My Review and Build of Hasegawa's 1/72 scale Kit #02066,
PLAN, J-15 Flying Shark
Latest Update: April 30, 2014 - What's in the box, cockipit, and intial air frame build
Introduction and What's in the Box - April 30, 2014,
The Chinese NAvy, or The People's Liberation Army Navy, simply referred to as the PLAN, has been rapidly imporving it's aircraft inventory over the last ten years. In addition to it's attack aircraft, it has developed strike and fighter aircraft for use in maritime patrol, strike, interdiction, and air defense for use all along its coasts, and now well out into the PAcifgic Ocean.
In 2011, with the launch of the PLAN's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, CV-16, the PLAN also began to intriduce its own naval strrike fighter.
The Chinese Air Force and NAvy had already made very strong use of the SU-27 Flanker design which they had 1st purchased from the Russians, and then license built, and finally redesigned and produced on their own. The latest variant of these aircraft at the time, was the J-11B aircraft which is an indegenous, updated model of the SU-27, with new AESA radar, significant use of composite materials, and a new glass cockpit and avionics. These aircraft were also built from the outset to make use of indegenous Chinese weapons systems for short to long range air to air engagements, guided missiles, anti-ship and surface missile, and iron bombs of all varieites. This allowe China not to have to rely on Russia for its armaments.
Earlier, the Chinese had also procurred a single protoype SU-33 aircraft from the Ukraine after the USSR dissolved. The SU-33 is the Russian naval strike fighter which is a naval development of the SU-27 made for carrier use. it just so happened that the carrier the Chinese launched and commissioned, was the sister ship of the Russian carrier, the Kuznetsov. Although the Chinese made many changes and improvements to the old VAryag, that the renamed the Liaoning, the basic STOBAR (Short-take-off but Assisted Recovery) configuration of the carrier had not changed. So, a fighter similar to the SU-33, but of indegenous Chinese design, made sence.
As a result of their study of the single SU-33 prototype thhjey had, and nbase don the significant improvements the Chinese had made to the SU-27 to produce the J-11B, the Chinese combined those two designs into a new aircraft called the J-15, Flying Shark.
The J-15 is a large, naval strike fighter. it benefits from the AESA radar, glass cockpit, and new avionics and CHinese weapons systems of the J-11B< while adding the arretor hook, folding wings and horizontal stabilizors, and forward mounted winglets of the SU-33..
The HCines eimmediately began using prototype J-15 aircraft to perfom flgiht testing and qualifications on the Liaoning. Five to six different prototypes were seen working off of the Liaoning, usually two at a time, through 2012 and 2013. Serial production aircraft began being produced in the econd half of 2013 and several of these aircraft have been seen flying at Chinese airfields and trianing facilities. The Lioaning went into a mainteance schedule in the spring of 2014 and it is expected that production aircraft will begin qualifying off her decks in late 2014 and forming her first official airwing in 2015.
J-15 Flying Shark Specifications:
Crew: 1 (Though a 2 seat model prototype has reportedly been seen.)
Wingspan: 48' 3"
Wingspan (folded): 24' 3"
Height: 19' 6"
Wing Area: 668 sq ft.
Empty weight: 38,600 lbs.
Loaded Weight: 60,000 lbs.
Max Take-off Weight: 72, 750 lbs.
Enginese: 2 x WS-10A afterburning turbofans
Dry Thrust: 2 x 20,500 lbf
Thrust w/afterburner: 2 x 33,000 lbf
MAx Speed: Mach 2.5
Range: 2,050 miles
Service Ceiling: 65,700 ft.
- 1 x refueling probe for air to air refueling
- 1 x Buddy Stores attach point for refueling other aircraft using Buddy Store and wing mounted fuel tanks
- 1 x Gsh-30-1 30mm cannon
- 8 x AAW MIssiles (PL-12, R-77), and
- 4 x AAW Missiles (PL-9, R-73), or
- 4 x Anti-surface (ship) missiles, or
- 4 x Anti-radiation (radar) missiles, or
- Combination of bombs and rockets
Hardpoints: 12 external hardpoints, four on each wing and four under the aircraft.
The J-15 is agile, has good range, and is capanble of carrying a wide variety of ordinance. From the carrier, using the ski-jump, it's full load is constrained by several thousand pounds, but even with the constraint, qualification pictures indicate that the aircraft will be able to launch from the carrier with 8-10 AAW missiles or up to 4 anti-shipping missiles. These aircraft, expected to form an airwing of up to 24 on the Chinese carrier, will represent a significant change in the naval warfare calculus of the Western Pcific. Particularly as it is clear that China intends to build as many as six carriers over the next 10-12 years.
The reaction has been that India, Australia, Korea, Japan, and the US are increasing their own naval air capabilities in the Western Pacific.
The Chinese Navy, PLAN's, J-15 is a realtively new aircraft.
Though there are models of the Russian SU-33 available, which can be built, painted, and configured like the J-15, the first 1/72 scale model of the actual aircraft, with the proper markings and decals, is the Hasegawa kit I am building here. Trumpeter has made an announcment that they will be introducing a kit either later in 2014 or 2015, and it looks like avery good kit too.
The Hasegawa kit is a retool of their SU-33 kit, with some Chinese additions to the frame, and with the new Chinese markings for either one fo two prototype aircraft, "554," or "555." But does not have the markings for the new production aircraft. However, the later two prototypes carry the same markings as the production aircraft except for their numbering so I intend to build this aircraft as production model 101 or 1092.
In addition, the Hasegawa model includes Russian weapons so I will procure some Chinese 1/72 scale weapons, either from a J-11 kit or other 1/72 scale Chinese kit in order to add the proper weapons load. I hope to include four air-to-air missiles, two PL-12s and two PL-9s, and two antishipping missiles for the aircraft. In addition, the Hasegawa model, though shoing the seams and panel line accurately, does not have any provision for the follde wings or horizontal stabilzors, or far any flap or aerilon adjustments. Apparently the Trumpeter model intends to have some of these options.
I intend to build the aircraft as it would appear, ready to launch off of the Liaoning at one of the launch stations, so flding the wings will not be an issue.
The Kit comes in a relatively large box with a very nice depiction of the J-15 in flight.
Inside you find that the main fuselage is in two pieces, and upper and lower piece., which icludes the wings. The nose is two seperate pieces, and each tail pipe is made up of two piecesa as well.
There are five sprues of plastic parts in light gray color, as well as a sprue of clear plasticv parts for thge canopy.
As is typical for Hasegawa models, there is very little flash or left over from the modling. There are numerous modling tabe that need to be trrimmed off of various parts, but they come away nicely. All in all there are 208 plastic parts.
The decal sheet is nice with a great dep[iction of the Flyring shark Logog, and the various markings around the aircraft, including the aircraft numbers for those two prototypes and the access panels and warning labels. They also have some excellent decals for the instrumentation in the cockpit. The cockpit itself is nicely adorned with a nice ejection seat, control stick, and cockpit area.
The instructions are well done, as it typical for Hasegawa, with intuitive diagrams, and a very nice painting scheme. it is not in glossy color, but it is very well done just the same.
I have several other 1/72 scale Chinese aircraft I have purchased to represent the most modern Chinese aircraft in addition to the J-15
- H-6F Badger Bomber by Trumpeter, I intend to modify oit to the latest "K" version.
- JH-7 Flying Leopard Attack Aircraft by Trumpeter.
- J-10S Vigorous Dragon Multi-role fighter by Trumpeter.
- Z-10 Fierce Thunderbolt Attack helicopter by Hobby Boss.
- J-11B Flanker Air Superiority Fighter by Trumpeter.
- J-15 Flying Shark, Naval Strrike Fighter by Hasegawa(this model).
- J-20 Mighty Dragon stealth fighter by Trumpeter.
Here are some pitcures before starting the build:
The Build - Drilling holes, the Cockpit, and Air Frame Assembly - April 30, 2014
The aircraft comes with a lot of the modling being the SU-33 aircraft by Hasegawa, re-released in this J-15 model. So the fist thing you do is drill the holes for the threes under each wing. Once this was completed, I then built the cockpit, which finishes out to be a decen assem;bly. I then built the jet exhausts and the vertical stabilizors, and placed the cockpit into the lower half of the fuselage.
Once this was completed and dried, it was time to glue the upper and lower fuselage tofgether. This went fairly fine, but there was some fit issues towards where the cockpit was installed and I had to trim a little to make oit fit (off of the back of the cockpit assembly where it would not be seen anyway)> It required a little extra tight rubber band and clamp usage towards the front to then get it to seat apporpriately...but it was no big deal.
I then added the vertical stabilizors, the horizontal stabilsors, the lower vetral fins, the forward winglets and then buit the intake assemblies for eeach side.
Once all of that dried, I added the intake assemblies and a couple of lower fairings. This produced the following as the model sits now:
Looking nice indeed.
SCHEDULE for Future Activities - April 30, 2014
- By May 3, 2014, complete the 1/72 scale PLAN J-15 Flying Shark naval fighter.
- By May 31, 2014, Complete the Russian Kuznetsov carrier.
- By Jul 31, 2014, Start the US Navy Amphibious Ready Group centered on the Gallery USS Wasp with an LHD, an LPD, a DDG, a SSN and two LCS.
- By Sep 31, 2014, Start the PLAN Amphibious Ready Group centered on the Trumpeter Type 071 LPD-999, with a FFG, and three DDGs.
- By Nov 31, 2014 Go back and start fleshing out the rest of the DDG and FFG escorts for each CSG and ARG group.
The completion of the PLAN Carrier group, centered on the already completed
The completion of the US Carrier Strike group, centered on the completed
The US ARG will include
The UK Group is (as shown) featuring the Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Illustrious as its centerp[iece until a 1/350 scale Queen Elizabeth carrier is released. When that happens, I will add that carrier to the group as its centerpiece. The Royal Navy CSG will also include two Airfix 1/350 scale Daring Class DDGs (one of which is already completed), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Type 23 HMS Duke class Frigates (one of which is already completed), and the Hobby Boss 1/350 scale HMS Astute SSN (which is also already completed) and Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Tragalgar SSN. One day, when a 1/350 scale HMS Ocean LPD come out, I will use tt to start building a Royal Navy ARG.
The French CSG is centered on Heller's 1/400 scale
The Japanese JMSDF group will be centered on Fujimi's very finely detailed, 1/350 scale Hyuga, DDH-181, which I own. It will be escorted by Trumpeter's 1/350 scale DDG-177, Atago, an AEGIS class DDG and the JMSDF, DDG-174, Kongo class (which I own), Trumpeters's 1/350 scale DDG-114 Susunami and DDG-111 (both of which are Takinami Class DDGs which I own), and by the 1/350 scale SS-503 Hakuryu (which I own), one of Japans new, very modern and capable AIP Diesel Electric submarines. As soon as a DDG-115 Akizuki in 1/350 scale is released, I will add it to this group. Should a 1/350 scale Osumi Class LPD be relased, I will buy two of those vessels and create a JMSDF ARG.
Then, finally it will be a complete Russian CSG (centered on Trumpeter's Kuznetsov which I own) the Russian Kirov Class nuclear battle cruiser (CGN), the Peter the Great, by Trumpeter (which I own), the Russian Slava Class cruiser, Varyag by Trumperter (which I own), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Udaloy DDGs (which I own), Hobby Boss's Akula II class SSN (which I own), and the new Yasen class Russian SSN (which I own), all in 1/350 scale. Some time in the more distant future when a 1/350 scale Russian version of the French Mistral class comes out (which is building in real life right now), I will add two of those and build a Russian ARG.
Recently I purchased Heller's 1/400 scale Foch, the Clemceau Class carrier that was sold to the Brazilians in 2000 and in 2002 was refitted and became the Brazilian CV, Sao Paulo, using steam catapaults. I will build the model as the Sao Paulo and thus start a Brazilian group, though the Type 22 DDGs and the FFGs the Brazilians use are not available at present. I have however purchased a set of 1/400 scale A-4 Skyhawks and S-3 Trackers to build a suitable airwing for the Sao Paulo.
Then, again, once the models are available, I'd like to build an Italian Carrier Strike Group centered on the Cavour and their Horizon DDGs, a Spanish Carrier Strike Group centered on the Juan Carlos and their F-100 AEGIS FFGs, and ultimatly an Australian Strike Group centered on the new Canberra Class LPD and the Hobart class AEGIS DDGs. If they ever build the models, an Indian Carrier Strike Group centered on either the Vikramaditya or their new ADS Carrier, the Vikrant, and their Kolkata class DDGs and Shivlak class FFGs would also be nice.
Years more worth of work!
You can see all of these actual carriers, read their histories and specifictions at my site:
...and most of their surface escorts at: