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Trumpeter Su-24MR “Fencer-E”

Trumpeter’s “Fencer-E” features an astounding amount of plastic: 370 parts on 28 sprues. Everything is packed separately in a partitioned box, with the clear sprue in its own padded polybag. The parts have outstanding recessed detail except, curiously, the external fuel tanks, which show raised lines.

This kit depicts the maritime reconnaissance variant of the Su-24 without attack systems, so the offensive weapons — a couple of hundred parts — aren’t used. Recce pods are provided.

Illustrated options include retracted or extended flaps and speed brakes. For visual interest, I elected to open everything. There are some features the instructions don’t point out: The wings can be posed swept or extended (but they don’t operate); the refueling probe at the base of the windshield can be posed extended; and, with a little sanding, the canopies can be closed.

Although the cockpit doesn’t precisely match photos in my references, it’s a jewel with nice detail and decals for panels and consoles. I added masking-tape belts to the well-done K36 ejection seats for effect. The canopy and windscreen were crystal clear.

Some parts are incorrectly numbered in the instructions, but the drawings were clear enough to figure out what the correct numbers should be.

The model virtually clicked together. The only fit problem I encountered was the aft fuselage exhaust section.

Photos were invaluable for painting. The color instructions omitted the white leading edges plus the dark areas on the wings where they retract into the fuselage. My primary references were World Air Power Journal volumes 5 and 39 and the Internet.

Two decal sheets provide complete stenciling — one for all the external stores and one for the aircraft itself — and markings for two aircraft, one each from the Russian navy and Ukrainian air force. I chose the latter, more-colorful scheme.

The terrific decals were super thin but needed care during application to prevent them from folding back on themselves or wrapping around the edges of the carrier sheet. The external-stores diagram in the instructions was a bit vague.

With excellent detail, fit, and decals, Trumpeter’s “Fencer” is eminently buildable.

But, as a replica, it has a couple of issues. I extended the flaps, but on the real aircraft the leading-edge slats extend with them. That would take surgery to replicate. The nose-wheel doors are normally closed unless the gear is transiting. The box art shows those things but omits the fairings for the wing-glove pylons. Built according to the instructions, the model represents more of a maintenance scene than a mission-ready aircraft.

That said, Trumpeter’s Su-24 produces an impressive model; it’s not a difficult build, just a lot of parts. I spent about 30 hours building mine.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the April 2016 issue.


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