Zvezda's recent Sukhoi Su-2 is a very fine kit. Nicely detailed and eminently affordable, it makes a fine companion to the much better known (in the West, at least) Il-2.
However, as soon as the first photos were released, it was clear that something wasn't right about the cowling. Although it depicts what's commonly called the "square" type engine cowl, the kit's contours are a little off, and the opening too large. Now Russian master-modeller Sergey Kosachev has come to the rescue with with a pair of resin upgrade sets, replacing not only the kit's cowling, but the engine and control surfaces too.
VDS48-072 Cowling and Engine
Vector's new one-piece cowling is beautifully cast and captures the shape correctly compared to reference photos. An added bonus, somewhat unusually for an aftermarket set, is that the cowling itself should also be much easier to install than the kit's original three-part affair. The cowling is a direct replacement and involves no cutting, while fitting the new airscoop (to match the corrected cowling profile) just involves removing the front of the Zvezda part and replacing it with the resin section.
However, Sergey wasn't content to simply replace the cowling and air scoop - instead, he has included a complete new M-88 engine which, at no less than 34 parts, is almost a kit in its own right. The engine features separate cylinders and crankcase - and, unusually, individual mounts for each pushrod. These account for the high parts-count, and will probably be the only tricky part of the assembly due to their small size. The push rods themselves are not supplied, and can be added from thin wire or styrene rod. The overall effect should be excellent, as the level of detail is quite superb, and totally eclipses Zvezda's offering, rendering it redundant at a stroke. All that's really left to add is ignition wiring.
The set includes a small sheet of instructions which are simply, but clear drawn.
VDS48-074 - Control Surfaces
Zvezda's depiction of the Su-2's fabric control surfaces is a bit weak, with "soft" and poorly defined ribs. Not surprisingly, Sergey's are far better, with neatly depicted ribs that are distinct while remaining subtle and true to scale for taught well-maintained fabric. You might be tempted to go a stage further and add rib tapes from strips of decal, but there's little evidence of them in reference photos, so certainly don't overdo the effect.
No instructions are included, but experienced modellers are unlikely to need any. Fitting the new ailerons and rudder will be a simple case of swapping the resin parts for the kit's originals, but a little surgery will be needed to cut away the original elevators and replacing the hinges before adding the resin versions.
Vector kits and detail sets are distributed by the following retailers:
Sergey's cowl correction is something of a "must have" for a good-looking Su-2, and the complete new engine included with it is really the icing on the cake. The new control surfaces are definitely worth getting, being much more realistic than the kit depictions. Highly recommended.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE