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Zvezda Sukhoi Su-57 Felon

Build review of the 1/48 scale aircraft kit which can be built in flight or landed

⬅️ Watch the unboxing video here!
So far as I know, Zvezda has the only 1/48 scale Su-57 on the market right now. With the Su-57 Felon being Russia’s fifth-generation fighter, it’s no surprise Zvezda released it first.  I’ve built a few of their kits over the years, and they have been impressive. This kit is no exception. Although, only with 249 parts and many of those being weapons, the kit is simple to build and, except for a couple of instances, gets all the details you would expect to see on a modern stealthy fighter. 

The kit does offer the option to build the Felon in flight or parked, and both are clearly called out in the instructions with different parts provided for each. While a beautifully detailed pilot comes in the box, a stand does not. (You can purchase the stand separately if you want.) The cockpit is simple and has the right amount of detail. The seat is well represented, but has no seat belts. Decals finish off the side consoles and glass instrument panel similar to what you’d find in the F-22 and F-35, which are all touchscreen. The whole cockpit fits well into the upper half of the fuselage. 

You can choose to model the full weapons bay open or closed. Separate doors and hinges are included  for either option, as are landing gear doors. The doors have no ejector-pin marks on the inside, so no cleanup! The wheel wells are almost devoid of all detail, but unless you pick the model up, you’ll never see it. The weapon bays are as detailed as they should be. Intake tunnels are full to the compressor blades and hide the seam for the two halves well. Multipart outer intake pieces look intimidating but fit well enough with only a little filling and sanding. 

Upper and lower fuselage halves fit together, but you’ll need just a bit of filler and some sanding to hide seams. The upper half in my sample has a very pebbly finish; if yours is the same, consider sanding it because it does show through the paint. 

The exhaust nozzles are well represented with good amounts of detail. The separate flame holders are plastic and look the part when complete. With no photo-etched metal parts provided, Zvezda did a good job making them look realistic. 

The vertical and horizontal stabilizers are also separate and fit superbly. Next to the exhaust tips and nozzles, the landing gear struts, wheels, and separate brake hubs are the most detailed parts in this kit. The weapons are also good, but I haven’t seen the real aircraft with them attached. 

The clear parts, with canopy, sensors, and large nose gear LED landing light are sharp and crystal clear. Open and closed canopy options are available, with separate actuators. Also included is a crew ladder. However, mine was broken and I had to add a piece to make it work. 

Painting digital camo was a bit concerning. Zvezda provides no stencils or masks, so you’re on your own. Many companies make masks for digital camo. I traced mine off a flat-screen TV with a pencil from images I found on Google and transferred the graphite to masking tape. It worked, but you may have a better idea. Zvezda and Tamiya colors are listed on the side of the box. It was Tamiya for me. 

The only problems I had with the kit are the color callouts and decal placement. Some steps and parts don’t mention part colors, so you need to consult other sources, and the information can be limited because it is Russia’s new warplane. 

Two decal sheet give you beautifully printed markings that lay down well. Strangely, some markings shown in the instructions are not provided on the sheets, and some of the markings on the sheets aren’t shown in the instructions. The stencil decals for the “No Step” areas are and almost impossible to move after you’ve laid them down. Be mindful to get them as close as possible to the desired location as you can. You might be able to cut them into pieces and align them more easily. I didn’t do that. And because they were so unwieldy, some silvering occurred even after a healthy coat of Pledge Floor Gloss. Only two decal options are available: the production paint scheme and eighth flight prototype. Both are digital camo, just in different shades of gray. I went with the prototype aircraft on the box top. 

Zvezda’s rendition of the Felon is a simple well-executed model with no fit issues and good overall detail. This would look great on your shelf next to an F-35 or F-22. But which one would win a fight? 

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