Sunday, January 28

In-Boxed: 48th scale Sukhoi Su-35 "Flanker-E" PLAAF from Kittyhawk

Kitty Hawk has already released its 48th scale version of the Sukhoi "Flanker-E" to eager modellers. Now a new boxing of the kit with upgraded parts to further enhance your kit has arrived - this one featuring the aircraft of the PLAAF. Frank Crenshaw has just started making the kit but has paused to show us the parts included in this particular boxing before he got building his own Flanker.

In-Boxed: Sukhoi Su-35 "Flanker-E" PLAAF
From Kittyhawk Models
Product No: KH8014#
1/48th scale
Product Link
Kitty Hawk has already released a new tool 48th scale version of the Sukhoi "Flanker-E" to eager modellers. Our man Bruce had already built his here on The Modelling News. (Link)
Now that Kittyhawk has released their new boxing of the kit with several enhanced features and parts  Our man Frank has taken it on to build. Let's have a look first about a little of the Flanker-E and its capabilities in the PLAAF first before we look at what is new in this boxing.

The real thing in PLAAF service so far.
 China has taken delivery of the Sukhoi Su-35 "Flanker-E" fighter jet from Russia, according to Chinese state media. China had been trying to develop its own indigenous fighter jet engine for several years, but the program has been dogged by technical problems. China’s stealthy Chengdu J-20, single-engine Chengdu J-10 and Shenyang J-15 carrier-borne fighters are still powered by Russia’s Saturn AL-31 engine. In the meantime, the Chinese have purchased some FLanker E's from the Russian Government.
The Chinese military confirmed that it took delivery of four Su-35s in late December 2016, when four Su-35 fighter jets flew from the city to China as partial delivery of the 24 Su-35s bought by China. Chinese-built Su-27 Flankers incorporate Chinese avionics, engines and weapons.

China has also not released any official photos of its Su-35s, although grainy images purporting to be the PLAAF Su-35s have been published around the 'net.

The PLAAF's Su-35s are indeed based at Suixi, it would also raise the possibility that they could "act as long-range fighter escorts for the (PLAAF's) H-6K bombers around the South China Sea or even facing Japan. The Su-35 has the capability to refuel inflight from China's small fleet of Ilyushin Il-78 tankers acquired from Ukraine. That would give aircraft improved endurance for bomber escort and combat air patrol missions over the South China Sea. 

This boxing of Kittyhawk's Su-35 PLAAF Kit

This will not be a full review of the box contents, the box contents are identical to the earlier release of the SU-35 that has been reviewed here before on TMN, with the exception of a few new parts.

The Kittyhawk kit is packaged in a relatively small box for the size of the kit and I was expecting a much bigger box!  This is because the engineering of the kit has separate wings. While this feature does make for a nice box size, it, unfortunately, complicates assembly. I will focus more on that later in the review.

New parts for this release include Resin wheels, burner cans, a tail boom for production aircraft, two exquisitely cast pilot figures (one seated, and one walking) and a really nice separate helmet. 
A CAD promo image of hat's new in this kit.

Markings are for thee different PLA aircraft and include the same large weapon stencil sheet that came with the original kit.
The most obvious addition to the kit is the new resin parts, which are thoughtfully packaged in a clear vacuum formed case that keeps them secure and safe from breakage.
One of the reasons China is keen on acquiring the Su-35 is to access modern Russian engine technology in the form of the Saturn AL-41F1S (117S) afterburning turbofan engine and the associated thrust-vectoring capability of the super-maneuverable Su-35. The exhaust of this aircraft droops when on the ground, and Kittyhaw have included the part in this configuration in this new boxing

The afterburner cans tilt down as is seen on the real aircraft when the engines are not powered up. The resin engines are exquisite - as good as any aftermarket detail I have seen - and are a huge improvement over the kits moulded engine parts. 
The new resin boom looks to be a drop fit replacement for the kit part, and features the flare buckets on the lower side to properly represent a production version of the SU-35. The original kit has the flare buckets on the top - this was only seen on pre-production aircraft. This kit allows you to build either a production, or pre-production aircraft.
Also included are a simply magnificent set of resin wheels which are flattened. These parts are an improvement over the kits moulded parts and look to be an easy install. Note the air valve stems in both the nose and main wheels!
The resin pilot figures are likewise clean and detailed castings. The wrinkles on the sitting pilot don't look quite right to my eye - his arms look kind of like a raisin rather than natural folded cloth, but the standing figure is really good. The facial features on it are very impressive. A skilled painter would have no trouble making the standing figure look stunning.

This is a helmet - and it's much nicer than the photo might lead you to believe. 
Of course, all of the features from the original boxing are included, a detailed cockpit, wheel bays able to be displayed open and the gear down with an enormous payload of air-to-air & air-to-ground missiles, bombs, rockets and pods of several kinds.The loadout supplied in this kit is enormous and it leaves the modeller with so many choices to build a Chinese or another Flanker from other nations who operate this machine.

Frank Crenshaw

Frank has already started making this kit - so stay tuned to follow his progress here on TMN – You can check out Kittyhawk's website for more on all of their models.