Kitty Hawk Models 1/48 Su-34 Fullback Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||July 2018||Manufacturer||Kitty Hawk Models|
|Kit Number||80141||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch, Resin|
|Pros||Nice kit, lots of armament options||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$87.95|
The Sukhoi Experimental Design Bureau (OKB) began work on fighter-bomber design to replace the Su-24 Fencer. With the success of the Su-27 airframe with its combination of thrust, long range, and adaptability for future growth (including the Su-30 and Su-35S thrust-vectoring variants), it was only natural to use the Su-27 as the starting point for this new fighter-bomber. The initial prototype took an Su-27UB two-seat trainer (tandem-seating) and replaced the nose with side-by-side seating like the Su-24. The design evolved gradually over the next decade as the collapse of the Soviet Union and the budget limitations of the Russian Air Force dictated. The Su-34 would finally enter production in 2004 and, with well over 100 aircraft on order, the aircraft is finally not only replacing the Su-24, but also the Tu-22M3 Backfire. NATO Codenamed Fullback, the Su-34 received its first 'official' baptism of fire when six aircraft were deployed to Syria in 2015. These aircraft were joined by another eight, all of which were used to carry a variety of air-to-ground ordinance. After Turkey shot down an Su-24 in November, 2015, Su-34s also carried air-to-air weapons in case of any further airborne threats.
Many folks welcomed the news of the Su-34 coming in 1/48 scale, and more so when two companies stepped up with kits. HobbyBoss was first with their 2016 release, and while that kit builds nicely out of the box, it does have a few fit issues as well as the design glitch with the nose/radome. With an MSRP of over $165 USD, it was a shame to have that nose profile, but there is a resin correction available.
So here is the LONG awaited Kitty Hawk alternative and it appears to have a correctly shaped nose as well as a nice selection of details and options. At almost half the price of the HobbyBoss kit, we're off to a good start. Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on 13 parts trees plus the upper and lower fuselage, one tree of clear parts, one fret of photo-etched parts, and four resin afterburner nozzles. Among the features and options in this kit:
- Nicely detailed K36D ejection seats with photo-etched crew restraints
- Detailed cockpit (see notes below)
- AESA Radar antenna under radome
- Intake ducts to the AL-31 engines
- Two detailed AL-31 engines
- Choice of open or closed resin nozzles
- Detailed landing gear and wells
- Positionable air refueling probe
- Positionable canards
- Positionable leading edge flaps
- Positionable flaperons
- Positionable stabilators
- Positionable rudders
Markings are provided for four subjects:
- Su-34, Bort 04, Russian AF, blue camo
- Su-34, Bort 22, Russian AF, eggplant camo
- Su-34, Bort 02, RF-02251, Russian AF, blue camo
- Su-34, factory primer, test flight before paint shop visit
The decals provide a basic set of airframe stencils for the aircraft as well as an impressive set of weapons stencils. The decals also provide the red stars with the red/white outlines used prior to 2010 as well as a set of stars with the red/white/blue outlines adopted in 2010 and in current use.
The kit also includes an impressive array of external stores which include:
- 2 x R-77 (NATO: AA-12 Adder)
- 2 x R-73 (NATO: AA-11 Archer)
- 2 x R-27ER/ET (NATO: AA-10 Alamo)
- 2 x R-27R/T (NATO: AA-10 Alamo)
- 4 x R-60 (NATO: AA-8 Aphid)
- 2 x Kh-35 (NATO: AS-20 Kayak)
- 2 x KH-31 (NATO: AS-17 Krypton)
- 2 x KH-29 (NATO: AS-14 Kedge)
- 2 x KH-59 (NATO: AS-13 Kingbolt)
- 2 x KH-58 (NATO: AS-11 Kilter)
- 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 KAB-1500 Guided Bombs
- 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 UB-16-57 Rocket Pods
- 2 x SPPU-22 Downward Firing Gun Pods
- 2 x UBK-23 Gun Pods
- 2 x GUV-8700 Gun Pods
- 2 x U-6 multiple ejector racks
- 2 x U-4 multiple ejector racks
- 2 x vertical ejector racks
- Since this kit was released overseas well before importers received this kit in the North American market, it is no surprise that there have been some thorough looks at the kit published on various venues. One of the more interesting 'glitches' in the kit (so far) is the new two-man yaw control for the Su-34. The rudder pedals mount in the center of the cockpit giving the pilot control of the left rudder pedal and the copilot/bomb/nav control of the right rudder pedal. This kit needs the pedals moved to one side and another set added to the other side of the cockpit.
- As with previous releases, there are mounting pins or holes shown in the instructions that don't appear on the parts. And as with previous releases, test-fitting of the parts will mitigate these problems.
- With all of the details in this kit, one disappointment is the lack of a boarding ladder. Cockpit entry is up through the nosewheel well, just like the B-1B.
- As with many of the previous Soviet/Russian Air Force subjects from Kitty Hawk, this kit offers an extensive selection of weapons and bomb racks. There is an optional resin set available that has the wingtip Sorbitsiya ECM pods carried by some Su-34s as well as some ground crew figures. The kit doesn't have the huge centerline external fuel tank that has been deployed, we'll have to wait for the aftermarket.
Here is a helpful weapons station diagram with typical loadouts:
This is going to be a fun project. We'll get this beast onto the bench soon.
My sincere thanks to Kitty Hawk Models for this review sample!