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Su-17M4 Fitter K

Karaya 1/48 Su-17M4 Fitter K Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2015 Manufacturer Karaya
Subject Su-17M4 Fitter K Scale 1/48
Kit Number S4802 Primary Media Styrene, Resin
Pros Easy build Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $43.00 (approximate)

First Look

Su-17M4 Fitter K
Su-17M4 Fitter K
Su-17M4 Fitter K

The Su-7 was the first production fighter to come out of the post-war Sukhoi OKB. Designed around the AL-7 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.

The Su-17M-3 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 with the rear seat deleted in favor of more internal fuel. The dorsal spine is deeper as well for additional fuel and avionics. The distinctive droop in the forward fuselage came about with the Su-17M-2.

The Su-17M-4 was the final production variant that featured an improved tactical navigation system as well as other avionics, and is visibly recognizable by the air intake scoop at the base of the vertical stabilizer. The scoop provides the engine bay with supplemental cooling air for the Lyulka AL-21F afterburning turbojet engine.

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. You've seen this kit in other boxes including Eduard's limited edition releases and here is another offering of the same plastic from Karaya Models of Poland

Molded in 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 and there is no hint of flash or sink marks.

Just to be different, construction begins with some of the external stores. The include two AS-7 Kerry air-to-surface missiles, a pair of ECM pods, and one reconnaissance pod.

Next up is the cockpit. The KP ejection seat is simplistic as is the cockpit tub, but Karaya includes a nice resin replacement seat. Since Eduard has released the KP kits, there are some nice photo-etched options available on the market as well. The completed cockpit is installed into the stovepipe fuselage along with the intake centerbody and the tailpipe. The cooling air scoops at the rear of the fuselage are also installed at this point, but you might look for the nicer-looking resin replacements from Quickboost.

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:

  • 2 x external fuel tanks
  • 2 x Kh-23 Grom (AS-7 Kerry) missiles
  • 2 x ECM pods
  • 1 x reconnaissance pod
  • 2 x UB-32-57 rocket pods

This aircraft can carry more than these, you can rob other kits to bomb up this bird as you'd like.

  • Su-17M4, Bort 27, 20th Guards Fighter-Bomber Regt/16th Air Army, Germany, 1992
  • Su-17M4, Bort 49, 20th Guards Fighter-Bomber Regt/16th Air Army, Germany, 1992
  • Su-22M4, Bort 503, Bulgarian AF, 2002
  • Su-22M4, C-510, Angolan AF, early 1990s
  • Su-22M4, Bort 5880, Vietnam People's Air Force, 2012

This is a nice kit that can be turned into a really nice model with a few aftermarket items. If you'd like to build something a little different and have a little fun in the process, this is the project for you.

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