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Su-22M3/M4 Fitter

Kitty Hawk 1/48 Su-22M3/M4 Fitter Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2017 Manufacturer Kitty Hawk
Subject Su-22M3/M4 Fitter Scale 1/48
Kit Number 80146 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Nice kit Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $79.99

First Look

Su-22M3/M4 Fitter
Su-22M3/M4 Fitter
Su-22M3/M4 Fitter
Su-22M3/M4 Fitter
Su-22M3/M4 Fitter
Su-22M3/M4 Fitter

For a brief introduction to the Fitter series, look here. Earlier this year, Kitty Hawk introduced their first installment of the Fitter series with their Su-17M3/M4. While the box art identified the subject as the Fitter K, the Su-17M3 was the Fitter H while the Su-17M4 was the Fitter K. Regardless of what you call it, this was the best kit of the late Fitter produced to date. The kit features some great engineering while also having a few issues such as the odd centerbody radome in the intake (since fixed by the aftermarket) and the multi-section fuselage. The kit also features the nicest selection of weapons stores I've seen in a Russian/Soviet subject kit.

In this release, the box art identifies this as the Su-22M3/M4 Fitter F. One out of three isn't bad - this isn't a Fitter F. The Su-22M2D was the first to be powered by the R-29B engine that also powered the MiG-23. To accommodate that engine, a wider rear fuselage section was required versus the standard unit that housed the AL-21F engine (does this engine make my butt look bigger?). The Su-22M2 and M2D didn't have the distinctive humpback dorsal spine of the later Fitters, and the kit doesn't provide the smaller dorsal spine, so you can't build a Fitter F.

The Su-22M3 was the export version of the Su-17M3 (Fitter H) but with the distinctive fat butt which earned it the NATO identified Fitter J. The enlarged rear fuselage section is not included in this kit, so you can't build the Su-22M3 Fitter J. What you do have in this box are the same sprue trees from the Su-17M3/M4, so you can build the Su-17M3 Fitter H, Su-17M4 Fitter K (you'll need Soviet/Russian AF markings) or the Su-22M4 Fitter K. Since the Su-17M4 and Su-22M4 were virtually identical from a distance (grainy black and white photos), they both were designated as Fitter K. We'll refer to this kit as the Su-22M4 Fitter K from this point.

As before, among the features and options in this kit:

  • Detailed cockpit tub
  • Detailed K-36D ejection seat with choice of seat cushions and photo-etched restraints
  • Instrument panel and side console decals
  • Positionable canopy
  • Positionable aux intake (blow-in) doors
  • Detailed AL-21F engine
  • Choice of Su-22M3 or M4 vertical stab fairings (ignore the M3 options)
  • Positionable speed brakes
  • Positionable rudder
  • Positionable stabilators
  • Positionable ailerons
  • Positionable leading edge slats
  • Positionable trailing edge flaps
  • Movable wings (not if the flaps and slats are posed extended)

External stores include:

  • 2 x R-73 (NATO: AA-11 Archer)
  • 4 x R-60 (NATO: AA-8 Aphid)
  • 2 x Kh-23 (NATO: AS-7 Kerry)
  • 2 x APU-60-2 R-60 twin-rail launchers
  • 2 x BETAB-500 Bombs
  • 2 x BETAB-500-ZD
  • 2 x RBK-500-250 Bombs
  • 2 x FAB-500-M54 Bombs
  • 2 x OFAB-250-SZN Bombs
  • 4 x FAB-250-M54 Bombs
  • 4 x FAB-250-M62 Bombs
  • 4 x F2B-250-TS Bombs
  • 4 x SAB-100 Bombs
  • 2 x B-13 Rocket Pods
  • 2 x S-24 Rockets
  • 2 x S-25L Rockets
  • 2 x B-8M Rocket Pods
  • 2 x UB-32-57 Rocket Pods
  • 2 x SPPU-22 Downward Firing Gun Pods
  • 2 x UBK-23 Gun Pods
  • 2 x SPS-141 EW Pods
  • 2 x External Fuel Tanks
  • 1 x KKR-1T Reconnaissance Pod

The kit provides markings for seven subjects plus a set of airframe stencils:

  • Su-22M4, 9102, Polish AF
  • Su-22M4, Syrian AF
  • Su-22M4, Bort 546, JBG-77, EGAF, 1988
  • Su-22M4, 98+14, Luftwaffe, 1993
  • Su-22M4, Iraqi AF
  • Su-22M4, 322 TRS/32 TRW, Prerow AB, Czech AF, 1994
  • Su-22M4, 5868, 372 Div, Tho-Xuan AB, Vietnamese AF

The kit itself looks nice out of the box but here are a few thoughts:

  • The kit fuselage consists of three sections. The rear section division is at the maintenance break so you can pose the tail removed to reveal the details of the nice AL-21F. The instructions don't indicate that this is an option
  • With the exception of the AL-21F, the kit doesn't waste time/resources with details you won't see after assembly (not over-engineered)
  • As with some Tomcat kits, the outer wing panels are hinged to move, but as with those Tomcat kits, you don't want to leave those pivots unglued if you opt to pose the flaps and slats extended
  • When Kitty Hawk announced an extensive weapons set for this kit, they weren't exaggerating. You'll have plenty leftover to bomb up a number of other WarPac subjects

Aside from the confusion of the variants presented in this box, as well as the odd centerbody radome (fixed by KASL), this kit goes together quite nicely and offers an impressive array of loadout options.

For a look at this kit built-up, look here.

My sincere thanks to Kitty Hawk Models for this review sample!

References:

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