1/72 Streem Sukhoi Su-24M Fencer

by Jan Manninen

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Being an enthusiast of Russian aircraft often means hard times for you as a modeller. That was the case with Streem (Or "Strim") Fencer too.  One can forget the Tamigawa shake 'n bake fit, well laid out instructions and straightforward build-up.  The kit has a bit of a short-run kit feel to it, for instance some of the sprue gates are quite thick and only a very few parts have any locator pins/holes on them.  Despite of these drawbacks, many of the ex-Eastern European kits are generally pretty accurate.  This kit isn't an exception, actually it's the Mother of Accuracy! 

The level of surface detail is exceptional and possibly exceeds most of the Japanese kits of the same scale.  The general outline should also be spot on. These two things were the driving force for me in making this very complicated kit.  It was a hell of a job, but in the end you'll get your reward!

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Despite having heard some discouraging information about the complicated assembly of the movable leading edge slats, trailing edge flaps, swinging wings and the wing pylons that swivel according to the wing sweep, I decided to build my Fencer with all these features.  I soon noticed that the assembly really was hard! After a lot of dry-fitting and sanding I managed to get all the surfaces movable.  The swiveling wing pylons - though a good example of great engineering (or then maybe not...) - didn't work as they should have.  There just doesn't seem to be enough room in between the upper and lower wing parts (ie. inside the wing) for the pylon swivel mechanism, especially considering you need some gluing surface too in order to attach the halves together.  As the full-wide slats and flaps further diminish this surface, the wings are a real nightmare to assemble!  The instructions aren't perfectly clear, so one must truly rehearse this before grabbing a CA bottle...  

The overall fit of the kit isn't perfect at all, though some of the parts almost seem to fall down on their place.  The fuselage parts are nicely detailed, but need sanding near the joints.  Luckily these joints are engineered so that a minimum amount of delicate surface detail will be lost after sanding.  Most of the smaller parts need cleaning, though even they are very accurately done.

 

For the cockpit I used a Pavla resin set, which needed a lot of fixing to be squeezed inside the fuselage.  I added some scratch-built harness detail for the seats and the co-pilot figure and painstakingly tried to colour every switch, warning light and gauge according to photos of the real aircraft.  I also detailed the landing gears by adding some pipes and hoses on them.  The same goes for the main landing gear wells as well, though these are not very visible due to the almost closed gear hatches. 

The kit decals were a disappointment.  Though very accurate looking and nicely printed, they disintegrated when soaked in water...  After a series of minor glitches, I finally managed to get an Authentic Decals Su-24M sheet from a friendly ARCer (Many thanks, Bafke!).  For the markings I chose an example with a nice bird of prey badge on the tail from Dzidha-Nyangi AB, which is located in Siberia between the lake Baikal and the Mongolian border ( exact location: 50 40' 0" N, 106 7' 1'' E, there's a lot of Fencers on dispersal).  I always dig out the home base for my models from Google Earth in order to get them a real-life background. 

The weapons load consists of 12 FAB-100 bombs on multiple ejector racks, which needed some fixing and extra detailing, plus two FAB-250M62s (all from DML/Dragon weapons sets) and a pair of R-60 AA missiles from the spares. The kit comes without any other armament than the gun. 

I decided to do my Fencer with a pretty faded and worn finish. The very accurate and nicely done panel lines (plus rivets) were highlighted with diluted enamel and oil colour wash, while the final weathering was done with Tamiya's weathering set.

Jan 

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Photos and text by Jan Manninen