Su-25 all variants
reviewed by Mike O'Hare
One of the biggest obstacles when modelling Russian aircraft has always been a distinct lack of reference information. Most Russian subjects are either tooled by Western manufacturers who omit detail because of their own lack of reference information, or by Eastern manufacturers that tend not to produce exquisitely detailed kits. One of the best examples of this is the Su-25 - Monogram's 1/48 kit can be re-worked to represent an early version with a bit of effort, but could do with some detailing, while KP's version is somewhat rough around the edges (though accurate) out of the box. Luckily, a 4+ comes to the rescue, like Detail and Scale for Eastern Bloc subjects, and hailing from the Czech Republic, home of AiRes, CMK, Eduard and dozens of other aftermarket companies, 4+ clearly know what modellers want.
Their Su-25 volume begins with an interesting textual overview of airframe and detail basics, as well as the differences between the assorted versions. This latter feature is especially welcome, as comprehending the ins and outs of Russian aircraft subtypes can be terribly confusing with one designation by NATO and another (or others) by Russia. The variant briefing includes production modifications, development histories and operator information before launching into a more technical explanation of the aircraft's construction and major systems. This is followed by two pages showing overall airframe shots of each variant. All of the text, including photo captions, is printed in both English and Czech, so you don't miss out on any of the information
This, however, is simply a precursor to the reference photos. This takes the form of a sort of walkaround, focusing on specific sections of the airframe and illustrating differences between variants as needed. Wings, engines, tailplanes, wheels and wheel wells, cockpits - all are well documented, and it seems that the contents of every access hatch and panel have been thoroughly covered. And, to make things easier to navigate, the bottom of each pages lists the subtypes covered in big, block letters - it's incredibly easy to navigate through to find the exact information you want, and difficult to confuse specific details that may not be shared among subtypes. The majority of the photos are in black and white, though the middle portion of the book, which gives an overview of all detail areas as well as providing a decent sample of the different markings the jet has carried, is printed in colour. Particularly nice features include diagrams of sensor configurations, and the details of assorted intake/exhaust configurations, very important for updating any of the kits out there. Also nice is the ordnance overview, something that is rather neglected (unfortunately) for most Western modellers. This includes some simple scale drawings of different ECM and FLIR pods carried by the Frogfoot.
Though it is somewhat unfortunate that the bulk of the photos are black and white, this is nonetheless an excellent reference, and a must have for anyone building a Su-25 or Su-25TM (Su-39). Whether superdetailing every last inch, or just tweaking the basic kit, this, like everything from 4+, is an excellent, one-stop reference guide.
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