Greetings everyone! As a relative junior collector (mainly 1/72 but also growing interest on 1/200 due to space and more importantly of course, budget
), Iíve benefited a lot from this forum, in particular on the Sukhoi Flanker series which I just cannot resist its aerodynamic beauty. Thanks to the (unfortunate) knowledge I learnt from various threads, no manufacturer has ever successfully produced a high quality model that has got the shape right. Personally I like Witty/JC more due to its metal feel and moveable rudder, but admittedly shape-wise HM does better along with easier fitting. However the killer to me is its toy-like panel lines which is too wide. Some may prefer that style in contrast to those of Witty/JCís, but personally Iím inclined to the near-invisible lines which are more real if you consider the jet reduced to 1/72 of its real size.
Enough for my ďpassionateĒ self-introduction, letís jump right into our theme today Ė Calibre Wings Wave 2 Russian Su-24MR (Item No.722404).
***Disclaimer: I currently live in HK but ordered the jet from my distributor in mainland China. Just received it two days ago. It is absolutely from mass-market production instead of freebies given by Noel (how I wish!
My first CalW model is the Tomcatsky F-14A which I just received a month ago. Overall, not happy due to several major defects (can start another thread if anyoneís interested), and this proved my previous worry on the brandís inconsistent quality and poor QC. As for Su-24, when they released it I wasnít really collecting. Neither did the planeís outlook attracted me, so I never bothered thinking to have one, UNTIL I learnt the first wave were pretty good (much better and more consistent than its F-14 series). Thatís when I started to carefully go through all the Su-24 threads in this forum, especially below review/debate upon the first waveís flaws, i.e. bent pitot tube made of rubber, gap on wing glove, slanted rudder, misaligned cockpit/hardpoint etc. Again, heartfelt thanks to this forum for all the info and knowledge, which gave me the opportunity to enjoy great fun with this second wave Su-24MR. https://www.diecastaircraftforum.com...24-review.html
while anxiously waiting for the parcel, I was excited yet concerned. As I opened the box and examined from head to tail, I felt so much relieved and happy. With all the gears and ordnance installed, I gave it 8.5 out of 10
. Were it not for the several minor imperfections, I would not hesitate for uplift to 9. I consider myself with low/medium tolerance level (From all the posts that Iíve read and understood correctly, if I may assume UF, with no offence, have a tolerance level of 1 or 2, I may be at around 3.5 or 4. UF, I completely agree that we deserve an almost perfect model with USD160+. Itís just sometimes we really want a particular model while thereís simply no supply thatís up to our most ideal standard.)
that earned it a 8.5 (Iíll save the clichť on packing, instruction manual etc as they are all at very good standard. Instead, I aim to focus on apple to apple comparison based on reviews of the first wave Su-24s and other CalW products , i.e. F-14s)
1. A Beauty with a Beastís soul
The overall paint color is in line with official photos and (hopefully) real jet. The panel wash does add battle-hardened flavor, which allows the model easily fit into any diorama. My collection may not be large enough to derive any conclusion from statistic perspective, but I donít seem to recall other brand has ever produced any Russian/Soviet jet in such greyish color. Not sure if thatís the reason of numerous asking CalW for Soviet-era painting in future release. Personally I just love the grey color with weathering effect as it is just stereotype and reminds you itís a Russian/Soviet jet, rough yet deadly, ready to fight for the Motherland under any tough conditions just like during the Great Patriot War! For meeting my personal taste, Iíll give this model additional credit.
As for panel lines, what more could we possibly ask Ė CalW is regarded to be one of, if not THE most properly crafted style. Just look at the sheer ďbolts and nutsĒ! Iíve only seen in some Witty/JC models but the level of details are no match to CalW. As for HM, do we need to compare at all? It looks far more graceful than that of HMís. Sorry, just not a big fan of HM style.
2. Does history repeat itself?
We all know happened in the first wave. Letís run through them one by one.
- Pitot tube: Iím glad to find mine is almost straight (90% maybe?) and it doesnít require much adjustment by the look of it. Credit goes to the improvement on material used (I hope this is a sign of fact that CalW does listen, at least sometimes). Not 100% sure what is the material, but it feels like hard plastic because a light or gentle force wonít change the shape. I did use some force to bend it as near straight as I can accept. The tip/peg that goes into the nose is actually metal. This is very critical since I almost broke every Flankerís pitot with the plastic tip stuck in the nosecone. (Yeah I changed my display frequently hence moving is inevitable which caused cosmetic damage sometimes). With a metal tip, itís actually quite challenging even if you want to break the pitot tube off the nose.
- Gap on wing gloves: Yup, my worry has become reality. The starboard side has got a gap that is easy to spot. Real pity but to be honest, it doesnít bother me that much. One reason being that there is a distinct virtual line between the top panel wash and belly panel wash. That virtual line happens to be the seam of the wing gloves. Donít ask me why they told the workers to divide like that. That actually comes up with another issue, which is the panel wash on the belly side is just overdone. I shouldíve put this into ďTo be Improved
Ē section but I guess itís okay to say it now as Iím vetting if first waveís common problems are seen in the second wave.
- Slanted tail fin: barely noticed it. Iíd say itís 98% vertical? Happy with what it is now. I know someone whoís becoming an expert fixing all sorts of slanted tails (different brands) by carefully pouring 90 degrees Celsius over the root of the fin. Such an irony but hey, we are not building real planes and letís face it, diecast aircraft models are never as perfect/precise as plastic kit which you spent days/weeks just to get some simple stuff done, as near accurate as human can tell.
- Misaligned cockpit/hardpoint: Well, one side of the cockpit has a little gap between the canopy and fuselage, but itís so minor that one can barely notice unless look really close from certain angle. Iíll just leave as it is. Plus you get 3 other different set of options of how you want to display the canopy, be it starboard/portside opened or both sides opened. Worst scenario, you can display the aircraft to the sideway that shows the ďseamlessĒ canopy.
Talk about OCD, here are my cures!
For hardpoints, I have not tried every ordnance hence cannot say. So far, the B-8M and external fuel tanks seem to be fine. However I do have some findings which I will address in the To be Improved section
3. Just about right!
One of the stabilizers of my Tomcatsky F-14 were loose as hellÖmy Chinese fellow collectors used to crack opened one CalW F-14 Wolfpack and found out it was caused by sheer budget control! Where the manufacturing process shouldíve added some copper/aluminum washer to increase resistance on moveable parts, CW used something like carton paperÖwell, at least thatís according to this fellow collector who also shared photos and videos. Iím not sure how HM does its F-14s, Iím just disappointed with my Tomcatsky. Fortunately and I donít know if itís pure luck with my one, or Su-24 enjoys a different process in the factory, both the variable-sweep wings and horizontal stabilizers on my Su-24MR have been assembled at an almost perfect level, a little tight that allows them to stay in position, regardless if I pose the plane as climbing or diving stance. By no means is it anything close to loose.
Btw, I have to say it was a total surprise for me to accidentally find out that stablizers do move like what they do with F-14s (so does HM/Witty/JC/Century Wings offer the same). Whatís more pleasant to highlight is that you can barely see the gap between fuselage and stabilizer, while in the meantime they donít rub against each other when rotating. That means the workers/QC have done a terrific job in tackling one of the trouble that haunts CalW for years Ė paint scratch. Long before I bought Tomcatsky, I was warned that CalW is notorious for its thin paint that easily gets scratched or peeled. Once that happens, you are done coz the raw metal will be exposed and itís hard to fix. For my Tomcatskyís stabilizer, one side was too loose, and the other side is too tight and caused friction. You can imagine what happens at the friction area. Therefore, Iím really impressed that CalW nailed it. The same level of good job is also observed on the swing wings. Iíve seen other peopleís Su-24 with paints fallen off the swing area. Thatís because the wings are fixed too tight and too close with the fuselage/wing glove. While Iím satisfied with the level of tightness, one can never be certain if over time the entire structure becomes loose and results the wings pressing against the fuselage/wing glove. As this is my first Su-24 and possibly one of my top 3 favorite models by far, I will try not to change between different modes too frequently just in case.
Speaking of stabilizers, Iíve always wondered why none of the market players consider making moveable stablizers for F-15 and Flankers. Does it have something to do with mold? If so, how different is a F-15 mold vs a F-14 one? Itíll be really awesome if we can have that feature (and once thatís achieved, Iíd be asking them to add on slats and flaps (delicate ones not like Gaincorps).
4. Anhedral wings
I noticed Esvees shared in his review on Jan 5, 2019 that ďThe Swing wing is quite loose, making it easy to move, but it actually even droops slightly. Also, this leaves marks on where the wings meet the fuselage.Ē In fact, FortunateSon advised earlier in his review dated Dec 20, 2019 that - the anhedral on the model is correct. If that means what I think it means, then I believe the CalW has captured the shape really well. As a matter of fact, even before I got my hands onto the model, I noticed the drooping when watching YouTube videos. Originally I wondered if it was caused by heavy bomb load, but turns out in aeronautic terms, this is called Anhedral (thank you again DAC!) I suppose one reason why Sukhoi designed Su-24 with anhedral angle is due to its high mounted wing.
I honestly think this is a too small feature that most manufacturers will miss or donít care (I even doubt if half of Su-24 would pay attention to). Personally Iím quite impressed that CalW got this right. To me, having the anhedral angle in place is just like having the correct nose down angle of Su-27, a very aggressive and of course classic stance as many would put it.
Here is the Wikipedia capture:
Military fighter aircraft often have near zero or even anhedral angle reducing dihedral effect and hence reducing the stability of the spiral mode. This increases maneuverability which is desirable in fighter-type aircraft.
Anhedral angles are also seen on aircraft with a high mounted wing, such as the very large Antonov An-124 and Lockheed Galaxy cargo aircraft. In such designs, the high mounted wing is above the aircraft's center of gravity which confers extra dihedral effect due to the pendulum effect (also called the keel effect) and so additional dihedral angle is often not required. Such designs can have excessive dihedral effect and so be excessively stable in the spiral mode, so anhedral angle on the wing is added to cancel out some of the dihedral effect so that the aircraft can be more easily maneuvered.
Thatís all for today. Itís getting really late in HK and I need some sleep before I continue to share on both good and bad. Iíve been sitting in front of the computer for 4hrs to produce this review. Well, for someone whose mother tongue is not English, writing this review quite something. Itís my first review anyway. I have to constantly checked the model and confirmed my statement/judgment/prediction, as I want to be as objective as possible, despite that I canít help sharing the excitement with you folks on my new collection.
Stay tuned and stay safe!