LEM/Ruporator 1/32 Su-7b

By Terry Chan

So here is something you don't see built everyday - a full resin Su-7 BM Fitter from Ukrainian eBay seller Ruporator. Personally, I haven't seen one built, so I figured I should try to be the first one.

The kit came in a generic white cardboard box with a B&W side profile of the Fitter on the box top. There was no brand name - it doesn't get any more no-name than that. All the resin parts were carefully wrapped in bubble wraps, no breakages were found (Aires could learn a packaging lesson from Ruporator).

There was a CD-ROM with a bunch of pictures of the various parts that show how the kit progressively can come together. Calling it an "instruction" is a bit of a stretch, because there was no text and some guessing was needed to build this thing. There were also a bunch of pictures of the real Fitter taken from various boneyards as reference.

Decals? LOL. None. I used generic Russian bort number decals from Delta One.

The build started with the cockpit, which was reasonably detailed, although the details were more approximation than "highly accurate". I added some extra bits using plastic stock. The ejection seat was quite nice, and I added some PE seat belts from a left over Italeri 1/32 F-104 kit.

The radome/intake cone was intentionally cast hollow because you would need every bit of space in there to fit ballast. I stuffed a bunch of fishing weights in there. Still, it wasn't enough, I had to fit more in the space behind the cockpit AND behind the canopy bulkhead to ensure the jet sits on its gears.

The canopy was vacform. The plastic was uneven so I had a very hard time cutting it. I ended up using the spare as well. There were no details in the canopy inside so I added some framing using plastic stock.

The nose was cast as one piece, with the radome, cockpit tub, and nose gear bay as separate pieces. The fuselage was left-right halves, and there was a full jet exhaust tube that comprised of 4 pieces. The exhaust tube was what made the model very tail heavy. Each wing was cast as a single piece including the wing fences. Vertical fin was two pieces - front and rear; each horizontal stab was one piece. Imagine the parts break down of a 1/72 kit scaled up to 1/32 - the build was that simple. I glued most fuselage and structural pieces using epoxy glue.

The landing gears were resin with metal rods cast inside. The details were good, but the instruction (ahem, CD-ROM) was not very clear so I'm sure I missed installing a strut or two. Due to the tail-biased weight distribution, the rear gears still sag even with the interior metal rods. Therefore I am using a clear plastic cradle (otherwise known as a CA glue bottle) to support the jet's a$$ end in the display case.

The kit is missing some minor things, such as canopy details, the leading edge guns/cannons, sway braces etc. Some of them I scratch built, some I said "eff it, this is not a contest winner so whatevs".

The paints used were Gunze and Tamiya acrylics. It's a complex camouflage, so lots of back-and-forth touching up, and paint fading and post shading was done to give it that "pop".

Please don't ask me where this jet was based, or what its back history was. I gave up researching in this thing two months into building it.

© Terry Chan 2015

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This article was published on Saturday, May 16 2015; Last modified on Saturday, May 16 2015