Academy 1/72 AH-64A Apache
Model, Text and Photos by: Mike O'Hare
Brent's been asking for reviews, so I thought I'd dig back into my vault this time to review some older builds. While my own abilities have improved since I built these, I've got a real soft spot for Academy's 1/72 Apaches and I'll take any opportunity I can to promote it. They're great little kits that are fun, and ridiculously easy to build. They also make the perfect introductory kit for youngsters, because they're dirt cheap, are difficult to muck up and a breeze to paint - almost everything is olive drab.
The parts come on two sprues of dark green plastic, containing all the main parts, with the canopy on a separate, clear sprue. Breakdown is very simple, with the basic fuselage consisting of left, right and bottom parts. Panel lines are nicely engraved, and align well across seam lines, while the kit gives you the option of IR Hellfire, rocket and stinger pods. The cockpit is on the basic side, though, and none of the assorted boxings can be built as a D, though you do get the mast mounted radar. The D has longer, larger sponsons, among other modifications, which the kit does not include, so it's an A-only.
Building the kit is very, very simple. Leaving thecockpit free-floating in the fuselage, rather than gluing it to one half, will ease fitting the cockpit. The canopy simply snaps down over the nose, without need for glue, if you're careful. Also, be careful adding the tailplane, as it's easy to get the alignment wrong. Otherwise, everything pretty much clicks into place, though you may want to detach the tail wheel for construction and painting, then re-attach it with a steel pin or wire during final assembly, as it doesn't stand up well to handling (you'll note I managed to knock one of mine off just before photographing the model, something I failed to notice until later).
My first Apache was built as an Israeli display helicopter, during the 50th anniversary celebrations, hence the unusual, one-of-everything loadouts. The Python 3 is scratchbuilt, as are the mounting brackets for both it and the stinger. I was unable to find definite references for either at the time of the build, but did come across some diagrams of a similar, proposed missile launch bracket, so I fudged it. Rotor tie downs are made from lead-foil strips and nylon thread, with decal RBF flags, snipped down to resemble flags that have been trimmed for a neater appearance. The model is finished in Model Master US Helo Drab.
The second Apache is finished in the test scheme of sand and pale green uppers, light ghost grey underneath, and assorted bits and pieces still in helo drab. There's a few photos of the scheme on-line and in assorted magazines, which allowed me to mask off a fairly accurate depiction of the scheme. The decals are a mix of spares-box, and kit, with some custom (many thanks to Mike Grant) - most notably the black circle behind the squadron emblem on the tail. This is missing in the kit decals, and though it's not very noticeable on the dark green scheme, it stands out like a sore thumb over the sand paint. All the photos of the helicopter in this scheme show it hauling training rounds of Hellfires, with dummy engines, and active seekers that have been covered over, and drop tanks. The Hellfires, though a pain to mask and paint, were available in the kit, but I was forced to scratchbuild the drop tanks. It's an attractive scheme, and the only Apache out there that's not overall Olive Drab.
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