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Modern Russian Air Force

AKAN Modern Russian Air Force Paint First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review July 2011 Manufacturer AKAN
Subject Modern Russian Air Force Product Number 47319
Pros Finally some accurate colors for contemporary Russian Air Force subjects Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $23.00

First Look

There have been many kits of Soviet Air Force subjects over the years and very few paint colors to support them. Ever since Viktor Belenko flew his MiG-25 to Japan and Hasegawa's subsequent kit of same, it was clear that getting the right colors on these models was going to be a challenge given the limited information available.

Modern Russian Air Force Modern Russian Air Force

In more recent years, a few paint companies have half-heartedly provided some colors with little insight into their use. Despite the growing wealth of information coming out of the former Soviet Union on Soviet and Russian aviation, nothing that resembles painting standards and/or camouflage instructions have yet appeared. Then along came Linden Hill Imports...

Linden Hill Imports has been around for a number of years and specializes on importing hobby kits, decals, detail sets, and reference books out of the Russian Federation states, most notably from Russia and Ukraine. Somewhere along the line, they discovered a growing line of hobby paints produced for the Russian market under the brand name of AKAN (looks like AKAH in Cyrillic) and among those colors are a series dedicated to World War II and modern Soviet/Russian aviation subjects.

AKAN paints are produced like many other brands, in an enamel and an acrylic formulation. Linden Hill Imports is bringing over the acrylic line (which makes importing and mail order far easier). The paints are produced in Finland (probably by the same company that produces JPS Modell/Don Color) and they are ready to go straight out of the bottle (after mixing of course).

When I first became aware of AKAN paints last year, the availability and selection of colors was still limited at Linden Hill and there aren't any other western sources for the line that I been able to find. Patience has paid off as Linden Hill Imports has become an official importer of the paint line and a growing number of colors is now available.

AKAN acrylics are packaged in plastic bottles that have a snap-off ring seal to show if the bottle has been previously opened. When I first started experimenting with these colors, the labels were all in Russian but now the bottles are labeled in English on one side, Russian on the other. Each color is available separately, but what is convenient are these bundled sets for the first-time user. Each set comes with six bottles of paint which provide the essential colors for a given subject area.

Here is the first set of colors I've seen designed for modern Soviet Air Force subjects. The package says Su-30MKI and provides colors for the combination of blues on that demonstrator aircraft, but you'll see in other photos like the one below that two of the three blues are used here in this Russian Air Force Su-27. This aircraft is using a gray that is also available in the AKAN line-up.

According to the package, these colors in this set are:

  • 73146 White
  • 73056 Red
  • 73069 Grey-Dark Blue
  • 73032 Signal Blue
  • 73033 Blue
  • 73034 Pale Blue

The first color (White) is radome white. The red is provided for the gear door edges, flap danger areas, etc. That Grey-Dark Blue is a new color that is the current cockpit color for new-build Flankers as well as older Flankers that have been through depot in the last decade. If you are looking for relevant colors for your Su-25UB Frogfoot, these colors are also used for the naval trainers so you can create the Su-25TM by adding a tailhook and these colors.

If you've been enjoying the growing selection of Soviet and Russian aviation subjects coming to store shelves, you're not alone. If you've tried to use the Gunze paints that have been recommended in the instruction sheets and they just don't look right, again you're not alone. I give credit to the kit manufacturers for getting close with the available Gunze paints but with the exception of 2-3 colors, Gunze does not produce color-matched paints for Russian/Soviet subjects so you've been settling for 'close enough'. If you want to get to the right colors, give these AKAN paints a try. I've purchased all of the available colors now and I like how they go through my airbrush and clean with Windex.

My sincere thanks to Linden Hill Imports for this review sample!

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