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  1. Sukhoi Su-22M3/M4 Fitter-F (Sic) KH80146 1:48 Kitty Hawk The Su-17 and the downgraded export version dubbed the Su-22, with its NATO reporting name Fitter was derived from the earlier Su-7 as a project to improve its low speed handling, particularly during take-off and landing. It was Sukhoi's first attempt at variable geometry wings, and when it reached service was the Soviet Union's first swing-wing aircraft in service. To keep the project costs down, the centre section of the wing remained fixed, with the outer able to swing back for high-speed flight, and forward for slow. A pronounced spine was also added to the rear of the cockpit to carry additional fuel and avionics that were necessary with the advances in aviation. The first airframes reached service in the early 70s, and were soon replaced by more advanced models with the designation M3 and M4, dubbed Fitter-H and –K respectively by the Allies. The M3 was based on a larger fuselage and had additional weapons options, while the M4 was further developed and was considered to be the pinnacle of the Fitter line with a heavily upgraded avionics suite including improved targeting, navigation, and yet more weapons options, as well as improved engines. A downgraded version of the M4 was marketed as the Su-22M4, and was in production until 1990! Although the Su-17 was withdrawn from Soviet service in the late 1990s, it remained in service much longer in its Su-22 export guise, where it was used by both Iran and Iraq, Libya and Angola to name but a few, and during this time it had variable success, which likely had as much to do with pilot skill and training as the merits of the airframe. The Kit We reviewed the (then) newly tooled Su-17M3/M4 from Kitty Hawk at the beginning of this year, and it has been quite a Sukhoi 17/22 kind of a year overall, when you consider what we used to have as the best kit in this scale, so now we're spoilt for choice. The Su-17 and Su-22 are externally identical, as it is just the abilities of the airframe and avionics that had been throttled back for the export market, and a fairly large export market it was too, which resulted in some interesting schemes, as we'll see toward the end of this review. The box sports a new painting of a German airframe with wings extended for low-speed and the tail plus drop-tanks adorned with a bright yellow and black tiger-stripe. Inside the plastic is the same as for the Su-17 for the aforementioned reasons, and that it would be impossible to see the fixed shock-cone of the M4 or differences in avionics or systems at scale on a closed-up airframe. Kitty Hawk seem to have got their NATO designations a little mixed up too, as the Fitter-F was designated to an earlier export version. The M3 and M4 were actually both loosely designated K due to their similarities, although it's the usual tricksy and confusing mess of variants and sub-variants that seems to plague Soviet era development programmes. There are the same nine sprues in light grey styrene, one in clear, a small sheet of Photo-Etch (PE) brass which has been updated to depict the new boxing with no other changes, and three decal sheets, two of which contain the national markings, the smallest the stencils. The instruction booklet completes the package and omits the incorrect Fitter name, with large colourful decaling and painting guide pinned into the centre of the pages. As the styrene is the same, there is little point in taking a new set of photos (our SSDs aren't infinite!), so you'll have to put up with the old logo in the corner until we get to the markings. Unfortunately, the missing support structure at the top and bottom of the shock-cone/radome are still absent from the new boxing, but I believe there is an aftermarket option out now that will correct that, or you could break out your modelling skills and fabricate the area yourself. Construction is also identical, so there's little point in re-treading the same discussion, which you can find in the original review linked at the top of this review. As originally stated though, the surface detail of the parts is very good as you can see from the following photos. The really interesting part of the package is the more colourful foreign operators' colour schemes, which Kitty Hawk have included for your delight and edification. Markings As already mentioned, there are three decal sheets, one of which has the majority of the national markings and some of the special scheme decals. The mid-sized sheet contains the rest, as well as the instrument panel and side console decals, which are again nicely done. The smallest sheet is filled with stencils that are nice and crisp, a marked improvement on some of the older decals from this company, which I remarked on in the earlier boxing. From this box you can build one of the following: The decals have good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin satin carrier film cut close to the printed areas. They are separately protected in a ziplok style bag along with the PE, which is always welcome from a point of view of protection from moisture. Each sheet is also covered with a thin "greaseproof" type paper, to prevent the sheets sticking together over time. Conclusion Of course it would have been nice if the nose issue had been rectified in the interim, but the rest of the kit is detailed and well defined, so it's easy to forgive the additional work needed to correct the deficiency if it bothers you. Overall it's still a good kit, and as long as you check and adjust fit you should end up with a good representation of the export Fitter. Recommended. Review sample courtesy of and available soon from major hobby shops
  2. Su-17M3/M4 Upgrade Sets (for KittyHawk) 1:48 Eduard There's been a lot of chatter about this new kit from KittyHawk, and it's nice to have a newly tooled kit in this scale, so here are Eduard's upgrades and accessory sets for your new purchase. As usual with Eduard's Photo-Etch (PE) and Mask sets, they arrive in a flat resealable package, with a white backing card protecting the contents and the instructions that are sandwiched between. Interior Set (49829) A two sheet set with one nickel plated and pre-painted, containing a full set of instrument panels with layered detail and highly detailed instrument faces where appropriate. In addition are extra parts for the ejection seat, a more in-scale HUD with acetate film for the glazing; canopy framing details; internal structural parts for the canopy and hoops for the front of the canopy as well as the rear of the windscreen parts. Zoom! Set (FE829) This set contains a reduced subset of the interior, namely the pre-painted parts that are used to improve on the main aspects of the cockpit, as seen above. Whatever your motivations for wanting this set, it provides a welcome boost to detail, without being concerned with the structural elements. Seatbelts STEEL (49830) In case you don't already know, they are Photo-Etch (PE) steel, and because of their strength they can be etched from thinner material, which improves realism and flexibility in one sitting. Coupled with the new painting method that adds perceived extra depth to the buckles and other furniture by shading, they are more realistic looking and will drape better than regular brass PE. Also included in the fret is a replacement for the ejection handles in glorious red, with white stencils. Exterior (48922) Made up from one large sheet of etched brass, the set contains the various (and many) vanes on the pitot probe; filler caps for the fuel tanks; a more detailed sensor fit under the nose including AoA probes; a new egg-shaped panel at the wing root; a blade antenna for Polish aircraft with a fitting template; static wicks for the wings; pylon attachment-point skins; wing-glove fittings and wing strakes; a replacement bay for the wing-mounted cannons, plus a guide for enlarging the aperture, and finally a guide to correct the exhaust nozzle length, and a replacement afterburner ring to detail it. FOD Set (48923) When parked up, almost all aircraft are routinely fitted with FOD guards to prevent ingress of Foreign Object Debris into sensitive areas. No-one likes a spanner in their intake trunking, or an accidental discharge of a weapon! The sheet contains a nose-cone FOD guard, which requires you to roll a cone (not that kind!), and form the lip around the intake at the front, and a guide to shorten the exhaust (as per the exterior set above) so that the rear guard will fit snugly. The rear part is complex, with a box-section inside the circle, and strengthening shapes moulded in that will need pressing in with the tip of a ball-point pen. Chocks are built up for the main wheels, a cover for the sensor on the tail fillet, and nearby strake-mounted sensors; FODs for the various sensors; intakes and exhausts on the fuselage, and small covers for the wing-mounted cannon bays. Air Brakes (48924) A medium-sized brass fret that contains the parts necessary to replace the kit airbrakes. Firstly, the bay apertures are squared off by removing the shape around the edges, before the replacement bay is folded up, and inserted from inside before closing up the fuselage. The brakes are then given a detail skin that is festooned with rivets. Review sample courtesy of
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