand smooth. The front intake "lip" should be sanded a bit round, to
get a very gentle up - curve.
Finally, the lower external louvres
/ doors were suggested with a piece of thin card with the door edges scribed
At the intake ceiling, a small thin
piece of card was also added; air vents were punctured in with a sharp metal
The inside of the intakes also got a piece of flat thin card to improve the smoothness of the intake in front of the cut out gear well curvatures. Also were added some pitot tubes inside the intakes from stretched sprue as seen in the intakes of the real Flanker.
The end-result are two very nice accurate
3+4 : main Landing gear bay
The main gear bays are OK as provided in the Trumpeter kit, but some extra detailing is worthwhile with some extra pressure piping made from stretched sprue and rod.
At the rear of the main bay near the leg frame, some extra detailing as also added.
Later it turned out looking at very
rare colour pictures that large portions of the gear bays are red on naval
7: nose gear bay
The nose bay was also detailed with some boxes and tubing from card. Strangely, this bay remains grey on the Naval Flankers.
|Next mod for
Naval Sea Flanker only [ S6 ]:
- remove a section on both lower and upper fuselages ion order to adjust for the LEX/Canard area in front of the slats; use a razor saw. (see page 2 for where to cut).
After spraying the canon bay in a mix of Xtracolor #X396 and aluminium, the canon was assembled straight from the parts supplied [Trumpeter step 2]. The panels will set closed on anyway and hardly anything can be seen.
Next, the intakes were glued onto
the lower fuselage part. It was a bit bended, so clamps were used to get
a good fit. Let dry over night.
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|Created April 27, 2006|