Platz 1/72 Su-27SM Flanker B
By Matt Bittner
The "serial modernized" Su-27 (Su-27SM) was first initiated in 2004. While it's still considered to be fourth-generation "plus" it still is a large aircraft with a significant radar cross section. The modernization results in an aircraft that is about 60% more effective than the "baseline" Su-27 both in the air and on ground-attack.
The Platz (Zvezda) 1/72 Su-27SM consists of a lot of pieces of plastic. Yes, a lot: I kept re-counting and counting over the same parts as I was trying to catalog the total number of parts. Just be aware there are a lot of parts. Decals are for two aircraft, "red 76" and "red 82" and both are finished in the three-tone, upper colors. The decals are produced by Rocketeer and are really nicely done. Not only are there decals for the two aircraft but the decal sheet also contains all stencils, including for the ordnance. You'll be spending plenty of time applying decals.
Since Platz has released the kit for the Japanese market be aware the instructions are completely in Japanese. You might want to track down a copy of the Zvezda instructions to help with such things as color call-outs, etc.
Naturally construction starts with the cockpit. The kit comes with a cockpit tub, control column, throttle quadrant, instrument panel and multi-part ejection seat. In fact, there are actually six parts that make up the ejection seat. Also included is a really nicely molded, three-part pilot, if populating your cockpit is important.
Before continuing you'll need to open holes in the wing's underside (through the inside) if you plan on using any of the external ordnance. Once that is accomplished then you assemble the main fuselage, including the separate nose gear well. The instructions don't mention anything about weight and I would be surprised if it didn't need any. But it is in this and the next step where you can add any needed, either within the main fuselage or within the nose cone when it's added in step 4. It's in step four the rest of the flying surfaces are also added giving you an almost complete airframe.
The next steps you add the gunsight, windscreen, and FLIR, plus turn the model over and add the built-up intakes, strakes and other items to the underside. After this step is where you would paint the airframe.
The final steps have you glue together the exhausts, landing gear and wheels, add items into the landing gear doors, build up the missiles and construct the chocks, standing-pilot and cockpit ladder. Yes, the kit contains everything you need to display your model, minus any intake or exhaust coverings.
Once your painting and decaling is finished then add all the external "bits" to the kit and voila! One finished Su-27SM!
Since this is just the Zvezda Su-27SM released for the Japanese market everything you've read about the kit pertains here. And because this is for the Japanese market all instructions are, well, in Japanese. You may want to hunt down a set of Zvezda instructions if you don't know the language to help with your build. In addition, and I'm not sure why, the box the model comes in can be "built up" so it can either be used to display, or haul the model. This isn't a new phenomenon with Platz as all their recent 1/72 kits have this "feature". I'm still trying to figure it out but it's something that can be done.
I definitely want to thank Platz for sending the review kit.