Zhengdefu 1/48 Su-35 Flanker
KIT #: DF 325
PRICE: $9.99 MSRP (often found cheaper
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Danny Luey
NOTES: It's not worth the aggravation


 (from the kit’s English instructions with grammatical corrections)

 The Su-35 is a versatile multi-purpose fighter-bomber originated from the Su-27 Flanker B.

 Between October 1986 and December 1988, a specially modified prototype T-10, known as the P-42, was used to establish 27 performance records that were submitted to the FIA for certification.  All the records previously established by the F-15 Strike Eagle were wiped out by the P-42.  When this information was published, it became general knowledge that this was an aircraft to be considered most seriously.

 Some analysts think that the Russian avionics and weapons systems are quite equal to the western competition.  In terms of speed, range and maneuverability, the Su-35 is superior to any aircraft in the western inventory probably until the Lockheed F-22 is operational.

 The Su-35 was designed with the Su-35 fore wing and range-controller, air-electron, power and weapon systems greatly modified.  Maximum speed is Mach 2.35.  Available elevation is 18,000 m.  Maximum range is 4,000 km with internal fuel.


Although my kit was labeled “Ki-Tech”, it’s the same as the :Zhengdefu” kit.  What do you get for $10?  A large amount of plastic in a very sturdy box.  Scott Van Aken’s preview of the Zhengdefu 1/48 Su-27 Flanker gives a very good idea:  this Su-35 is the Su-27 kit with canards.  Like Scott, I then looked more closely and saw that all the plastic, except the nose cone, wasn’t smooth but had a pebbly finish.  The canopy parts were also cloudy.  The small decal sheet (for a Russian jet with a red “703” below the cockpit) looks like trouble.  I don’t know much about Russian jets since my last kit was the original release of the Revell 1/48 Mig-25 about 25 years ago.  This Su-35 looks a lot different than my F-14, F-15, and F-16 models. 

 A Google search revealed that there are a lot of Flanker fans and they found this kit to be a poor copy of the Academy original Su-27 kits.  Other comments were:  canards were added to the upper fuselage without the prominent mounting shoulders; endcaps for the fins are too short; twin nosewheels, refueling probe, and “ball” ahead of the windscreen were missing; tailboom was not revised.  The Internet is a wonderful tool.  I’m starting to regret spending that $10.


 The instructions are barely adequate and the color callouts are generic:  “Grey”.  Google search “Su-27 Flanker” for helpful hints and details from the Flanker fans  (“Su-35” doesn’t offer enough useful information for kit construction).  I found the Academy Su-27 kit instructions by Google and they were useful since this kit is a copy of Academy’s kits.  Linden Hill Imports’ web site has a 26 page step-by-step construction review of the Academy 1:48 Flanker that is a great reference.

 Construction proceeded smoothly at first.  I finished the cockpit before I saw Linden Hill’s site; remove the instrument panel’s center console and glue the panel to the upper fuselage not the cockpit floor.  Another Linden Hill hint is to paint the control stick a very light grey and color the stick’s buttons black/red/black/white from left to right.  The seat also looks like a living room reclining chair.  I just want to put the kit together and left it alone.

 Per the instructions, make many holes in the upper wings for weapon pylons, glue it to the upper fuselage, and let the assembly dry thoroughly.  At least the plastic reacts well with glue and bonds well.  The upper and lower fuselage parts don’t really fit each other.  Glue the lower canards to the upper fuselage’s canards first so the bulges from the wings and canards can shim the lower fuselage to the upper.  I still ended up with a 1/16 inch gap between the fuselages at the front.  I also realized every, and I mean every, joint needed putty.

 Linden Hill describes how the main wheel wells in the lower fuselage need to be opened up under the air intake assembly where there is a dished recess.  I saw this after I glued the intakes to the fuselage, but the plastic is soft enough and accessible that I could still do this.

 The construction grimly continued. The nose gear with the mud guard is intricate and its connection to the fuselage is shallow.  This weak point is emphasized when the nose (packed with nails, bolts, and screws for weight) is attached.  The nose is smooth plastic unlike the rest of the kit.  The nose is also wider than the fuselage.  Scraping down the nose at the joint doesn’t really help; I painted the nose white so it's less obvious.

 There are tons of missiles/rockets for this plane.  I put electronic pods on the wingtips so I would have less of them.  Unfortunately, of course, these pods have seams that refused to disappear with sanding and putty.  


 I want this to be over.  The instructions don’t have a painting guide, only a decal guide.  Google showed the box art to pattern in real life is a very sharp edged, angular, complex camouflage pattern.  I chose the easier pattern from Academy’s Su-27 kit instructions.  The real colors are close to Light Blue FS 35550, Medium Blue FS 35450, and Blue Grey FS 35526.  My colors were what I had available:  Games Workshop acrylic Space Wolf Gray for Light Blue; Games Workshop acrylic Ice Blue for Medium Blue; Testors acrylic Intermediate Blue FS35164 for Blue Grey.  Google shows the real planes vary from light, similar toned pastels to sharp bright colors.  I don’t feel that bad about my medium blue is too bold and my blue grey too dark; it emphasizes this isn’t a western plane.  The engines were painted a mix of Testors acrylic silver and black.  The grey intakes were Testors acrylic dark gull grey; landing gear bays were Testors acrylic dark giull grey with British armor tan.  Silver and red Sharpie pens were also used.

 I brushed Future at the decal locations.  The decals are thin.  They also disintegrate in water.  If they don’t, they’re break up when you transfer them off the backing paper.  Whatever is left will become broken little specks when you move them on the kit.  I wound up color copying the stars onto paper and then pasting them on the plane.  My red number came from the Monogram 1/48 :P-61 decal sheet.  A cost of Testors acrylic flat was applied overall. 

The assorted missiles/rockets were painted white with black fins per the instructions.  The fins probably are white with leading black edges but I was close to throwing the plane into a wall after the decals. 


 I never planned on buying Academy’s 1/48 Flanker.  At $10, it seemed cheap to buy an adversary for my F-14 and F-16.  It was brutal just finishing the kit so it would be over. It does serve its purpose by looking different, but not worth the hassles.

Danny Luey

March 2006


 A 50 page Flanker kit survey is found at www.flankerman.fsnet.co.uk/su27surv.htm

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