Eduard 1/48 Su-27UB Flanker C Kit First Look
by Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||April 2012||Manufacturer||Eduard|
|Subject||Su-27UB Flanker C||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||1168||Primary Media||Styrene, Resin, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Kit and aftermarket details all in the box||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$149.95|
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 Flanker has been exported to China and India, with additional customers being lined up by the Russian aviation export teams.
Last year, we looked at a special edition of the Academy 1/48 Su-27UB released by Wolfpack which incorporated their resin and photo-etched details. At the time, it was the best Su-27UB kit in 1/48 scale released to date. Here we are with the same concept, this time from Eduard. Released in their limited edition series, this kit also starts with the Academy kit and adds Eduard's details to the mix. How does it compare you ask, let's take a look:
First we have the stock Academy kit. The kit is molded in blue-gray styrene and presented on six parts trees (counting the upper and lower fuselage halves as a tree each) plus one tree of clear parts. Overall, the kit is a simple build and while the exterior detailing is good, the cockpit, wheel wells, and armament leave a little to be desired. In many of the builds I've seen, many folks have opted for the Neomega resin cockpit for this kit but some haven't been happy with the detailing in that set either. The Wolfpack cockpit is a definite step up from the stock kit, but Eduard has raised that bar even higher with a nice mix of resin and color-printed photo-etched details to render these two cockpits. The wheel wells are simplistic and the weapons should probably be discarded. Despite those points, the model builds up into a really great looking two-seat Flanker.
With this Eduard kit, things are quite a bit different. Some of the features of this Eduard/Academy paring include:
- Completely new (and nice!) resin and color PE cockpit tubs
- Detailed K-36D ejection seats
- New instrument panels and comings front and rear
- Photo-etched HUD frames
- PE details for the wheel wells
- Photo-etched intake FOD guards in place of the solid plastic ones
- Photo-etched auxiliary intake louvers
- Photo-etched IFF and RSBN antennas
- Photo-etched details for the landing gear struts
- Paint masks for the wheels
- Photo-etched mirrors
- Very nice set of decals!
The number one complaint from builders has been the Academy cockpit, especially since it is one of the most visible aspects of the kit given the huge two-place pit and canopy. Eduard as completely replaced the stock kit cockpit and all it needs is a coat of Sukhoi gray in the cockpit ad some careful detail painting to really set this new feature off.
The stock kit's wheel wells are updated with photo-etched frames and plumbing to add the missing detail inside the main wells as well as the nosewheel well.
One of the more unusual paradoxes are the kit intakes. Academy provided full-length intake trunks down to the engine compressor faces, but then blocked them off with plastic FOD guards. The MiG-29 has a similar arrangement, but its engines can breath at idle through louvers atop the leading edge chines ahead of the wings. The Su-27 has its louvers on the bottom for auxiliary air intakes, but are useless to keep FOD out if they're so close to the ground. The guards on the Sukhoi are actually screens that allow air to feed the engines while the ventral louvers remain safely closed on the ground. Eduard has replaced the solid FOD shields with photo-etched screens.
The Academy kit didn't do much for antennas in their release, so Eduard provides the IFF and RSBN (TACAN) antennas as photo-etch to provide the proper details missing on stock kits.
The weapons are fortunately not needed in this build as the color schemes provided in this kit are trainers.
This kit provides markings for four very colorful examples:
- Su-27UBM1, Bort 53, Taldykorgan AB, Kazakhstan AF
- Su-27UB, Bort 20, Novyfyodorovka AB, Russian Navy
- Su-27UB, Bort 609, 6 FS, Asmara AB, Eritrean AF
- Su-27UB, Bort 74, 831 Tactical Air Bde, Mirgorod AB, Ukrainian AF
This kit provides complete markings for each example as well as a thorough set of maintenance stenciling for the airframe, pylons, and weapons.
When this kit was first announced, I didn't think that Eduard could improve on the work that Wolfpack did on their kit but I was wrong. The cockpit in this kit is nicer with the color photo-etch added to the resin parts. While the FOD screens are as nice as the Wolfpack, the addition of the photo-eched auxiliary intake louvers will really add to the appearance of the finished kit (and you'll want to park this model on a mirror when you're finished!). While you can argue the pros and cons of some of the other details in each version, this kit is definitely the best Su-27UB kit in this scale.
My sincere thanks to Eduard for this review sample!