December 2015

Sukhoi Su-24M Fencer

Link to Website Index:

Sukhoi Su-24M Fencer

4th MshAP (Naval Strike Regiment), 132nd MshAD (Naval Strike Division),

Air Arm of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet,

Chernyakhovsk, Kaliningrad Oblast, USSR, 1989

Zvezda 1/72 with Neomega resin cockpit

Link to Website Index:

To finish off the year, this is my first build of a Zvezda kit and initial impressions are good.  Although a little “chunky” and lacking in complex detail, it has a good shape, well judged levels of engraved detail and fits together very well.  The wings are noticeably less well moulded and detailed than the main cockpit, but this is not really an issue, since they are very plain in any event.

To improve the kit, I have added the superbly detailed Neomega resin cockpit, allowing me to leave the twin canopies open.  

Zvezda provide two comprehensive weapons sprues with this kit, so I have chosen a suitable maritime weapons outload of two laser-guided Kh-59L (NATO Codename “KEDGE”) anti-ship missiles befitting a naval machine, as well as two R-60 AA-8 (NATO Codename “APHID”) air to air missiles for self-defence .

The Fencer entered service with the Soviet Air Forces in 1975 as an advanced development of the Su-17 Fitter.  Often compared with the US F-111, with which it shares a general layout, the Fencer is more focused on tactical attack missions with a shorter range and lower weapons load.

As well as widespread service with the Soviet Air Force, Soviet Naval units in the Far East and Baltic also flew Fencers for long range anti-ship operations during the Cold War and a number remain active in this role with the Russian Navy today.  

Russian Air Force Fencers are currently (2015) deployed in Syria undertaking air strikes against ISIL and Syrian Opposition forces.  In mid November 2015, a Fencer operating against opposition rebels near to the Turkish border was shot down by two F-16s of the Turkish Air Force, who claimed that it had crossed into Turkish air space (Turkey also enforces a unilaterally declared no combat operations zone within 5 km of its border).

Both of the Russian aircrew, Lt Col Oleg Peshkov and Captain Murakhtin ejected successfully, but Lt Col Peshkov was then shot by opposition forces as he descended by parachute.  

Whilst rescuing the other pilot, a Russian Marine onboard a CSAR Mi-8 helicopter, named as Alexander Pozynich, was  also killed.   

Link to previous month Link to Next Month

Background Picture - How the mighty have fallen: an F-4 Phantom languishes in pieces at the Midland Air Museum

Have a look at my Adversaries  pages for more Russian and Soviet Aircraft models

Box, sprues, resin and references!

Neomega’s resin cockpits are highly regarded, with very good reason.  This one cost me about £10 and includes some superb detail, smaller than my eye can see unaided and in all honesty, a little bit of a challenge to paint!  As well as seats, instrument panel and main cockpit tub, it includes detailed joysticks and the complex central canopy support that sits between the two seats.  

Detail matches the pictures in my Aerofax reference book well and all of the parts fit precisely together and into the kit itself.

Although parts fit is generally very good, the long horizontally split fuselage is rather difficult to align without “ledges” (although the resin canopy insert helps) and one or two other joins needed a little tidying up with Tippex as a filler.  

The wings have an arrangement to allow sweep, but as the outer wing pylons cannot move to stay parallel with them, the modeller needs to decide on one position for the final model.  I have chosen fully unswept, mainly for visual effect, but will try to keep them moveable to help with kit storage and transport.  

From the many pictures available on the web, it does seem that the aircraft are usually parked on the ground at full sweep as below, but you can see the issue with the pylons!  

Superbly detailed Neomega resin parts.

A little bit of filler never harms!

Filler sanded back and with an initial coat of Humbrol Ghost grey brushed on

White paint detail, some different grey shades and very nicely engineered undercarriage added

To finish off, I have added the final bits and bobs, plus weapons, then applied a coat of Klear to improve the look of the canopies and assist in application of the decals, which were generally OK although covered in a slightly browned sticky coating - perhaps just the effect of ageing whilst the kit was stored in my Garage roof!

I have modified the fairly simple kit decals to represent a (possibly ficticious) Naval aircraft - all of which seem to use white side codes!  Finally, a light oil wash has been applied to the panel lines to draw out detail and a top coat of Windsor & Newton Matt acrylic varnish applied overall.     

All in all, this was a most enjoyable build of a significant Cold-War naval strike aircraft, and I was really impressed by the Neomega cockpit bits - I will definitely get another set for my forthcoming Su-34 build!   

Its a big kit when built, but really not too complex to assemble and it conveys well the capabilities and power of this impressive aircraft.