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AH-64A Apache

by Albert Moore
 

AH-64A Apache

 


Hasegawa's 1/48 scale AH-64A Apache is available online from Squadron.com

 

Introduction

 

Without a doubt, the McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing) AH-64 Apache has proven its self to be one the most lethal helicopters in service today. Flying with the United States Army since the mid 1980ís, the Apache also serves in Israel, Greece, Egypt, Denmark, and recently Singapore. Westland is producing the Longbow Apache (under license from Boeing) for the British Army.

The U.S. Army upgraded to the AH-64D Longbow Apache, with its distinct rotor mounted fire control radar, improved avionics, and asymmetrical enlarged sponsons in 1998, extending the Apacheís service life well into the 21st century.

 

 

Hasegawa's 1/48 Scale Apache

 

Hot on the heels of the recently released Longbow Apache, Hasegawa has issued the AH-64A Apache in 1/48 scale.

The kit contains 278 parts, and is molded in medium gray styrene. The fuselage is well molded, has recessed panel lines and raised rivets. One feature unique to both kits is they contain vinyl grommets that you insert into the main rotor mount, tail rotor, chain gun mount and the TADS Targeting assembly. This allows the rotors and chain gun to be mounted after painting, and removal for transportation to shows and contests.

 

 

The clear parts for the canopy are packaged separately and are distortion free. Also included on the clear sprue are the lenses for the navigation lights, the ALQ-144 IR Jammer, and seeker heads for the Hellfire missiles.

 

 

Construction

 

Assembly starts with the cockpit and main rotor mount. The cockpit is well molded and features four separate side consoles, each containing raised knobs, switches, and buttons. The instrument panels have raised details as well, which make painting and detailing a breeze. Prior to painting, the main cockpit assembly and other interior tidbits were mounted on toothpicks using good oleí blue fun tack to hold them in place.

All interior parts were painted Model Master interior black with 20% white added for scale effect. I also painted the Hellfire missiles and the rotor blades as these are also black.

While the interior parts were drying, the main rotor mount was assembled and painted Model Master FS 34031 Army Helo Drab. The instrument panels and side consoles were detail painted with medium gray for the knobs, silver for the switches, and light gray for the buttons. The instrument panels were drybrushed with white, then future floor wax was added to simulate glass over the gauges. I took the black and again, added white to lighten it, then drybrushed over the entire cockpit to add some depth.

 

 

With the detail painting complete, the rudder pedals were installed and painted, the collective and cyclic controls added, and the instrument panels glued in place. The seats were painted and added to the cockpit as well. One criticism I have is the seats are devoid of texture and are missing the lap belts.

After the instrument shrouds were installed, it was time to glue the main rotor mount and cockpit into the right fuselage half. Make sure the rotor mount is level and the vinyl grommet for the tail rotor is in place before joining the fuselage halves. The fuselage was assembled and the seam sanded out then polished with a 3-way nail buffer. Take care when sanding the seam on the bottom so you donít lose a lot of the raised rivets.

It is imperative the landing gear are attached prior to installing the sponsons and bottom fuselage plate, as this allows you make sure the struts are level and the model sits right. The wings were added next, followed by the sponsons, and the bottom fuselage plate. As is the case with the tail rotor, a vinyl grommet was installed for the chain gun mount prior to gluing the bottom plate to the fuselage. The engines were put together, then glued to the fuselage.

The stabilator, tail wheel, and TADS system were assembled and installed. Speaking of the TADS, I tinted the targeting lenses with pearl powders to simulate the violet refective coating found on most modern optics. With the fuselage complete, I turned my attention to the canopy.

The canopy was masked off with bare metal foil, painted black first (interior color), then Army Helo Drab. I added as many of the exterior parts that were possible (grab handles, various bumps and lumps, etc.) then it was time to hit the paint booth.

 

 

Paint and Markings

 

Like most U.S. Army helicopters, the Apache is finished in FS 34031, a dark greenish-grey drab color. Designed to make the Apache hard to locate in low lighting conditions, it has some radar absorbing properties as well.

Model Master Army Helo Drab was applied straight from the jar for a base coat. After a day of drying, I applied more Army Helo Drab, but with white added for highlight. I sprayed the leading edges of the wings and forward facing surfaces, as well as the top of the helicopter and in between the rows of rivets. The result was a worn, faded, but not abused finish. After the paint dried, it was time to prepare the model for decal application.

 

 

Two to three coats of Future floor wax were sprayed on the model, then allowed to dry. While the gloss coat was drying, I detail painted the rotors and 30mm chain gun. The decals are well printed, and respond to setting solutions. I like using the Micro-Scale system as these setting solutions arenít as harsh as other solvents, but are still effective. I used black decal film to simulate the non-skid material on the walkways.

The decals were also applied to the missles and FFAR pods. I used a dark thinner wash to accentuate the panel lines and various vents. After going over the decals to make sure they had comformed to the model,

I sprayed several thin coats of Testors Acryl Dull coat to produce a smooth, flat finish. The blast shield, canopy, and navigation lights were added with Micro Krystal Kleer thinned with a little water. The rotors were installed, the FFAR pods and missile racks were hung on the stub wings and with that, the model was completed.

 

 

Conclusion

 

The Apache is a machine only its mother could love and Hasegawa has done an outstanding job capturing its ungainly lines.

This kit is hands down the best 1/48 scale Apache on the market, though the MSRP of $38.00 dollars may put some modelers off. The price is justified though as this kit is well engineered, has excellent detail, and builds into a fine replica.

The parts count and small pieces may give beginners some trouble, but experienced builders will have no problems adding the premiere attack helicopter of the world to their modern aviation collection.

 

 

Additional Images

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


Model, Images and Text Copyright © 2002 by Albert Moore
Page Created 20 October, 2002
Last Updated 04 June, 2007

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