Zvezda 1/48 Su-57 Kit First Look
|Date of Review||February 2021||Manufacturer||Zvezda|
|Kit Number||4824||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||First kit in this scale||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$55.95|
The Soviet planners sought the development of an advanced tactical fighter during the cold war which led to the development of the MiG OKB's 1.44 and Sukhoi OKB's S-37 (Su-47) concept prototypes. With the fall of the Soviet Union, development was cancelled, and the subsequent Russian Air Force would soldier on with the Su-27 Flanker. In 2002, MiG and Sukhoi competed for the development of a new tactical fighter under the program PAK-FA. Sukhoi won the competition and began development of a new family of avionics and capabilities that would make up this new fighter. Some of these technologies were integrated into an advanced version of the Su-27 designated Su-35S, which featured advanced radar, sensors and AL-41 thrust-vectoring engines. While the Su-35S was a significant improvement over the Su-27 and other in-service fighters, the Russian Air Force didn't have the funding to develop the PAK-FA, so efforts were made to partner with the Indian Air Force and others to share development costs, and the program stretched out over several years. The prototype with Sukhoi designation of T-50 first flew in 2011 and ten flying prototypes were built over the next six years. In 2018, the first batch of aircraft, designated as Su-57, entered production. Some of the T-50s, now designated as Su-57 as well, were sent to Syria during combat operations to allow the sensor systems to operate in the real world and evaluate their performance. These trials were evidently successful as the first production Su-57s, Russia's first fifth-generation fighter, were delivered to squadrons in the Southern Military District.
Zvezda continues to turn out some impressive kits, and this is definitely one of them. Over the last several months, we've seen them release the Mi-24 Hind in 1/48 scale, the C-130 Hercules in 1/72 scale, and now the Su-57 Felon in 1/48. Like the Mi-24 kit, the Su-57 is a scaled-up version of their 1/72 scale kit, and like the Mi-24, some of the details are either simplified or simply missing. More on this later. This kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on seven parts trees (duplicate tree not shown) plus one tree of clear parts. The surface detail is finely scribed and the pylon holes under the wings are flashed over. Among the features and options in this kit:
- Basic cockpit with decals for instrument panel and side console details
- K-36 ejection seat has nice details though no crew restraints are provided/rendered
- Optional seated pilot figure
- Positionable canopy
- Optional boarding ladder
- Choice of open or closed main weapons bay
- Separate parts are provided for open or closed weapons bay doors
- Closed bay door part has flashed-over slot for display stand (not included)
- Intake ducts to the engine compressor faces
- Landing gear can be posed extended or retracted
- Stabilators can be posed at rest (powered off) or neutral (in-flight)
- Positionable vertical fins
- Positionable leading edge/intake flaps
- Choice of engine nozzles - drooped (powered off) or neutral (in-flight)
The kit provides the following external stores options:
- 2 x external (Hindenburg) tanks
- 6 x R-77 (AA-12 Adder)
- 2 x R-73 (AA-11 Archer)
- 2 x Kh-31 (AS-17 Krypton)
The kit provides markings and stencils for three subjects:
- T-50-9, Bort 509, OKB Sukhoi, 2016
- T-50-11, Bort 511, OKB Sukhoi, 2017
- Su-57, Bort 01, production scheme
The decals are nicely done, and you may recognize the style of these decals as being from Begemot, so you know they're going to be great.
So as far as this being an up-scaled 1/72 kit, like the Mi-24, many of the more subtle details are not here but it does leave room to add those details once better images are available of the full-scale aircraft. One area that can be effectively fixed is the cockpit as the folks from Quinta Studios produces a color resin-printed decal/detail set specifically for this kit, and it is available here.
One advantage of this being an over-sized 1/72 scale kit, the assembly is going to be quick and easy. We'll spend far more time masking up that digital pattern that all three examples here wore, though there are other schemes that the earlier T-50s carried, so search the internet for some alternatives. One final note on pricing - shop around. The average retail price is around $55.99 though I've seen some importers list higher prices than that.
Congratulations Zvezda, this is looking very good so far!