Kopro 1/48 Su-25K Frogfoot Kit First Look
|Date of Review||August 2004||Manufacturer||Kopro|
|Kit Number||3166||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||Out of Production|
This is the first Kopro kit I've ever seen in person and first impressions really aren't all that bad. The kit comes in a large and fairly flat box with a nice painting of a Su-25 on the attack. The box was simply taped closed but it was surprisingly difficult to get open! Inside are five sprues of grey plastic, one sprue of clear parts, an instruction booklet, a huge decal sheet, and, surprisingly, a set of vinyl Eduard Express Masks for the canopy and wheels. Unfortunately all the plastic parts are in a single bag, including the clear parts, and they had been scuffed by their larger grey companions. Luckily the decal sheet has its own separate bag. The box really is too big considering the small size of the sprues and I'm sure they rattled around inside to the detriment of the clear parts.
The instructions include a brief history of the aircraft in various languages and have 23 nicely done assembly diagrams. All the parts are identified by only their number, not their sprue letter. The nicely done parts map will undoubtedly help in finding parts. Color callouts are included also, as well as a paint chart with the color codes from no less than six different paint manufacturers, Testor, Humbrol, Revell, Gunze, Tamiya, and Agama. The instructions are finished off with markings diagrams, a stencil diagram, and a diagram for various weapons placement on the 10 underwing pylons. This is probably the most exhaustively detailed instruction booklet I've seen.
The decal sheet is highly impressive, although a bit off register. It's only noticeable on some of the national markings where the white outlines are somewhat thicker on the right side then on the left. Markings are provided for six aircraft. These include two Soviet aircraft in Afghanistan, one Czech Air Force, one Slovakian Air Force machine in air show colors, one Iraqi machine, and finally a single Ukrainian aircraft. Most of the aircraft have some sort of decorative art, the most garish being the Slovakian machine with large flames on it. The best thing of all is the large assortment of stencils. Decals 34 through 132 are nothing but stencils, some of which are duplicated up to 24 times. If you love to work with little stencil decals then this is a good kit to indulge yourself with. Alas I decided early on to use decals from Xtradecal for the main markings but I do plan on utilizing the plethora of kit stencils.
The molding of the kit is pretty nice, albeit it a little thick and heavy at times. Panel lines are recessed and a bit soft. There's some rivet detail here and there which is also recessed, however, the real Su-25 is predominately covered in millions of tiny raised rivets so this detail is a bit inaccurate. A determined (or crazy?) modeler might wish to replace the recessed rivets with raised ones but I think I'll pass on that. The landing gear legs have pretty good detail, being made up of multiple parts and looking quite complex. However, they are split into two halves with the unavoidable seam which will have to be dealt with.
The instrument panel is strangely molded in clear plastic but with molded dial details, no decals are provided for it. The seat is pretty bad and would be best replaced with a resin item. I'll be replacing the entire cockpit with a NeOmega item and Part PE. The landing gear bays are completely devoid of any detail. Strangely, the main gear doors are molded in one piece. It's up the modeler to cut out part of the doors if building the aircraft with the gear down. Finally, the wheels have decent hub detail but have no tread detail at all. I might replace these with a set from Equipage.
Some of the sprue attachment points are pretty hefty, or run onto the surfaces of the part, so extra care will be needed when cutting the parts off the trees. Additionally, some parts have some pretty heavy mold seams on them. However, there is very little flash. There are a few ejector pin marks here and there as well, including some giant ones on the inside of the air intakes. The intakes themselves are molded in two halves and will undoubtedly have a wicked seam on the inside. Alignment pins are few and far between, most parts simply being a butt joint.
I haven't tested any of the major parts yet but I can guess it'll probably need a fair amount of filler. As I said before, the canopy was a bit scuffed. It's also a little thick and hazy but hopefully Future will take care of some of this. Kopro was thoughtful enough to mold some of the structural detail inside of the rear canopy which is plainly visible when the canopy is open (unlike most jets, the Su-25's canopy hinges to one side rather then sliding back). Clear parts are also included for the nose sensor suite and some of the navigation lights, as well as the before mentioned instrument panel and HUD.
Luckily, as befitting a mud mover, the kit includes a pretty good array of underwing stores. My Russian-weapons speak is pretty poor so I cannot comment on their accuracy or even the exact names. From what I can tell the kit comes with a pair of large fuel tanks, a couple varieties of unguided bombs, two rocket launchers, a pair of small air-to-air missiles, and two dual cannon gun pods. The box art shows the plane with a pair of dual bomb pylons, sort of like a TER but for only two instead of three bombs, but I don't think these are included in the kit. The air show bird I'll be building was unarmed but I'm pretty sure I'll put the ordinance on it anyways; a ground attack plane just doesn't look right without its weapons. There are a few sets of Russian weapons out there (Cutting Edge and Kazan, for example) but their price and availability meant I likely won't be using any of them.
Well, this kit definitely isn't in the league of Tamiya, Hasegawa, or Revell. Just by looking at it I'd put it in a league somewhere between the better MPM kits and Italeri. It remains to be seen how well it'll build up. However, it IS a 1/48 Su-25 and I doubt any of the above companies will ever offer one an up to date one (Monogram issued a very early Su-25 prototype in the 1990s, but it is inferior in most regards to the Kopro kit). I'm looking forward to seeing how well this project will go.