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Hobbycraft 1/144
Sukhoi Su-22M-2 Fitter J
Iraqi Air Force - 1990/91

by Caz Dalton

History

The Su-22M series of Sukhoi aircraft were nothing more than the export designation of the Soviet Union's Su-17M series. The aircraft were designed for the roll of a fighter-bomber. The Russian word for them is Istrebitel-Bombardirovschik.

Iraq received 55 Su-22M series fighters between 1980 and 1990. The two Libyan Fitters shot down by U.S. Naval F-14s were Su-22M-2s. The production on the Su-17/22 fighters ended with the Su-17/22M-4 in 1984.

The Kit The model represents a Su-22M-2 of the Iraqi Air Force. It is basically accurate, with exception of the fuselage nose, which should be a little longer.

Interior

The interior for this scale was really good: an instrument panel, decent ejection seat, and a fairly good cockpit (at least not much sanding is required) bed. Sadly they do not give one a control stick, but one can easily be fashioned in this scale from wire or sprue, which I did. I also added seat belts and shoulder harnesses from sanded masking tape, which was paint olive green (they should be more faded) and buckles were colored with a tech pen and black ink. The cockpit and instrument panel were painted AeroMaster Cockpit Blue-Gray. The instrument panel was picked out in flat black and silver, with suspected gauges given a drop of FUTURE acrylic. The seat was painted flat black and the cushions painted olive green. The headrest cushion was painted guards red. I made a canopy activation rod from fine wire, because the canopy comes in two pieces and I decided to pose it open. Good job Hobbycraft.

The afterburner exhaust can is okay for this scale. I painted this section burnt iron and shadowed it in India ink. The intake was painted light gull gray, with the opening painted flat black.

Exterior

As far as fit problems go, nothing to report. As far as accuracy goes, read on. Hobbycraft could really help modelers if it would include some better instructions than the vague puzzle on the back of the kit box. Paint instructions are suitable, but even here FS paint codes or hobby paint manufacturer numbers would be better.

For a youngster this kit could be built per directions and present the kid with a good model, providing care and patience went into the assembly. But for nuts like me, this kit was far too inaccurate. The nose represents the short nose of the old Su-17s and the Su-17/22M series had the longer nose. The stores are fairly accurate, but only two short-range AAM (air-air missiles) and two extra fuel drop tanks are given (I think these are drop tanks, but they may be napalm canisters?). I included two pseudo long-range AAMs from a DML SU-27 kit in 1/144 scale. The original series of Su-17/22M series of fighter-bombers did not have the internal wing stores, these were introduced in the Su-17/22M-2 series. All stores were painted flat white, gloss white, decaled, and gloss overcoated. I had to replace the fuselage short-range missile mounts with thinner ones cut from sheet styrene.

I had to replace those cannon in the wings. I calipered them and they would be 168-mm cannon by the scale size - NOT. Su-17/22s used 30-mm cannon and I replaced the kit cannon with two pieces of 25-gauge hypodermic needle. By this scale, the wing fences should be razor-thin, but I left them as is. A good set of photo-etch would do wonders here.

Ditto for the main landing gear doors. These objects are far too thick, but again I left them as is. They could easily be replaced with sheet styrene in all fairness, but I think Hobbycraft could at least mold these as thin as the nose gear doors.

The nose gear bay (part A5) is presented wrong on the box kit instructions. They would have one install the bay so that the nose gear strut fits in the forward part of the bay. This is incorrect. The gear bay should be reversed from the instructions and mounted so that the gear strut fits in the aft position. The main gear strut mounts are in the middle of the gear bays, which is also incorrect. The position should be in the outer part of the bay. This was easily corrected by drilling new mounting holes in their proper locations and filling the existing holes with strips of auto stripe tape. I had to replace the retraction strut on each main strut, because these were positioned forward of the main strut and again incorrect. I simply cut them off and replaced them with fine wire retraction struts made to retract toward the fuselage. All gear bays and struts were painted light gull gray and glossed for Reheat Model Data Placard decals. Wheel centers were painted olive green and the tires were painted tire black.

By all truths I should have replaced the data probe and pitot with hypodermic needle, but again I used the kit pieces, because other than being too big, they looked okay when cleaned up. I wish there had been some way I could have done these items as sub-assemblies. But for the grace of God, I was able to do all the sanding, assembling, painting, and masking without breaking them. The intake shock cone is a separate piece and may be painted as a sub-assembly and attached in the final assembly. I painted mine flat black after clean up and did thusly.

The all-flying horizontal tailplane's anti-flutter weight tip was not on the model's tailplanes, so I cut a vee into the proper locations and attached two pieces of fine wire in each vee with gel-type super glue to allow for adjustment. When the gel glue had completely set up, I enforced it with standard super glue.

Painting & Decaling

The intake, wheel bays, and exhaust were masked with strips of masking tape. The canopy was masked with Bare-metal foil and the rear section temporarily attached with two-sided tape in the closed position. It was given a coat of flat black before priming the entire model and gear doors in Polly Scale Light Ghost Gray (FS36375). The under surfaces were masked and the upper surfaces received two coats of Polly Scale Khaki (FS30219). The instruction's camouflage pattern for the wings is correct, but that shown for the fuselage would be best discarded. I ran off reductions of the wing camouflage and cut those to remain khaki. I had to do a little reference and guess work with the fuselage sides, but these were done with masking tape. When all was done, the upper surfaces were sprayed Polly Scale British Dark Green (FS34079). Special thanks go out to Paul Cotcher for his aide in replying to my queries on the camouflage colors used on Iraqi Su-22s.

After all masking, except the canopy's, was removed; the model was given two coats of clear gloss. Decals from the kit were used and I had no problems at all. They are a little thicker than desired, but well within my limits. I only noticed a little out of register ink on the large shield on the fuselage port side. I carefully painted this out before the final gloss and flat clear coats. All accesses and control surfaces were given washes of India ink. Wing navigation lights were painted silver, followed by clear red and clear blue. The vertical tail navigation light was painted silver and given a drop of Krystal Kleer. The rear-view mirror on the raised canopy section was done with Krystal Kleer also. The two landing lights adjacent to the nose gear bay were done with Waldron-punched disks of Black decal film and Bare-metals foil. After all was done the canopy's clear areas and lights were treated to some FUTURE acrylic.




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