1/72  Italeri Su-33 

(Converted from Su-27B)

by Denis A. Belyanin



The source kit is the Italeri Su-27B (aka Su-27K) that is mostly different with Su-33. While doing this kit, I used as a reference Ken Duffey's Flanker Page and his recommendations.  Ken used an Airfix kit, but I couldn't find it and bought an Italeri one. It is further from the real Su-33 than Airfix, but there was no alternate for me:)

First thing I found - was drawings (blue prints).  I used Aviation and Time Ukrainian Magazine with very good drawings of Su-33 and Su-33KUB inside.  After comparison with the drawings I have found a lot of mistakes.  I divided my future work into some main groups:

  • wings (on the real plane wings are wider and longer than in the kit and also have a large flaps):

  • vertical fins (on a real plane it is shorter and a slightly different shape);

  • tail fin (Su-33 has ultimately different tail fin - is is shorter a quarter, wider and positioned above the underside of the center-section);

  • front wings sections - kit parts also are far from original and places for them to clue on are wrong too;

  • jet intakes - they are smaller than required;

  • and of course - the main problem of the Italeri kit - is the nose.  It is more bulbous than original one.

Other mistakes are not so obvious or and can be repaired without a lot of work.

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First of all I corrected vertical fins - corrected shape and cut off part to make them looking like on my drawings.  Then I did some scribing according to the photos and drawings.  Wings were transformed a lot  - I cut off the small flaps, cut the wings onto 2 pieces, made folding units.  The large flaps were built from old Nakotne Su-27 wings and were glued to a new wing in the parking position.  Also I made a large slats on the leading edge of the wings.

On the wings fins I glued two "Sorbtsiya" ("Sorbtion") ECM pods that are installed on some Su-27/Su-33 fighters.

Tail fin was built from a plastic rod and epoxy putty, placed between the engine nacelles was cut and made from the beginning, after that I used a lot of sandpaper a patience:)

To make the correct shape for the jet intakes more closer to original, I used plastic too inserting some triangle pieces between intakes and center section.  A lot of time was spent on this stage to smooth the lower surface and the whole shape between the intake and engine nacelle.  After this I did some scribing on this section.

Concerning the front wings section and shape of nose were not so difficult-to-make stages - rather time-taking ones.  But I did everything I could:)

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Well, I corrected nose gear and made a mud scraper for it.  Wheels are from the Russian firm "Equipage".  For the decal set, I used Linden Hill set - Flankers on Patrol, Part I (as for my Su-27 and my Su-30K).

After all that I painted and weathered the model.

The missiles and pylons were improved too.  Hope you like the model. Perhaps it looks further from a real Su-33 than some of kits on the ARC and some sites - I don't know really:)


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Photos and text by Denis Belyanin