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Paul A H

Sukhoi Su-24M Fencer D - 1:72 Trumpeter

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Sukhoi Su-24M Fencer D

1:72 Trumpeter


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The Sukhoi Su-24 (NATO reporting name 'Fencer'), is an all-weather supersonic strike aircraft developed by the Sukhoi design bureau in the late 1960s. The need for an all-weather strike aircraft was identified around the time the smaller, simpler Su-7 entered service, and it was clear that a much larger aircraft would be needed in order to accommodate the necessary avionics. The original designed specification called for STOL performance, to be achieved by the use of four turbojet lift engines in the fuselage. Unsurprisingly the serious range and weight penalties of this arrangement proved to be too much, and a more conventional variable geometry configuration was selected instead. The first production aircraft made its maiden flight in 1971, and three-and-a-half years later the Su-24 was accepted into service.

The aircraft signalled a significant step up in capability for the VVS. All weather strike capability was achieved courtesy of the advanced 'Puma' navigation/attack system, consisting of two superimposed Orion-A radar scanners, a dedicated terrain clearance radar to provide automated terrain following capability and the Orbita-10-58 onboard computer. Although frequently compared to the F-111, the Su-24 is slightly smaller and, owing to the use of turbojets instead of turbofans, somewhat shorter ranged. The Su-24M (Fencer D) was the first significant upgrade to the basic Su-24 strike platform. Improvements included in-flight refuelling capability, inertial navigation system and optical/laser designator under the forward fuselage. The upgraded aircraft could also carry a wider range of munitions, including a wide range of surface-to-air missiles.

We haven't exactly been spoiled for kits of the Su-24 over the years. In fact until now, there have been just two injection moulded kits available in this scale. Dragon produced the first of these in 1992, and while their effort is neither particularly accurate nor detailed, it is easy to build and has been re-released at various points by Bilek, Italeri, Revell and Zvezda, proving there must be a fair amount of demand for a kit of the type. The other kit is the vaunted but difficult to find (and apparently difficult to build) kit from the now-defunct Streem. When Trumpeter's Su-24MR hit the shelves a few months ago, it was therefore warmly welcomed. Now they've released the classic strike variant of Sukhoi's suitcase, which will no doubt be the bigger seller of the two.

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The kit arrives well-packed into a sturdy top-opening box adorned with a high-quality painting of a Fencer in flight. Inside are over thirty sprues of grey plastic, a single sprue of clear plastic, two sheets of decals, instructions and a colour painting diagram. In common with other Trumpeter kits, the parts are extremely well packed. All of the sprues are individually bagged and the clear sprue is wrapped in foam for extra protection. The plastic parts are beautifully moulded and the engraved surface details are clean, consistent and sharp. The parts have a very slightly textured finished, but the panel lines should hold a wash nicely, which is just as well as Su-24s are often seen heavily weathered. While Trumpeter's kits are usually very nicely presented, it's fair to say they have something of a mixed reputation when it comes to the accurate representation of shapes and details. Happily, this kit hits the mark very well. The overall shape and arrangement of parts appears to match photographs and plans of the real thing pretty well. The area between the jet exhausts, which was too wide on their 1:48 scale kit (and the Streem kit) has been corrected during the scale-down, but on the downside, the engine air intakes lack the (very) subtle sweep forward slightly from bottom to top. The clanger that Trumpeter dropped last time, in omitting the parts for the AFA AP-402M panoramic camera nose and AFA A-100 oblique camera for the Su-24 MR variant, are irrelevant this time around. The Kayra laser rangefinder is present and correct in any case.

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Trumpeter's instructions break the mould by starting not with the cockpit, but the nose landing gear. This is made up of ten parts, including a crisply moulded mud guard, all of which fits into a multi-part nose gear bay. The whole thing then joins onto the bottom of the cockpit tub, which guarantees it won't become detached and end up rattling around inside the fuselage. Two slide moulded Zvezda K-36 ejection seats are included, along with a nicely detailed instrument panel and control columns. Once completed, the whole sub-assembly then fits inside the vertically split forward fuselage along with the in-flight refuelling proble.

Construction then moves on to the centre and rear fuselage. The main landing gear bay is made up of eight parts, and because the landing gear doors can be posed in the open position (unlike the Dragon kit), you can show all of the structural detail off to good effect. Before you can fit it to the lower fuselage, you must drill a number of holes in order to fit parts required later in the build. Once complete, you can sandwich the landing gear bay and the jet exhausts between the horizontally split fuselage halves and then join the whole lot to the nose section. The rear fuselage halves are covered in beautifully engraved detail and have been slide moulded in order to maximise surface details without complicating construction.

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The engine air intakes are next. Each is made up of inner and outer halves with the protruding radar warning receivers moulded separately. The large horizontal stabilisers are each moulded in one piece but do not join together in the fuselage, so you'll need to make sure that each side is fixed in place at the same angle. The wings are nicely detailed and feature an option for dropped flaps, although the slats are fixed in place, which is somewhat strange. You can fix the wings in either fully forward or fully swept positions, but once fixed in place they cannot be repositioned. The large vertical stabiliser features a separately moulded rudder. Each main landing gear leg is made up of five parts (excluding the beefy wheels) and appears to capture the look of the real thing rather well. The laser rangefinder is moulded from clear plastic and fits under the fuselage behind the nose gear bay. The full range of lumps, bumps, strakes and ducts are included, and you do get a choice of cold air intakes for the upper rear fuselage, including the larger versions with chaff/flare dispensers built in.

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A very extensive range of ordnance is included, which is handy for the spares box as you couldn't possibly fit all of this to the underside of your Su-24. All told, you get:

  • 24 x FAB 100 bombs;
  • 2 x KAB-500L LGBs;
  • 2 x B-8M rocket pods;
  • 2 x KH-31 (AS-17 'Krypton') air-to-surface missiles;
  • 2 x KH-29T (AS-14 'Kedge') air-to-surface missiles;
  • 2 x KH-59 (AS-13 'Kingbolt') TV guided air-to-surface missiles;
  • 2 x KH-58 (AS-11 'Kilter') anti-radiation missiles;
  • 4 x R-60 AAMs;
  • 1 x PTB-2000 drop tank; and
  • 2 x PTB-3000 drop tanks.

As with the Su-24MR, there is one pod which is labelled as a ZB-500, but it doesn't resemble a napalm bomb.

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The clear parts a beautifully realised and can be finished in either open or closed positions. A choice of two schemes is provided on the decal sheet:

  • Su-24M '40 Red' RF-92245, Russian Air Force.
  • Su-24M '07 White', Ukrainian Air Force; and

The decal sheets are nicely printed and you get a full set of stencils too, which is a distinct bonus.

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Conclusion

Trumpeter don't always hit the target, but on this occasion they've produced a fine kit that fills a significant gap in the market. Unlike the earlier MR variant, the kit does not suffer from the omission of any parts and the basic shape of the aircraft looks very good. As it is both more accurate than the Dragon kit and more accessible than the elusive Streem version, it will no doubt find its way into the collection of a great many modellers. Highly recommended.





Review sample courtesy of
logo.gifUK Distributors for logo.jpg

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Great review! My daughter went out on her own and selected this kit for my Father's Day gift this year. (Bless 'er h'art!) It's the first Trumpeter kit that I've had in quite some time, and does indeed look very nice. The intake snafu should be very easy to rectify, so no worries there - although I'm sure there will be some aftermarket resin along soon.

The box top on my sample fit so tight to the bottom that I thought they were stapled together. It took some effort to get them apart! But I got them apart - nothing stands between me and polystyrene, not even molecular-adhered box tops! :)

Cheers,

Bill

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The intake slope is only a couple of degrees - should be easily fixed with a sliver of wedge-shaped plastic....

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My pic of a Su-24 - taken at Lipetsk in 2005.

Ken

PS - You could 'cheat' visually by just paring a bit from the bottom leading edge of the splitter plate to make it 'slope' - note the row of fasteners on the panel in front of it.

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I know that no one cares about this. The ejection seat shown above is a K-36DM Seria 2 version designed especially for the fighters with a small headrest. The actual version used on the Su-24 bombers is the earlier K-36DM seat which had a far bigger headrest with a completely different shape. Not only its overall shape is different but the reinforcement lumps on its sides are also bigger.

Why is a problem (for me)? The headrest is the one part of the seat which is most visible! And it is visible on any photo of the Su-24 cockpit, so Trump designers should have seen it too. I can understand a manufacturer who saves production costs by simply taking a Russian seat from the shelf.

Best regards

Gabor

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A link toward an aftermarket replacement, maybe?

Have to say, I have no idea about any aftermarkets in 72nd today. Many decades ago I designed two versions of a K-36DM, both the early (big headrest) and later “fighter” version with the small headrest for Tim Perry of PP Models. Since I have an original early seat in my collection it was not so difficult. Have no idea what happened to them after the company was sold.

Also did a KM-1M seat for Tim which was part of a MiG-21 set with photoetch and white metal parts. I know it was in production for a long time and did well back in those days. It is even today available although not in a legal way. The Czech Pavla company simply copied the PP Models white metal KM-1M ejection seat and is marketing it today under its own label as its own product in resin form. This is the way some Czech companies do business. Well . . .

Best regards

Gabor

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5 hours ago, PhantomBigStu said:

Any mention in the kit of what vintage the schemes in it cover? Wondering if the russian one qualifys as 1970's?

They're all post-Cold War schemes. No Su-24Ms were in service in the 1970s, AFAIK, only the smaller Su-24.

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11 hours ago, Procopius said:

They're all post-Cold War schemes. No Su-24Ms were in service in the 1970s, AFAIK, only the smaller Su-24.

Shame was hoping it would be elligible for the nato/warsawpact GB, fortunately the Russian GB is also not to far off

Edited by PhantomBigStu

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Is it right, that parts J3 and J4 are a drop tank? A PTB-2000 for 2000 litre fuel ?
I guess it's the Efir-1m or is it not ?
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Well spotted. It's definitely not a PTB-2000. It looks like a Efir-1m pod and I don't think any other Su-24 ELINT pods use the same form factor? 

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How easy would it build an Su-24M from the Su-24MR kit? I have the MR kit and would be faced with scratchbuilding the camera and reconnaissance installations which your review of the MR kit says are omitted. I was pondering just getting some decals for the Su-24M and then I get to use some of the weapons that come with the MR kit!

 

Thanks 

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