1/48 Trumpeter Su-30 Flanker

by Jan Mikes



Hi everybody,

Here is my Trumpeter 1/48 SU-30MK Flanker. 

The Flanker has been my favourite aircraft for long time. It looks so cool!  In one review of 1/48 Academy Flanker I read that the Su-27 is "the most sexy looking modern jet".  Well, I would not go that far, but … most beautiful? Definitely. 

From the beginning, my plan was to build an Indian Flanker. (So far I have not found any pictures of a scale model of flanker wearing Indian colors on the Internet).

The Model 

When I saw this model in my local hobby shop, I was impressed by low price (about the half of the price of the Academy Flanker). Furthermore, the box cover boasts that the airplane inside is Su-30 and Academy produces Su-27UB which has not been exported to India. The result: I bought the model instantly. 

Only later I gradually started to realize what I brought home. In an Internet review, I read that this Trumpeter Flanker is a “poor copy” of the Academy 1/48 model.   

Click on image below to see larger image
And ... well, it really is just that: a poor quality copy without fine detailing, with crude recessed panel lines. The worst thing about the model is its fit – a nightmare.

I also discovered that Trumpeter "Su-30" is in fact only Su-27UB without refinements that were added during the development of the type.

Real Su-30MK differs externally from the Su-27UB:

  • Su-30MK has a refueling probe installed

  • Su-30MK has the IRB mounted on the right side of the windscreen

  • the windscreen has a different shape

None of these features can be found on Trumpeter "Su-30".

I did what is within my skills to make a refueling probe and reposition the IRB, but decided not to try to replace the windscreen (I can live with this error). 

The construction was torture at some stages – tons of putty and many square meters of sanding paper had to be used.  


My model depicts a machine serving with No.24 Hunting Hawks Squadron of Indian Air Force. First Flankers (Su-27MK-1) entered the service with the IAF in 1997.

(In September 2002, brand new [canard equipped] Su-30MKIs entered the service with the IAF. All older Su-27MKs in service are supposed to be upgraded to Su-27MKI standard over the couple of following years.)   

The Indian Su-30MK-1s carry standard Russian flanker three colour camouflage. (the new Su-30MKIs are all grey) The markings consist of Indian roundels, aircraft number and squadron insignia.

As far as I know, there is no decal sheet for the flankers in Indian service on the market (at least here in Prague). So I had to design my own decals using Adobe Photoshop. After the design was done (in 200% of actual decal size), I took it to my local copyshop and had it printed. First I printed the decal sheet from file to normal paper, and then copied it from normal paper to decal paper in 50% size.

(If somebody is interested, write me an e-mail and I will send you my artwork for decals by e-mail)

Click on image below to see larger image


Now I know that the best thing for me to do at the early stage would be to scrap the kit and go for Academy Flanker. However, given the quality of the model, I think my flanker does not look that bad. And… it gives me good feeling that I have this rarely modelled, big, bad & beautiful Indian fighter on my display shelf.   


Click on image below to see larger image

P.S. I plan to build another "exotic" Flanker, so If somebody can give me tips where to find pictures of flankers in Vietnamese or Eritrean service (I could not find any on the internet so far), I would highly appreciate it.  Thanks. 

Click on images below to see larger images

Photos and text © by Jan Mikes