Revell 1/48 Su-25 Frogfoot Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||January 2010||Manufacturer||Revell|
|Kit Number||5857||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Revell's first scribed kit||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$21.95|
The Soviet Union watched as the USAF started developing a new generation of close air support (CAS) aircraft under the AX program. Two contenders emerged - the Northrop A-9 and the Fairchild A-10. Of course the A-10 with its tank-busting 30mm GAU-8 Avenger gun would win the AX program and serve with distinction through numerous conflicts.
When the Sukhoi OKB (design bureau) developed its own concept for a CAS fighter, it ironically resembled the Northrop A-9. Powered by a pair of non-afterburning R13-300 engines (same engine core as the MiG-21), the Su-25 was armed with its own twin-barrel 30mm gun and ten underwing pylons for weapons and external fuel. The aircraft was codenamed Frogfoot by NATO.
Designed to counter the combined forces of NATO, the Su-25 instead received its baptism of fire over Afghanistan. Even in these harsh operating conditions, the Su-25 functioned well in the CAS role, though at that time, it was not adequately equipped with infrared countermeasures to counter the shoulder-fired Stinger SAM missile. Like many other aircraft that fell prey to the Stinger, Su-25 crews applied field modifications and employed hard-learned defensive tactics to support the troops on the ground.
This kit was a milestone for Revell-Monogram. First released in 1990, this was their first kit to be released with scribed panel lines. The kit is molded in light gray styrene and is presented on three parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts.
The release of the Su-25 was a mixed blessing as it is very nice on the outside, but has a few minor bugs on the inside. Since this kit was developed without the benefit of the extensive references that are now available (remember the days of grainy black & white photographs?), there are a few things that will need to be tweaked. Out of the box, this kit is patterned after an early prototype rather than an operational example, so you'll have some updating to do to bring it 'up-to-date'.
Assembly naturally begins in the cockpit, and here is where the most work will be required. The cockpit tub is fairly generic and not representative of the real aircraft (again, designed before the availability of reference photos). Neomega and a few others have produced some nice replacement cockpits to get the machine up-to-date.
The kit seat is not a bad start for the K-36D that equips most modern Soviet/Russian fighters, but it is missing the distinctive drogue chute canisters on either side of the headrest and that interesting maze of straps that make up the shoulder harness. An optional pilot figure is also included. You might want to get a resin K-36D with all of the nice belts, harnesses, etc., already in place.
The main wheel wells are like the cockpit - based on what little information was available in those days. There are enough good photos in print and online to show you how to accurize this area as well.
One other detail missing from the kit is the small air scoop at the base of the vertical stabilizer. Depending on the aircraft, this can be a small extension of the fin fillet with a hole, a rectangular scoop, or the more common oval scoop that is ahead of the fin and fairs into the base of the fin. Check your references. For the oval scoop, you can adapt one of the nice resin Su-17 scoops from Quickboost to add this missing detail. (Thanks to Jamie McIntyre for the addition!)
Straight from the box, the kit represents a 'clean machine', one that would appear on Warsaw Pact airfields and non-combat Soviet examples. You'll need to check your references if you're doing an Afghan war veteran for placement of the dorsal chaff/flare launchers. You'll need to find some aftermarket chaff/flare launchers and the launcher units carried on the top of the Su-25 were also used on the tail booms of the Mi-24.
Like the A-10, the Su-25 can carry just about any tactical weapon ever produced for Soviet aircraft. Armament in the kit includes:
- 2 x external fuel tanks
- 2 x R-60 (Aphid) missiles
- 4 UB-16-57 rocket pods
- 2 x AS-7 (Kerry) missiles
There are a number of aftermarket weapons as well as spares out of other 1/48 Soviet-era aircraft kits that can help you with some additional weapons choices. Check your references.
Markings are provided for one aircraft:
- Su-25, Bort 12, Soviet VVS
- Su-25, Bort 9013, Czech AF
Despite the bugs in this kit, this is still a very nice model and will benefit from a little updating to bring the model up to date. Unlike many Soviet-era aircraft, the Su-25 received a wide array of camouflage and non-camouflage color schemes while in service with the former Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact, and is still in service with many of these nations today.