Sunday, December 3

Build Guide Pt II: Bruce masks & paints Kittyhawk's 48th scale Su-35 "Flanker E"

Our man Bruce is building his Kittyhawk 48th scale Su-35 “Flanker E” at apace - The kit is in the paint shop and nearly finished, but he has filed another build article so you can see just how it is coming together in part II of his build guide...

Construction Guide: Sukhoi Su-35 "Flanker-E"
From: Kittyhawk
1/48th scale
Product Number# KH80142
Product Link on the Kittyhawk Site
Price: £49.49 on the E-Models Website

Today: Kittyhawk's 48th scale Su-35 "Flanker E" Build Guide Pt. II - Masking & Painting
Well, the plan was for the next instalment to deal with the jet nozzles, weapons etc, but painting sort of took on a momentum of its own.  So, this instalment will instead cover decaling and painting.

Although I had no intention of including the radar, I assembled it for the purposes of this review. It compares well to the real unit and is a press fit into the fuselage with the nose cone fitting over it without a problem.
Speaking of the nose cone, I added a ledge of plastic card around the nose for the radome to locate against, thus providing a bit more surface for the glue
The radome fits to the fuselage without a problem although without any locating tabs to ensure correct orientation I simply rotated it until I found the best fit, also crosschecking with a reference photo.
I left the tail planes, both horizontal and vertical off to allow easier painting of the hot surfaces. These were done using Alclad burnt metal with a dollop of brass added, then misting on various shades of Alclad sepia and violet.  The undersides were done using Alclad dull aluminium
Once these areas were painted they were masked off to protect them and the tailfins added.
 A smear of filler was required along the seam, the fit otherwise not bad at all, for what could have been a nasty seam
The airframe was now assembled to the point where I was ready to paint.  Note in step 18 a scoop, part E60 is to be fitted to the side fuselage holes opened up earlier, the instructions only illustrating one side.  Part E61 fits on the opposite side Top fuselage scoops parts C37, 38 were not fitted so as to aid later masking. Planning like this always pays off, although it took me a while to learn!

The windscreen and canopy were both fitted and masked off after having the centre seam scraped off, then polished with progressively finer grades of micromesh to restore clarity. The windscreen fitted fine whilst the canopy needed a bit of pushing and shoving to fit against the windscreen snugly. One final look through the instructions to ensure I had not missed anything, and that I had the model ready for paint with no blatant seams or blemishes, and it was time to spray.

I decided to go with Kittyhawk’s colour suggestions from the Gunze line, but decided to substitute H69 Off White for Flat White. With the Off-White down, it was masked in readiness for the grey.
Masking was fairly straightforward, if tedious, all the shapes being geometric.  Make sure you stock up on tape first is my advice.  This particular jet has been well photographed and I would suggest having the photos handy whilst you mask as I noted some minor differences between photos of the actual jet and Kittyhawk’s drawings.
Mr Color Medium Sea Grey thinned with Mr Self Levelling Thinners was laid down, then it was the grey’s turn to be masked.  My stock of tape was getting smaller too!
All gear doors were also masked and painted concurrently along with the airframe to ensure the colour demarcations lined up.

I was initially dubious about Kittyhawk’s suggestion of a dark blue as the first coats looked way too blue and did not match the colour photos I had, however after another 2 thin coats I had built up a nice solid dark blue that better matched the pics.
Removing all the masking revealed a scheme that will certainly stand out in my cabinet. Taking all that time burnishing down the tape had rewarded me with no bleed and nice sharp edges…. and a giant ball of tape!
Two thin coats of Tamiya X22, again thinned with Mr Self Levelling Thinner gave me a decal ready surface, although I could have probably forgone this step as the Mr Colour dries to a nice semi-gloss which would probably take a decal without silvering.  I just wanted to be sure.

Decals were applied over three evening as there are quite a few stencils, and I can only do these in small doses. The decals themselves have what I thought was a large area of the carrier film, aren’t the sharpest printed as you can see, but settle down nicely into the detail with the use of decal softener.
The pins were cut off the horizontal tailplanes allowing them to be push fitted into place, and held in place with Revell's Plasto-glue.  I angled them slightly drooped.

 So, we now have a painted and decaled airframe awaiting final assembly and finishing, which is the most important step, and we will see it take place next instalment.
So far, I’ve found this an enjoyable build.  Fit has been good with no major problems found.  The next and final instalment will see me adding wheels, weapons, jet nozzles, and all those other sticky-out-bits before giving you my thoughts on the kit.

 Bruce Anders

Thank you to Kittyhawk Models for sending Bruce the kit to  review and build