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Mike

Su-34 Fullback Build Review 1:48

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After reviewing this kit a while back here, I figured I'd give it a go, cos I do rather like these Russian side-by-side two-seaters, and I've not built anything modern for a while.  I've built a few Kitty Hawk kits over the years, and found that as long as you test fit and keep your wits about you, they build up into pretty good models.  So, with as many wits as I can scrape together, I set about building it, which is nice :)   I'll try to flag up any gotchas so you don't have to find them out the hard way, but there's always a better way of doing things, so I reserve the right to be wrong at any point ^_^

 

I began at the beginning (really? :o ) with the cockpit, and the seats, which are made up from a surprisingly large number of parts.  I always clean up parts prior to fitting to remove mould seams, any flash and such that inevitably crop up with even the bestest moulding machines.  The seats went together well with a bit of the aforementioned fettling, and given the part count, I took my time, adding a few parts and leaving them to dry off while I did something else.  Each one has 20 parts before you break out the seatbelts, so if you try to put them all on together, you're gonna have a mushy mess on your hands.  I ran across an issue with the rear panels on the headbox, which were a bit wide at the front, so I trimmed them down and they fit nicely now.  I also noticed that the kit sides have two location pegs, but only one hole in the seat pan, so I cut off the rear one.  It doesn't affect fit at all, as they butt hard up against the rear of the seat.  The end result is some rather nice seats :)  Their ejection rails are a single styrene part with a PE back, but there's a little break in the groove that holds the PE, so I sliced and trimmed that out so they fit within it better.  Quite delicate, so I'm trying to be careful when I'm handling them.  Incidentally, some of the part numbers are switched on the small parts, so check the diagrams, rather than trusting you have the correct arm-rest or whatever.

 

The cockpit floor needs a few parts adding, and those are quite small and delicate, so before you add those, widen the slots for the launch rails a bit, so they fit a little looser.  You'll thank yourself later ;) Here's a weird thing.  There's only one pair of rudder pedals, and they seem to be fitted between the two pilot stations, with one pedal for each pilot.  Is that a mistake on the designer's part, or is that how they look?  The rear bulkhead is a snug fit to the floor too, so test that and check if it needs a little easing.

 

Now for the engines.  Cutting and preparing took a couple of minutes, and I cut them dremelled off the ejection turrets inside to save weight, even though it's unnecessary for all but the one at the rear.  Less plastic at the back, less nose-weight needed :idea:I glued two sections together first, and allowed the glue to set up a little before I tried in the third section, holding the ends betwixt thumb and forefinger while I got the join nice and neat.  You can run glue along the last two joins from inside if you've left the first joint long enough, and adjust the seams while the glue is still moist ( :wicked: ) .  I'm not bothering with ancillaries or painting the engines on mine, so I won't be hiding the seams, but with care you can get them nicely lined up to minimise the job.  The 2nd one was a tad harder because I hadn't left the first seam long enough, but overall not too difficult.  I later glued in the engine fronts, but left the rear off for now, while I fill the three seams that'll probably never be seen :shrug:

 

The gear bays were a mixed bag.  The nose gear bay is easy enough up until you put the rearmost C-shaped panel in, which I think is a little wide for the aperture.  I test fitted the main parts of the bay in the lower fuselage, and couldn't find a way to make part C26 fit unaltered.  The groove it fits into could be the culprit, but I ended up sanding away the lip until it was very small, after which it fitted nicely.  Part C25 fits the bay ONE way, which you can tell by looking at it from above.  The end of the lips taper in at one end, and that matches the contours of the bay.  That'll save some head-scratching :) There's a couple of square ejector-pin marks in the bottom of this part, one recessed, the other proud.  I put a slip of styrene in the low one and sanded them both back flush with a narrow stick.  The main bays go together fairly easily, but F16 isn't used for both bays. F15 is used with B30, and F16 is fitted to B29. Those can be added after you've built the bay to make things easier for yourself.  The same goes for D9 and D10.  The numbers are switched in the diagrams, so swap 'em over if you haven't yet spotted they wriggle in the wrong direction.

 

The gun bay is a simple affair, so not worthy of leaving the access panel off, so I built it up without titivating it, and won't paint it either.  part F33 is a bit mushy as well as being tiny, so take care fitting it.  My barrel had a weakness in the corrugated part, probably caused by two cooling wavefronts of styrene meeting and not mixing well.  I glued that back together, and will replace the muzzle with some micro-tubing to get a nice hollow barrel and a realistic steel finish.

 

Here's a pic of the various assemblies sat together:

 

parts1.jpg

 

 

I'm currently working on the fit of the engines to the fuselage, which are held into the lower fuselage by a slot on the bottom of the engine, and two tabs on the leading edge, which you can see in the pic above.  The bulkheads that glue into the fuselage aren't tooled properly, and one of the slots has been inverted in CAD, and has been moulded as a rectangular block sticking out.  Oops!  I chopped them off and drilled a new slot, tweaking fit as I went.  They should fit reasonably central in their nacelles now, once I've painted the front and rear.  Those two afterburner rings also had a couple of cold-front weak-points, so I drizzled glue in there and left them to set up.  I've just started cleaning the parts up, with tiny amounts of flash on the uprights that I would rather remove, even though you'll be hard pushed to see up the tail without a flashlight! :lol:

 

That's where we're up to as of now, and I'm quite enjoying myself.  I would have held out for some Eduard parts to detail things normally, but as the canopy doesn't open, there's not a lot of point me lavishing detail on it, even if the sets were available (which they aren't at time of writing).  If the exterior sets arrive before I get the fuselage closed up, I could be tempted, and I've just noticed that KH are working on a set of metal legs for this kit.  After building the AMK Mig-31 and watching its legs spread under the weight over the next year or so, I'd really like to get hold of a set :Tasty:

 

Shall I carry on with a detailed description of the build, or just crack on in a "today I built the xxxx" manner? :hmmm:

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Awesome. Keep it coming please, very helpful to know where the issues will be hiding. Does the cockpit have the curtain on the center top of the canopy interior?

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Keep going! I've one in the stash. Terrified to build yet. Using the current '10' kits I have on the go at the mo to build up the courage. This'll really help!

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Great read!

Thanks!!!

 

So metal legs will be my next buy.... :)

Edited by exdraken

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1 hour ago, paulsbrown said:

Does the cockpit have the curtain on the center top of the canopy interior?

IIRC it doesn't, so I'll probably make one from foil or something similar. :)

 

Thanks for the encouragement chaps :yes:

 

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I've been getting the existing assemblies ready for paint, and while that's been going on, I've also been preparing the engine and intakes, as there are some joints and ejector pin marks there, so filling is on the cards.  I sanded back the filler on the inside of the rear of one engine, and realised that not much of that will be seen due to the afterburner ring.  nevermind :shrug: I wasn't looking forward to the intakes, but needn't have worried.  The little tubular sections just forward of the engines both fit together beautifully, and the dry one has been sanded only - no filler needed.  The other isn't cured well enough, as I forgot to do it yesterday, but the seam looks excellent.  I've mocked up the joins, and you might see the lip between the tubular section and the intake cowling, and you can see a couple of the ejector pin marks, so they're scheduled for termination - you should be able to make out the putty I've already put in place for later sanding.  The afterburner rings were fettled, and other than a few bits of flash that might have showed up, it's not really made a huge difference.  I sat a prepared one and an unprepared one side-by-side, and it wasn't massively apparent which was which.  I know I've done it though, and so now do you ;)

 

Those PE inserts fit well so far, but I've left the rest off, as I'm going to be handling the trunking removing the ejector pin marks, so don't want to damage them.  Still having fun! ^_^ Here's another shot of some assemblies as they stand at present:

 

parts2.jpg

 

The rest of the parts from the first post are ready for primer now, and I just need to clear away a few bottles that have landed in the spray booth before I can crack open the airbrush.  I'm still deciding whether to paint the crew belts in situ, or separately.  It's ages since I've had unpainted PE or non-fabric seatbelts :hmmm:

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Very neat and tidy as usual Mike.

Just one question however.  Where have you stashed the acres of flash rumoured to inhabit the box? :wicked:

 

Chris

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12 hours ago, stringbag said:

Where have you stashed the acres of flash rumoured to inhabit the box? :wicked:

If you look across from Wales toward Chester, you'll see a new hill.  That's the fabled flash ;) Truthishly, there are some small bits of flash hither & yon, but TBH you'll find that much on any kit if you're looking at it with the same lens :shrug: I'm just working on a few ejector pin marks in the exhaust tunnels now.  They're in the fluted section, so you might think they're going to be horrible to fix, but that's not turning out to be the case.  They're pretty tidy for ejector pin marks, and mostly (95% maybe?) raised, so I'm using a #15 blade to adze away the upstands and recover the troughs, then tidying up with a piece of wet'n'dry glued to a cocktail stick.  They probably won't be noticed when they're in situ, but I'm doing it anyway on the offchance they can be seen later with an endoscope :)

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There's no colour guidance on the intake colours in the kit, but a quick Google seems to imply they're the same colour as the undersides, as per this pic courtesy of Wikipedia:

 

Fixing_KAB-500S_guided_bombs_to_a_Sukhoi

By Mil.ru, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44027370

 

You can see a fair way down the throat of the thing, but can any of the more learned amongst you confirm or deny that the colour goes all the way down or not? I'm hoping @ya-gabor will be along soon to guide me :)

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Mike

 

Very curious about this build.

 

I don't rate the manufacturer at all but it could be my skills as a modeller. Show me how its done with your skills

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35 minutes ago, thepureness said:

Show me how its done with your skills

We'll compromise.  I'll do it without any skills and see how we get on ;)

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Getting a bit more done today, and have glued on all the PE parts in the intakes now, all of which fit superbly after your remove the vestiges of the etch-gates.  A little CA spread over the depression, offer them up and press down.  Any excess that might ooze out from the grilles/holes can be wiped away and cleaned up with CA remover later. :yes: I also made up the tail stinger last night, and the fit of that is very good.  I sanded the seams with my new glass sanding stick (yes, glass!!!), and then buffed it to a shine, repairing the panel lines where they'd become a bit shallow after the sanding of the weld-bead.  I also put the PE parts on that, with the chaff and flare pod fitting perfectly once I'd cleaned up a gluey finger-print I'd left in the recess :blush: The other vents/grilles had to be annealed in a lighter flame, then formed using the nearby areas on the stinger, and tweaked where necessary.  Two have a slight fit issue that just needs a little plastic adzing out of one corner, but they're done now - I have to avoid buckling them with my big heavy-hands now :unsure: 

 

What else?  I've been looking at the cockpit, and noticed that the sidewalls aren't detailed on the inside of the cockpit.  It's probably not a big deal, but I'm going to shove a little "stuff" in there while I'm detailing the canopy frame so I can add the sun-shades/blast-curtains to the side windows.  I might apply it all to the insides of the canopy and then mask and spray it, but I'm still in the planning stages at the moomin.  I've been collecting pics from around the web of people looking at the same thing on other kits in 1:72 and 1:48, so I guess we can't really wag our fingers at KH for ignoring them - they were just following everyone else! :)  While I was getting photos of the cockpit, I noticed that they've toned down the colour used on the interior from the Cold War Turquoise that they used.  The instructions tell you to paint it H74, which is Gunze Sky, would you believe? :blink: Yeah, no.  I had a mooch through my paint stores, and found a nice shade in the AKAN range 73069 Grey Dark Blue.  I sat that on my paint stirrer (a re-labelled nail varnish shaker so that it's more MANLY) and carried on looking.   I then stumbled on a paint by AKAN that's used in the Su-34 cockpit.  Guess which shade? Yep.  That one.  I feel both proud and stupid at the same time.  Proud of my eye for colour, but stupid because I hadn't read the text on the side of the bottle that TOLD me that it's the interior colour for the Su-34 amongst others :doh:  I was going to slap some of that on the tub, but as I'm now working on the scratchy side of the cockpit, I think I'll delay until that's done, so I'm only filling the airbrush once.

 

Incidentally, does anyone have a decent option for the landing gear bay interior colours?  The instructions state Medium Sea Grey FS318C/637, but I wanted to check that before I get busy with the colour :)

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9 hours ago, Mike said:

Incidentally, does anyone have a decent option for the landing gear bay interior colours?  The instructions state Medium Sea Grey FS318C/637, but I wanted to check that before I get busy with the colour :)

 

 

Mike, I found this photo when searching for references for my Hobby Boss and Trumpeter SU-34s. Not my photo but a good reference. (credit to db-flight@gmx.de)

 

CjBOwduc5q1flniR46yoxdDKQVGCzoDDBjL8ytfx

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Thanks for that. :yes:  Am I seeing two shades in that pic? I noticed the struts were a lighter shade than the bays, but that forward section seems to be the same shade as the legs. :hmmm:

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Here's a quick shot of the completed stinger, but I need to add a small filler cap on the topside just overlapping the tip, which I can't remember for the life of me what it contains.  Indicator fluid?  Who knows :clown:  I also cleaned the resin exhaust tail feathers in an ultrasonic bath of IPA, and then primed them in black.  They look really nice, and there's plenty of detail visible already, which I'll try and enhance with a bit of painting.

 

parts3.jpg

 

I'm prepping the cockpit by adding a little detail around the sides and coaming.  I decided that as the best pics of the side walls I could get showed the green insulating blankets you see on Soviet/Russian stuff, and it's an easy job, I'd replicate that just so it doesn't have untooled plastic on display.  I used a sharp blade to trace the outline of the cockpit insert while it was in place, and then inked that in.  I put some tape and cut it to the lines, then laid that on some paper, cutting the templates out with a little "selvage" around them.  I cut a chunk out of some foil I have (maybe pewter?), and then pressed some fastener detail and creases into it, using the pics as a reference.  Then I glued them in place being careful not to smooth them out too much.  I also thickened the sills with a piece of 1mm square rod, which I sanded back flush after the glue had dried.  The HUD was put in and levelled up, with some Molotow chrome having been put into the depression a few days before I added the lens.  I added a bumper to the HUD from strip, and might add a few knobs from my stock of PE nuts & circles before I primer it up.  I also punched a disc of tape to cover up the lens - top tip: put your tape on a slip of thin styrene to get a better, more circular result and avoid tearing.  Also, hit it smartly with a small hammer to cut rather than rip the tape.  I peel the edge up with a blade, then pick it off with a tweezer.

 

cockpit1.jpg

 

I Kleared the canopy the other day and it's now dry so I can begin planning the framing to hold the curtains that will be visible outside.  That's gonna be fun, but at least with a coat of Klear, it'll be a bit more resilient if I screw up. :)  I've cleaned up the edges of the cockpit and coaming aperture in the above pics, as there was a slight lip here and there, with the tiniest amount of flash on the thin coaming, which disrupted the apparent edge of the part.

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I've now roughed out the framework on the canopy, which I've glued in place with a little CA applied sparingly to the centre-line of where I wanted the parts to go.  I've used 0.5mm thick strip of various widths, and laid them side-by-side over the wider section of the canopy.  I made sure to turn the canopy on its back to allow the CA fumes to dissipate while curing, which avoids any fogging of the clear parts, which is nice :) I've filled the gaps, and sanded along the thick section to remove the facets caused by the three sections of strip, and the next job is to add a small lip around the sides of the side-windows, which is the track where the curtains run when they're pulled up or down.  There are guide wires in the track on the real thing, but whether I'll go that far or not is debatable at this point.  I'll smooth out and then fold some foil to depict the curtains, and then spray them an off-white shade, fitting them after the canopy has been painted on the inside.  Could be fun! :unsure:

 

canopy1.jpg

 

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Hi Mike,

 

I know you're not quite at this stage yet, but there's an error in the instructions that could cause excess profanity if you don't spot it before you glue the fuselage halves together. If you look ahead to step 12 you're told to add two inserts (part D15 & 16) to the small intakes on the upper rear fuselage, this step coming after the fuselage is sealed up.

The two parts should actually be added from underneath and there are two moulded recesses to take them. As I said, it would be somewhat annoying if you didn't spot it until it was too late.

In a related area, I'm still searching in vain for the two round parts to plug the round holes that are just outboard from those intakes. The parts are never mentioned in the instructions, but presumably something should fill the holes.

 

Andy:cat:

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Thanks Andy - I appreciate the heads up :yes: I'm still dickering about with the canopy, but have got the majority of the structure sorted now.  It's probably not even 90% accurate, but it looks better than nothing, so I'm quite happy with it.  I've added extra layers to the basics I did yesterday to bulk it up, and space the lips away from the glazing, and added a complete frame around those side windows for effect.  I've also added a little wedge-shaped instrument that's on the centreline of the windscreen, plus a couple of little salt-shaker things that look like they might be some kind of warning indicator or part of the in-flight catering system so you can add salt and pepper to your Borscht without leaving your seat.  That little black(ish) dot on the rear of the wedge is the edge of a PE disc that glued in place to represent the dial.  I'll probably stick an Aeroscale decal on there before I close things up.  I think there's a little air-blower on each side of the canopy interior somewhere too, so I might hunt down that pic and add it later.

 

canopy2.jpg

 

Painting the lips inside the frames is going to be a bit tricky, and I might have to hand-paint that once I've got the masking on.  I'm thinking of adding a couple of rows of Archer rivets around the inside of the canopy too, as I noticed they seem to be scattered around.  Whether they'd ever be seen though, is another matter. :shrug: I also had a crazy idea of adding the little triangular fillets in the top section of the canopy, but then I remembered I was putting in the blinds, which would render them invisible, so saved myself a lot of effort and fretting about marring the canopy :unsure:

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13 hours ago, Mike said:

Thanks Andy - I appreciate the heads up :yes: I'm still dickering about with the canopy, but have got the majority of the structure sorted now.  It's probably not even 90% accurate, but it looks better than nothing, so I'm quite happy with it.  I've added extra layers to the basics I did yesterday to bulk it up, and space the lips away from the glazing, and added a complete frame around those side windows for effect.  I've also added a little wedge-shaped instrument that's on the centreline of the windscreen, plus a couple of little salt-shaker things that look like they might be some kind of warning indicator or part of the in-flight catering system so you can add salt and pepper to your Borscht without leaving your seat.  That little black(ish) dot on the rear of the wedge is the edge of a PE disc that glued in place to represent the dial.  I'll probably stick an Aeroscale decal on there before I close things up.  I think there's a little air-blower on each side of the canopy interior somewhere too, so I might hunt down that pic and add it later.

 

 

 

Painting the lips inside the frames is going to be a bit tricky, and I might have to hand-paint that once I've got the masking on.  I'm thinking of adding a couple of rows of Archer rivets around the inside of the canopy too, as I noticed they seem to be scattered around.  Whether they'd ever be seen though, is another matter. :shrug: I also had a crazy idea of adding the little triangular fillets in the top section of the canopy, but then I remembered I was putting in the blinds, which would render them invisible, so saved myself a lot of effort and fretting about marring the canopy :unsure:

-May be this screen shot could be some help forthose strange things hanging on the windscreen arch

LR2BLR.png

 

Edited by Greg B
pointlessly repeated photos removed

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That's great, thanks @IPMS19.  They look like crew air-conditioning blowers close-up, don't they?  I guess they'll have to enjoy their borscht unseasoned :(

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Thanks Mike for your in-depth build.  I agree that those tan coloured blobs are punker louvres for fresh air and the thing in the middle of them is a standby back up compass. 

 

Simon

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