Tamiya – 1/72 Hughes AH-64 Apache

box cover

 

I actually bought this kit quite sometime ago in 2010 but didn’t actually get around to finishing it as I don’t have the right paints to adorn it with. Then, there’s the time factor – one Saturday could be spent entirely on such things and before you knew it, the weekend is over. 

I’ve always loved the AH-64 attack helicopter for its fearsome design and its prominent appearance in one of my favourite video games, Urban Strike (for the Sega Megadrive) – so I didn’t pass up the chance to pick up this kit from Tamiya Underground for about RM50 or so (I know that there are some hobby sites which sells this item for much cheaper but when you factor in the courier cost + credit card charges, you’d be better off buying some stuff locally). Note that this model doesn’t incorporate the Longbow Radar (i.e. the mushroom-shaped dome at the top of the main rotors). In this kit, you’d get three sprues – two black plastic parts (i.e. A and B) and one clear plastic part (part C). Decals have been included for additional detailing.

I’ve read somewhere on the ‘net that most (or is it all?) of the Tamiya 1/72 War Bird Collection kits are actually Italieri models reboxed under the Tamiya label especially for the Japanese market (hence the completely Japanese instructions booklet and whatnot). The box cover itself proudly proclaims that the plastic kit, parts and decals were made in Italy whereas ‘other items’ were made in Japan (whatever these are). Regardless of its place of origin, this kit is well-designed and its detailing appears solid. If you could research on the War Bird series further, there are some major gripes on some releases in this Collection especially with some accuracy issues but I won’t delve into that for this review. 

My attempt at the famous attack chopper is documented as follows-

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(the box is slightly dented in the middle, hence the disproportionate pose)

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I’ve gone thru the diagram in anticipation for painting and decided to base-coat it from a spray can with Tamiya’s Olive Green acrylic paint as its first coat. Painting over the clear plastic cockpit was a slight challenge – the borders were not well-marked in some areas and oftentimes have had to rely on the box art for guidance. Still, with the help of a character-detailing brush from Wargames (and a steady hand), the task proved easier in the end. In hindsight, though, it would have been more appropriate to paint the cockpit details from the inside but I reckoned that it won’t be that easy to clean up any mistakes within the congested space. The obvious drawback from painting on the outside is that the paint may get chipped off in the future from some freak incident. As for the other parts, I painted the missiles first before fusing them together whereas the M203 chaingun was given a coat of Vallejo’s Gunmetal Gray mixed with some ordinary black. Everything in this kit (except the fin and cockpit which were snapped on without any cement) was superglued together as the plastic cement hardly fuses anything together after base-coating. The black accessory panel within the cockpit was given a dab of plastic cement which did not fog up the clear plastic as superglue ordinarily would. 

I think that this kit could probably benefit further from some weathering effects; maybe some glazing and affixing the decals soon after. Essentially, this is not the finished product yet. I might build another version with the Longbow radar sometime if I do come across the right kit. By then, I hope to replicate the awesome Israeli ‘Saraf’ and its kickass camo scheme.

Overall, this kit is a solid build. It’s not the simplest kit that I’ve built but it was nonetheless, an enjoyable process.

The War Bird series also offers some other excellent models within its range at a rather attractive price and I’m looking up the Mangusta, Hind and Macchi Folgore for future builds. I’d probably give this weekend a break from modelling, though and hit the gym again after a two-week hiatus. 

  

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