by: Andy Brazier [ ]
Originally published on:
The Sukhoi Su-25 (NATO reporting name: "Frogfoot") is a, twin-engine, close air support jet aircraft developed in the Soviet Union by the Sukhoi Design Bureau. The first prototype made its maiden flight on 22 February 1975. After testing, the aircraft went into series production in 1978 at Tbilisi in the Soviet Republic of Georgia. Russian air and ground forces nicknamed it "Grach" ("Rook").
The Su-25UB Frogfoot-B (Su-25UBK for export) is the two-seat trainer variant and the first prototype, called "T-8UB-1", was rolled out in July 1985 and its maiden flight was carried out at the Ulan-Ude factory airfield on 12 August of that year. It was intended for training and evaluation flights of active-duty pilots, and for training pilot cadets at Soviet Air Force flying schools.
The Su-25UB/UBK is equipped with the same avionics and systems as the Su-25 Frogfoot-A and is fully combat capable and able to use the same ordnance. Su-25UBKs exported to non-Warsaw Pact countries were equipped with downgraded avionics and fire control systems.
Batches of used machines, with a few new-build machines mixed in, were later sold off by former Soviet states to other countries beginning in the mid-1990s. The Congo bought ten, Ethiopia bought four (two single-seaters and two two-seaters), Eritrea bought up to ten, Macedonia bought four (three single-seaters and one two-seater), and Peru bought 18 (10 single-seaters, 8 two-seaters).
In the box
Packed in a sturdy top opening box, the SU-25UB/UBK fills the box.
Most of the space taken up is for the 5 light grey injected plastic sprues. The resin parts are sealed in a foam bag, and the clear sprue parts are packaged along with the P.E fret and masks. The rest of the box holds the instructions and the decal sheet.
The plastic parts stem from the OEZ Su-25UBK kit which was released in the late 1980s, and then re-boxed by Kopro/KP, but the moulds have been cleaned up, maintained and polished up, which has reduced flash to a minimum (all the old sprue shots I have seen of the OEZ kit, show a lot of flash). This kit is still on the other hand one of the most accurate SU-25s produced.
The kit as already stated has near enough no flash, and the ejector pin marks are recessed and raised, but seem to be in places that won't be seen. The plastic is a little thick in places and has a few flow marks here and there, but it doesn't effect the surface, and will cover over with paint. Some of the sprue attachment points are pretty heavy, so some care will be needed when removing parts.
The kit has recessed panel lines and a bit of rivet detail which are a little overdone, but should lend well to panel line washes. The real SU-25 was festooned with seemingly millions of raised rivets on the fuselage, but the kit has very few, raised or recessed, so the kit is a little inaccurate in that respect.
One little annoying thing is that all the air scoops are just solid pieces of plastic, and do really need to be hollowed out.
The plastic parts for the cockpit are still on the sprues, if you really feel the need to use them, and have raised details for the instrument panels (which are clear parts), side walls and side consoles. The ejection seats have harness's moulded onto them.
The wheel wells are devoid of any detail, and are just blank walls. Wheel well covers are also not detailed on the inside, and will have to be cut into two parts for each door, for the gear down option. The undercarriage legs are fairly detailed, but are split into two halves, which will result in a seam to deal with. Adding some brake and hydraulic lines would liven them up no end.
The wheels look pretty decent, and match photos quite well, but the tyres are untreaded.
The engine inlet and exhaust are reproduced with the fans for the inlet and the burner for the exhaust, which all fit in the engine nacelles inside a intake tunnel, so no see through effect will be had.
Weapons supplied with the kit are -
2 PTB-800 (800L)Fuel tanks
2 B-8M Rocket Pods
2 SPPU-22-01 Cannon Pods
2 R-60 Missiles
The detail is pretty good, but the fins for the various ordnance is a little thick. The rocket pods are probably the weakest part as they really look clunky detail-wise. Mine will be replaced by a spare Eduard resin set I didn't use in a MiG.
The clear canopy is rather thick and in one piece, and does need a bit of a polish as its not crystal clear. The canopy on the SU-25 hinges to the side, but the kit supplied one is moulded in the closed position, but the instructions do state where it needs to be cut for the open option.
Resin and P.E
With the exception of MDC's 1/32nd resin Arado 196, the resin and Photo-etch cockpit is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen.
Cast in light grey, the 32 resin parts are free from bubbles and flash, and are cast by SBS Models. The photo etch is brass and not pre-painted. Unfortunately my sample is missing one of the frets, but I have e/mailed KP about a replacement.
The larger parts do have quite a large pour plug to remove, but the instructions show where the excess is to be cut. The smaller parts look to be fairly easy to remove, with most having a common pour plug.
The cockpit tub features exceptional detail for the rear walls, with hydraulic and electrical wiring as raised detail and covering nearly the entire parts. The side consoles are moulded as part of the tub and has raised detail moulded onto them which is very fine, with numerous lumps and bumps for the individual switches.
The cockpit floor has resin and photo-etch rudder pedals to add, along with resin control columns, to both the forward and rear stations.
The main instrument panels is a sandwich of resin, photo etch and film. The instrument panel hoods are resin and form the back of the instrument panel, with the forward hood having some nice raised detail for the HUD system, which is then further enhanced with P.E and film. The film has the instrument dials printed on it, then a P.E facing covers the dials. Side wall panels are resin, with some very nice detail.
The two ejection seats both come with separate launch rails, and are a mix of resin and photo-etch.
The seats have P.E harness, which are split into 7 parts each. A P.E grab handle for the seats are also supplied. The seats are complex with each seat and launch rail having 31 pieces.
The rest of the P.E is for the canopy frames (if you go with the open option), along with a central glazed partition.
I believe the hardest part of building this resin cockpit is going to be the painting, as the amount of detail that can be highlighted is astounding.
Instructions, masks and decals
The instructions is in the form of a booklet and printed on a glossy A4 size paper.
The instructions are superb with a detailed assembly guide, parts guide, and colour profiles of the 6 aircraft that can be painted.
The build sequence is in the usual step by step guide, and in a logical order, which totals out at 37 stages, any changes are highlighted by a symbol.
The kit comes with a full set of masks for the transparencies. All the canopy, navigation lights, various sensors and the wheels are covered, and the instructions have a easy to read and understand full page application guide. One nice touch is the inclusion of masks for the internal cockpit partition glazing. The masks are not Kabuki tape but more of a plastic tape, and are easy to apply.
The decals are of a high quality, in register, thin and slightly glossy. Carrier film is kept to a minimum. The sheet comes with tons of stencils, which are readable (if you can read Russian), with the help of a magnifying glass.
The SU-25UB/UBK comes with markings for six aircraft, all of which have differing style of camouflage colours. The instruction book has 4 way profiles for all six aircraft in colour, and a full page stencil placement guide.
The six aircraft that can be modeled are -
1 - SU-25UBK, Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Air Force, Shiraz Shahid Dastghaib International Airport - May 2009.
2 - SU-25UB, Peruvian Air Force, Grupo Aereo 11, Escuadron Aereo 112 - El Pato AB, 2005.
3 - SU-25UBK, Czechoslovak Air Force, 30th Ground Attack Regiment - Pardubice AB, 1992.
4 - SU-25UB, Macedonian Air Force, 101st Aviation Squadron, Petrovec- Aerodrom Skopje, 2006.
5 - SU-25UB, Russian Air Force, Red '91' of Chained Dogs squadron, Kubinka, May 1999.
6 - SU-25UBK, Bulgarian Air Force, 22nd Attack Air Base, 2/22 Attack Squadron - Bezmer AB, August 2010.
All aircraft apart from the Peruvian machine have a three colour upper camo scheme, all different to each other, with blue lowers. The Peruvian aircraft has a wrap around 2 tone green camo.
Even without the resin cockpit this kit isn't all that bad considering the age of it, but with the resin cockpit it will really stand out.
But there is a couple of annoying things about the kit, one of which can be dealt with fairly easily, is the solid air scoops, which you can either replace with some resin ones from Quickboost, or hollowed out.
The other thing is the total lack of detail in the wheel wells, of which at present there is no A.M alternative (that I can find), so detail will have to be added yourself, or wait for A.M sets to come out(which they will).
If its western counterpart, the A-10 was male the SU-25 Frogfoot is definitely female as it has the sleek good looking looks and not the "only a mother could love" looks of the A-10, and this kit captures its sleek lines well, with the bonus of having a drop dead gorgeous resin cockpit.