Kit: No. 05
Manufacturer: Kovozavody Prostejov (KP), available from Squadron Mail Order, 1115 Crowley Drive, Carrollton, TX 75011-5010, phone 972-242-8663
Comments: Injection molded, 148 parts, decals.
Fast and capable, Sukhoi's family of "Fitter" attack aircraft boasts a 40-year history of rugged dependability. Last of the breed, the variable-geometry Su-22M-4 serves as the primary close-air-support aircraft in former Communist and Soviet-client states. Similar Su-17M-4s have all but disappeared from Russian service. Both versions carry the old NATO designation "Fitter K."
KP's kit -- originally tooled by OEZ - is a vast slice of styrene. The kit boasts plastic parts with minimal flash and fine recessed surface detail.
Included is an excellent weapons set. Thin, clear canopy parts for both closed and opened versions are provided. There are 14 pages of historical, construction, and markings notes.
Since there are no part numbers on the sprues, you'll refer frequently to the parts maps on the last two pages of the instructions.
The colorful Propagteam transfers for Czech and Russian examples were out of register in my sample. Only the stencils proved usable. (Aftermarket decals are available from AeroMaster and Cutting Edge.)
Virtually every hump and bump is separately molded, but many sport sinkholes which demand filling and sanding.
Poor fit, warpage, and scribing misalignment impede construction. There's not enough space between the control stick and rear bulkhead for the ejection seat.
With practically no locating devices, aligning interior subassemblies is difficult, and you need 10 hands just to complete the complicated, six-part side consoles. For those lacking patience, a detailed resin Su-22 interior is available from Cutting Edge Modelworks.
The fit of many external details is also poor. The bomb racks must be contoured to wing leading edges, then beveled to the ventral surfaces. Aligning all six is tricky. The instructions don't mention that you must drill open the pylons' flashed-over locating holes in the lower inboard wing sections.
As molded, the nose probes are set at the wrong angles. It's easiest to cut them from the mounts, attach the mounts to the nose, paint the probes separately, then reinstall them at the proper angles according to photos in references.
To facilitate assembly, first attach the inboard wing sections to the completed fuselage. This helps align the fin, stabilizers, and bomb racks. Since KP provides no internal bracing, use surplus sprue inside the fin and hump subassemblies to maintain proper width. My kit's fin parts were badly warped.
I left off the outer wing panels and horizontal stabilizers to ease painting. Of course, this meant I had to eliminate the variable-geometry pivot pins and glue on the wings later. You can't install the outer panels in the fully swept position unless you thin the inboard edges.
Three pairs of weapons pylons are provided for the fuselage, but they are not shown in the assembly drawings. Perhaps these are for another version of the kit. KP's main gear legs exhibit maximum strut compression and ride too low. This makes the gear doors nearly touch the ground. Extending the main gear struts a few millimeters will help correct the problem.
The best available reference is 4+'s monograph Su-22 from the Czech Republic. This bilingual English/Czech volume includes a wealth of superb photo details. Another fine source is Volume 2 (Summer 1990) of World Airpower Journal.
The finished model looks great in AeroMaster's Ukraine Air Force markings and Polly Scale camouflage. I spent more than 50 hours completing my model. That's nearly three times my average for an injection-molded effort of this size and complexity. This one is for seasoned modelers with plenty of patience.
David L. Veres