As the thunderbolt is being decalled and the end is in sight i have started my next project: Academy’s Su-30 two seat russian fighter jet.
Being part of the Su-27 Flanker family i think we need little introduction here. As the russians continued developing and improving the original Flanker the wall fell and Russia faced hard times financing their development program. This Su-30 MK version is the result of the need to create an export version of their two seater. Countries like India, China, Angola and Algeria have purchased these jets and are currently operating them, thus opening up funding for further development by the Sukhoi company.
Traditionally, a two seat aircraft is a modified single seater, forcing the developers to compromise in terms of capability and performance in a combat situation. In this case the aircraft retained virtually all of the Su-27’s manouverability and in some cases, such as long endurance flights the two seater variant is preferred by the pilots. The Su-30 is also equipped to direct other fighters in a combat situation with the squadron commander in the back seat. Equipped with modernised avionics and thrust vectoring exhaust nozzles it is a extremely manouverable platform.
Academy’s kit is based on their older 1994 Su-27UB mold and has added parts in order to create their SU-30 kit such as the forward cockpit section and larger vertical stabilisers. It also has a small PE fret included that offers you screens for the intakes and such. A nice addition are the cartograph decals that should eliminate the usual Academy decal problems.
The critics have pointed out some weak points of this kit such as the nose cone being to bulbous and the cockpit area being sub par but the demanding modeller can easily get their hands on aftermarket gear to correct and spruce up what they want. Academy’s kit remains the only player in the field, quite surprisingly i might add… I must also add that this kit comes without the canards such as the ones on the SU-30MKI. I have seen pictures of scratched canard equipped models though
Being mostly an OOB builder i have to say that, up to this point my only real letdown are the seats as they are quite basic:
The sidewall detail and instrument panels are…ok. Not good not bad in my opinion and will most likely do for my intended closed canopy finish. Nice thing to note is that Academy have offered IP’s without dials so one could use a decal or PE parts without having to sand:
One part of the build that might intimidate the less experienced modeller is the fact that the newly added parts are more of a conversion kit; you will have to do some cutting and grafting along the way to make this into an SU-30:
Lastly i must say i was struck by the size of this kit. The finished model will be over 45cm long! (almost 18 inch). I made a picture of the fuselage minus the nose with a lighter for size comparison:
As i said on the facebook page, i intend to model the boxart version as i was bent on having the awesome blue tone camouflage scheme standing on the shelf. The other two options the kit offers are both more uniform grey. Maybe not the most original/ unusual choice but still a looker once finished:
As always i do hope you will enjoy following the build and ofcourse i am more than happy to receive comments and feedback as i go along!