Trumpeter 1/72 Su-15 TM 'Flagon F'
KIT #: 01623
PRICE: $33.95 ($20.35 on sale at GreatModels)
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


Recognizing the limitations of the earlier Su-9 and Su-11, the Sukhoi OKB quickly began the development of a heavily revised and more capable aircraft. A variety of development aircraft evolved, including the T-49, which shared the fuselage of the Su-9 (including its single engine), but used cheek-mounted intakes to leave the nose clear for a large radome for the 'Oriol-D' (Eagle) radar, and the T-5, essentially a heavily modified Su-11 with a widened rear fuselage containing two Tumansky R-11 engines.

These led to the T-58, which combined the twin engines with a modified version of the T-49's nose, but with side inlets further back, behind the cockpit. It was approved for production on 5 February 1962, as the Su-15, and the prototype first flew on 30 May, 1962. It entered service testing 5 August, 1963, but its service entry was delayed by political infighting with the Yakovlev OKB over production line capacity in Novosibirsk, which was also building the Yakovlev Yak-28P. The Su-15 proved to be superior in most respects other than range, and it was officially commissioned on 3 April 1965. Series production began the following year, and it entered service with the PVO in 1967, replacing Su-9s, Su-11s, and Yakovlev Yak-25s. The initial Su-15 received the NATO reporting name 'Flagon-A.' A simplified trainer version, the Su-15UT (NATO 'Flagon-C'), with no radar or combat capability, entered service in 1970.

Initial delta wing Su-15s had poor take-off and landing characteristics, and so Sukhoi investigated a new wing design with extended wingtips (increasing wing area) and boundary layer control. Su-15s with the new wing went into production in 1969. They were dubbed 'Flagon-D' by NATO, although the Soviet designation was unchanged.

Also in 1969 testing began of the upgraded Su-15T with the Volkov Taifun (typhoon) radar. The Taifun proved troublesome, however, and ceased production after only 10 aircraft had been built. It was followed in December 1971 by the Su-15TM (NATO 'Flagon-E' ), with the improved Taifun-M radar and provision for UPK-23-250 gun pod or Molniya R-60 short-range missiles. Aerodynamic demands forced a redesign of the radome with an ogival shape, earning a new NATO reporting name, 'Flagon-F' (and subject of this kit), although again the Soviet designation did not change. A comparable combat-capable trainer, the Su-15UM (NATO 'Flagon-G'), followed from 1976. The final Su-15UMs, the last Su-15s produced, came off the line in 1979.

Various OKB proposals for upgraded Su-15s with better engines and aerodynamics were rejected in favor of development of the MiG-23 interceptor.


 Not surprisingly, this kit has a great deal of commonality with the previously previewed 'Flagon A'. As with that kit, a lot of work has gone into making the engraved panel lines and the fastener detailing. All of it is well done and consistent. There is really nothing in the way of molding flaws or glitches. No ejector pin marks on the inside of the gear doors or on missile bodies as one so often finds with other kits.

You get a reasonable cockpit with a tub, control stick, instrument panel and bang seat. All fairly well done. The canopy is a two part affair that you could pose open if you wished. There is wheel well detailing and the landing gear legs are nicely done. Trumpeter has already decided for you that you want the two fuselage drop tanks and the wing pylons for the missiles as molded those holes for you. I'm not up on Soviet missiles, but there are two small dog-fighting missiles for the inner pylon and two large radar guided missiles for the outer wings. Molding is very nice on these.

What is different with the Flagon F is the wing and radome. Trumpeter provides a separate sprue that has those bits as well as a few scoops, cockpit insert and others. I've just shown the different sprue as the rest was provided in the earlier preview.

Instructions are up to Trumpeter's usual standards with nicely done construction drawings and Gunze paint references. From the look of things, the wheelbase is long enough so that you don't need nose weight as none is suggested. The nicely done decal sheet has markings for two aircraft. One is the box art plane in a nicely done disruptive camouflage scheme, which is a tad odd for an interceptor. The other is in a standard unpainted metal typical of the majority of these planes. The decals are superbly printed and quite glossy. There are many warning decals for these planes. 


So here is yet another option for those who like Soviet/Russian aircraft and a nice looking kit it is. I'm sure that it will find much favor with modern jet fans and those who just want something a tad different on the shelves.


You can get this and many other cool kits and accessories at GreatModels.

October 2008

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