Trumpeter 1/32 Su-25UB Frogfoot B Kit First Look
by Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||June 2011||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||Su-25UB Frogfoot B||Scale||1/32|
|Kit Number||2277||Primary Media||Styrene, photo-etch, white metal|
|Pros||First styrene kit of this subject in this scale; very nice detailing throughout||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$199.95|
In the early 1970s, the Soviet Union observed as the US Air Force developed a new generation of close air support (CAS) aircraft under the AX program. Two contenders emerged in the competition - the Northrop A-9 and the Fairchild A-10. The A-10 with its tank-busting 30mm GAU-8 Avenger gun and the capability of carrying a wide range of armament under its 11 pylons would win the AX program and serve with distinction through numerous conflicts through present day.
The Sukhoi OKB (experimental design bureau) developed its own concept for a CAS aircraft, 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 and entered service in the early 1980s.
Where the A-10's pedigree dates back to the rugged P-47 Thunderbolt staffing the Wehrmacht across Europe, the Su-25 had its own pedigree - the Il-2 Shturmovik. The Il-2 not only pushed that very same Wehrmacht out of the Russian landscape, it also chewed up a significant amount of German armor in the process.
Another difference between the USAF A-10 and the Soviet Su-25 was training capability. The USAF elected not to build a two-seat trainer variant of the Thunderbolt II and only one airframe was created for a two-seat night attack variant. The Soviet AF (and continuing with the Russian AF and its sister Federation states) did produce a two-seat trainer, the Su-25UB (Uchebno-Boevoj - Trainer-Combat) which has been widely deployed.
The export version is the Su-25UBK (the K being for commercial) and these two seaters wear (or have worn) the colors and markings of over 25 different countries. In addition to the trainers, the two-seat Su-25 has also been used for carrier suitability flight test, carrier flight training, and on-board carrier aircraft as the Su-25UTG and Su-25UBP. One of the more distinctive variants is the Su-25TM (Su-39) which is a two-seat Frogfoot with the rear cockpit faired over and the space used for avionics, similar to the Mitsubishi adaptation of their T-2 trainer into the F-1 fighter.
As much as I was happy to see the Trumpeter Su-25 arrive last year, I was really waiting to see this Su-25UB. As the description above says, this kit represents more than just a two-seat trainer, there are a variety of special mission variants produced from this airframe and this new release will allow for some of these unique variants to come to life. As with the single-seater, this kit is going to be a fun project. Let's take a closer look:
Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on 38 (!!!) parts trees plus separately packaged fuselage halves, separately packaged engine nacelle halves, six trees of clear styrene parts, one set of rubber tires, one fret of photo-etched details, one set of white metal landing gear strut cores, and a handful of separately packaged gray styrene parts. Many of the parts trees in this box have appeared in previous 1/32 Soviet subjects, namely the weapons. More on this later. According to the specs, there are over 920 parts in this box.
For those of us who have the first release Su-25 single-seater, you are asking a question: Are the outboard pylons missing in this kit as well? While they do provide the R-60 missile rails, they're molded with pylons out of another kit and you're instructed to adapt them to fit the pylons that go onto stations 2 and 9 (what the kit calls stations 1 and 8). For whatever reason, Trumpeter provided eight weapons stations (and show that in their instructions, but Zactomodels has a set of pylons to render stations 1 and 10.
So let's get to the features/options:
- Nicely detailed K-36D ejection seats w/photo-etched shoulder harnesses
- Nice looking cockpit that captures the shape and layout of the front offices
- Positionable side-opening canopies
- Nose gear strut effectively captures the details of the full-scale strut down to the water shields
- Intake ducts back to the engine face
- Two detailed R-195 engines
- Ventral engine bay access panels to show off the R-195 details
- Detailed avionics bays in the nose with positionable access panels
- Positionable leading edge and trailing edge flaps
- Positionable ailerons
- Positionable stabilators
- Positionable rudder
- Positionable speed brakes
- Nicely detailed landing gear
- Very nicely detailed GSh-30 gun with positionable access doors
- Positionable drogue chute door in tail cone
- Optional chaff/flare dispensers over each engine pod
One of the other major features also in this box is the array of armament. In fact, there are more parts trees for armament than aircraft in this release. Given that there are ten hard points under the Su-25UB, you won't lack for external stores! The stores options include:
- 8 x R-60 (AA-8 Aphid) IR-guided missiles
- 8 x R-77 (AA-12)
- 2 x Kh-25MP
- 2 x Kh-25ML
- 2 x Kh-29L
- 2 x Kh-29T
- 8 x FAB-100 bombs w/MERs
- 2 x FAB-250
- 2 x FAB-500
- 2 x ZB-500
- 4 x B-17L rocket pods
- 4 x UB-32-57 rocket pods
- 4 x B8M1 rocket pods
- 4 x S-24 240mm rockets
- 4 x S-25 rockets w/three warhead options each
- 4 x UPK-23/250 gun pods
- 2 x KMGU-2
- 2 x PTB-1150 drop tanks
- 2 x KAB-500L LGBs
- 2 x KAB-500Kr
- 2 x 8-shot 9M120 missile launchers
With this armament line-up, you can easily represent this Su-25UB in any tactical mission configuration. There are still several stores not listed here that are not used on the Su-25UB that will go into your spares box, but even a number of the weapons listed above will also go into the spares given that even with 10 pylons, the Su-25UB can't carry all of that at once.
The kit provides markings for two distinctive subjects:
- Su-25UB, Bort 29, Russian AF
- Su-25UB, Bort 92, Russian AF, sharkmouth
The first of four sheets of decals has most of the distinctive markings for both subjects. The second sheet has the cockpit instruments and console details. The third sheet contains the airframe stencils for the Su-25UB, and the huge fourth sheet has the stenciling for all of the weapons in this box.
Until now, the only Su-25UB kit available is the Kopro kit in 1/48th scale and a few offerings in 1/72 scale, but none really noteworthy. Now we have not only a detailed rendering of the Su-25UB, it is also huge in 1/32 scale. Even with all of the details, the aircraft isn't that complex of a build as many of the parts are in the weapons array.
If you're looking for a contemporary mud-mover that has an interesting array of color schemes to make it interesting, your wait is over. With an assembled length of over 19 inches and a wingspan of over 17 inches, the kit scales up in dimension with it's full-sized counterpart. I can't wait to get this on the bench!
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!