by: Kevin Brant [ ]
Originally published on:
The AH-64D Apache attack helicopter has been in use by the British Army since 1998, being built by Westland Helicopters under license from Boeing. It should be known the British designation is Apache AH1. The AH1 was brought in to replace the Westland Lynx AH7, and the AH1 became operational in 2005 where it was then deployed to Afghanistan. As part of the 16 Air Assault Brigade in Afghanistan, the AH1 proved their value in support of ground troops in theatre.
A new kit from Academy represents the AH-64 Apache as it served with the British Army in Afghanistan.
4 Plastic Sprues
1 Clear Plastic Sprue
1 Decal Sheet
2 Instruction Sheets
The latest variant of the AH-64 Apache from Academy looks to be a nice kit. The kit is molded grey plastic, with most parts on the two main sprues. The molding looks to be very well done with crisp clean details, little to no flash, and no visible sink marks. The surface details are very well done, with very fine engraved panel lines, almost to fine in some spots. This may be an issue if you apply a thicker primer or paint coat, as some of these panel lines may disappear. The clear parts are also very well done, clear with no discoloration.
As the helicopter does have a rather large canopy, HAcademy has provided a decent looking cockpit, with raised details on the instrument panels. While there are no decals for the side panels or dial instruments, decals are provided for the screen displays. Also should be noted that there is no seatbelt details.
As for armaments, the kit contains eight Hellfire missiles and two rocket pods. Included in the kit is the conical end to match the British variants used on the Apache. The details look nice on both, with decala included for both, including the yellow stripes for the Hellfires.
The decal sheet is very well printed with crisp and clear markings. A lot of the markings are for stencil data, and they are small, so care will be needed with applying markings. Even being that small, I did find most of them readable. It should also be noted that it looks like every aircraft number is included on the sheet, which I found interesting. The decal sheet does include markings for the Apache that was flown by Prince Harry at the Cosford Airshow in 2013.
Two instruction sheets are include, one with the assembly, the second with the painting and markings. The instructions look to be very well laid out, and are easy to follow. Full assembly is done across 10 steps, and based on my build, goes relatively quickly for a 1/72 scale aircraft.
After reviewing the parts, and because they looked so good, I decided to go ahead with a quick build. Starting with the cockpit, assembly was easy and straight forward. After painting black, I did a quick dry brush with a dark grey, and then instead of using the decal for the screen displays, I applied a couple coats of transparent blue and green, which did look better then the decals provided. I also picked out a few other controls with some yellow, red and blue just to add to the look. With no seatbelt detaisl on the seats, I slice a few thin pieces of masking tape and applied.
With the cockpit done, I sandwiched it with the two fuselage parts, and overall the fit was good, just a little putty and sanding. The rest of the outer details, including wings all went on with no issues. Some of the parts are fine, but even then I found them a little bulky looking for 1/72 scale, especially the grab handles and windshield wipers.
While mounting the canopy, I did find getting it into place a little tight. As I first tried to dry fit it, it was very difficult to get off. Also I did find the canopy not a great overall fit, as there were some gaps towards the rear. I also had to do some clamping to ensure when the glue dried, it was where it was suppose to be. To fill the gaps due to the clear parts, I mixed Vallejo black with Vallejo putty so minimize being able to see through the clear canopy.
A nice touch I found in the kit from Academy was the main rotor was molded in one pieces, as oppose to separate in other helicopters I have built. This ensures the line up and makes assembly easy. The rear rotor was a multiple piece affair, but did line up and go together well.
Leaving off the armament, rear antenna, and wind shield wipers, I masked the canopy and started the paint process. The kit instructions call for a mix of 60% Olive Drab and 40% Black. I did look at a few images online and did find some British Apache's did look dark, so I went with a 70/30 mix, and still found it a little dark. And after some further research found it should be same color as the American Apache's, being Helo Olive Drab.
So with a coat of Future, I applied the decals. They went on well, but I did find a little silvering, but it was more likely caused by my quick application. And as noted before, there are a lot of little decal for stenciling. I did use the markings for Prince Harry's ride at Cosford.
A final coat of dull coat, removed the canopy masks, and then applied the finer parts left off. Overall I found it to be a nice build with little difficulty. Those with greater helicopter skills and patience should be able to turn this kit into a real masterpiece.
I found the this AH-64 Apache kit from Academy to be real nice. The kit has well molded details, and assembles very well. The minor issue of the canopy fit and lack of seat belt details are easy to resolve. Out of the box, the kit does build into a nice rendition of the British Army AH1 Apache. I would definitely recommend this kit.