Kitty Hawk Models 1/48 Su-27 Flanker B Kit First Look
|Date of Review||July 2020||Manufacturer||Kitty Hawk Models|
|Subject||Su-27 Flanker B||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||80163||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Many possibilities||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$TBA|
Many moons ago, U.S. intelligence anaysts spotted new aircraft prototypes at Ramenskoe airbase (Soviet's Edwards AFB) and were amazed how much they resembled the new fighters entering service in the U.S. One of the designs was given the preliminary identification of RAM-K and was the largest of the fighter designs observed. What they were seeing was Sukhoi OKB's T-10 prototype that evolved into the Su-27 (NATO Codename: Flanker). Since the T-10 was designated Flanker A, the initial production single-seat aircraft became the Flanker B. Designed as a long-range interceptor to replace service aircraft like the Tu-28 Fiddler, the aircraft had significant internal fuel capacily which eliminated the need for external fuel tanks (and their associated drag). The aircraft could also carry an arsenal of missiles on six underwing pylons, two wingtip pylons, two under-intake pylons, and two centerline stations. The Su-27 was also extremely maneuverable and could easily hold its own in aerial combat. One distinguishing feature of the standard interceptor is the centerline IRST sensor ahead of the windscreen. When the Su-27 received in-flight refueling capability, the retractable probe was located on the left side of the nose and the IRST was shfted to the right side to keep it out of harm's way. The Su-27 was exported to China as the J-11, and it didn't take long for the Chinese to 'fix' the aircraft by giving it the capability of deploying air-to-ground stores. Not to be outdone, the Sukhoi OKB introducted the multi-role Su-27SM which included avionics upgrades, in-flight refueling, and a much greater variety of air-to-ground and air-to-air weapons capabilities.
It has been interesting to read many of the posts online claiming Kitty Hawk/Panda Hobby are no longer in business. As Mark Twain once wrote: "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." If you prefer Monty Python and the Holy Grail: "I'm not dead yet...I'm getting better!" The Wuhan virus basically shut down the planet, and production ceased for many companies including Kitty Hawk/Panda Hobby, but throughout their shut-down, the owner continued designing future projects. Once the shut-down was lifted, they began to produce new kits and five of those have come across the pond. Surely five new kits is a reliable sign of life!
We looked at the Panda Hobby German self-propelled howitzer and the Su-30MK kits a few days ago. This is one of three Flanker variants in this batch, which follow the Su-35S kit released three years ago. While some of these parts trees are used in the other two new Flanker kits, none of these trees are out of the Su-35 kit. Molded in gray styrene, this kit is presented on 12 parts trees plus one tree of clear parts and one small fret of photo-etched details.
Among the features and options in this kit:
- Nicely detailed cockpit
- Choice of early (analog) and later (MFD) instrument panels (not mentioned in the instructions)
- Nicely detailed K-36D ejection seat which provide photo-etched crew restraints
- Detailed AL-31F engines
- Positionable ventral intake shutters
- Intake ducts to the engine faces
- Starboard gun bay with positionable access panel
- Detailed forward avionics bay
- Positionable avionics bay/radar access
- Choice of early (dish) or later (phased array) radar antennas (not mentioned in the instructions except the color guide)
- Positionable dorsal speed brake
- Detailed landing gear and wheel wells
- Positionable leading and trailing edge flaps
- Positionable stabilators
- Positionable radome
- Positionable parachute door
- GSh-30 internal cannon in gun bay
- 2 x R-27ER/ET (AA-10 Alamo)
- 2 x R-27R/T (AA-10 Alamo)
- 2 x R-60 (AA-8 Aphid)
- 2 x R-73 (AA-11 Archer)
- 2 x R-77 (AA-12 Adder)
The weapons trees also include bombs which can be carried on the Su-27SM.
Markings are provided for five subjects:
- Su-27SM, bort 04, Russian VVS
- Su-27SM, bort 74, Russian VVS
- J-11, 11137, PLAAF
- Su-27, bort 01, Soviet VVS, sharkmouth nose art
- Su-27S, bort 10, 'Sokoly Rossii' aerial demonstration team
- Out of the box, this kit will build into a number of nice examples
- While the kit has parts to render the early Su-27 (Su-27P) and the updated Su-27SM, it doesn't have all of the parts to do either version. To do an early Su-27, you need the windscreen for the centerline IRST, while you need the hole in the port side fuselage and retractable air refueling probe to render the Su-27SM. While the correct windscreen for the Su-27 can be found in the Su-30MK kit, the air refueling probe is included in the Su-27 kit on C tree but not mentioned in the instructions. You're on your own to open up the port side nose for the probe
- If you follow the Kitty Hawk group on Facebook, they're observing additional glitches and fixes in near real time
I dry-fitted the fuselage halves and the fit is exquisite. The layout of the kit is very straightforward, but the proof will be in the building. I'll be doing a quick-build of one of these three Flanker kits so we can see if this beauty builds as nice as it looks. Stay tuned!
For a look at the builder's guide we've prepared for this kit, look here.
Here is a list of paints Kitty Hawk identifies for use with this kit and their equivalent colors from other brands. Also included are the 'standard' colors for the Su-27 camouflage:
My sincere thanks to Kitty Hawk Models for this review sample!