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Paul A H

Russian Su-33 Flanker D (with carrier deck) - 1:72 Trumpeter

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Russian Su-33 Flanker D (with carrier deck)

1:72 Trumpeter

 

su33deck_01.jpg

 

Instantly recognisable to enthusiasts of Cold War or modern jet aircraft, the Su-27 Flanker has formed the backbone of the Russian Air Force's air superiority fighter force for much of the last thirty years. The design marked a departure from previous Soviet/Russian aircraft, with its podded engines, large wing and sophisticated avionics (it was the first fly-by-wire aircraft to enter service in the Soviet Union). Emerging in prototype form as the T-10 in 1977, the design showed great promise, and before long it had beaten the time-to-height records set by the modified Streak Eagle in 1975. Although originally designed as a long-range air superiority fighter, like many of its contemporaries the Su-27 has been developed to take on a variety of roles, including air-to-surface missions.

 

The multirole Sukhoi Su-33 Flanker D is the navalised variant of the successful all-weather interceptor. Around 35 examples of the type have been constructed for Russian Naval Aviation, all of which operate from the Aircraft carrier ‘Admiral Kuznestov’. The Su-33 differs from the Su-27 in a number of respects. Most noticeable are the canards, situated forward of the wing to provide additional lift and manoeuvrability. The Su-33 also features larger wings with a powered folding mechanism, folding horizontal stabilisers, in-flight refuelling capability and the ability to carry a range of air-to-surface weapons. 

 

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Despite the relatively small number of aircraft produced, this is the latest in a steady trickle of kits of the Su-33 to emerge. Things got off to a less-than-promising start, with the old and not very accurate Italeri Su-27 Sea Flanker (re-boxed by Zvezda). A few years ago Hasegawa gave us a much more sophisticated kit which, while still not perfect, was very good indeed. Trumpeter released an all-new kit along with a typically generous selection of ordnance a few years agp, just before Zveda added their own kit. At this rate it won't be long before we can build every one of the 35 aircraft with a different kit! Anyway, Trumpeter's kit is back once again, but with a slight twist this time. Inside the large top-opening box are over 300 parts spread across around twenty sprues of grey plastic and a single clear sprue. In typical Trumpeter style, the plastic parts are exquisitely moulded, with engraved panel lines, rivet and fastener detail. Also in the box is a small fret of photo etched parts, two decal sheets (one for markings and one for stencils) and a colour painting diagram as well as instructions. In common with other Trumpeter kits, the parts are extremely well packed and all of the sprues are individually bagged. Certain parts, such as the clear sprue are wrapped in foam for extra protection. This version of the kit differs from the last one we received for review as it contains extra parts for a large section of carrier deck, complete with hydraulic jet blast deflector, crew and a few extra optional parts for the aircraft itself. Trumpeter don't appear to have trumpeted (ha ha) this fact, however, as it doesn't appear to be mentioned on the box artwork.

 

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Nothing has changed since we reviewed the last iteration of this kit, so it's still the case that the overall shape and arrangement of parts appears to match photographs and plans of the real thing very well. The canopy has the correct profile, which means a seam down the middle, but this is a five minute job to clean up with the right tools. Trumpeter have even included the option to build the model with the wings and horizontal tails folded, which is very pleasing to see and exactly how I intend to finish mine. Construction begins with the cockpit. This is made up of five parts, including a crisply moulded K36 ejection seat, which slots into a cockpit tub adorned with convincing moulded details (although decals re also provided). Once completed, the whole sub-assembly fits inside the fuselage halves. 

 

As with most kits of blended-wing aircraft, the fuselage is split vertically with the inner section of wing moulded in place. The outer sections of the wings are moulded separately so that the model can be built with the wings folded. Some modellers will find this a pain as it creates an extra joint to deal with, but as I mentioned before, I think it's great that Trumpeter included this option because it wasn't possible to finish the Hasegawa kit like this without major surgery. Do note, however, that you must drill a number of holes in order to fit the appropriate pylons to the outer wing sections before your cement the parts together.  There are different parts to use for each option, as the outer flaps are dropped when the wings are folded. The same applies to the horizontal tail surfaces, with different versions provided for folded and unfolded options.  In this boxing there is an additional sprue with extra parts for the drooped flaps which wasn't included with the original kit.

 

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The engine air intakes are next. These are slide moulded, which makes construction relatively pain free. Engine turbine faces are included, which will prevent the dreaded see-through effect, and parts such as the auxiliary air intake louvers are moulded separately in order to maximise the level of detail. The Su-33's rugged landing gear is next. Each main gear leg is moulded as a single part, which should translate into a degree of structural strength, while the more complex nose gear leg is made up of seven parts. In both cases the wheels are moulded separately. While the model is on its back, you have to add the Su-33's beefy tail hook – a nicely detailed part is made up of four parts. The pylons have to be added at this stage too, so make sure you drill out the appropriate holes at the start of the build, or this is the point at which you'll really regret it. 

 

The canopy is nicely realised and, as mentioned above, accurate in profile. Because of the shape of the canopy and the way it has had to be moulded, there is a little distortion around the sides, but by way of compensation it can be finished in either open or closed positions. The major difference between this version of the kit and the previous version is the inclusion of a section of carrier deck, complete with jet blast deflector, decals and crew. The carrier deck is a hell of a slab of plastic, and will look very impressive with the aircraft and crew positioned in place. I think the Olymp 10 ton deck tractor will be a virtually mandatory purchase with this kit!

 

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In typical Trumpeter style, a very extensive range of ordnance is included. Of course there is so much that you can't possibly use it all, but who doesn't like spare ordnance? All told, you get:
4 x KH-31 Krypton air-to-surface missiles;
4 x KH-35 Zvezda anti-ship missiles;
4 x KH-59M Ovod cruise missiles;
2 x B-8M rocket pods;
1 x APK-9 data link pod (for use with the KH-59 missiles);
2 x R-77 active radar homing air-to-air missiles;
4 x R-27ET extended range infrared homing air-to-air missiles;
4 x R-27ER extended range semi-active radar homing air-to-air missiles;
2 x R-73 infrared homing air-to-air missiles;

 

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No, it doesn't fit inside my photo tent...

 

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Nothing has changed when it comes to the decal sheet, so you still have a choice of two schemes - Su-33 Flanker D 'Red 67' and Su-33 Flanker D 'Red 80', both of the Russian Navy. The decal sheets are nicely printed and you get a full set of stencils too, which is a bonus. 

 

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Conclusion

 

Trumpeter are definitely on a role with their 1:72 aircraft, having given us fans of Soviet/Russian aircraft a hat-trick of very decent kits in the shape of the MiG-29, Su-24 and now the Su-33. This is a very decent representation of an interesting variant of an important aircraft. The basic shape of the aircraft looks to be about spot on and, with the option to fold the wings, it has much to recommend it, even when compared to the Hasegawa kit. The inclusion of the deck section is a worthwhile addition too. Recommended.

 

Review sample courtesy of


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50 minutes ago, Paul A H said:

In this boxing there is an additional sprue with extra parts for the drooped flaps which wasn't included with the original kit.

 

That's strange - because that sprue was included in their 'J-15 - with carrier deck' - the Chinese-built Su-33...

 

j-15_008.jpg

 

One small point to note - the double-slotted flaps are in two sections spanwise - so they need to be separated into inner and outer sections for complete accuracy......

 

j-15_038.jpg

 

.... and if you really want to be anal - the Trumpeter wing is too long by 3mm - Trumpeter have taken the span dimension as being without the missile rail - when it should be included - here's a comparison with Hasegawa's Su-33 wing...

 

j-15_032.jpg

 

Finally - to be really nit-picking, the Blast Deflector ramp on the Russian Kuznetsove has different operating rams than those on the PLANAF Liaoning - check out some internet photos.

 

I scratch-built my rams.....

 

Kuznetsov...

 

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Liaoning (as per Trumpeter)...

 

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Sorry to be so long-winded and rivet-counting - but just trying to be helpfull.

 

Great review BTW....

 

Ken

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7 hours ago, Flankerman said:

Sorry to be so long-winded and rivet-counting - but just trying to be helpfull.

 

No apologies needed - great stuff as usual, thanks! 

 

Cheers,

 

Andre

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Flankerman said:

That's strange - because that sprue was included in their 'J-15 - with carrier deck' - the Chinese-built Su-33...

 

As noted elsewhere -because I knew this, and still managed to buy the vanilla Su-33! But it was an absurdly cheap eBay offer, and I figured my notional scratch-building skills would be up to the simple(?) task of fixing this. But it is absurd that TWO other boxings have this sprue and this one doesn't... go figure!

 

(Edit: looks like the regular J-15 boxing without the deck omitted this too!)

Edited by AngstROM

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Yes, it seems to have been included only with the carrier deck versions. As you say, go figure!

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