Sukhoi SU 27KNavy "Flanker"

1/72 scale

by  Fabian Vera


The Su 27k "Flanker" (or Su 30) is the newest interceptor in the Russian Navy. This plane belongs to the most advanced fighters group in the Russian Navy (first planes with the ability of wire flying). This very impressive fighter is the one onboard of the new Russian carriers, the "Tbilissi" class, leaving behind the not less impressive, but outdated, Mig 29k.
This airplane is known as the Russian answer to the American F18 Hornet, although is like the F14 Tomcat, about its size and capacity, but to my knowledge this is one of the most beautiful naval planes.


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The kit
Currently, there are only two kits of the "Navy Flanker" in the very popular 1/72 scale and they share the same molding, one is made by Italeri and the other one by Lee. Being of the same "root" they both share the same pros and cons.
For those who prefer the 1/48 scale there is an excellent resin conversion set for the Academy kit. As for yours truly, I used the Airfix kit "Su 27B" because I couldn't find the Hasegawa kit (the best in the market). Besides, the Airfix kit has recessed panel lines while the Italeri and Lee versions have raised lines, which would lead us to the same modifications.

Building and detailing

My first concern was to determine the amount of "cuts" and "aggregates" necessary in order to get the results I was looking for. For this task I used the excellent 1/72 plans from "World Air Power Journal -Special- Su 27 Flanker" magazine, plus a good deal of pictures. Once I've finished with all the cutting I built some of the aggregates. All in all, the finished fuselage almost duplicated the number of parts.
After that I began the assembly adding the trailing edges to the wings, I then cut the rudder following the assembly sequence in the instruction sheet. The fitting of the pieces is not very precise so I had to use the old trusty putty and sanding, in order to get everything fixed.

The cockpit
For general cockpit detailing I used the PE set from "Extra Tech", which is specially made for the Airfix kit. Although this kit wasn't made for the "naval" version, I used it because there is not a PE kit with the instrument panel for that version; but I checked the differences and they were very slight and almost "invisible" in this small scale.


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I used the K36 resin seat made by "True Details", the most accurate to me, and added some PE details like the ejection rings. I had to cut a section from the cockpit (the part behind the pilot's seat) that comes with the fuselage, and scratch built the space for the hatch opening actuating piston, so I could leave the cockpit open.
I didn't use the bubble canopy that comes with the kit (part #67), because it wasn't for the naval version; instead, I used a spare one from a P51 Mustang which I cut and trimmed to give it the right shape. Then I scratch built the electro-optic system.


This was the most complex part of my project. I had to build the junction between the wings and the fuselage out of plastic sheet and putty. In order to give them the correct shape I used the same plastic as a template, gave them the volume and finished everything with putty until I got everything integrated.


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The tail fin for this version is a little bit shorter and higher so I had to give a special treatment. After cutting it I rebuilt it using the original pieces in the kit, plastic sheet, and putty. Once I finished the piece I glued it to the fuselage in the correct position. I used putty in order to "streamline" this part with the cockpit. Once installed in a higher position, the tail part left an empty space in the underside which I had to fill with plastic in order to make it flat, then I built the support for the tail landing hook. All these pieces were made with plastic rod and sheet.

The wings were the parts I had to modify the most, due to their differences which are quite complex and very important. When you build a plane with foldable wings, you must make the hinges for the flaps and the slats. So I began by cutting the flaps from the wings (even those nearest to the fuselage). After widening them to the correct size (wider than the common Su27), I installed them in their place, as you can see in the pictures.

The rebuilding of the slats was an easier task because I only had to cut the ones nearest to the fuselage. I had to scratch build the inner parts in the wings and the joints in the flaps and the slats, because they were visible now.

One of the most characteristic detail of this plane are the two rudder fins, this is due to their parting lines and the large hinge line. They were easily reproduced with plastic sheet.

I made the refueling probe with brass tube covered with epoxy putty, and then I carved to give the right volume, and shaped  the connection tip. I made the bay where the probe enters the fuselage with plastic sheet.


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I added all the antennas to the fuselage. I had to build the nose antenna (in the right side under the number) with plastic sheet and heat stretched plastic sprue. For the flat three legged antennas (in the upper rudder section, and under the nose), I used spares from PE parts, I used hypodermic needles for the pitot tube and the gun.

There were several parts in the Extra Tech set that I didn't use: #13 because it is to big; #12 and #14 because they are not for the Navy version; #10 and #11 because they are too thin ( the original part has volume; that is, it's not flat).

I scratch built the nose landing gear using part #7 as a base, making all the visible modifications to this part; they are, hydraulic lines, both wheels axles mudguards, take off light, deck fixing ring, shock absorber, and lights. The tires were obtained from my spare box., which were modified to show the shape the Sukhoi tires. I detailed the main landing gears adding the hydraulic lines, four deck fixing rings (two on each wheel), and the bays. I didn't use parts #5, #22, and #53 because they didn't correspond to this version.


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I used the Russian missile set from Dragon. Although they are not very detailed, they are better than the ones supplied with the kit. In order to reproduce the ordnance used by this plane on board the carrier "Admiral Kuznetsov", I decided to arm the bird with four missiles only; so, I changed the position and decoration of the missiles, and took off the supports under the wings. This is the configuration shown in most of this airplane's published pictures.

Painting the model
I copied the camouflage scheme from the excellent magazine "Koku-Fan-n 467-Nov 1991" (pages 11 to 17). The magazine shows top and side plans. For the colors I used the ones in the Internet site "Victory", which to my knowledge, they are the most accurate, according to the photographs. These colors are: Humbrol 89, 144, 127, I had to experiment with the combinations because all the pictures that I'd seen, even in the same magazine, show different planes (numbers 37, 69, 59, 79) and different shades, although the scheme is the same. Besides, none of the publications that I've used as a guide provided references about the original shades, not even the Federal Standard.

Inside the cockpit I used the color recommended by Aeromaster, the landing gear doors and bays were painted in the same color as the belly, and I did that because this is what I could see in the pictures, no matter the camouflage scheme. All painting was made with an airbrush and I used "Model Master" paints, besides the Humbrol.

Finishing detailing
I used washes in sepia and blue tones in order to highlight the separation between the panels; I used that tones because these planes don't have too much wear and tear, except in the white nose which appears "repainted" and it needed a little more work than the rest. For the "salt water" spots I used white India ink.

For the application of the silver color in the shock absorbers, the washes between the panels, the flat black for the tires, and the salt water spots, I used a round tip brush.

Except for the numbers, the OKV emblem in both rudders, and the National emblems in other parts of the plane, which I took from my spares box, I used the decals provided in the kit.

"Koku-fan N 467-Nov. 91' "
"World Air Power Journal -Special- Su 27 Flanker"
"Aerofax Extra 3 - Su27"
"Concord N 4007 - Russian Falcons"
"Osprey - Russian Warriors"
"Concord N 4010 - Su-27 Flanker"


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