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Sukhoi Su-30SM Flanker-H (KH80171) 1:48


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Sukhoi Su-30SM Flanker-H (KH80171)

1:48 KittyHawk

 

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The Su-30 was a development of the Su-27 with two branches of development being carried out simultaneously, one manufacturer making export versions for China and other countries, while the Irkut Corporation that are based in Moscow handled the Russian airframes and those for other Allies, both under the over-arching banner of the Sukhoi name.  The Russian variant is the SM, which is the subject of this kit.  It has small canards for manoeuvrability, to which is added vectored thrust from the twin engines, which are capable of adjusting the angle of the exhausts up to 15o in half a second, giving it even more agility that is great for airshows as well as useful in dogfights.  SM stands for “Serial Modernised”, which fortunately for us starts with the same letters in Russian too.  A few vanilla Su-30s entered service, and over a hundred SM later joined them, becoming operational in 2018, although they did take part in the 2015 Russian intervention in Syria, performing some low-risk missions and more than a few low-intensity combat sorties according to Western intelligence.  The SM is also flown by the Russian Knights that are often seen at airshows, so up until this year’s Covid-related show cancellations, a lot of airshow-goers will have seen them hanging in the sky on their exhausts.

 

The SM is to be joined by the SM1 that has more powerful avionics and engines, standardising on the same power plants that are fitted to the Su-35 along with other aspects of its service and repair envelope to reduce costs while improving availability of both qualified technicians and therefore airframes.  Delivery of these airframes should begin in 2021, with a further updated SM2 following along after a contract for a small number was signed in 2020.

 

 

The Kit

This is part of the new range of Su-27 and Su-30s that are arriving this year from Kitty Hawk.  It turns up in KH’s usual sturdy top-opening box, and includes eight sprues and two fuselage halves in grey styrene, two sprues of clear plastic, a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE), a pair of exhaust nozzles in resin that are kept safe in a small plastic box.  The decals and instruction booklet complete the package, with colour profiles on the inside cover and in the centre of the booklet.  All the sprues are individually bagged, and there is a huge amount of detail moulded into this kit, with a pair of engines included, along with a detailed painting guide and access hatches to show them off, a very nice cockpit with lots of parts and decals for better detail, a full representation of the N011M Leopard phased-array radar and avionics black box in the forward fuselage.

 

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Construction begins conventionally with the cockpit, specifically the two RD-36 ejection seats, each made from eleven parts, PE belts for both crew members, plus their four-part rail and bulkhead assemblies.  The inner facets of the side consoles are moulded into the dual cockpit tub, with the outer sections added separately, with the bulkheads, seats, control columns, main instrument panels and decals, rudder pedals, rear seat coaming, and the jack for the canopy installed at the rear.  The preparation of the interior continues with the avionics ‘black box’ and the nose gear bay assemblies, plus two intake trunk sections that form the bulkhead in front of the engine faces, which are made next. 

 

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The engine housing is made up from two halves, and inside is the front and rear fan with the rear bullet fairing surrounded by the afterburner ring, and the various external ancillaries taking up a further nineteen parts for each power plant.  These are then dropped into their sponsons in the lower fuselage along with the aforementioned bulkheads and blanking plate to the sides, then two small brackets linking them together.  The main gear bays are next to be put together, filled with good detail in just three parts, then they, the nose gear bay, radar box and cockpit are all fitted inside the lower fuselage, joined by the canards that slot into their sockets and are trapped in place by the top fuselage.  Also trapped is the ‘beaver-tail’ or ‘stinger’ that extends the fuselage between the engines and has a number of important sensors and self-protection features inside.  The top and bottom portions are joined over a representation of the braking para-pack, then seven PE parts representing the chaff and flare pods and two small blade antennae are glued into place in their recesses, with the resulting assembly trapped on pins inside the rear of the fuselage during their mating.

 

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Curiously isolated from the making of the rest of the cockpit, the HUD with separate glazing and push-button panel is made up, then set aside for a while as you make up the front sections of the twin engine nacelles.  The main skin has ramps and louvered auxiliary intake fitted to the floor, then in the roof is another ramp, plus the lower half of the trunking.  They can be set either closed or open to suit your needs, and of course there are two to make up.  They are attached to the lower fuselage after adding the HUD and demisting hosing to the cockpit aperture, then after that the GSh-30-1 autocannon is glued into the recessed bay and covered by its door, with just the muzzle left visible.  The nose is then tipped with an angled adapter panel that covers the avionics equipment made up earlier, and this can be posed open by adding two struts and a bracket, or closed by omitting these parts.  At the rear the para-pack door is able to be posed open with pack showing, or closed using the same parts.  The two upper access panels on the forward section of the engine bulges are dropped into the holes or left off to expose your hard work, with the central air-brake at the rear of the cockpit hump again able to be shown open or closed by using the ram that is included to prop the brake at the correct angle.  A pair of sensors are then installed on the outer sides of the engine nacelles.

 

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This picture shows one nozzle with the flash removed to show off the internal detail

 

The included resin exhaust nozzles have them angled down to depict maximum deflection in that direction, and these parts have a sheet of flash covering the open end that you should carefully cut from the part before washing and painting.  Take care with cutting too close, and add back the steps on the interior of the petals with a sharp blade or file before you wash them to remove residual mould-release agent.  They mount on a lug to ensure they are fitted the correct way, and are noticeably longer than the unused plastic exhausts on the sprues, which are marked Su-27.  The wings have the usual tab and slot fit, and have separate front slats and flaps, two-part elevons and strakes just under the pivot-point.  The landing gear struts are fairly complex on the real thing, and the detail has been replicated by using separate parts for the top, the oleo-scissors, brake assembly and ancillary brace, topped off with a two-part tyre that has the hubs moulded-in, and the two bay doors each having their own struts to hold them at the correct angle.  The nose gear strut is similarly complex with separate top, three landing lights with clear lenses, additional details, and one large bay door that has a cylinder on the inside face, with a retraction jack set deep into the bay.  The twin wheels are each single parts and are surrounded by a louvered mudguard at the rear.

 

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There are a large number of sensors in the Su-30SM, with many blade antennae around and under the nose, and aft onto the LERX and cockpit hump.  The refuelling probe is also found on the port side of the nose, and that too can be posed open or closed, the latter requiring the aft section to be removed so that it sits semi-flush inside its receptacle.  The radar gives you a choice of two flat sensors, which are both nicely detailed and fix to the bulkhead in the nose, to be covered with the radome and probe or not, depending on whether you are showing the nose tipped up for maintenance.  The canopy is moulded as a single part and is very clear, but has a couple of very small sink-marks in the “b-pillar” vertical frame where there are contact point for the interior structure.  As a result, the “glass” portion dips ever-so slightly as it approaches the frame, which will be difficult to do anything about without taking your life in your hands.  It is small, so could well be ignored, and will be further obfuscated by the internal frame that is fitted from inside along with the rear section where the canopy attaches to the aircraft.   A set of rear-view mirrors are also attached to the inside, which should look good with some Molotow liquid chrome applied to the mirror area.  The windscreen part is separate and has two thin kinked PE strips added to the inside before fitting, which would be best attached with some clear acrylic gloss such as Klear.  In front of the windscreen is the OLS-30 laser-optical locator system (think IRST with extras) in a bullet-shaped housing that has a clear lens and aerodynamic fairing so that it blends in with the windscreen.  The airframe is completed by the twin fins with moulded-in rudders that have fairings added to the rear and a small insert fitted to the leading edge to complete the intake there.  A pair of wingtip rails with tiny tip lights are added to the wings, with a dual-rail pylon included for under each wing.  No weapons are included for a change, but if you have any of KH’s other Russian/Soviet kits, you’ve probably got plenty on hand already.

 

 

Markings

There are three decal options on the supplied sheet, which are protected by a ziplok bag and coated paper during transit and storage.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

  • Russian Federation Air Force Red 24
  • Russian Navy Blue 45
  • Russian Knights Blue 31

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Check your references for Blue 45, as it has an apparently monotone flag and code number that both seem to use the blue of the fuselage instead of a separate blue shade.  This could of course be at a different point in the aircraft’s career, so don’t take my word for it.  The decals are printed anonymously, and are in fair register, although my sample has a slight drift in the white, as well as a couple of blemishes in two of the larger Russian Knights decals, marring the red/white stripes and one of the sunbursts on the tail.  Hopefully your copy will fair better from being on the slow boat, rather than the fast aircraft from China.

 

 

Conclusion

Another good-looking kit from Kitty Hawk that has lots of detail and some striking decal options straight from the box.  There are a few minor issues with the decals, but nothing that can’t be fixed.

 

Highly recommended.

 

Review sample courtesy of

logo.gif and available soon from major hobby shops

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two things are incorrected the first the lack of the right dashboard for the cockpit ! are missing and i don't get why! second the blue 45 has the 3 tones camouflage under the belly ! the decals won't be a problem but the cockpit is something really important so what's the point do a su 30 SM when they don't include the corrected cockpit layout? i have it and it's very expensive and now will get more expensive when quinta studio will do the decals 3d cockpit ! and the worse is you can't do other version of the su 30 for the different panels and bits ! the canards ! what a shame was a nice kit indeed

Edited by asgardiano
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Shame about the Su-30SM cockpit panels not being included with the kit. KH should produce these parts and issue them to buyers on demand, IMHO. No weapons given is also a sore point.

 

What about the radars? Can anyone identify the included ones in the kit?

 

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The right one seems to match this photo of Bars N011M. Could the other one perhaps be the N001VEP (IIRC, used on Su-27SM and Su-30MKK so that would make sense)?

Edited by Dudikoff
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Was looking forward to this kit, always wanted a Su-30 with canards in my collection in 1/48 scale.
The wrong details in the cockpit don't really bother me that much as it's something that could be fixed with a bit of scratchbuilding or sanding and decals.
But the missing weapons - that's a bummer, because it's pretty much standard these days to include at least one loadout option, it also is quite an expensive kit, which unnecessarily gets even more expensive and the box art is quite the lie. I might be lucky, I got some unused weapons from KH's Su-34 kit but I don't know if it's a whole loadout and also that's just me. The aftermarket is probably quite bouncy right now...

They save up on some missiles but include the canopy from the single seater? That logic though...

Edited by RupertTheBear
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Thanks for the review!

 

Finally a canard equipped 2 seat Flanker oob!

The Indian Air Force actually was the lauch costomer for those, the Su-30MKI, followd by Malaysia (MKM) and Algeria (MKA), only much later followed the Russian SM ;)

Now it is its backbone multirole platform!

 

Is this kit cheaper without all those, party not suitable weapons in comparison?

 

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On 10/27/2020 at 12:04 AM, exdraken said:

Thanks for the review!

 

Finaly a canard equipped 2 seat Flanker oob!

The Indian Air Force actually was the lauch costomer for those, the Su-30MKI, followd by Malaysia (MKM) and Algeria (MKA), only much later followed the Rusdian SM ;)

Niw it is its backbone multirole platform!

 

Is this kit cheaper without all those, party not suitable weapons in comparison?

 

is not cheap ! at all ! i'm afraid so 

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Missing weapons may not be the biggest issue, because if you have the SU-35 or SU-30 kits you will have an abundance from these kits. Question is more regarding missing pylons? Not sure these are "double up" in the mentioned other kits. 

As for cockpit inaccuracies, these will shortly be remedied, don't worry - there is likely a "2.0" kit coming in not too distant future :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Yeah, pylons. Even in other KH kits they give you only 2 pylons of a type, that's far too little for even the jet it is coming from. For Su-35 I had to steal 2 AKU-470 pylons from Su-34 in order to hang 4x R-27 (and missile fins because one kit contains bodies for 4 missiles but only enough fins for 2 missiles). You can buy KH's russian weapons kit for only €35 which makes Su-30SM (~€115 total) equal to Su-35 (~€60) content-wise.

Then also a fact the canopy looks as it looks and putting pilots behind  will give a poor result...

 

This kit is priced higher than G.W.H. Su-27UB, is worse in detail, fitting and content (weaponry). Salty words from someone who has canarded Su-30 on top of his list and was waiting nervously for the kit since it was announced somewhere 1,5 year ago. KittyHawk aimed higher price level than G.W.H. bringing no quality improvement and even reducing the box content. I was always standing behind their back when they were giving average quality for average price.

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On 11/19/2020 at 9:26 AM, TapChan said:

Yeah, pylons. Even in other KH kits they give you only 2 pylons of a type, that's far too little for even the jet it is coming from. For Su-35 I had to steal 2 AKU-470 pylons from Su-34 in order to hang 4x R-27 (and missile fins because one kit contains bodies for 4 missiles but only enough fins for 2 missiles). You can buy KH's russian weapons kit for only €35 which makes Su-30SM (~€115 total) equal to Su-35 (~€60) content-wise.

Then also a fact the canopy looks as it looks and putting pilots behind  will give a poor result...

 

This kit is priced higher than G.W.H. Su-27UB, is worse in detail, fitting and content (weaponry). Salty words from someone who has canarded Su-30 on top of his list and was waiting nervously for the kit since it was announced somewhere 1,5 year ago. KittyHawk aimed higher price level than G.W.H. bringing no quality improvement and even reducing the box content. I was always standing behind their back when they were giving average quality for average price.

Yeah I encountered that exact problem while building the KH Su-34. At first I wanted to put 2 Kh-31 Kryptons and one Kh-59 under it but realized pretty soon, that there are not enough pylons/ rails for such a loadout, as both the Kh-31 and Kh-59 use the same. Worked the other way round, too. My next idea was to put 4 rocket pods under the wings, they even provide the dual pylons for such a loadout, but only two rocket pods.
It's just plain annoying.
This time they event went further and just charge you more for less kit and instead of putting some thought into the ordnance, they just got rid of it altogether.

I already decided not to order this kit, as much as I want a Su-30 with canards on the shelf, I won't reward Kitty Hawk for their blatant laziness and cutting corner approach on this kit. I might change my mind if they upgrade it, like they did with the Su-34 by adding the Khibiny ECM pods, but right now this is just a no-go.
Or maybe G.W.H. or A.M.K. will come up with an alternative to this kit, or maybe Zvezda as they already got a great 1/72 scale Su-30SM.

Edited by RupertTheBear
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@RupertTheBear My workaround - BlueStuff + Milliput. It is nowhere near good but as for home shelf sitter pretty enough.

 

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While doing this I made my decision not to buy KH kits anymore, unless they change their strategy. Hope that Flanker series will become their big fiasco and make them re-consider their further direction. Birds are singing that G.W.H. plans to expand their Flanker family, also by some canards :)

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  • 1 month later...

Missing axles and don't forget the missing opening in the main landing gear bay... 🤐.

 

I contacted Kitty Hawk explaining the problem and was sent replacement parts. Unfortunately they exhibit the exact same problem(s) as before 🤪.

 

 

Edited by Nebbor
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I received my copy of the Su30SM today and I am happy to report that Kitty Hawk seems to have resolved the missing axles and main landing gear bay issues! 🥳

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