In the late fifties, the Sukhoi Su-7 fighter-bomber found its way into the air forces of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact nations. The high take-off and landing speed was seen as the most serious weakness of the new aircraft. Seeking to improve this aspect of its performance, the Sukhoi OKB [Sukhoi Design Bureau], in cooperation with TsAGI (Central aero and hydrodynamics institute), created a variable geometry wing experimental design in 1963. The Su-7IG (factory designation S-22I, NATO codename Fitter B), converted from a production Su-7BM, had fixed inner wing sections with movable outer segments which could be swept from 60° to 30°. The fixed inner wing simplified construction, allowing the manufacturer to retain the Su-7 landing gear. The new wing also had extensive leading-edge slats and trailing-edge flaps. Su-7IG first flew on August 2, 1966 with V. S. Ilyushin at the controls, becoming the first Soviet designed variable geometry aircraft. It was found that with the new wing the take off speed was reduced by 60 kph!
The production aircraft was named Su-17 (Fitter C) and was unofficially dubbed 'Strizh' (Martlet) by Soviet aviators. Aside from the new wing, it differed from its predecessor Su-7 in having a new canopy and a dorsal fuselage spine for additional fuel and avionics. The Su-17 was transfered from the production plant to Moscow and made its maiden flight on July 1, 1969 with E. K. Kukushev at the controls. Produced in limited numbers between 1969 to 1973 this version had the longer fuselage of the two-seat Su-7U trainer, with a bulged dorsal spine for extra fuel. It was powered by the Lyulka AL-7F-1 engine (the same as in the Su-7). The aircraft was exported to Egypt under the designation Su-17K.
The Su-17M2 (Fitter D) had its nose extended by 38 cm. The ranging radar was deleted to improve pilot´s visibility. The following improvements were added to this version: Phon-1400 laser rangefinder/marked-target seeker (LRMTS), ASP-17 and PBK-3-17s aiming avionics, RSBN-6S short-range navigation and instrument landing system and DISS-7 Doppler navigation radar in an under nose fairing. The first flight was on December 20, 1973 , flown by V. S. Ilyushin. Serial production started in 1974 and ended in 1977. The Su-22, an export version of Su-17M2, entered service in 1975.
The Su-17M3 (Fitter H) as is depicted in this kit, was based on the revised airframe of the Su-17UM two seater, but with an avionics bay and an additional fuel tank in place of the rear cockpit, increasing the internal fuel capacity to 4 850 l. The doppler radar was moved internally, removing the fairing, and had a 'Klen-P' laser rangefinder/target designator. A launch rail for K-13 (AA-2 Atoll) or R-60 (AA-8 Aphid) missiles was added between the two existing pylons under each wing. First flight was on June 30, 1976 with V. A. Krechetov at the controls. The export version, with a Tumansky / Khatchaturov R-29BS-300 engine and avionics used on the Su-17M2, was designated Su-22M (Fitter J). The first flight was made on May 24, 1977 piloted by E. S. Soloviev.
An export version with Su-17M3 avionics was designated Su-22M3. The Su-17 was manufactured between 1976-1981, and the Su-22M manufactured between 1978-1984.
The Su-17M/Su-22M/Su-22M3 was the most numerous variant with almost 1,000 built.
Su-17M4 (Fitter K) was the final production version with upgraded avionics, including the RSDN navigation, beacon navigation, inertial navigation, a more powerful Klyon-54 laser rangefinder, radio compass, and SPO-15LE 'Sirena' radar-warning system. Additional fuselage inlets (including ram-air inlet at the base of the fin) were added to improve engine-cooling air flow. The air intake shock cone was fixed. Many aircraft were equipped for using TV-guided missiles and had provision for a BA-58 Vjuga pod for anti-radiation missiles. This version was powered by AL-21F-3 engine. The export variant was known as the Su-22M4. First flight was performed by Yu. A. Yegorov on June 19, 1980. The serial production of the Su-17M4 ran from 1981 to 1988, and the export version Su-22M4 was manufactured between 1983-1990.
A total of 2,867 Su-17s and its variants were built, of which 1,165 were exported to 15 countries worldwide.
[source Eduard and Wikipedia]
It was not going to be much of a surprise that Eduard would be using the moulds originally produced by Kopro [KP] to produce this 1/48 Su-22/17M3. Eduard mention the fact that they have used the mould in their new style news sheet here
. The only question is how much could they improve on the KP kit. Looking at other reviews of the KP Su-22/17 there was the general disappointment over the cockpit being too basic. Generally the release by KP was viewed positively. Let's see what Eduard have done.
Is a sturdy affair with a top opening lid, so good news for the folk that rely on the post for models.
Comes as a sixteen page A4 stapled booklet and seems very comprehensive
4 x plastic sprues. There are 133 plastic parts. Plastic is grey in colour. All in one large plastic bag.
1 x transparent sprue. In a small plastic bag within the main bag.
2 x etched sheets. The parts for the cockpit instruments, canopy sills and seat belts are pre-coloured. Both sheets are in one resealable bag divided by stiff card.
1 x sheet of express paint masks for the wheels and cockpit canopy in a separate bag.
1 x sheet of film. There are two representations of the glass on the HUD
15 x resin pieces, the more delicate pieces are on blocks. They are in three separate resealable bags that were stapled to the inside of the box to stop them moving around and becoming damaged.
1 x decal sheet plus a tiny sheet with two Libyan roundels.
There are no numbers or letters identifying the sprues so I have done it according to the order of the parts map in the instruction sheet. There are also no parts number on the sprues, but the parts are numbered on the parts map.
Contains the fuselage, split vertically. Panel lines are nicely done. Air brakes are moulded separately and can be depicted open or closed. Detail in the air brake bays is not very convincing if you want to display the brakes open. There are locating pins on all the major components. Vertical tail is not moulded with the fuselage and is assembled from four pieces. Horizontal tail planes are positionable and are one piece per unit. Rear jet pipe is made up in two parts, there are some moulding marks, in particular a step on the inside that will need attention before joining. The mould line will also need attention, but because of the length of this part of the engine, will need a bit of patience. There is a good representation of the rear of the engine, but the addition of the etched part will improve the appearance. The radar fairing is made up of three parts although the bullet nose is one piece. This is where the nose weight will have to be applied if the aircraft is not to be a tail sitter, although there is not a lot of room there. The lip of the air intake is separate so the joint will need careful sanding because the radar must be added before the fuselage is joined. There is a good representation of the front undercarriage leg. Made up of two parts. This will benefit with some brake and hydraulic cable adding to it. The wheels are moulded in one piece and do have some flash on them. The front wheel is a bit odd as on one side it has a recess cut into it around the hub. The nose wheel well has some convincing representation of the wall construction, but there are two annoying mould marks in the roof, which will be almost impossible to clean up. Not a big deal as they may not be too obvious when the gear and doors are glued in. There are also components for the cockpit on this sprue, but most are redundant as Eduard supply Brassin parts for this.
Contains the main wings and like the fuselage the panel lines and rivet detail are nicely done. The wings look a bit thick in cross section looking at photographs. The fit of the outer wing to the inner wing is good, although there is a large gap where the wing folds into inner wing this is depicted correctly. The main undercarriage bay wall in the wing will have a joint line as the wall is moulded partially on the upper and lower wing. The bay shapes are not complicated in shape so it would be easy enough to glue thin plastic card to hide the joint. Some photo etched pieces would have been a good idea for this. There is a good representation of the re-enforced skin in the roof of the wheel bay. No separate flaps or ailerons, probably so that you have the option of being able to vary the sweep of the wings. But there is no mechanism for both wings to move at the same time. Cutting the ailerons and flaps would be difficult as the plastic is pretty thick in these areas. There are eight wing fences on each inner wing and they are moulded thinly.
Contains the majority of the under wing stores. The panel details are again nicely done. The fins for the AS-7 Kerry missiles are thin, but no doubt a bit of work with a sanding stick will improve their looks. The reconnaissance pod looks very interesting as an alternative to hanging weapons on your Fitter.
Under wing stores include:
2 x AS-7 Kerry air to surface missiles [2parts].
1 x ECM pod [8 parts].
1 x Reconnaissance pod for under the fuselage [2 parts].
2 x UB-32-57 rocket pods [4 parts].
2 x Fuel tanks [2 parts].
Contains the four part vertical tail and the two one piece horizontal tail planes. The main gear doors are in one piece making it easy to install if you want to show your Fitter wheels up. Cutting of the main wheel undercarriage doors if you are depicting your model with wheels down is fairly straight forward. I counted twelve under wing hard points for weapons for this model. I don't know if they were used all at the same time, but it would look very impressive if you did, although you would have to source your weapons else where. Some of the weapon pylons need to be cut and repositioned towards the rear if you are displaying the aircraft wheels down .There are also two UB-32-57 rocket pods included on this sprue. These are very nicely done, although there was some damage to the attachment points. There are a few air ducts on this aircraft, but drilling them out will improve their looks. You need to carefully refer to the instructions when attaching the ducts as some aircraft differ. The pitot tube is very impressive and attaches on the upper nose [looks like a whale harpoon], but will look better for thinning the fins moulded onto it.
The canopy and windscreen are thin and well moulded. There are a few stains on them but they will benefit from a clean and some application of Kleer. You have the choice of using the two part canopy if you choose to display it open. There is also a one piece canopy if you want to show it closed.
The resin bits come in two different shades of grey. The darker coloured ones feel much harder than the lighter grey resin. The parts made from this darker resin are mostly on the outside and hopefully more resilient. The resin cockpit and ejector seat looks superb. Some of the switches are moulded in low relief. There are also some pre-coloured PE parts to add to the instrument panels. The seat is made up of seven resin parts. Eduard show where to apply your own cable for the electrical wiring to improve on an already stunning bit of the kit. Interestingly one of the resin bits is used in order to change the position of the front undercarriage aft by 3.5mm. The instructions advise that you cut a small portion of plastic directly to the rear of the front undercarriage opening. Then glue the resin piece to fill the forward part of the undercarriage opening.
The parts on one sheet are for the cockpit instruments, canopy sills and seat belts are pre-coloured. The main instrument panel is made up from two parts. The backing piece with dials printed on it and the instrument panel with holes to see the dials glued on top. The instrument panel colour is light blue and is a good match to the light blue often found inside the cockpit of Soviet jets. The other sheet is unpainted and the parts are mostly applied to the outside of the aircraft. Included on this sheet is the HUD, which need to be folded, additional fins for the pitot tube, fuel filler caps for the under wing tanks, a very neat three part representation of the flare dispenser [2 x etched parts, 1 x part plastic] and some hatch cover. There is also a small sheet of transparent film for the glass panel for the HUD. These little additions will help enormously with the look of the finished model.
One sheet of decals and a tiny decal sheet with the two of the Libyan roundels in a slightly different hue. I looked at the instructions and cannot see any reason for this separate inclusion of these two roundels. The decals are printed by Cartograf. There are also a large number of stencils to be applied and Eduard supply a separate diagram to help place them. Curiously although the majority of the stencils are in Russian the stencils on the Libyan aircraft are in English! Yes even the smallest of the stencils are legible! The bulge on the port side of the nose I thought would make applying the large tiger head decal difficult on the Peruvian aircraft. Cartograf have cleverly created a cut out in the decal so that the bulge fits through the decal.
There are five options:
A. Su-22, Grupo Aéreo No 11, Escuadrón Aereo 111, Talara air base, Peru. This particular aircraft is depicted on the box cover with the tiger motif on the nose and tail.
B. Su-22, No 1032 Squadron, OkbaBin nafaa El'Woutia' air base, Libya. One of the two Su-22 that took on two US Navy F-14 on the 19th August, 1982 came from No 1032 Squadron.
C. Su-17M3, blue 09, Soviet Naval Air Forces, 1980-1990, Soviet Union.
D. Su-17M3, red 13, 1st AE, 166th APIB, 36th ADIB, Bolshye Shiraki air base, Soviet Union, 1982.
E. Su-17M3, blue 21, 101st ORAP [Independent Reconnaissance Regiment], Soviet Union, late 1980. this aircraft served with another unit in Afghanistan, but still wears the Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union on the starboard side under the cockpit canopy.
All the colour references are for Gunze aqueous and Mr Color, but Eduard kindly give you FS reference numbers for all the aircraft except the Libyan one. These colours are described as for example: middle stone, tan, dark earth, etc. These may be updated later as Eduard advise that you go to their website for updates to colours and instructions.
Express paint masks.
For the canopy and the wheels
The finished model according to Eduard will be:
Length 401 mm
Wing span 283 mm
It is going to take a little more effort to make this kit than the normal Tamagaya offerings. There is a little drilling out of holes and adding your own wire in places. Eduard have added parts in resin and PE that should improve the quality of the finished product. I think that this mould is still the only 1/48 Su-22/17 around. With the markings on offer and the choice to be able to do the unusual Libyan and Peruvian aircraft this will really stand out if you want to do something very different. At $69 it's not cheap, but bare in mind you are getting a Brassin set, PE parts and express paint masks included in the box. Is it an accurate representation of the Fitter? Well as far as I can see it is a very good representation. Outline looks good, panel lines seem to agree with the plans of the aircraft I have seen. There are a few very minor accuracy issues such as the size of the auxiliary air intakes on either side of the nose and the thickness of the outer wings. More importantly it looks like a Fitter. It will be interesting to see in the build whether the aircraft has the slightly nose up attitude of the real thing. this would be a good kit to choose if a modeller wanted to get away from the simple build kits to something a little more advanced. I am really looking forward to building this kit and I recommend it highly. Look out for the active build log in the next few days.