Eduard 1/48 Su-17M3 Fitter Kit First Look
|Date of Review||July 2010||Manufacturer||Eduard|
|Kit Number||1149||Primary Media||Styrene, Resin, PE|
|Pros||The Kopro Fitters are the best of these subjects in 1/48 scale||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$70.00|
The Su-7 was the first production fighter to come out of the post-war Sukhoi OKB. Designed around the AL-7F afterburning turbojet, the Su-7 sported a nose intake similar to the early MiG jet fighters as well as the early US jet fighters. Its wings were swept back 60 degrees, giving the aircraft good low-altitude performance and transonic airspeeds at altitude. The major disadvantage to the design was the need for lengthy runways to launch and recover the aircraft. There had to be a better way...
The Su-17 was the result of several attempts to lower the aircraft's stall speed to provide shorter take-off and landing runs. The solution was relatively simple - add variable geometry outer wing panels to reduce the wing sweep for improved low-speed performance, then sweep them back for high-speed operations. While early Su-17 retained the AL-7F engine, all production Su-17s beginning with the Su-17M (NATO Codename: Fitter C) were fitted with the higher-power AL-21F engine.
The Su-17M3 (NATO Codename: Fitter H) was the result of several iterations of improvements over the original Su-17. This variant was based upon the two-seat Su-17UM trainer, but the rear cockpit was replaced with more avionics and internal fuel. The dorsal spine is deeper as well for additional fuel and avionics. The distinctive droop in the forward fuselage came about with forward fuselage stretch that started with the Su-17M2 (NATO Codename: Fitter D).
Kopro (also known as KP) is a Czech-based model company that produces a variety of kit subjects in 1/72, plus a few noteworthy subjects (Su-7, Su-17/22, Su-25, MiG-21) in 1/48 scale. Kopro produces the only injection-molded kits of the Su-17/22 series in 1/48 scale. Eduard has released this Kopro kit as one of their excellent limited editions which takes the stock Kopro kit and adds some nice aftermarket details in this one box.
Molded in light gray styrene, the kit is presented on four parts trees and a single tree of clear parts. The detail and layout of this model is not unlike a Monogram kit. The details on the surfaces are scribed. There is no hint of flash or sink marks. Eduard includes one fret of color-printed photo-etched parts primarily for the cockpit and another set of photo-etched details for other airframe enhancements. This release is rounded out with a nice resin cockpit tub, yellow tape masks, and a nice decal sheet.
The resin cockpit is billed as part of Eduard's new BrassIn series and it would be nice if this set were eventually released separately for all of the Kopro kits that are out there. The resin cockpit provides much nicer detailing of the Su-17 cockpit and the color photo-etched details take care of those essential details such as ejection seat straps and harness, instrument panel, placards, etc. After this nice treatment, you'll definitely want to post the canopy of this model open.
The BrassIn detail set also includes a handy plug that closes off the forward edge of the nosewheel well as the instructions have you cut an equivalent sized area at the nosewheel well - they're shifting the entire nosegear aft to correct a kit bug.
The Kopro kit does include the vertical stabilizers for both the Su-17M3 and Su-17M4, so technically you can render either variant. Remember that the Su-22M3 and Su-22M4 were the export versions, respectively.
The Eduard details also add some airframe updates to the Kopro kit to reflect radar warning antennas that were mounted around the airframe which is a very nice addition.
This detail set does include one of the nicest renditions of the K-36D ejection seat - between the resin and photo-etched parts, this is the best that's ever been done in any scale (aside from 1:1 scale that is).
The outer wing panels are designed to be moved, so the flaps are molded up and locked. You can remove these from the inboard and outboard wing sections if you'd like to drop these. The horizontal stabilators are positionable. The speed brakes are positionable as well.
External stores include:
- Two external fuel tanks
- Two AS-7 Kerry missiles
- Two ECM pods
- One Recce pod
- Two UB-32-57 rocket pods
This aircraft carries more than this, you can rob other kits to configure this bird as you'd like. 4+ Publications has a nice reference on this aircraft to help you along.
The kit provides a nice decal sheet with five aicraft options:
- Su-22M3, Grupp Aereo No.11, Eschadron Aereo 111, Talara AB, Peru
- Su-22M3, 307, 1032 Sqn, Libya
- Su-17M3, Bort 09, Soviet Naval Forces, 1980-1990
- Su-17M3, Bort 13, 1st AE, 168 APIB, 36 ADIB, Bolshaya Shiraki AB, Soviet Air Force, 1982
- Su-17M3, Bort 21, 101 ORAP, Soviet Union, 1980s
An extensive set of stencils is also provided for the airframe.
This is a nice kit that can be turned into a really nice model and unlike the Kopro release, the aftermarket items that you'd need to render a good model are included inside this box. If you'd like to build something a little different and have a little fun in the process, this is the project for you.
My sincere thanks to Eduard for this review sample!