When you open the box to look at Trumpeter’s Su-25A, you may be a bit overwhelmed by the sheer volume of pieces — 887 plastic parts! But once you get over the shock, you’ll notice that 574 parts are for weapons and their associated hard points, sway braces, etc. This seems a little excessive, because the SU-25 has only eight hard points, but there are 90 assorted weapons.
Of course, the kit has a lot of other advanced features: A complete cockpit with photoetched-metal harnesses for the seat; open or closed canopy; landing gear with optional white-metal main struts; and two complete engines with engine panels that can be glued in place or left off. They’re not friction-fit, though, so they won’t stay in place by themselves.
The two avionics bays in the nose have doors that can be glued opened or closed. I posed one open, one closed. You get a complete gun in the nose with an optional muzzle and a removable gun-bay cover.
The wings have posable slats, flaps, and ailerons — nicely engineered. You can also display the speed brakes and associated linkage. The horizontal and vertical stabilizers are posable, too.
As mentioned, the weapons are the most extensive portion of the kit. You get: four S-24B rockets; two 2B-500 bombs; eight FAB-100 cluster bombs; two FAB-250 cluster bombs; two FAB-500 bombs; 16 9m-120 rocket tubes; four UB-32 rocket canisters; four UB-8MI rocket canisters; two KZ-58 rockets; four UPK-23/250 gun pods; two KAB-500L guided bombs; two KMGU-2 bombs; two KH-25MP missiles; two KH-25ML guided missiles; eight R-77 rockets; four 5-250F bombs; four S-250FM bombs; two KAB-500KR guided missiles; four S-25L missiles; eight R-60MK missiles; and all the hard points and associated rails.
Construction starts with the cockpit. Despite all the fine molding there, the kit provides decals to put over all that nice relief on the side walls and consoles. I hard-painted these areas instead of trying to get the decals to settle into all those bumps and valleys. The instrument panel is in clear plastic with molded instrument lenses. Instead of just painting the instrument panel and applying the decal, I used liquid mask to cover the instrument dials, then painted the instrument panel. When the paint dried, I peeled off the liquid mask, then cut the instrument panel decal apart and applied the round instrument decal parts to the back of the panel where they would show through the previously masked dials. I placed the rest of the decals on the front of the instrument panel per instructions.
The nose gear is a multipiece assembly with the option of a white-metal core; I recommend it to support the weight you’ll have to add to the nose later. I left the completed gear off until after painting and decaling. The gear and gun bays build into one unit that plugs into the fuselage halves in Step No. 9.
You get two nicely detailed engines, but you’ll never see them again unless you leave the engine bay covers off. You do have to assemble the basic components so you can see the intake trunking and exhausts, but other than that I just buttoned everything up.
Selecting one of the two avionics bays, I closed the starboard side and left the port side open. The instructions are unclear as to whether the avionics bay doors should open to the rear or upward.
To be able to clamp the parts, I departed from the instructions by gluing the engine pods to the fuselage halves. After the glue dried, I weighted the nose (I’m not sure how much, just so it would balance), then joined the fuselage halves.
There is one part that still has me puzzled: Step 8 installs two scoops (parts K6 and K11) on top of the engine pods. It wasn’t until I had the model painted and decaled that I noticed the strakes on top of the engine pods. I had seen the kit parts, but I thought they might be for a later version. I didn’t put two and two together until it was too late. So, I didn’t follow the instructions — but I still don’t know if the mistake is mine or Trumpeter’s.
The wings went together without a hitch. To save time, I closed the speed brakes. Step 16 shows the canopy closed, but I posed mine open. The wing/fuselage joint was good, and the rest of the assembly went off without a hitch.
Seams were an ongoing challenge throughout the build. The problem wasn’t the fit side to side — those seams were fairly tight — but a “step” from side to side that had to be filed and sanded level. This applied to the fuselage halves, engine pods, weapons, even the weapons pylons.
I chose the rocket canisters, but the contact points between the sway braces and the rocket canisters isn’t that strong. Be careful there.
Getting the paint colors right for the camouflage took some doing. The instructions reference Gunze Sangyo Mr. Hobby numbers, but I use Testors Model Master almost exclusively. Fortunately, the directions provide a cross-reference. But I still had to do some checking and make another trip to the hobby shop.
The decals went on fine and laid right down. The kit provides markings for two Russian and two Czech planes. I chose the plain-Jane Russian “Red 10.”
Except for the seam issues and color confusion, everything went OK. It took me about 37 hours to complete the model, but you should have some modeling experience before taking on this Frogfoot.