by: Darren Baker [ ]
The SU 27 Flanker B can be considered the Soviet Union/Russia’s answer or equivalent to the American F-15. It is big, fast, has the twin upright tail, which is all very much a similar look to the aircraft it is designed to perform the same role. Hobby Boss has now released a 1/48th scale model of the Flanker B in the Russian Knights display team colours, and while they often receive poor feedback on their models, this offering shows promise.
This offering from Hobby Boss arrives in a robust cardboard tray and with an equally robust cardboard lid. Inside there is an additional cardboard tray which has the upper and lower fuselage and wing portions of the model, secured to it, and this involves almost the entire fuselage and wings. The rest of the model, is secured inside individual plastic bags. Examination of the contents reveals no obvious concerns, as regards the quality of the product or the mouldings. The model does offer a small amount of photo etch, vinyl rubber tyres in addition to the injection moulded parts.
I have two reference books on the SU 27, and finding good reference on the cockpit interior is no easy task. With that said, looking at the limited reference I have it would appear that the instrument layout and cockpit layout is a very fair replication of the real aircraft. The ejector seat has a surprising number of parts, and again from what I can see is a very fair approximation of the real thing. For the modeller that goes for optimum detail, the K-36MD zero zero ejection seat very good from the box, but it does not have the seat harness positioning portion replicated and should you attempt to replicate this yourself, be aware that it is grey in colour against the black seat.
The under carriage would appear to be the next logical area to look at, the detail provided in the rear wheel wells is pleasingly accurate, but is devoid of most of the plumbing and so exactness of the area is missing. The wheel struts themselves are fair to good, will all major structures covered but again plumbing will need to be replicated for exactness. The tyres being vinyl rubber, do not have the weighted look to them, which is a shame but the tread pattern appears good. The front nose wheel has again been well replicated with regard to the major structures, but is again, unfortunately missing the plumbing. The nose wheel bay is again another area where reasonable detail is provided, but again scratched wire/plumbing could be used to further enhance the area.
The jet exhausts are reasonable but I would have liked to have seen them to be longer in depth, but I do like that both open and closed jet nozzles are provided as optional parts. The jet intakes are not overly deep in internal structural detail, but then very little of this can seen due to the intake flap, which obscures the view.
The fuselage and flight surfaces of the model, have a good degree of surface detail provided, but not all of the detail is there, with that said, if you look at the real aircraft these panel lines are almost completely closed up, so not overly visible. As such I am pleased with what is provided. Looking to the right of the cockpit, there are a number of vents present and Hobby Boss appears to have provided one extra than there should be, if this bothers you the front one of the group of three could be sanded and filled. The main wings of the model and stabilisers have separate flight control flaps and in the case of the wings the leading edge is also a separate part. The nose of the aircraft is a separate piece and while nothing is mentioned I would consider throwing some weight inside it to prevent a tail sitter. My personal preference to this task is liquid gravity from Deluxe Materials, as I find it a good and easy product to use.
The airbrake on the spine of the aircraft can be depicted open or closed and if I am honest I prefer closed. All of the pitots and vanes present appear to be correct, and I like that these for the most part are added at the end of the build, helping to prevent breakage. I also like the vanes moulded as part of the wing tip at the rear are provided with protection as they could so easily be broken.
The canopy of the model is thin and clear but unfortunately has a moulding seam down the centre of it, which will need to be polished out, and this includes both parts of the canopy. Hobby Boss has provided two finishing options for the model, both of which are aircraft that fly as part of the Russian Knights, with the only difference I can only pick up being one is 02 and the other is 15 and has the Sukhoi and emblem on the inside of the fins.
This model offering from Hobby Boss of the SU-27 Flanker B, would appear to be a closer replication of the real aircraft when compared to the older Academy offering. The kit is obviously not perfect, as it would appear that Hobby Boss has simplified construction with the model complete inside of 15 stages. This can also make construction more complicated than it needed to be, and requires that the modeller pays a high level of attention to what parts need to be added to what area areas and when. With that said one look at the huge fuselage and wing moulding laid out on its top internal cardboard tray and the model screams “Build ME”. The result of all this could be a very large colourful, eye appealing model that builds up quickly and from what I observe painlessly, and as such well worth the effort.