1/32 Sukhoi Su-27B
Kit Number: 2224
Reviewed by  Rich Marchiafava, IPMS# 39230

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MSRP: $179.95

On April 20, 1981, the world of Soviet aviation would never be the same. The T-10S took to the sky for the very first time. This prototype was later dubbed the SU-27 Flanker, Russia's answer to the American F-15. Armed with a 30mm cannon and could carry six R-27 (AA-10 Alamo) and four R-73 (AA-11 Archer) air to air missiles. With a top speed of Mach 2 and a pair of Lyulka AL-31F engines the Flanker could deliver a rate of climb of 53,150 ft/min. and flight characteristics that had never been seen before in a fighter.

Trumpeter has added the colossal Soviet Fighter to its 1/32 family of kits. The kit itself is massive so make sure you have plenty of room on your bench to accommodate its large frame.

The kit comes in a sturdy box with impressive box art that contains 10 sprues of cleanly molded parts, 2 smaller boxes holding each the upper and lower fuselage halves, another smaller box that contains left and right intake trunks and the nose cone and still another box that contains rubber tires, white metal landing gear and exhaust cones, assembly screws, springs for the metal landing gear, clear acetate for the instrument panel ,photo-etch seat belts and hinges, the two canopy halves and a small bag of metal shafts for the control surface mounting. I think my count is correct at 428 pieces. Counting the 24 page instruction book and the full color painting and decal placing diagram and the beautifully printed Cartograph decals would bring the count up to 431 pieces.

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Cockpit, its always about the cockpit…

The kit cockpit is a kit in itself with 39 pieces. The usual myriad of ejection seat, tub and sidewalls but what is amazing is the instrument panel being molded in clear. This is so you can paint it in its base color and the clear acetate film for instruments to sandwich between it and its back plate, making a very realistic looking panel. I opted to use the Black Box resin cockpit which I think is just a bit more realistic looking.

Trumpeter gives you a lot of detail in the kit too. You have a sheet of photo-etch that include seat belts and buckles, and you also have the option of using the kit molded styrene antennas or the photoetch. Both look outstanding I chose to mix and match where it was necessary. The IFF antennae under the nose suggest one but according to my reference it calls for two. The photo etch sheet also gives you the flanges for the control surfaces so they can operate. I found the process to be tedious to say the least but the end result is realistic looking dropped flaperons and poseable rudders. Also included on the sheet were cockpit rearview mirrors. They added a nice touch to round out the completed cockpit. You can also pose the speed brake, tail cone and canopy in the open or closed position. Then we have the landing gear, you have a choice of styrene or white metal. I chose the metal due to the size and weight of the kit I wanted something a little more sturdy. The assembly sequence of the white metal gear includes springs to be inserted in the gear giving the function of movable gear that expands or compresses under the weight of the model. Pretty innovative but it turned out to be a chore, because on my copy I added a bit too much nose weight and it kept snapping the pins that holds the nose gear together. I ended up drilling them out and adding a piece of music wire to hold the weight of the kit. The rubber tires look great and make a realistic presentation. I just hope that the tires don't dry rot over time.

The rest of the build was pretty straight forward with all that crisply detailed plastic assembly was a snap. Virtually no fillers needed. The only places I needed to use filler was where the wing joints met the fuselage and where the huge nose cone meets the rest of the fuselage. Other than that I finished it with Testors Model Master enamels and Alclad II lacquers.

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If I had any complaints at all it would have to be with the windscreen. My copy of it was too narrow and I needed to flex it down over the instrument shroud; fortunately there was enough give and I was able to get lucky and not stress fracture it. Zacto Models makes an aftermarket vacuformed canopy and assorted resin canopy pieces as well as resin intakes and nosecone. Checkout for more details.

The kit armament is also very nicely done too. Once you build up the six piece cannon assembly you have 10 hard points to place your choice of 4 Archer and 8 Alamo Missiles to choose from not to mention the 10 missile pylons to build and detail.

All in all I spent about 80 hours on my Sukhoi project. This is one big bird it will take up a large parking space on the shelf but it is so worth it. Thanks to Trumpeter / Stevens International for a fantastic kit.

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