Kitty Hawk 1:48 PLA Su-35

Build Date:  Start Feb 13, 2018.

The Chinese military confirmed that it took delivery of four Su-35s in late 2017.   In anticipation of this, Kitty Hawk issued an update to their Su-35E kit in October which has decals specifically for the PLA’s Su-35.

The kit comes in nine part trees with four of the trees just for all the weapons.  Details are finely scribed yet appears deep enough to hold a wash.   I dry fitted the fuselage clam shells and they fit together very well.  A detailed review of the previous issue of this kit can be found at The Modelling News – Kitty Hawk Su-35E website.

When Kitty Hawk first issue their Su-35E kit in mid-2017, Reviewers complaint that although the kit quality was good, however, Kitty Hawk made the mistake of making the exhaust nozzles straight instead of drooping down.  For this thrust vectoring aircraft, the exhaust nozzles are always drooping down when it is parked on the ground with the hydraulics shut down.  Hence, the only way the exhaust nozzles can be posed straight is if the model is posed in power up configuration for flight.   Well, it looks like Kitty Hawk was listening and they corrected this issue in this kit.   For a great price of $280 HKD ($45 Cdn), this kit comes with a bonus package of corrected styrene drooping exhaust nozzles, two pilot figures (one seated and one standing), resin wheels, and a resin tail stinger.   It was a no-brainer when I saw this kit in Continental Models in Hong Kong and I quickly grabbed the last kit on the shelve.

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I initially thought these bonus parts were made from cast resin due to the colour and the one-piece nature of these parts.  However, as I start to trim the parts, I realized they are injection moulded styrene parts, most likely made by slide mould technique.

To illustrate the quality improvement one gets with the bonus styrene parts, I assembled an engine exhaust nozzle and compare it against the bonus part.  Aside from the drooping nozzle, there are additional details such as the raised rivets and the dual layer of cones at the end of the nozzle.

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The tail stinger is also improved by the bonus part (left) as can be seen below when compared with the original kit part (right).  The chaff dispenser on the bonus part is fully detailed and the seam line is eliminated.

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The engine exhaust chamber is probably the most detailed of any kits that I have built. The afterburner ignition rings are moulded cleanly as one piece and give it a nice 3D effect when I look into the chamber after assembly.  The interlacing feather rings that form the wall of the chamber are nicely moulded and will show up well with careful painting.  The only improvement I could make here is to drill some holes on the afterburner injection cone to simulate the perforated cone of the real thing.

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Construction:

I start off by dry fitting the major parts together to get an idea of how everything fits together before I commit them to adhesive.  So far I’m pretty impressed with the kit and how well everything fits together.

The cockpit is made up of twenty parts and when assembled, it compares very well against reference photos of a Su-35S cockpit.  A very detailed seat is provided which is made up of over 18 parts, and again, looks very accurate.  I opted to use a resin seat to avoid using the photoedge seatbelts provided in the kit.   I painted the cockpit with Model Master 2132, Flanker Blue/Gray and black.  The cockpit details, buttons and knobs, are nicely detailed and has sufficient projection which makes painting them manageable.

 

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References:

  1.  Excellent walkaround photos of a Su-35S from Alexey Matvienko on Flickr.

 

 

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