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How to build a Su-22 aircraft model kit - see our new guide! 0
How to build a Su-22 aircraft model kit - see our new guide!

The Su-22 airplane, though now being obsolete, has its place in the history of Polish aviation. Many modellers have some sentiment for this machine, so we hope that this article presenting the step by step building and painting process of Kitty Hawk's Su-22 UM 3-K in Polish livery with warthog's head on the nose would be a pleasant lecture. Below's the first part of our guide build, written and photographed by Piotr „Słoma” Słomiński - as usual with top notch photographs and a handful of useful modelling advice.

For quite some time we have a possibility to build a nice, new kit of Su-22 UM 3-K in 1/48 scale, from Kitty Hawk model kits. This miniature is a pleasant topic especially for the Polish modellers, as this aircraft still graces our skies, proudly displaying its white and red checkerboards. There is an additional flavour (ast least for me) in a form of special marking celebrating 25 years of service in the Polish Air Force. This Su is in overall black colour with a warthog's head painted on the nose. So without much hesitation I chose to make a kit in this livery.


I started the build with real pleasure. It's also worth mentioning at the beginning of this build, that I decided to use dedicated photo etched details and painting masks from Eduard. I replaced or added those details in appropriate places. I started with the ejection seats. Quite a lot of elements are needed to make them...


…which I removed from the sprues using cutters. There's quite a few of their variations available for the modeller.


After assembly of the aforementioned parts, the results were quite nice miniatures of the ejection seats.


In the next steps, I prepared the majority of the cockpit elements, so I can paint them altogether in one airbrushing session. Eduard's coloured PE details were added on the painted parts.



Such prepared elements were primed with Mr. Color C33 matt black..


Most of the seat elements remain black. I painted the details with appropriate colours. For this task, I used AK Interactive TRUE METAL paints - 460 Brass, 453 Old Bronze and 459 Dark Aluminium.


Seats' cushions were drybrushed with AK Interactive oil paint, so they would look worn from sitting on them.


All that was left was to glue the seatbelts and the ejection handles and the seats were ready.


Rest of the cockpit parts were sprayed with Mr. Color C73 Aircraft Grey - as suggested in the instructions. Furthermore I sprayed a very thin mist on the coloured photo etched parts as their shade is a little different. Masking the details I equalized the colours as best as possible...


When the paint was dry, I applied the coloured PE parts to their respective places. I painted various cockpit details in proper colours. Apart from using the instructions, I also checked the photographic reference material of the original machine.



To top it off I used Microscale Micro Kristal Klear, which I applied onto the instruments faces.


When dry, this fluid creates a transparent coating which perfectly imitates glass on the clocks.


Though it might not be visible, I added some dirt on the cockpit's floor. I used earth coloured pigment Ammo by Mig 3007 Dark Earth. I applied it by tapping the brush onto the floor and the excess was blown away.


All of the parts were sealed with gloss varnish, which protects them while working with enamel washes.


To emphasize cockpit details I used some Ammo by Mig 1003 Interiors Wash.


When it dried a bit, I wiped the excess using a cotton bud, so the wash remained only in recesses thus creating imitations of shadows.


I could then put the cockpit together. Fit fo the parts was really good. To glue the glass panels that divide the cabins I used Ammo Mig 2031 Ultra Glue. It's an acrylic glue that doesn't react with styrene. Using it, there is no risk of spoiling the transparent parts. Even when something will go wrong, after the glue dries, we can remove it using e.g. a toothpick without worry that the transparent surface will become misty or destroyed. However we have to remember that this glue has a long bonding time. We have to position the part, press it and leave it - held with a tape if needed - for 2-3 hours until it dries and firmly holds the parts.


At the end, the cockpit was sealed with matt varnish.


It was time to put the interior aside. Another step suggested by the instructions is to make the engine. According to it, we have to make the engine and then enclose it in one of the three fuselage sections, which was divided like that by the manufacturer. Fore section encloses the cockpit and the front wheel well, the middle section houses part of the engine and finally the aft section holds the engine's exhaust. Assembly suggests putting all of those sections together when finished - gluing together three "cylinders". I, on the other hand, following advice from modellers that have built this kit, decided to first glue halves of those sections together...


…so they form almost classical fuselage halves. Before closing the fuselage, I glue the parts that are to be fitted inside.



Of course joints have to be cleaned up after the glue has cured.



I easily improved the panel lines by slightly cutting them with the modeller's saw. To clean them up from the styrene dust, I applied some Tamyia 87038 Extra Thin Quick (light green cap). Its consistency makes it easy to flow along the panel lines and melts the small plastic debris.


Rivet imitations that were lost during the works were recreated by pricking the plastic with a needle. Further corrections were made after the fuselage halves were joined together.


After this step, I got back to the working order suggested in the instructions. The engine. I didn't put a lot of effort into it, because after the assembly there won't be much to see. Of course if someone would like to show it, enclosed parts are a good base for further improvements.


Using Eduard's details, we have some bonus information, that the engine's exhaust has to be shortened. Because the modeller's grapevine confirmed that this part needs such correction, I went to cut it. I used modelling saw.


I made cuts at the proper points, removed the unwanted section and glued the remaining pieces into a correct length nozzle.



Nozzle feathers consist of four parts. Unfortunately after putting them together, there's a small gap left that needs some filling.


I used for this task a liquid filler Mr. Hobby Dissolved Putty


After curing, only small sanding with sandpaper was needed to make the gap completely disappear.


When the engine is ready, you can see, as I mentioned above, that by adding some details (mostly some piping and cables) we can get a nice little engine's miniature.




At this point, it is worth mentioning that while building any model kit it is worth having (apart from assembly instructions of course) some reference materials regarding our machine. Plans and photographs showing the machine in use in different situations. The latter are especially useful while recreating exploatation marks and weathering or scratchbuilding missing details. In this case, I used TOPSHOTS brochure published by Kagero. There I found the photographs showing the various engine colours.



Even though the engine won't be visible I decided to roughly paint it. I started with Mr. Color C33 matt black.


Inner middle part of the exhaust was painted with Mr.Color C313, which to my eye suited the original photograph the best.


When the paint dried I applied some filter (very heavily diluted colour), which I mixed from Ammo Mig Panel Line Wash nr 1612 Green Brown.


Exhaust feathers and the engine's body were then drybrushed usingTrue Metal 461 Gun Metal and 456 Dark Aluminium.



Onto the inner side I applied lined in colours that I deemed suitable using watercolour pencils...


…which I later blended using a paintbrush moistened in water. After it dries I achieved an effect very similar to one seen on the original photos.


And so the engine was ready. It will be put inside the fuselage halves at an appropriate moment.


Another step was to exchange the kit airbrake wells with photo etched ones. In truth - those supplied in the kit are not bad, however the photoetched ones are more accurate and with subtler details. I also glued some details on the air brakes' covers.


All that was left was to attach them into their places in the fuselage.


I could now move onto the front undercarriage section. I cut out and cleaned up the necessary well parts, struts and wheel.


To glue the well inside the fuselage, I had to paint it beforehand. It was much easier at this point. As usual, I started with a black colour...


… followed by the Mr. Hobby C073 I sprayed it in a thin mist, so the black underneath will show through, creating some fake shadows.


I masked the tyre with a self-adhesive mask that was included in Eduard's set and painted the hubcap with Hataka C221 Willow Green, dedicated as a proper color for Soviet/Russian airplanes.


Before I assembled it all together, I applied a pin wash to all of the protruding details. I used Ammo Mig Panel Line Wash 1615 Stone Grey For Black. It added some depth to the part.


Front undercarriage section was then ready to be glued into the fuselage. The strut with a wheel was attached at the very end of work, so that I wouldn't accidentally break it off during further construction.


Before closing the fuselage halves there only thing left to make was the inlet cone, which is made of two parts.


Using Alclad II 104 Pale Burnt Metal metallic paint I sprayed the paint that sits deeper in the fuselage.


With the colour I painted the fuselage inside where the cone is to be placed. Additionally, the inner part of the ring was painted with AK Interactive 480 Dark Aluminium.


The cone was first painted in C221 WILOW GREEN from Hataka…


…and after masking it properly finished with yellow paint.


Inlet cone was now ready. Clear parts for the sight will be glued at the end of the build.


Everything was now prepared for closing the fuselage halves.



Firstly I glued into one of the halves of all of the interior modules. When the glue dried a bit I attached the other fuselage half. Here's my advice - when you glue the fuselage, use the glue progressively. Add some, wait for it to cure a bit and then continue with the next fragment. I did that moving from fore to aft of the fuselage. I glued it in sections of about 4 cm. Using this method I had much less problem with the two halves fit.




When the seam was dry I roughly cleaned it up using sandpaper.



At the joints where it was needed, I applied Mr. Hobby Dissolved Putty and left to dry completely.



When Dissolved Putty dried thoroughly, it was time to get to work with sandpaper and steel wool. After a while there was no trace of the joint. Like earlier, I used a modelling saw to recreate lost panel lines and with pointed needle - sanded rivets. Some of the joints won't be visible at all (upper side), because they will be covered by a separately moulded spine.


Next step was the rudder assembly. I cut out from sprue and cleaned up the elements


And glued them together.


Logically I went to the elements of the airplane's spine. I did all the usual preparations of the parts…


….and could glue them to the fuselage. I started aft of the cockpit and went along, to the tail. Fit of the parts wasn't bad, but I had to firmly press the elements into place and let the glue dry a bit.


Unfortunately, after the spine was assembled and glued - the holes that fit locating tabs were left partially visible.


So there was no other way than to fill them with, again, Mr Hobby Dissolved Putty.


When it fully dried I sanded it clean. Being at this point, I also corrected joints of the spine sections, bringing the to a proper, clean look.



I didn't predict any larger works on the fuselage, so I decided to glue some smaller details. Those I deemed too delicate were left out until the end so as not to accidentally break or lose them. This move was, in fact, dictated by my experience because for many of those parts the instructions suggest that they can be attached at this point.



To be continued soon in the second part of our article!

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