Sukhoi Su-34 by Italeri

1/72 scale
Kit No. 59
Cost: $22.00
Decals: Two versions, both for demonstration aircraft, one of which performed at the 1995 Paris Air Show
Comments: Engraved panel lines, detailed cockpit, ample underwing stores

History

The Sukhoi Su-34 Fullback is a two-seat, dedicated fighter-bomber version of the successful Su-27 Flanker fighter series, and outstanding Russian air superiority fighter which entered service with the VVS in the late 1980’s. Its major characteristics, superior to those of the Flanker, are a high rate of maneuverability, operational range of 4000 kilometers (2,485 miles), and a high payload. The Su-34 will gradually replace the Su-24 Fencer currently in service. The Su-34 has a completely redesigned forward section to accomodate a tandem two-seat cockpit with complex electronics for precision navigation and the operation of a sophisticated air-to-ground missile system.

As the Su-27 family of aircraft relied on a single-seat configuration, the fuselage was allowed a nice cylindrical design shape. However, for the new fighter-bomber endeavor, this would be modified through a new approach in which two pilots – seated side-by-side – would be added to a widened cockpit. To this, engineers then installed forward wing canards ahead of the main wing elements intended to improved stability and increase maneuverability.

There are ample underwing stores for air-to-air interception and air-to-ground interdiction missions.

The most obvious design departure of the Su-34 when compared to the Su-27 was its larger cockpit cabin and forward fuselage assembly. The cockpit was deliberately designed as a large, comfortable operating space for the two crew and applicable systems. The area aft of the cockpit would feature a full in-flight galley and lavatory to help offset the fatigue and physical stresses undertaken by the crew over long sorties – the crew can stand or lay down as needed. The crew was made up of a primary pilot and his weapons operator, seated in a side-by-side arrangement (as in the American General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark fighter-bomber).

This photo shows the engraved detail of the cockpit instrument panels and one of the landing gear.

The use of two crew allowed the mission workload to be spread about, lessening crew fatigue (and inherent mistakes) while a consistently pressurized cockpit allowed for a working environment not requiring cumbersome oxygen masks to be worn. The resulting Sukhoi aircraft retained the wings, tail unit, fixed intake engine nacelles and aft-fuselage of the original Su-27, incorporating the new forward fuselage and a modified rear “stinger” housing a rear-facing/scanning radar array. The Su-34 makes use of the prominent rearward-looking radar system housed in a “stinger” at the rear of the fuselage to counter any approaching enemy threats in pursuit of the aircraft. The undercarriage consists of two main landing gear legs and a nose leg, the former outfitted with a pair of inline wheels to offset the added weight of the new design while the latter makes use of a dual-wheel, side-by-side arrangement. These were different from the simpler configuration of the Su-27.

Technical Data

Length: 23 meters (75.4 feet)
Wingspan: 14.70 meters (48.2 feet)
Height: 6.1 meters (20 feet)
Maximum Speed: Mach 2
Range: 4000 kilometers
Armament: Up to six R-73 and AA-11 air-to-air missiles, as well als Kh-31, AS-12 and AS-14 air-to-ground missiles and guided bombs.

The Kit

Italeri’s Su-34 is molded in grey, features engraved panel lines, and consists of 125 injection molded pieces, including 6 clear plastic parts. There is a detailed cockpit with engraved molding on the seats, instrument panels and control columns.  Released by Italeri in 2006, this kit appears to have completely new tooling, as well as detailed landing gear and multi-part jet exhaust nozzles. The ordnance provided is extensive and includes heating-seeking air-to-air missiles, as well as “smart” guided bombs.  There are boxed-in wheel wells, separately mounted jet intakes and a single piece canopy.

 

The canopy is perfectly clear, and looks as if it has already been dipped in Future. floor wax.

Conclusion

This is a detailed kit of It will be a welcome addition to any modeler’s collection of modern Russian jet fighters.  The kit’s engraved lines as well as the detailed cockpit, weaponry, and landing gear make it stand out.

 

This profile of the Su-34 from the kit instructions provides an idea of the unusual shape and dimensions of this advanced Russian fighter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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