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Su-34 Strike Flanker

Trumpeter 1/144 Su-34 Strike Flanker Kit First Look

By Sundiata Cowels

Date of Review December 2012 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject Su-34 Strike Flanker Scale 1/144
Kit Number 1329 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice pint-sized rendition of this massive strike aircraft Cons See text
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $3.99

First Look

Su-34 Strike Flanker
Su-34 Strike Flanker
Su-34 Strike Flanker
Su-34 Strike Flanker

The Su-27IB/Su-34 was created to replace the ageing fleet of Su-24 Fencer tactical strike attack craft.

Development of the Su-34 has been long and protracted, mainly due to the breakup of the former Soviet Union and the resultant loss of government financial support for the Sukhoi OKB . Revealed in its true form as a strike aircraft in February 1992, the  Su-27IB (Russian Air Force designation) /Su-34 NATO codename "Fullback" is a state-of-the  art weapon system, with a comfortable cockpit for a two man crew and  enough room for a galley and a lavatory. Talk about comfort!

According to research, a single Su-34 flew combat evaluation sorties during the Russia's war with Chechnya in late 1999. The final analysis of its combat effectiveness is not known.

I will admit it, I am a 'Flanker-phile.' When Italeri released the 1/72 version of this aircraft I bought enough kits to form my own personal squadron. With Trumpeter's release of this craft in 1/144 scale you get 56 parts within three trees- one clear, two in grey styrene.

Understandably there isn't much detail on this kit. The wheel bays are not boxed in so with close inspection you can see straight through to the other side. This same lack of detail extends to the  intake trunking as well. The scribing panel lines appear to be a bit heavy for this scale. There is an attempt at detail in the cockpit; there are side console panels with a few oversized nobs but there is no main control panel under the coaming- again a blank space. No joysticks either.

Engine cans are simple affairs with overly simplified ribbing.

The kit is flash free with plenty of locator holes to align the parts correctly. The pieces are molded well enough away from the trees so that removing them shouldn't result in broken pieces by using just a basic X-acto knife edge.

I noticed some inaccuracies in the instructions- the main gear wheels are shown to be attached on the inward side of the main gear- they should be attached on the outward side away from the aircraft body.

There is no cannon port on the starboard side of the cockpit.

You'll have to add your own back-up pitot static tubes.

Due to the length of the tailboom or "tail sting", the instructions advise the modeler to add 2.5 grams to the aircraft nose to avoid it becoming a tail sitter.  

Nice assortment of weapons:

  • 2 x Kh-31A anti-ship missiles
  • 2 x Kh-29T air-to-surface missile
  • 2 x R-73 short-range air-to-air missile
  • 2 x R-77 medium-range air-to-air missile
  • 3 x undetermined FAB bombs or possibly an AS-14?

Color chart callouts appear to be taken from Tamiya's X series of paints but I can't confirm this. Decals and box artwork depict 'Bort 43', the second prototype of the Su-34 which was revealed to the public in 1992 making dummy approaches to the Russian Aircraft carrier Tbilisi. It was transferred to Zhukovskiy in December of 1993 for further testing.

Okay, so Trumpeter has released this kit in 1/144 scale and Italeri has released it in 1/72. When oh when are they going to release it in 1/48 scale? I think of this kit as a nice curbside model of a fascinating plane at an excellent price point.

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