Zvezda 1/72 Su-34 'Fullback'
|PRICE:||$27.84 delivered from Russia|
|DECALS:||Four options (serials and codes)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Reboxed Italeri kit|
The Sukhoi Su-34 (Russian: Сухой Су-34; NATO reporting name: Fullback) is a Russian twin-engine, twin-seat, all-weather supersonic medium-range fighter-bomber/strike aircraft. It first flew in 1990 and entered service in 2014 with the Russian Air Force.
Based on the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker air superiority fighter, the Su-34 has an armored cockpit for side-by-side seating of its two-man crew. The Su-34 is designed primarily for tactical deployment against ground and naval targets (tactical bombing/attack/interdiction roles, including against small and mobile targets) on solo and group missions in daytime and at night, under favourable and adverse weather conditions and in a hostile environment with counter-fire and electronic Warfare(EW) counter-measures deployed, as well as for aerial reconnaissance. The Su-34 will eventually replace the Su-24tactical strike fighter and the Tu-22M3 long-distance bomber.
Zvezda has a reputation for doing Russian/Soviet aircraft kits to a fairly high standard so imagine my surprise to see that this kit is the 1995 Italeri tooling, which is pretty much based on prototypes and pre-production aircraft. Of course, that is not necessarily a bad thing, but there have been some small airframe updates in the intervening 23 years, none of which are included in this kit. I am not all that up to speed on modern Sukhoi aircraft, but I'd think that if nothing else, there would be different antennas and certainly some more up to date ordnance. The kit does not include the iron bombs or the wingtip EW pods shown on the box art.
You get a fairly nice cockpit with somewhat generic seats and no belts. There is no decal for the instrument panels or side consoles as you'd find in most current kits. Fuselage is split into upper and lower halves and while I'm not sure if there needs to be weight, I'd add some as the Su-35 I did a bit back needed some. Intakes are fairly short and there is no trunking. Exhaust are three pieces with the final compressor stage about an inch down into the burner cans.
A nice touch are very large tabs onto which the one piece wings are installed. The mounting tabs/slots for the tailplanes are also large and there are smaller holes for the fins. I would personally leave off the canards until the end to keep from breaking them during handling.
Gear bays have no real detail, but the landing gear themselves are properly complex for this aircraft though not so much as to be fiddly. For weapons you get a pair of laser guided bombs, two air to surface missile types along with medium and short range air to air missiles. I'd search out a weapons set for some iron bombs as those might be more appropriate for most of it's sole combat experience. The cockpit canopy is a single piece and the lone option is to have an extended or retracted air refueling probe.
Instructions are a single piece of folded paper with nine well drawn construction steps. Paint references are in Humbrol colors and the only camouflage option is the latest dark blue grey over a lighter blue. I know there are paint sets from other companies that have the exact shades needed. These planes also have several unpainted metal areas under the engines and lower stabilizers. Fin tips, part of the forward fins and radome are white though the radome colors could vary widely according to photos on the 'net. Note that the windscreen surround and forward upper nose are black. The Zvezda decals are very nicely printed and provide lots of stencils. Four different bort numbers are provided and, while not mentioned, are the planes used in Syria, though without mission markings.
To tell the truth, I'm a bit disappointed that this is simply a rebox of an over 20 year old kit. I thought it would be a newer tooling. For that, I guess the Trumpeter kit is the way to go. To properly do a Syrian war plane (my reason for getting it), you'd need to find or build up the EW wing tip pods that were carried as these didn't exist in 1995 when the kit was designed. Still, it should make into a very nice model.
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