by: John Griesbacker [ ]
HistoryThe Su-24MR is the Russian-designed tactical reconnaissance variant of the Su-24 (NATO code “Fencer”) family. This particular variant entered service in the early 1980’s, lacking its’ older brother’s radar, cannon, and avionics. Instead the “Fencer-E” carries a variety of cameras, reconnaissance equipment, and side-looking radar, referred to as the “Bayonet” suite of electronics. Its’ armament is limited to two R-60 missiles for self-defense. The Fencer recently made the news when an Su-24M was shot down by Turkish F-16s for apparently violating Turkish airspace.
The Kit Trumpeter have now issued their first Su-24 in 1/72, and they’ve started with the –MR variant. So let’s take a quick peek in the box and see what you get for your money. To start with the box is quite sturdy, and is split into two sections once you get inside. There is a lot of plastic in the box – twenty-seven sprues plus the top and bottom fuselage halves. You also get two sheets of decals and the Trumpeter-standard color painting and decal diagrams along with their typical instruction book. The parts count is stated as “190 ”, but not to worry – a lot of that is weaponry that you won’t be using for this recon version (but you’ll really be able to load up your spares for other projects). What you do get is a lot of nicely-molded parts. I’m quite impressed with the restrained panel lines on the exterior surfaces, and the ejection seats look to be slide-molded affairs consisting of just two really well-detailed pieces. The cockpit looks to be nicely detailed out-of-the-box, and side console detail is molded into the fuselage interior. I really can’t get over the molding, right down to the nose pitot which has the fins molded in and looks quite nice.
Accuracy So you get really nicely molded parts, but what about accuracy? Trumpeter has an “iffy” reputation when it comes to the accuracy of some of it’s models. I have to be completely honest and say that I’ve never been a “rivet counter”, but I take nothing away from those that are purists and look for fidelity and accuracy in a model, especially when one is spending hard-earned cash for a kit like this. Well this time around, I’ve been looking at photos online and I can make a few observations based on comparisons to the prototype. First, a glaring omission is the lack of cameras – there are two located under the nose behind the gear bay, and a pod under the port intake which are all portrayed in the box painting. Unfortunately none of them are present in the kit. There is a clear part E2 which Trumpeter would have you locate behind the nose gear bay, but it bears absolutely no resemblance to the centerline cameras. In fact, it appears to be the correct pod for the –M variant, the bomber version. The other omission seems to be the electronics pod carried by a majority of the –MRs in most photos I’ve viewed online. It is not in the box, and considering how much weaponry they loaded the box with, it’s a shame the pod and correct cameras are missing from an otherwise great looking kit.
It would appear that the modeler has two options with this kit – you can build it as the –MR, leaving off the centerline parts for the –M, possibly scratchbuilding the camera pods. From there you can add on the two R-60s and the two fuel tanks and call it a day. You could also elect to try an –M using what’s provided and correcting the panel lines on the forward fuselage since they represent the –MR’s side-looking radar panels. Either way, Trumpeter have once again given us parts of different versions instead of one proper kit.
Please look for my build review which will start shortly.
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