Academy 1/48 Su-30M2 Flanker Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||June 2014||Manufacturer||Academy|
|Kit Number||12301||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||First mainstream kit of this variant||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$69.00|
The Sukhoi Design Bureau (OKB) was tasked to develop a long-range interceptor that would be able to contend with strategic threats as well as hold its own against the hottest air-to-air fighter being fielded in the west - the F-15 Eagle. The resulting design bore a similarity to the F-15 from afar, but that is where the similarities end. The Su-27 is more than a match for any contemporary operational fighter, save perhaps the F-22, but its younger brother, the Su-37 will keep Raptor pilots on their toes.
One of the first things you'll notice is that the Flanker doesn't usually carry external fuel tanks. I don't believe I've ever seen a photo of an Su-27 with external tanks. That is because the aircraft carries an ample load of fuel internally to conduct long range intercept missions, and when even longer ranges are required, many Flanker variants are now equipped with retractable air refueling probes.
Serving as the backbone of the Soviet and now Russian air defense forces, the Su-27 has evolved into a number of variants, including the Su-27UB two-seat trainer, Su-30 multi-role fighter, Su-34 fighter-bomber, Su-35 Improved Flanker, and Su-37 Super Flanker. There is also the Su-47 which retains some of the Flankers lines, though it's forward-swept wings reflect a new generation of fighter awaiting funding. We also shouldn't forget the Su-33/Su-27K Naval Flanker, modified for carrier operations. The Su-30M2 is a production variant of the Su-30MK2 that eliminates the weight and complexity of the canards and thrust vectoring system. This version, produced by KnAAPO is entering service with the Russian Air Force with an initial order of 20 airframes.
Academy has released the first mainstream kit of the Su-30M2 Flanker. Just like the real aircraft, this kit is based upon their Su-27UB trainer tooling, but adds new sprues to make the detail changes of this new, fully combat capable type. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on nine parts trees, plus two trees of clear parts and one fret of photo-etched parts.
Among the features and options in this kit:
- Completely new upper nose with repositioned IR sensor and air refueling probe (surgery required)
- Nice cockpit and K36D ejection seats
- Positionable canopy
- Choice of open or closed intake FOD ramps and aux intakes
- Positionable leading and trailing edge flaps
- Detailed landing gear
- Positionable landing gear
- New taller dorsal fin caps (surgery required)
- Positionable speed brake
- Positionable stabilators
- Positionable rudders
There are some new-tooled weapons included in this kit:
- 2 x Kh-31 (AS-17 Krypton) ASM (new)
- 2 x R-27R/T (AA-10 Alamo) AAM (existing)
- 2 x R-73 (AA-11 Archer) AAM (new)
- 2 x R-77 (AA-12 Adder) AAM (new)
- 2 x Sorbitsya ECM pods (new but not used in this version)
Markings are provided for ten examples:
- Su-30M2, Bort 10, RF-95621, VVS
- Su-30M2, Bort 30, RF-95611, VVS
- Su-30M2, Bort 40, unknown, VVS
- Su-30M2, 01, TS-30011, 11 Sqn, Indonesian AF
- Su-30M2, 02, TS-30022, 11 Sqn, Indonesian AF
- Su-30M2, 03, TS-30033, 11 Sqn, Indonesian AF
- Su-30M2, 04, TS-30044, 11 Sqn, Indonesian AF
- Su-30M2, 05, TS-30055, 11 Sqn, Indonesian AF
- Su-30M2, 06, TS-30066, 11 Sqn, Indonesian AF
- Su-30M2, 07, TS-30077, 11 Sqn, Indonesian AF
The decal sheet provides a nice array of airframe stencils. The instructions provide painting instructions with equivalents from Humbrol, Gunze, Life Color, Testors Model Master, Revell, and Vallejo paints.
It is nice to see this kit modernized to represent current production Flankers. With the interesting variety of camouflage patterns that Sukhoi OKB and the export companies have applied to these airframes, one can have a colorful array of Flankers on the shelf without repeating color schemes. The Su-27/30 series airframe is still in my top five most beautiful airframes ever designed along with the F-14 Tomcat.
My sincere thanks to MRC for the review sample.