Linden Hill Imports
Modelling the Flanker in 1:72 scale
First of all, lets get the correct dimensions for the Flanker :-
Su-27 Su-27K/Su-33 Su-34
Length (without probe) 21.94m 21.185m 23.3m
Span 14.7m 14.7m 14.7m
Length 1:72 scale 304.7mm 294.2mm 323.6mm
Span 1:72 scale 204mm 204mm 204mm
More important than dimensions in my opinion is the overall>look= of the finished model. If it doesn=t >sit= right, or the shape is wrong, then the model doesn=t convey an impression of the real thing. Only when the kits dimensions are way out do I consider it to be of importance.
The following are the currently available kits in 1:72 scale together with my brief comments on their accuracy :-
Revell Su-27 Single seater
This is a re-boxing of the Tsukuda kit and is extremely inaccurate. Not worth considering
Nakotne/Encore Su-27 Flanker-B
An offering from the Latvian firm. Major dimensional errors in length- it is 9mm too short with the discrepancy spread throughout the fuselage making it difficult to fix. It is 6mm too short between the wing l/e and the cockpit and 3mm between the wing t/e and the tailplanes. The nose is too bulbous. Generally poor surface detail. Nice feature is the separate flap and slats. Re-issued by Encore with a new improved decal sheet.
Nakotne/Encore Su-27UB Flanker-C
Tandem two-seater. Same as single-seater with new two-seat fuselage moulding. Same inaccuracies as single-seater.
New fuselage moulding with canards. Windscreen with offset IRST ball. No taller fins, no twin nosewheel. Still short in length. Not a Su-35 at all.
Re-issue of Su-27UB with a nice set of weapons
Hasegawa Su-27 Flanker-B
Typical Hasegawa kit - crisp moulding, neat panel detail, goes together a dream. Nose is too big and width of rear fuselage across the engine exhausts is too great, making the fins too far apart. Just doesn=t capture the >hooded cobra= appearance of the real thing.
Re-issued with>Russian Knights=, then >Test Pilots= markings. Very expensive in UK.
Italeri Su-27 Flanker-B
Nice kit with raised panel detail. Excellent value for money. Nose & Radome too big, cockpit too wide and intakes too shallow which totally alters the shape. The kit has an excellent undercarriage with actuating rods for the doors and correct links and locking pins on the mainlegs. Cockpit canopy too big because of the incorrect cockpit. A pity about this kit, because it is widely available and cheap, but it just doesn=t capture the look of the Flanker
Italeri Su-27D>Sea Flanker=
Same as Flanker-B with addition of canards and twin-wheel nosegear. Canards are correct shape but they are just butt-joined to the LERX without the substantial shoulder mountings of the real thing. Tail boom is not altered, nor are wings.
Airfix Su-27 Flanker-B
In my opinion, the most accurate of all the available kits - although one of the worst for fit of parts. Still a little short in length, but acceptable. It certainly looks like a Flanker with a correct curve to the forward fuselage and a slim radome. Wingtip and underwing pylons are best replaced with copies of Hasegawa pylons. Noseleg has a separate wheel to cater for the differences in the debris guard - but it is just butt-joined to the leg which makes for a weak link !
Heller Su-27UB Flanker-C
Same kit as Airfix with new sprue containing two-seat fuselage, cockpit bathtub, extra seat and control column, taller fins and revised nosewheel with different debris guard.
First kit of the new side-by-side two-seater. Generally accurate. Tailcone too long by 6mm. Fins completely wrong - they are the taller Su-27UB type found only on the Su-34 prototype, the Su-27IB.
Re-boxing of Italeri kit with revised (worse) decals.
Modelling the Variants
What follows is a brief description of the changes needed to produce a variety of Flankers.
These are based on the Airfix Flankers - both single and two-seat. The kit ejection seats are replaced with white metal or resin examples for better accuracy. I also replace all the Airfix weapons pylons (where appropriate) with resin copies of the Hasegawa items. Also, open up the intakes in the fin leading edges (to be strictly accurate, the starboard intake is smaller than the port)
This is an early production Flanker probably used for weapons trials, given the colour of the missiles.
Add triangular pieces of plastic card to make the fin tips square. Add plastic rod to the fin leading edge to represent the anti-flutter weights fitted. Remove the chaff/flare boxes from either side of the tailcone - early Flankers had a simple fairing here. The colour scheme is an attractive two-tone air superiority blue with the entire undersides and forward fuselage in light blue with a darker blue on the wings, fins and upper tailplanes. The soft-edged demarcation line between the colours is in the shape of a vee which follows the angle of the wing leading edge - just like the colours on the >Russian Knights=. The aircraft carries a full weapons fit, but the AA-10 Alamos are painted red and the AA-11 Archers are bright orange. The only markings are white-outlined >Blue 17' on the forward fuselage and the Sukhoi >Winged Archer= logo on both fins.
This aircraft was specially modified for an attempt on the time-to-height records then held by the US McDonnel-Douglas F-15>Streak Eagle=. Between 1986 and 1988 the P-42 (named after the victorious defence of Stalingrad in 1942) took no less than 27 records from the >Streak Eagle= - most of these records still stand.
Remove the tailboom by cutting forward to a point 37mm behind the airbrake housing on the upper fuselage half and 64mm behind the front pylon on the lower half. Cement plastic card to the hole thus made to provide backing for the filler to be added later. Make up the cockpit, but remove some of the moulded detail from the panel - the P-42 had a minimum instrument fit.
Make up the fuselage and intakes. Remove the wingtip pylons and fill the holes for all the others. Remove the fin tips along the mould line for the dielectric tips and remove the moulded aerial>bumps= . Make good the gaps where the tail boom was removed - the spine should end just aft of the front of the upper engine bulges. The area between the bulges should be flat and end in a >beaver tail= in line with the engine orifices before the nozzles are added. Remove the cannon and fill in the trough. Complete the rest of the model but leave off the RWR aerials (parts 22), the spine aerial, the ventral fins and all of the armament.
The aircraft is finished in an etched primer finish with all the panel lines filled with putty and smoothed over making for a patchwork appearance. I used Alclad Buffable Aluminium - code Z Chem Film (F-15 Streak Eagle) airbrushed on in a random pattern with areas of silver added later. The engine nacelles, ailerons and rearmost part of the abbreviated spine were painted in Humbrol Polished Steel. The sealed panel lines were represented by brushing freehand lines of silver - the real thing looks really tatty so don=t be too precise. Other panels were represented by different shades of of silver and gold decal film.
The Airfix canopy can be used without alteration but the windscreen needs the IRST ball removing. The nose undercarriage door lacks the pneumatic reservoir bottle - so remove it. Add the dynamic pressure probes (part number 2) and a T-shaped aerial from sprue to the spine and a tie-back shackle (a thin slice from narrow tube) to the rear of the underside pylon between the engines.
The only markings are white-outlined red codes>P-42' in cyrillic (A-42) - the >P= looks like an inverted >U=with straight sides and top lines. I used Superscale sheet 72-572 for the numbers and made up the >P= from two number 1's with a bar across the top. The Soviet flag on the fin is a piece of red decal film with the yellow Hammer and Sickle and LII (Letno - Issledovatelskiy Institute - Flight Test Institute, also known as the Gromov Flight Test centre) letters hand painted onto it. The wheel hubs are painted half black and white - presumably for photo-reference purposes and the nosewheel lacks the debris guard - so remove it (I chopped the moulded wheel and guard away, just leaving the fork and fitted a spare wheel of the same diameter).
Finally, using strips of red decal film, add a line and two cross bars to the right hand canopy side - these were used to give the pilot a visual reference of the optimum climb angle.
See Scale Models International Jan 1996 for complete article.
I photographed this machine at Khodynka museum in Moscow. It is a strange hybrid, with rounded wingtips like the Flanker prototype, cut-down fins like the P-42, a lengthened tailboom and a conical nosecone that supposedly contained fuel. It was prepared for an attempt on the world 500km closed-circuit record, but I have no knowledge of whether it actually made any record attempts.
Using the Airfix kit, detail the cockpit to taste, but reduce the instrument panel detail. Remove the tailboom by sawing through the fuselage on either side of the boom to a point 65mm from its end. Alter the shape of the fairings on either side of the boom so that they taper in plan - same arrangement as on the T-10-17 and all early production Flankers. Replace the tailboom with a longer one using a suitably sized rod - I used an 8mm dia plastic knitting needle cut to a length of 80mm and tapered to shape at one end. Blend in the new boom with filler.
Make a new conical nosecone - mine is carved from Ureol Tooling Board. Note that it has a distinct>nose-up= appearance.
Saw through the wingtip leading edges to round them off - same shape as the prototype T-10. Remove the fin tips as per the P-42 and leave off the ventral fins. Remove the IRST ball from the windscreen and the reservoir bottle from the nosewheel door. The undercarriage is standard - including the debris guard. Leave off the RWR aerials.
The main canopy should not have a central arch - remove and re-polish the canopy.
The aircraft is finished in Light Blue/Mid Blue/Blue Grey camouflage but in a slightly different pattern than normal and in slightly darker colours - I mixed my own using Tamiya acrillics. The nosecone is white and the only markings are six red stars and the number 20 in blue with a white outline. The Sukhoi>winged archer= logo is on the port fin only. Add the dynamic pressure probes and make a T-shaped aerial for the spine.
See Scale Models International March 1996 for complete article
Early Production Flanker
This is an easy conversion that makes a nice contrast to the>standard= kit option.
Simply remove the chaff/flare boxes from either side of the tailboom and make new shorter fairings from plastic card. Alternatively, cut down the existing boxes to shape.
The above photo shows the later >standard= chaff/flare boxes on a Su-37.
Add markings to taste, but note that these early Flankers had the radome, fin tips, starboard fin leading edge aerial and all the other dielectric panels in medium green - as opposed to the white areas on later Flankers. There are decals on the Cutting Edge and Hi Decal sheets for early Flankers with dark radomes (but with chaff/flare boxes). The Travers sheet has two early Flankers - including the one that collided with the Norwegian P-3 Orion.
Simply use the markings from the Hasegawa kit for a single seater or the Heller kit for a two-seater and build as standard. These aircraft have a darker colour scheme than an operational Flanker - the Xtracolor paints are a good match. Note that the camouflage pattern and the underside colour demarcation differed from aircraft to aircraft - so check your references.
The Russian firm of Travers now do a Russian Knights decal sheet - number 72-063 (since deleted unfortunately - Linden Hill note).
Note also that the Russian Knights now have a revised colour scheme with the blue/blue grey camouflage pattern replaced by a single bright blue colour on top and bottom surfaces -
Test Pilots - Su-27P/Su-30
Another minmal change to the single-seater. Leave off the RWR aerials, remove the cannon and fill the trough, remove the IRST - but make a mount for an offset IRST - see Hasegawas box art. Use the decals from the Hasegawa kit or the Cutting Edge decal sheet. The two-seaters are Su-30's so they need some alterations to the Heller Su-27UB to be accurate - see Su-30 conversion.
>Standard= Flanker in medium grey upper surfaces and light grey undersides. Decals from Cutting Edge or Hi-Decal. Anyone have any details of Vietnamese Flankers ??
The Su-30 is a dedicated long range interceptor version based on the tandem two-seat Su-27UB. The Su-30M is the export designation and the Su-30MK is a multi-role derivative. India is supposedly interested in a canard-equipped Su-30MK with thrust-vectoring nozzles.
Using the Heller two-seater, remove the IRST ball from the windscreen. Add a small raised platform from plastic card just to the right in front of the windscreen. This is the mount for the new offset IRST ball which must be made from clear sprue and added to the windscreen.
Cut a recess for a refuelling probe in the port fuselage and either add an extended probe (see Italeri Su-34 for shape and size) or simple represent a retracted boom with a cover.
Leave off the RWR aerials from the intakes and fill their locating holes. There are markings for a Su-30 in>standard= blue camouflage colours with a great white/blue/red flag on which is superimposed a badge of St George and the Dragon for the fin on the Travers decal sheet.
The Su-30MK demonstrator shown at Farnborough has a neat sand/brown/grey splinter camouflage scheme with light grey undersides, a grey radome and dielectric panels.The side number 603 is in outline only on the forward fuselage and an outline-only>CY= Sukhoi logo is on the fins. This aircraft carries a full weapons fit consisting of (from port wingtip) - AA-11, AA-11, AA-10, Ch-31P, 6 x OFAB-100-120 bombs on a MER fitted to the port lower intake, KAB-500KR on centreline pylon, Ch-29T on lower Stbd intake, Ch-59M, RVV-AE (AAMRAMski), AA-11, AA-11. Most of these weapons are available, either from the DML weapons kits or the Nakotne Su-30 kit.
This is the latest version of the single-seat Su-27 dubbed>Super Flanker= with uprated engines and radar plus bigger fins containing fuel. It has canard control surfaces mounted on substantial >shoulders= that extend from the wing root leading edge and blend into the LERX. The nosewheel is altered and has twin wheels and the tailcone is a different shape and carries a rearward facing radar.
A number of demonstators have been photographed all numbered in the 700 series. Most of them have a three-tone blue/grey splinter camouflage pattern, but aircraft number 701 has an interesting six-colour>graded= Ferris-like scheme and 709 has a sand/brown/green >Desert= splinter pattern.
The new Su-37 is visually identical except that it has thrust-vectoring nozzles.
This is a major conversion using the Airfix Su-27 as a basis. Change the cockpit by replacing some of the dials with 3 Multi-Function Display plus a Nav display (represented by square black decal panels). In addition, for the Su-37 cut down the control column to make a side-stick controller on the stbd console. Add the canard mounting shoulders from plastic card blended in with filler - see references at end for relevant drawings.
Remove IRST and make new one with mounting platform as per Su-30. Add refuelling probe, again as per Su-30. Remove tailcone tip and add new one using 8mm knitting needle with more conical shape.
Replace kit fins with taller items with flat tops. I used those from Italeris Su-34 kit but you could use the Su-27UB items with the bottom of the rudder re-scribed to extend it.
Add plastic card to create a straight fin tip. Re-shape the radome to give a slighly smoother curve rather than the compound curve on the Su-27 (the Su-35 radome is supposed to be bigger and have a different shape than the Su-27, but I can=t see it !)
The moveable canards can be made from plastic card or utilise those from the Su-34 kit. The twin nosewheels are a combination of the top section from the Airfix kit grafted onto the bottom section cut from the Su-34 kit.
Leave off the RWR aerials but add a satellite receiver>ball= on the spine. Paint camouflage to taste. The outline numbers can be got from the Nakotne/Encore Su-35 kit.
The Su-37 is the same as the Su-35, but the nozzles are modified with the addition of sections of plastic card to display them with one nozzle up and the other down.
Colours on the Farnborough demonstrator are light grey undersides with sand and brown splinter camouflage. Markings consist of a red-outlined stylised blue star with white/red/blue cheat line on the fins and the number 711 in white with a black drop shadow. The Sukhoi >CY=logo is painted in the centre of the star on the port fin only.
This is a side-by-side two-seat development of the Flanker designed to replace the Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer. There is some confusion over its true designation. The original aerodynamic prototype (number 42) was called the Su-27IB (Istrebitel - Bombardirovschik, Fighter - Bomber) and featured a>standard= Flanker tailboom and mainwheels with taller Su-27UB fins. Latest pictures show it with chaff/flare dispensers on the upper wings and spine.
The>production= version is called Su-34 or Su-32FN depending on which literature you read. I think the Su-32FN is a proposed naval strike variant. The two aircraft seen so far (numbers 43 and 45) differ in detail. Number 43 has RWR antenna on the tailboom, a Su-35 style nosewheel guard, a longer nose pitot and a light camouflage scheme with white radome and dielectric panels whereas number 45 has no RWR, a new debris guard -
- and a darker colour scheme with light grey radome and panels. Both aircraft have shorter >standard= Su-27 fins, a longer tailboom and tandem twin mainwheels.
One other unmarked aircraft has been photographed in a yellow primer finish, which I suspect is aircraft number 44.
Using the Italeri kit, build the cockpit as per kit - but either change the instrument panel to incorporate MFD screens or use the new Neomega cockpit insert. Remove 6mm from the tailboom before adding the end cap (part 16A).
Straighten the backward sloping tailplane tips - they are too rounded - and change the vertical fins for>standard= single-seater fins, or cut down the kit items to match.
The nosewheel debris guard is correct for aircraft number 45, change to Su-35 style if modelling number 43.
Finish is as per kit instructions (though consult references for correct colours and pattern).
The kit could be back-dated to make a Su-27IB, but I haven=t tried it yet.
See Scale Models International September 1996 for complete article.
The Su-30MKI is a major development of the baseline Su-30MK for India. It incorporates uprated AL-31FU engines with TVC nozzles and a canard foreplane. Initial deliveries to India comprise>standard= Su-30MK=s, but they are to be upgraded later to full MKI standard. Two prototypes have flown - bort number 56 (now re-numbered 01) and 06.
This conversion combines the modifications for the Su-30MK plus the addition of canards and TVC nozzles as in the Su-37 conversion. I made this model before the first pictures of 01 & 06 were published and the colour scheme is based on a display model I saw on the Irkutsk stand at Zhukovsky and again at Farnborough.This display model had a totally fictitious camouflage scheme of pale-grey overall with >zebra= stripes of mid-grey and green on the upper surfaces with dark grey radomes and dielectric panels - It carries Indian AF markings and the logo >IRKUT-SUKHOI= in white on the fuselage below the cockpit (not yet added on my model)
Top of K-36D ejection seat
30mm cannon muzzle
Canopy operating ram
Standard Flanker nosewheel
Author ! Author !
Still to come !
Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker WAP Journal ISBN 1 874023 53 0 (UK)
ISBN 1-880588-12-9 (USA)
Su-27 Flanker Concord Publications ISBN 962-361-710-0
CY-27 Polygon (Russian) ISBN 5-88541-005-4
CY-34 Polygon (Russian) ISBN 5-7656-0002-6
Su-27 Sukhoi Superfighter by Jon Lake ISBN 1 85532 152 1
Su-27 Flanker Aerofax Extra 3 ISBN 0-942548-51-5
Cutting Edge CED 72011 Markings for 8 a/c
Hi Decal 72-024 Markings for 4 a/c
Travers 72-061 Markings for 7 a/c incl Su-30 & Su-33 (now deleted)
Travers 72-063 Markings for any one of Russian Knights a/c (now deleted)
A Quick note on Flanker Colours
The>standard= VVS Su-27 Flanker colour scheme consists of pale blue overall, with medium blue and dark-blue/grey patches on the upper surfaces in a camouflage pattern. The exact pattern varies from aircraft to aircraft - but there is a >general= pattern, even if its shape and size varies.
The following is a list of the colours matched to FS Numbers taken from a variety of sources - so take your best guess ! I have used the Niche and Testors colours and would recommend them as a good match.
(Linden Hill note: we will shortly be introducing the Hobby-Plus range of enamel paints from Belarus. They contain either 4 or 6 bottles per set of authentically matched paints for various Russian/Soviet aircraft color schemes. Sets for the Su-27 and Su-32FN/34 are included in the range. Please check our news section for more details soon)
Pale Blue Blue-Grey/Medium Blue Dark Blue/Grey Source
FS 35550 FS 35450 FS 35526 Aerofax
FS 35550 FS 35420 FS 35526 Travers Decal sheet
FS 35550 FS 35420 FS 35526 Hi-Decal
FS 35550 FS 35410 FS 34426 Travers (Russian Knights)
FS 15526 FS 15450 FS 15177 ) Xtracolor
X602 X601 X603 ) Paints
2130 2131 2132 Testors Enamels
7708 7707 7706 Niche Paints
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