"Sentiasa di Angkasaraya" - the motto of Royal Malaysian Air Force, which means "Always in the Airspace". Yes I'm building an 1/72nd scaled down fighter jet of my own country! Let's boost some patriotism in me!
This is a RMAF Sukhoi Su-30MKM Flanker of the 11th Squadron "Golden Cobra" based in Gong Kedak AFB, Kelantan/Terengganu states which debuted with the 1-Malaysia themed tail fin during the LIMA 2013 in Langkawi which I'm going to reproduce. The Sukhoi Su-30MKM is a supermaneuverable fighter of the Royal Malaysian Air Force, it's developed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau and is based on the Su-30MKI of the Indian Air Force. It has thrust vector control (TVC) and an advanced digital fly-by-wire system. Thales supplies the Head-up display (HUD), navigational forward-looking IR system NAVFLIR and the Damocles targeting pod. The aircraft carries missile approach warning sensor (MAWS) and laser warning sensor (LWS) manufactured by Avitronics (South Africa).
It can carry up to 8,000 kg/ 17,650 lb of weapons and payloads over 700 nmi unrefueled combat radius.
MKM have significant difference with other Su-30 variant so I'm going to make some conversion based on an 1/72 Trumpeter Russian Su-30MKK with the Kit No. 01659. The MKM resin conversion sets are from NMA while the 1 Malaysia tail fin decals are produced by Fishbone Inc. Other extra add-ons are Photo Etched parts from DM, which included the canopy details, cockpit, instrument panels, engine intake, exhaust nozzles and ladder sets.
First thing first, a little different from usual - I started attaching PE parts instead of assemble the cockpit section. The process take longer than usual because PE parts are small, fragile and must handle with care so I can't rush. I glue the PE parts by using super glue, one by one, slowly and steady. I took 4 days to attach all the PE parts onto the designated parts! After attaching most of the PE parts, it's time for the conversion - I will have to saw & cut the two sides of cockpit for the NMA shoulders & canards to took place. Those are resin parts, which mean they will break easily if doesn't handle with care. A lot of putty and sanding work on the conversion area but the result looks promising.
There's a moulding line in the middle of canopy - I successfully removed it with cutting knife, different grit of sandpaper & nail-polishing sanding block (Try it, you will love it!), and then the canopy was polished with three different Tamiya compound.
I started to paint the cockpit section like usual, I use Vallejo acrylic paint for this, they're very convenient and easy-to-use. After painted the cockpit, it's primer time : I primed everything with Mr.Hobby SF287 - Mr.Primer Surfacer 1000. I strongly recommend this product to those who don't want to waste their time applying Metal Primer Surfacer - this primer surfacer is not only for plastic models but also for metal in etched parts and resin. For me, usually I start painting from the exhaust first - the sequence is MODO Black > Gunze 28 Steel > Gunze 08 Silver > Gunze 61 Burnt Iron > Gaia Clear Orange > Gunze Clear Blue > Gunze Clear purple and then Gunze 101 Smoke Gray to darker the whole color tone. For the fuselage, I use Gunze 335 Medium Seagray which you'll see come green/blue in it, for the nose I will go with Gunze 306 Gray FS36270. RMAF fighter jets doesn't have fancy camouflage like Russian Air Force or USAF, they're usually painted with different tones of Gray so I assume the paint job of the fuselage is quiet easy! I touch up the details by using Vallejo acrylic paint before applying any decals - just to avoid any unnecessary mistakes. The decals application took me 2 nights, I am using Fishbone Inc.'s decals and also stock decals which came together with the kit.
Panel lines - a few layers of clear coat is necessary in order to protect those decals. I se AK2072 for the panel lines of this Su-30MKM, as a first time user, I get a very satisfying result from it! For weathering side, I will make it medium-weathered with some rust, oil stain, air streaking and smoke stain which occurred when you don't have enough time to wash and maintain the aircraft during wartime mainly near exhaust section and undercarriage. AK Exhaust wash and AK Rust Streaks are good option for this kind of weathering effects. I also use other AK products for the weathering effects e.g. AK Keroesene Leaks & Stains for landing gear doors and undercarriage; AK Shafts & Bearings grease for undercarriage section. For the PE ladders set, I painted with Orange which is more attractive and also bringing some contrast to the atmosphere since the Su-30MKM is all Grey in color! Semi-gloss coating applied onto the plane to seal everything and pigments applied for smoke effect near the exhaust nozzle and gun pod!
That's all for this Su-30MKM, I spent more than one month to finish it with an average of 4 hours per day. The PE parts consume most of of time due to its detail and fragility. The weathering work basically took only 2-3 days, I spend like 2 weeks for the R&D of the decals - I've consulted some insiders due to the measurement and reference of the tail fin design. Ladies and gentlemen, the Sukhoi Su-30MKM of RMAF 11th Squadron "Golden Cobra", thank you for reading!
Calling it done now.