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Spiros Pendedekas
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Mini Hobby Models 1/48 Su-27M

November 2, 2021 · in Aviation · · 46 · 3.4K

Hi everyone!

This my Mini Hobby Models Su-27M, finished as s/n 703 during its early days!

The Su-27M was designed by the Soviet Union as a multi-role successor to the strict air defense . The first prototype made its maiden flight in June 1988. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, re-designated it as the , to attract export orders.

Fourteen aircraft were produced and used for tests and demonstrations, with one example (re-designated Su-37), featuring thrust-vectoring engines. A sole Su-35UB two-seat trainer was also built in the late 1990s that resembled the Su-30MK family.

While sharing broadly the blended wing-body design of the Su-27, the Su-27M featured canards that improved the aircraft's maneuverability. Enhancing the already great maneuverability of the “standard” Su-27, The “M” was able to briefly fly with its nose past the vertical, while maintaining forward momentum. This could give the pilot a theoretical advantage as, during combat, he could pitch the Su-27M up 120 degrees in under two seconds and fire missiles at the target. Other notable visible changes to the stock Su-27 included taller vertical tails and provisions for in-flight refueling. Though the first examples retained the standard Su-27 single nose wheel, a two-wheel nose undercarriage to support the heavier airframe was later introduced.

Besides the increase in maneuverability, another feature that distinguished the Su-27M from the original design was the new weapons-control system, including phased-array radar with pulse-Doppler tracking that allowed it to detect targets below the horizon, transforming it from an air-defense fighter into a multi-role aircraft, capable of attacking ground targets. A self-defense radar was housed in the rearward-projecting tail boom, making the aircraft the first in the world to have such a radar. Of interest is that the addition of the canards was initially necessitated due to the extra front radar weight: engineers would only later discover the aerodynamic advantages of these devices!

Other changes to the aircraft included the use of uprated Lyulka turbofan engines and the increased use of lightweight composites and aluminum-lithium alloys in the aircraft's structure. The cockpit was also modernized, becoming a more “Glass” one. Finally, the characteristic windscreen fitted IR sensor was moved a tad to the right, to provide better pilot visibility.

While the original Su-27M never entered mass production due to a lack of funding, Sukhoi engineers refined the use of canards and thrust-vectoring technology and later applied them to the Su-30MKI two-seat fighter for the Indian Air Force. The tenth Su-27M (T10M-10) also served as a test-bed for the Saturn AL-41FS engine that was intended for the Su-57 jet fighter.

Awaiting the development of the Su-57 program, the Su-27 remained a very capable interim aircraft, which, though, was in almost desperate need of modernization. Thus, in 2003, Sukhoi made a second modernization attempt. Known as the Su-35s, this version had a completely redesigned cockpit and weapons-control system. It featured thrust-vectoring engines in place of the canards, which were deleted, to save weight. The dorsal air brake was likewise deleted, with air braking performed by differential rudder operation. The type made its first flight in February 2008, with the Russian Air Force becoming the launch customer in 2009. Interestingly, the Su-35s resembles the Su-27 more than the Su-27M.

One of the 14 Su-27Ms, the “703”, started its life painted at the more or less “standard” three tone blue gray scheme. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union it started making public appearances. Somewhere in the mid-90s, its camo changed to a more “splinter” looking one, keeping the same color shades, with a black “350” extra coding added to the fins at a later time. Today (as of 2021) the “703” is a proud member of the “Russian Knights” aerobatic team, accordingly painted!

This is the Mini Hobby Models (actually a former branch of , now everything is "Trumpeter") kit, marketed as "Su-35/37 Super Flanker". It essentially is a legalized copy of the 1/48 Academy Su-27B, with a few extras to do the Su-27M prototype. It is not totally accurate kit, as it does not address all the differences the "M" version incorporated. Nevertheless, it is a cheap kit that is not too difficult to put together and can result in a charming model.

Full build review at my beloved site Modelingmandness:

Happy modeling!
Reader reactions:
15  Awesome

46 responses

  1. Great job, Spiros!

  2. Very nice Spiros! ? I love that paintwork! ?

  3. From mini hobby to this? Mission impossible Spiros. Super

  4. The paint work looks flawless, Spiros. Great job!

  5. Love the colors, not sure how it works as a camoflage, but sure does look good. Nice clean build.

  6. Once again, you knocked it out of the park @fiveten.

  7. Fantastic Paintwork! Did you use any masks?

  8. Another Sukhoi hein Spiros? 😉 I guess you’re a fan of these beautiful thoroughbreds @fiveten
    Beautiful model my friend, you made the best of it

  9. Another beauty of a model! Well done.

  10. Another amazing build from your hands, Spiros @fiveten
    The scheme is fantastic and gives this bird an icredible look.
    Really enjoyed reading your articles, this one and the one on MM.

  11. That turned out great ! Informative post on it.

  12. Nice! A great color scheme.

  13. Another beautiful Russian jet, it has its flaws and an interesting design history which you covered very well. The colour scheme really suits it, and your model is very well finished, as always, definitely liked.

  14. Awesome aircraft! You've definitely done it justice. I had the pleasure of seeing 709 in South Africa in 1995 when they brought it down for the arms deal.

  15. Beautiful work Spiros, on the model and the MM post.
    That looks like a BIG plane!

  16. Nice work, Spiros. That sure is a big plane.

  17. Spectacular, Spiros (@fiveten). Painting and decal work is awesome. Where do you find time to do all of your models?

    • Thanks my friend @gblair!
      This was started in the past, progressed to a good level and remained stalled for a while, then mojo rose and it was finished. I have quite a few stalled likewise models, awaiting completion.

  18. 🙂 ... Greetings ... 🙂 :
    An attractive and elegant build Spiros.
    The camouflage and colors really make this clean build standout.
    Nice job !

  19. Nicely done Spiros (as usual) @fiveten. I'm not a big fan of Russian jet but this one has something special. I'm often looking on the web civilian flying on the Su27 seater. What a kick... Nice Job!

  20. Awesome paint work and subtle weathering.

  21. Great job on your build, it is a beautiful looking airplane. The scheme is very attractive and nicely done.

  22. Great paint job on this beautiful build!

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