VEB  1/72 Sukhoi Su-7 Fitter

KIT #: ?
PRICE: Someone wanted 99 bucks on ebay in January 2011!
DECALS: Three options
NOTES: A real oldie here


(Alternative) History:

October 1964. Khrushchev is on his last political legs. Since the Cuban Missile crisis two years ago, he's fought off hardliner efforts to oust him. The hardliners behind Brezhnev are angry that the USSR pulled out of Cuba but couldn't brag about the trade it forced on America to pull missiles out of Turkey. But now, with the US missiles finally gone, the generals are urging Brezhnev to depose Khrushchev and make a bold statement about Soviet power - a lightning sweep of Warsaw Pact forces into West Germany and Denmark to control access from the Baltic to the North Sea. Amidst the confusion of the leadership change, Western governments will be caught unaware, and NATO forces overwhelmed and unraveled by the surprise assault. By the time they react, the deed will be done.

Under the pretense of major war games in East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, the Red Army masses near the Iron Curtain as Brezhnev takes control in the Kremlin.

Screaming in at high speed and low level, Sukhoi Su-7 Fitters try to stretch every last drop of fuel to deliver bomb and rocket attacks at NATO troops, punching a hole in the Western defences. Hundreds of tanks flow over the border towards Hamburg on the north German plain. Further south at the Fulda Gap, more tanks and mechanised infantry head towards Frankfurt to disguise the Soviet motives.

But as NATO gets its act together, and its own fighter aircraft start attacking the advancing Soviet divisions, the Warsaw Pact thrust bogs down.

Brezhnev's gamble has failed. In answer to the armoured divisions' demands, Sukhoi Su-7s have dropped tactical nukes on NATO positions. NATO has responded. Within hours, the war will escalate dramatically. The Delicate Balance of Terror has just tipped.


You can read my preview of this classic VEB-style kit right HERE  on Modeling Madness. After I wrote that preview, I had a great email from a friendly person in the former Yugoslavia:

"Nice walk through memory lane, for us from former Yugoslavia raised on VEB and KP kits diet. Together with some Polish kits (ZTS and PZW) and a dab of the Revell, Heller & Matchbox kits imported occasionally."
"As for some of your doubts, yes canopy could be made open. In fact - good luck if you try to make it closed. Kit general fit would be pretty decent, my old unpainted model still looks acceptable, but efforts shall be made for removing ejector pin marks at the horizontal tails and ailerons."
"As for decals, if your copy was kept in relatively dry conditions, like in my decal dungeon is, they should be usable. VEB decals were notorious for needing a lot of time to departure from backing paper, so after placing them in water (at room temperature) they should be removable after some half an hour!"
"And remember, a silver container with 001 engraved is a glue, while one with 002 engraved is a silver paint. Glue was decent styrene glue, I still have few of such containers/tubes and is still usable."


I decided to build this more or less out of the box. I wanted to see what it would be like. Let's face it, the work it would take to bring this one up to modern standards would probably turn most people to the KP kit, which itself is probably something of a challenge. So, when you look at these photos, remember that this is an old and basic kit, built here for a bit of fun.

There's a cockpit but unlike most kits you don't really build it. You just put the fuselage together, and later on you stick the ridiculous dashboard in. It looks like it belongs in a 50s Caddy or maybe a 60s Lada or something. I painted mine black with green dials. Why? Why not?

The only non-kit parts I used were a primitive seat (I think from the Airfix Draken) and an old pilot from the old Hasegawa Vigilante. The VEB pilot looked like a 5 year old boy and his seat was a weird sofa. Because I was doing my Fitter in flying configuration, I did want it to have a proper pilot.
Construction was easy and actually the fit of the main fuselage parts was pretty decent. The rudder and ailerons are separate parts and as my new friend from the former Yugoslavia said, "efforts shall be made for removing ejector pin marks at the horizontal tails and ailerons". I sanded these for a while and then couldn't be bothered any longer. But the wings went on very neatly indeed.

The undercarriage is quite simplistic and I wasn't sure it would be strong enough, so I went wheels up and used the awesome VEB display stand, which poses the jet in a shallow climb.

The canopy went on cleanly and fits very well.


Tamiya AS-12 from a spray can took care of the painting in about three minutes. It was a bit hard to tell which areas I had painted, actually, because the paint was so close in colour to the plastic. The rocket pods I did by hand with Tamiya aluminium and the bombs got a lurid green which probably bears no relationship to reality but suits the aesthetic I had for this kit (more of a toy, in other words).

I tried my VEB decals, and was able to get the Polish ones to come off the backing paper in more or less one piece. They adhered ok, but sadly they had faded a lot. The red was very pale. So I used some Soviet stars left spare from a more recent decal sheet and did my Fitter as a generic Soviet example rather than a generic Polish one. Stars and a bort number was all I needed.


I never thought I would actually build this and in fact I nearly threw it away. But once I previewed it, I thought "why not actually build it"? Recommended if you like the quirky side of this hobby or grew up in the Eastern Bloc and feel like reminiscing about your modeling childhood.

Richard F

September 2011

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