Trumpeter 1/32 Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker B Kit First Look
|Date of Review
|Su-27 Flanker B
|Styrene, Photo-Etch, White Metal
|Excellent scribed detailing throughout
|Minor molding line in canopy/windscreen, photo-etched flight control hinges
The Sukhoi Design Bureau (OKB) was tasked to develop a long-range interceptor that would be able to contend with strategic threats as well as hold its own against the hottest air-to-air fighter being fielded in the west - the F-15 Eagle. The resulting design bore a similarity to the F-15 from afar, but that is where the similarities end. The Su-27 is more than a match for any contemporary operational fighter, save perhaps the F-22, but its younger brothers, the Su-30 and Su-35 will keep Raptor pilots on their toes.
One of the first things you'll notice is that the Flanker doesn't usually carry external fuel tanks. I don't believe I've ever seen a photo of an Su-27 with external tanks. That is because the aircraft carries an ample load of fuel internally to conduct long range intercept missions, and when even longer ranges are required, many Flanker variants are now equipped with retractable air refueling probes.
Serving as the backbone of the Soviet and now Russian air defense forces, the Su-27 has evolved into a number of variants, including the Su-27UB two-seat trainer, Su-30 multi-role fighter, Su-34 fighter-bomber, Su-35 Improved Flanker, and Su-37 Super Flanker. There is also the Su-47 which retains some of the Flankers lines, though its forward-swept wings reflect a new generation of fighter awaiting funding. We also shouldn't forget the Su-33/Su-27K Naval Flanker, modified for carrier operations.
The Flanker has been exported to China and India, with additional customers being lined up by the Russian aviation export teams.
Trumpeter strikes again with another big and beautiful model! The Su-27 kit comes in the same large box as the F-105, but upon opening the box, you'll find four more boxes inside. The two larger boxes contain the upper and lower fuselage halves, and these are even wired secure inside each box. The third box contains the tail pipes/nozzles, intake trunks, canopy, etc., while the last box has the metal landing gear, photo-etched parts, and other small bits.
Molded in light gray styrene, the kit features finely scribed details on all of the visible surfaces. While someone will no doubt offer a resin cockpit tub, the kit's tub is comprised of 14 detailed parts, not counting the ejection seat. The 30mm cannon is represented in its own bay. Even the main wheel wells are detailed models of their own right!
The leading edge slats, trailing edge flaperons, rudders and canopy are all hinged with photo-etched hinges. The wings and horizontal stabilizers mechanically attach to the fuselage, though with the size and mass of this kit, I'm a little concerned about the strength of these joins. We'll see.
As with the Tamiya 1/32 aircraft, this kit uses screws to obtain a solid mechanical assembly, which is then augmented with the cement of your choice. I'd still think about adding a mainspar through the fuselage into both wings, much like the metal frame for the Tamiya F-14 provides strength for those positionable wings.
This kit comes fully loaded with Archer and Alamo missiles.
The landing gear includes fully articulating main and nose gear struts made of detailed cast white metal or styrene (your choice), with styrene wheel hubs and rubber tires. The details are rounded out with the standard Odd Rod IFF antennas and optional next generation IFF antennas.
For a change, one of the last things you build is the ejection seat. The K36D seat is 11 styrene parts plus a bunch of photo-etch to represent the complex seat harness.
According to the specifications, the assembled kit is 27.5 inches long with a wing span of over 18 inches. This means that you'd better start planning on a suitable parking spot for this beautiful model!
Markings are included for a single example - Blue 24 from the 582nd Fighter Regiment, 4th Air Army based at Chojna, Poland in 1992.
This looks to be an incredible kit right out of the box, though if you were observant, you'll have noticed the empty sections on two of the parts trees, suggesting that we'll be seeing more versions of this impressive aircraft in the future. I don't know about you, but in my opinion, the Su-27 ranks among the top three most beautiful aircraft of all time.
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!
- Flankers The New Generation, Yefim Gordon, Midland Publishing, 2001, ISBN 1-85780-121-0
- Su-27 Reference Site