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Trumpeter 1/48 scale Sukhoi Su-24M "Fencer-D"

With a role similar to that of the F-111, the swing-wing Fencer is an all-weather strike aircraft. It’s been used by Soviet and Russian air forces in Afghanistan and Chechnya.

RELATED TOPICS: AIRCRAFT
Kit:No. 02835 // Scale:1/48 // Price:$149.95
Manufacturer:
Trumpeter, from Stevens International, 856-435-1555
Pros:
Nicely engraved detail; outstanding cockpit detail; great decals
Cons:
Subpar fit of main assemblies; difficult landing gear; wings cannot be retracted
Comments:
Injection molded, 687 parts (4 white metal, 6 vinyl), decals
FSM-NP0710_09
FSM-WB0710_32
FSM-WB0710_33
FSM-WB0710_34
FSM-WB0710_35
FSM-WB0710_36
The box containing Trumpeter’s SU-24M “Fencer-D” is tightly packed with 687 parts, including a huge selection of ordnance: AB-100s, R-60MKs, AB-250s, ZB-500s, FAB-500s, C-24Bs, KAB-500Ls, B-8Ms, KAB-250KPs, B-13Ls, KAB-500kps, S-250FMs, KMGU-2s, KH-59s, KH-58s, KH-29Ls, KH-25MPs, KH-29Ts, KH-25MLs, and Kh-31s. Vinyl tires, cast-metal front landing gear, and strengtheners for the rear landing gear help hold up this weighty model. Two choices of Russian air force markings are provided as well.

The 23-page instruction book covers 21 easy-to-follow steps. A bomb load guide and separate decal/paint guide help you build a more-accurate Fencer-D.

The build consists of three main assemblies: nose, fuselage, and wing/tail. Detail is impressive throughout the model, especially in the cockpit. The nose contains a nicely detailed radar; still, you’ll need considerable weight upfront or the model will sit on its tail. I added weight in the nose cone, but there should be room behind the radar for more if you want to leave that equipment exposed.

In the cockpit, the ejection seats have molded-in harnesses. Decals are provided for the instrument panel. The fit of the front cockpit/nose assembly to the fuselage is terrible, however, as is the join of the fuselage halves. Both leave large gaps that will have to be filled and sanded, adding many hours to your build. You’ll also need filler along the intake seam on the fuselage.

Mounting the landing gear is a chore; it will take a lot of time and effort to get it to sit properly. If you don’t get it right, the gear will not sit down flat and the wings will not sit level. Dry-fit and take your time.

The wings are supposed to be retractable. However, the flaps can only be assembled in the down position, which prevents the wings from moving as they should. The wing and tail surfaces fit fairly well, however, and the detail is nice and crisp. The horizontal stabilizers and tail assemblies fit snugly.

I waited until the very end to add many of the little antennas so I wouldn’t break them off while handling the model. I painted my SU-24M using Model Master insignia white and Russian underside gray enamels. The decals were extremely thin but settled into the panel line and rivet detail with just a touch of Microscale Micro Set – and no silvering. After a flat coat, I went over some of the details with Tamiya pastels to help break up the monochromatic look.

With the parts count as high as it is, and the fit of many parts being subpar, my Fencer-D took slightly more than 75 hours to complete – far more than I had anticipated when I first opened the box. I would recommend it only to experienced modelers – but if you take your time and work out the bugs, you can produce a very nice-looking SU-24M.

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