|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Sukhoi Su-30MKK (NATO reporting name: Flanker-G) is a modification of the Su-27 SK manufactured since 1999 by KnAAPO and Shenyang Aircraft Corporation. It is considered an upgraded version of Sukhoi Su-30. It was jointly developed by Russia and China, similar to the Su-30MKI. It is a heavy class, all-weather, long-range strike fighter, comparable to the American F-15E. Su-30MK2 is a further improvement to SU-30MKK with upgraded avionics and maritime strike capabilities. The MKK and MK2 are currently operated by the People's Republic of China, the Indonesian Air Force, the Vietnam People's Air Force, the Uganda People's Defence Force, and very recently, the Venezuelan Air Force.
The PLAAF's 3rd Aviation Division based at Wuhu AFB, Anhui Province received the first 38 Su-30MKK aircraft; 10 were delivered by KNAAPO in December 2000, with the remainder in 2001. Another 38 aircraft were ordered in July 2001; these were delivered by 2003 to the 18th Air Division based at Changsha AFB, Hunan Province. So far, three of the 76 MKKs have been lost.
When I opened the box, I realized just how large this aircraft really is. I also realized that it has a ton of hardpoints, 11 to be exact, and enough stuff to fill them all if one wanted to do an air show arrangement. It may be redundant, but the molding on this kit is just as good as what you will normally find on Trumpeter aircraft kits. I found it interesting that the upper and lower fuselage halves were held together in the box by an o-ring over the nose section. The bag these parts were in was also taped to the box to keep them from sliding around during shipment. A nice touch, I think. Some of the finer pieces were also protected by foam wrap, something that Hasegawa should look into.
As mentioned, the upper and lower fuselage contain the wings as well so there is no issue with getting these things misaligned. A two seat cockpit tub is provided and it accepts two bang seats and a pair of control sticks. No rudder pedals on this one. Instruments are provided by decals. The colors used in the interior are shown on the painting guide, but nothing for the wheel wells.
Each intake sub assembly is six pieces that include the lower bypass doors and a door similar to the MiG-29 that closes up the main intake when on the ground. The undercarriage is properly beeft and provides enough detail for most. The canopy can only be built closed which, due to the scarcity of detail in the cockpit, is not a bad thing. The kit is designed to be built with the refueling probe extended as well as the airbrake extended. Normally one sees these retracted when the plane is on the ground. It looks as if, with a bit of trimming, these can be built retracted.
You would expect a kit like this to be fully equipped with armament and so it is. You get four R-27R, R-27T, R-77, and R-73E missiles along with two KH-13P missiles. For the wing tips you can either have ECM pods or missile rails. The kit comes complete with a load-out diagram showing where you will put the various missiles. Since the Su-30MKK is supposed to be like the Strike Eagle, I was surprised at the full missile load.
Instructions are well drawn and show when you will need to open various holes to properly build this variant. There are two basic options; one for an overall grey plane as shown on the box art, and another for a blue-grey over grey version. Since there are two units flying this plane, I guess one unit is one scheme leaving the other for the second unit. All of your exterior painting information is provided on the full color painting and markings guide giving several paint manufacturers. Also included is a painting and decal guide for the weapons and pylons. The kit includes four decal sheets. I have shown but two with the other two being for instruments and for weapons markings. As you can see, the sheet includes enough additional numbers to do just about any aircraft and there are also dielectric panels provided for the two schemes.
If you are a fan of big Russian fighters or are building up a collection of PRC aircraft, then this one should be on your list. The detailing is first rate and it is great that we get a full load of weapons as well, something that is missing from a certain Japanese kit maker. The result will be a pretty large 1/72 model so leave some room on your shelves for it!
Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. You can get yours at your local hobby shop or on-line retailer.
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