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Sukhoi Su-15TM Flagon F

by Ingo Degenhardt


Sukhoi Su-15TM Flagon F

images by Lutz Degenhardt

Trumpeter's 1/48 scale Su-15TM Flagon F is available online from Squadron.com




The Su-15TM (NATO-Code: Flagon-F) was the last version of this large single-seat interceptor fighter and it’s major production version. It appeared in 1973 with the IA-PVO (Interceptor/Air Defence Force) of the former USSR.

It featured the definitive wing construction of the series, improved Taifun Radar (TM = Taifun modifikatsiya), upgraded engines and armament – including two additional inner wing pylons.
The last production change took place in 1975, when the conical radome was replaced by one of ogival shape and it is this last version the Trumpeter Su-15TM represents.



Over 1500 aircraft of all versions were built when the production ended in the late seventies.



The first thing to do was the correction of the radome angle. The model’s radome is exactly in line with the fuselage while the real thing has a downward angle of 3,5 °. This was corrected according to the drawings found at www.victorymodels (see link below)

I used masking tape to mark the cutting lines on the fuselage halves.

Building the fuselage is straightforward with the cockpit tub sandwiched between the halves as usual, only some internal reinforcements of plastic sheet were used along the upper and lower fuselage seams as well as for the extra parts forming the areas for the cockpit and the front wheel well. The purpose for these parts is that they are simply replaced by different parts for other versions of the Su-15 (e.g. Two-Seater) This kind of construction leaves the modeller with quite a lot of seams on the complete fuselage. The fit of the parts is rather good, but not good enough to avoid some filling here and there. Some sanding and a good deal of rescribing were the result.

The reworked forward fuselage leaves very little attachment points for the large radome, so I cut out the base for the included Taifun Radar installation (Radome can be build open) and added some styrene strips to gain more adhesive surface and thus some more security. (What is worse than breaking of a big part like a radome during masking/painting?)

Attaching the wings as they fit best to the fuselage sides leaves them with a remarkable downward angle (Harrier-style). This seems rather incorrect according to photographs and drawings – so I glued them on with a much more horizontal appearance and only a little drooping left. This results in a large gap on the bottom joint of wings/fuselage that needs lots of filler.

The same goes for the flying horizontal tail – they droop too much when attached as they fit best, even though a certain downward angle of some degrees is correct here. It just has to be reduced a little.
Intakes and vertical tail fit with no problems as well as the rear section of the fuselage which I supported too with some styrene sheet inside the fuselage.

The aft fuselage surface is covered with a multitude of air intakes – the six smaller ones had to be drilled out as well as the gun pod barrels.

The left wing pitot tube is to be glued flush onto it’s wing-moulded base. I strengthened this joint by drilling out both tubes and inserting a short piece of thin wire. The pitot tube was then attached using cyanoacrylate.



This is my first Trumpeter kit and I am quite satisfied with it. There are a few unfortunately placed ejector marks on visible spots (e.g. inner main gear doors) that have to be filled but it is nothing serious.
All control surfaces are separate parts and can be glued on in any position. Very good also the extraordinary thin wing fences.

Trumpeter equips their Su-15 with missiles I (hopefully right) identified as two R-60 (AA-8 “Aphid”) and each two R-8R (AA-3 “Anab A”) and R-8TM (AA-3 “Anab D”). Of the Anabs, of course only two can be used, proposed as a mix. The two others are spares – though without boosters and cable ducts; as there are only two of each kind...

The boosters suffer from deep sinkholes and moulding seams that had to be filled and sanded.
Furthermore, there are two GSh-23 gun pods and two external fuel tanks. I used the twin gun pods for the fuselage stations.

The model was build mostly out of the box – only seat belts from lead foil and three small antennas on the underside of the fuselage right behind the radome were added.


Painting and Markings

This was the first time I used ALCLAD II for painting the biggest part of a whole model. I prepared the finished fuselage with a coat of Tamiya acrylic gloss black which was sanded with 1000 wet&dry to further smoothen the surface. Any plastic primer for acrylic paints could also be used. (As well as car primer) Unusual was the painting sequence as I had to paint the ALCLAD first because it would ruin all enamel-painted areas. Therefore I could not spray the radome first as usual. But it was masked off and (carefully) used as a handhold. ALCLAD II was sprayed on according to the detailed instructions provided with the paint bottles (or: www.alclad2.com)

It is already thinned down for airbrush use and is easy to spray; the colour used was Aluminium. Good preparation of the surface which is about to be painted is always important, but in case of ALCLAD it cannot be overdone. The finished coat of paint shows every tiny scratch, uneven spots of the base coat or insufficiently treated seams. I am quite satisfied with the result but next time I will care even more for a perfect surface to spray on.

The colour itself dries within minutes and gives a nice aluminium sheen.

As far as I know the Flagons were painted in a silver colour instead of being left in natural metal, so the Aluminium might be a little too much on the bright side, but as it is no highly polished, mirror-like metal sheen, I am satisfied with this surface. Only the rearmost part of the fuselage seems to be unpainted metal. This was painted next with Testor’s Exhaust buffing metalizer and then polished. It shows up a little darker than the aluminium.



Next the anti-glare and walkways on the front intakes were masked and painted with Humbrol Super enamel (flat black)

Except for the base coat these three steps of the painting were all done within one day – thanks to the extraordinary fast drying time of ALCLAD II. There were no problems with the removing of the masking tape (Tamiya) as ALCLAD sticks to the base colour very well an does not lift off at all with the masking tape.

Next step was masking the wheel wells and the recesses for the four airbrakes. As well as the cockpit, these were painted light blue. After that, the giant radome and the dielectric panels were masked and sprayed in XTRA-Color’s X628 (Eastern bloc wheel hub green), slightly lightened with X629 (Blue/Green interior, Soviet aircraft), a flat color and thus turning the gloss X628 into semi-gloss. Wheel hubs were sprayed with that mixture too.

According to the ‘Victory-models’ instructions about the radome changes, not the whole radome kit part was sprayed green – 3,5mm belong to the fuselage.

As usual with mot of my silver/NM aircraft, the Flagon did not receive any extensive weathering but only very few streaks from various covers, etc. made from pastel chalk powder. So the aircraft is shown in a rather new and pristine condition.


Trumpeter’s Su-15 contains the largest amount of decals I ever had to apply to a Soviet aircraft. They detach fast and easily from the paper but are prone to splitter into small pieces. This luckily happened only to some of the smaller stencils. The decals react only very reluctantly to Set & Sol and repeated treatments were necessary for the red stars until finally the panel lines underneath were visible again. The usual wrinkling does not occur at all.



This model was not intended for a final clear coat, but I did not dare to leave the decals without any protection, so I cut several patterns into a piece of paper, matching the used decal sizes – for the national insignia I cut out a star of the size of the decal. Then all decals received a light and low-pressure-sprayed coat of Testor’s “Sealer for metalizer”

Trumpeter offers decals for two versions of the Su-15, one camouflaged and one in silver – my choice.
“Red 17” is believed to be the aircraft flown by the hapless pilot that shot down Korean Air Lines Flight No. KAL 007 over Sachalin on September 1st , 1983, mistaking the B747 for a US spy plane.


Sources and Acknowledgements




Additional Images


Click on the thumbnails below to view larger images:

[file:///C:/Documents and Settings/Owner/My Documents/My Webs/features03/photogallery/photo31130/real.htm]

Images and Text Copyright © 2003 by Ingo and Lutz Degenhardt
Page Created 14 November, 2003
Last Updated 17 March, 2004

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