Modelling the Su-30MKM & MKI

The recent appearance of the Malaysian Su-30MKM has inspired me
to go back to Flanker modelling in 1:72 scale.

As the Su-30MKI & new MKM are similar in appearance, I decided to make them both together.

The donor kit - and the only decent two-seater in 1:72 scale - is the Heller Su-27UB.
This has recently been re-released by Alanger as a Su-30.

The first alteration is to the cockpit. The Su-30MKI/M has large MFD screens in place of the analogue instruments.
The moulded-on dials were scraped off and small squares/rectangles of plastic card added to represent the MFD screens.

The other major alteration is to add canards. Sections of the LERX are removed prior to assembling the fuselage.

The Su-30MKI & M have extended chord rudders. The MKM also has unique RWR antenna above the rudder.
I added the rudder extensions from thin plastic card and made the RWR aerials from sprue. I also added a
strengthening strip below the fin tip - as seen on the Su-30MKI/M.
This is the port fin - the original kit item is on the left.

The same alteration is made  to the port fin.

I re-made the front panels - using squares of black decal film to represent the MFD screens.

A combination of stock decal film, Reheat instruments and a few red &
yellow blobs of paint makes a reasonably representative cockpit.

Plastic card 'shoulders' for the canards are added - ready to be blended in with Milliput.

First application of Milliput - with the right side being sanded down.
I am still not happy with it - so another application of filler was added.

The recesses for the IFR probe have been gouged out. The front one is going to be the MKM - with retracted
probe. The one at the rear will have the probe extended.

It is now a matter of adding filler, sanding down adding more filler etc - until I am satisfied with the finish.

Alanger top view on the left, Heller underside on the right.

Both shoulders smoothed out and a few panel lines re-applied.
Note the white scrap plastic card additions to provide a ledge for the wing root.

A quick spray of Halfords Grey Primer reveals a few pinholes in the filler - but overall
it is begining to look OK.

Underside shot of the primed shoulders.

The Heller intakes - with the etched FOD grille from the Hasegawa kit next to the Heller plastic version.

The Alanger intakes - with plastic card strip added to take the intake blanks to be fitted later.

Alanger wings - with flaps & slats removed at right - ready to be re-attached in the drooped position later.
The awful wingtip launch rail is being replaced by a resin copy from the Hasegawa kit.

The modified engine TVC exhaust nozzles to make them drooped.

Topside view showing the fitted in place with plastic card 'packing' - ready for the application of filler.

Underside view of the drooped nozzles.

Nozzles faired in.

The centrally-mounted IRST ball has to be removed and the windscreen polished.

The front coaming is too tall - and the windscreen too shallow. To remedy this I removed the coaming
and lowered it - and added plastic card around the edges to raise the windscreen.
I have also added the mount for the new, offset IRST ball.

The lowered Su-30MKM coaming, with the addition of two de-mister 'tubes', a HUD bracket,
an instrument on the right of the HUD and other detail bits.

The MKM is in the left, the MKI on the right.

A closer view of the MKM 'front office'.

I have made a start on the SAAB Avitronic MAWS antenna - carved from modelling wood.

Revised windscreen - with offset IRST. Note the retracted refueling light.

SAAB Avitronic Missile Approach Warning Sytem (MAWS-200) antenna on the spine.

The underside MAWS - with two LWS310 Laser warning sensors alongside.

There are another two LWS310 antenna on the outer face of each intake.

List of modifications - topside........

..... and underside.

Nearly forgot the 'Bird Slicer' IFF aerials!

I wasn't happy with the Heller/Alanger nozzles - they are in the 'closed/full thrust' position - so I removed them and started again!.

I also just noticed that the AL-31FU TVC nozzles extend further forward into the nacelles than the 'standard' nozzles.

In this photo I have scribed the starboard nacelle to represent the front plating on the TVC nozzles - and also

chamfered the trailing edge to help 'droop' the nozzles.

I decided to replace the Heller/Alanger nozzles with those from the Italeri Su-27 kit -

they are 'open' and, once cleaned up, look much better.

Here they are drooped inwards and down - as on the real thing when at rest.

I have made a start on the maingear - plastic on the inner hub is removed and an etched brass 'plate' is added (a wheel

hub from a MiG-21 set, IIRC). This allows me to detail the hub without the wheel being attached.

I have also started scratchbuilding the twin-wheel nosegear - here are the component parts - a piece of aluminium

tube is already in place in the hollowed-out Heller top front leg. The 'knuckle' on the left is from a suitable section

found on some sprue - suitably carved to shape.

The scratch-built Su-30MKI nosegear on the left, the 'standard' Su-27UB nosegear is on the right.

The twin wheels were found in the spares box - from the Airfix Concorde I think -

not 100% accurate but about the correct diameter.

I have also just realised that the Airfix/Heller wheel hubs are the wrong pattern. In fact all the existing Flanker kits have the

'old style' hub shown on the left. Modern Flankers have the style shown on the right - with cooling holes for the wheel brake.

Painted and ready for decalling..... topsides.




Scratch-built twin-wheel noseleg - my attempt at the complex FOD guard.

The guard is made from thin plastic card. The wheels are from an Italeri MH-47 Chinook!

Component parts of the FOD guard - cut from thin plastic card.

The top row shows the method of making one of the four slats, in the middle is a centre

support with two saw cuts for the centre slats and at bottom are the two side plates.

The centre support has been added (with a rod going up to a bar on the axle).

The left side plate is also added.

The right side plate is glued in place, then the top and bottom slats.

Finally, the two sentre slats are slotted in place and cemented - I have also added a

section cut from plastic tube to represent the axle end - this needs to be sanded down a bit!

Finished Models

Indian AF Su-30MKI (right) & Malaysian AF Su-30MKM (left)
















MKI(right) & MKM






Su-27 & Su-27UB inner nosewheel door - note the recess at the front (left)

Su-30MKI nosewheel door - note the twin recesses.

Check out 'Wira Angkasa' - a site dedicated to the Royal Malaysian Air Force - TUDM

Ken Duffey

October 2007