by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
Platz have teamed up with Zvezda to release their own boxing of the latter’s Su-27SM. The original kit (also re-boxed by Revell) slipped through the net somehow in our Reviews section when it appeared in 2014, so Platz’s version provides a welcome opportunity to catch up.
First impressions are very positive indeed. The kit arrives in a very attractive top-opening box, the bottom of which is printed with the parts to cut out for an assembly jig. Platz also did this for their recent He 219 and I think it’s an excellent idea that I’d like to see become much more widespread.
The main sprues are bagged together with the clear parts sealed in their own bag for protection. The kit comprises:
202 x grey styrene parts
7 x clear styrene parts
Decals for 2 x colour schemes
The moulding looks very good, with no real signs of flash or other problems. The surface detail is finely rendered with very delicate engraved panel lines that may divide opinion somewhat. For me, they look just right for this scale and will be no problem if you airbrush your models, but they risk disappearing under a heavy coat of paint.
The kit can be built with the landing gear raised or lowered and the canopy posed open or closed. To build the model “in flight” a pilot is provided, but you’ll need to purchase a stand separately and, oddly, Platz don’t market this or even refer to it in their instructions.
The main airframe is split into top and bottom sections, with the lower part having the wings moulded integrally, ready for drop-on top panels. I was concerned initially because the lower parts of the wings are very thin and show a slight warp on the sample kit, but the upper sections are dead straight and very rigid so, in fact, there’s no problem at all – the wings are fine once assembled. The wings feature separate leading edges and, again, these are perfectly straight.
The top of the fuselage is split behind the cockpit, presumably to allow further versions to be kitted, and this fits onto the lower part very neatly so you should get away with minimal sanding.
The one-piece vertical tailplanes and stabilisers slot in precisely with no fuss.
A Few DetailsThe cockpit is a mix of a very simple tub with a surprisingly detailed 6-part ejection seat. The instrument panel is just a blank, but Platz provide decals for this and the side consoles which should do the job adequately in this scale, especially if you build the kit with the canopy closed. (Note: For extra detail in the cockpit and the rest of the kit, Platz have teamed up with Eduard to offer aftermarket etched sets - see below.)
The jet intakes include engine fronts to prevent a see-through look, and at the other end there are neatly moulded afterburner rings inside nicely detailed 6-part exhausts.
The undercarriage is well handled with some fine detail on the gear legs and wheels. Similarly, the inner faces of the gear doors are detailed and sport separate actuators. The instructions don’t mention any need for nose-weight to avoid the completed model being a tail-sitter, but there’s plenty of space in the nose-cone if it does turn out to be necessary.
The kit includes a selection of alternative stores, with crisply moulded R-27,R-73 and R-77 air-to-air missiles, plus X-31 air-to-surface missiles.
The clear parts are well moulded, and Zvezda have managed to include a “bubble" cross-section on the 2-part canopy without any seam that needs sanding off.
You can pose the canopy and air brake open, and a nice touch is the inclusion of both seated and standing pilot figures. If you build the model to stand on its undercarriage, there are even a boarding ladder, FODs and a set of wheel chocks provided.
Instructions & PaintingPlatz provide the assembly instructions and painting guide on two separate sheets. Apart from the generic “read-me-first” notes, the instructions are entirely in Japanese, but the diagrams are very clear and it’s pretty straightforward to figure out what’s going on. Gunze Sangyo and ModelMaster colour matches are included, along with a few FS equivalents where appropriate.
The main painting guide is printed in colour and includes a handy full-size plan view to illustrate the attractive 3-tone blue/grey camouflage.
Decals are included for two aircraft:
A. Su-27SM “Red 76”, Russian Air Force, 2016
B. Su-27SM “Red 82”, 23rd FR, Russian Air Force, 2011
As usual, Platz have commissioned Cartograf to print their decals and the results are predictable excellent. The sample sheet is perfectly printed, with the thin glossy items in perfect register and showing minimal excess carrier film. The sheet includes a mass of small stencil markings for which separate placement diagrams are provided.
Aftermarket ExtrasPlatz have released a trio of sets to accompany the Su-72 in conjunction with Eduard.
MS72-2 – Painting Masks - Price: 864JPY
This neat little set includes die-cut masks for the canopy and wheel hubs. As with the Su-27 kit, the instructions are in Japanese, but are simple enough to follow. As with most Eduard sets like this, the centre areas of the convex windscreen and canopy need to be filed with liquid mask.
M72-37 – Interior Details - Price: 1,944JPY
Well – mostly interior details. This etched set features Eduard’s excellent pre-colouring and provides a mass of extra detail for the kit’s rather basic cockpit, plus a couple of exterior items. There are new side consoles and a 2-layer instrument panel, both of which boast a level of detail that would defy even the steadiest painting skills. There are extra details for the ejection seat, including a re-coloured harness, firing handles and other items. The HUD is replaced with a delicate folded version, and there are mirrors etc. to line the inside of the canopy.
For the exterior, the set includes new blade aerials and some undercarriage details.
M72-38 – Exterior Details - Price: 1,620JPY
This set goes much further with exterior, so it’s a little surprising that a couple of items were included in the previous set. This time, there are details for the pylons, jet intakes, wheel wells and gear legs, plus new parts for the R-73 and R-77 AAMs. Particularly nice are the perforated fins for the R-77s.
ConclusionPlatz’s Su-27SM looks to be an excellent kit straight from the box, taking the Zvezda original and building on it by including Cartograf decals and a very handy construction jig. Add the separately available aftermarket sets and you have all the ingredients for a very fine Flanker that will sit happily in any collection of modern jets.
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