The Sukhoi Su-17 is a Single engined fighter-bomber, developed and build in the former Soviet Union. Its variable-sweep wing design provides it with high maneuverability both in subsonic and supersonic flight. The export variant M4 (NATO designation Fitter K) was build from 1981 to 1988. It was designed for hig-speed low-level flight and can be seen as the direct opponent to the Panavia Tornado.
The kit of the Suchoi Su-17M4
Manufacturer: Hobby Boss
Product No: 81758
Released: May 2017
Price: from 55 to 70 Euro s
Box Content: 17 sprues incl. clear parts, three rubber tires, one small PE-frame, one decal sheet, a manual and three separate colored pages of paint instructions
Everyone in the modeling world had stumbled across the Chinese manufacturer Hobby Boss in the past few years, no matter what your preferences in the hobby may be. No other manufacturer throws out so many new kits every single month like they do; but in the same time it’s hard to make out a pattern. On one side they fill gaps with eagerly anticipated kits, on the other they pull out kits of exotic machines most of us never heard of before. Or they just drop a kit that’s been released just a few months ago in the same scale by another manufacturer, like they recently did with the MiG-25. Same for the box we hold in hands; Kitty Hawk’s edition hadn’t had any time to collect dust on the retailers shelfs and there’s already a competitor flying in. Without going to deep into a comparison between both kits, we just want to list some the most obvious differences:
- KH offers the fuselage in segments (3 segments consisting of 2 parts each), HB follows the classic path by giving you two semi shells.
- KH allows you to keep the outer wings movable after construction, in HB’s kit there are two types of outer wings in fixed positions you can opt for.
- KH gives you a complete Ljulka Al-21 engine with a lot of details that can be displayed seperately if you like. HB skips that, but provides you with a tow bar.
- HB managed to depict the complex shaped intake splitter complete and dimensionally accurate; KH messed this part up.
New HB releases got criticized in the past mostly for the sloppy research and the resulting deviations. But in terms of engineering, fit, mould quality and surface details HB clearly upped their game in the past 2 years. By a first glance on the parts we can’t make out any crass deviations, but this is something only the finished model will unfold.
What apparently pleases the eye and made us smile during tossing and turning the parts in our hands, is the crisp and sharp edged quality of the parts. No flash detectable and even the 32 cm long fuselage parts are free of sink marks. Chapeau, Hobby Boss!
A great example for the molding quality is the complex shaped pitot tube. Who needs brass or resin when he/she can pull something like this straight out of the box?
The surfaces are sufficiently covered with rivet lines, hatches and covers to keep the eyes busy. Molded-on details and cut-outs are sharp edged like the rest of the parts. Overall we’d say that those sprues can compete in the first/A/premier league of modeling.
Six of the frames are crowded with all sorts of weapons and fuel tanks; they come in three pairs. Additionally you get a frame with the reconnaissance pod Kombinirovanny Konteiner Razvedy, short KKR. It’s not mentioned in the manual, but it offers you the option to build a recce Su-17. And look, one of the box schemes actually is a M4R! Ok, we put up with this.
We admit. the rubber tires are a small letdown. Their sandwich-assembly between the two rim halfes is a smart solution and eases the painting, but to give them a realistic weighted look is tough with that kind of material. No biggie, we know. Just sayin’…
The clear parts can convince with good transparency and a bubble free mold. Our wind shield seems to have some stress cracks along the sides. Bugger!
Instructions / Decals
The instructions come as unsual with HB in landscape format and b&w printing. Illustrations are in 3D-style and mostly easy to follow, only the positioning of some smaller parts is a bit vague here and there.
With the painting instructions we arrive at the weak point of every HB kit. All we can say is don’t trust it. Always check your references. We know they look nice, but once again: Don’t believe the hype!
The decals are printed well in register and show only a small frame of carrier film. All HB decals we’ve worked with in the past were acceptable.
Su-17M4R, 886th ORAP – Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan 1998
Su-17M4, 20th GvAPIB – Templin (Groß Dölln) Air Base, Germany 1994
Who can get this kit for a reasonable price can’t do anything wrong. It leaves its predecessors from KP/Kopro easily behind in every aspect and can also compete with its overpriced competitor from Kitty Hawk at eye level. The ovarall quality is good, though the very fine engraved surfaces are to be brushed in fine layers with suitable thinned paint. Those who want to squeeze the last drop of detail out of the kit can add a resin bang seat (K-36DM) and resin tires. This Hobby Boss release can be seen as one of their better ones and we think it’s worth a recommendation.