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Kopro 1/48 Su-17M3 Fitter Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2007 Manufacturer Kopro
Subject Su-17M3 Fitter Scale 1/48
Kit Number 3163 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy build Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $37.00

First Look


The Su-7 was the first production fighter to come out of the post-war Sukhoi OKB. Designed around the AL-7F afterburning turbojet, the Su-7 sported a nose intake similar to the early MiG jet fighters as well as the early US jet fighters. Its wings were swept back 60 degrees, giving the aircraft good low-altitude performance and transonic airspeeds at altitude. The major disadvantage to the design was the need for lengthy runways to launch and recover the aircraft. There had to be a better way...

The Su-17 was the result of several attempts to lower the aircraft's stall speed to provide shorter take-off and landing runs. The solution was relatively simple - add variable geometry outer wing panels to reduce the wing sweep for improved low-speed performance, then sweep them back for high-speed operations. While early Su-17 retained the AL-7F engine, all production Su-17s beginning with the Su-17M (NATO Codename: Fitter C) were fitted with the higher-power AL-21F engine.

The Su-17M3 (NATO Codename: Fitter H) was the result of several iterations of improvements over the original Su-17. This variant was based upon the two-seat Su-17UM trainer, but the rear cockpit was replaced with more avionics and internal fuel. The dorsal spine is deeper as well for additional fuel and avionics. The distinctive droop in the forward fuselage came about with forward fuselage stretch that started with the Su-17M2 (NATO Codename: Fitter D).

Kopro (also known as KP) is a Czech-based model company that produces a variety of kit subjects in 1/72, plus a few noteworthy subjects (Su-7, Su-17/22, Su-25, MiG-21) in 1/48 scale. Kopro produces the only injection-molded kits of the Su-17/22 series in 1/48 scale. This review looks at the Su-17M3.

Molded in light gray styrene, the kit is presented on four parts trees and a single tree of clear parts. The detail and layout of this model is not unlike a Monogram kit. The details on the surfaces are scribed. There is no hint of flash or sink marks.

Just to be different, construction begins with some of the external stores. The include two AS-7 Kerry air-to-surface missiles, a pair of ECM pods, and one reconnaissance pod.

Next up is the cockpit. The ejection seat is simplistic as is the cockpit tub, but there are some nice resin aftermarket cockpits available for this kit including from Aires and Neomega. Eduard also does a dress-up photo-etch set for this kit as well.

The completed cockpit is installed into the stovepipe fuselage along with the intake centerbody and the tailpipe. The cooling air scoops at the rear of the fuselage are also installed at this point, but you might look for the nicer-looking resin replacements from Quickboost.

The outer wing panels are designed to be moved, so the flaps are molded up and locked. You can remove these from the inboard and outboard wing sections if you'd like to drop these.

The horizontal stabilators are positionable. The speed brakes are positionable as well.

External stores include:

  • Two external fuel tanks
  • Two AS-7 Kerry missiles (mentioned above)
  • Two ECM pods (ditto)
  • One Recce pod (ditto)
  • Two UB-32-57 rocket pods

This aircraft carries more than this, you can rob other kits to configure this bird as you'd like. 4+ Publications has a nice reference on this aircraft to help you along.

  • Su-17M3, Bort 13, 1st Sqn, Bolshiye Shiraki AB, Soviet Air Force, 1982
  • Su-17M3, Bort 21, 101st Recon Regt, Soviet Air Force, Afghanistan
  • Su-17M3, Bort 42, 125th Independent Recon Avn Regt, Soviet Air Force

An extensive set of stencils is also provided for the airframe.

This is a nice kit that can be turned into a really nice model with a few aftermarket items. If you'd like to build something a little different and have a little fun in the process, this is the project for you.