by: Andy Brazier [ ]
The AH-64 Apache is a two seat attack helicopter powered by two GE T700 turbo-shaft engines, with high-mounted exhausts on either side of the rotor shaft. The crew sit in tandem, with the pilot sitting behind and above the copilot-gunner. The crew compartment is armored against 23mm gunfire fired from ZSU-23/4s. The helicopter is armed with a 30mm M230 chain gun that can be slaved to the gunner's helmet-mounted gun sight, fixed to a locked forward firing position, or controlled via the TADS (Target Acquisition and Designation System). The AH-64 carries a range of external stores on its stub-wing pylons, typically a mixture of AGM-114 Hellfire anti-tank missiles, Hydra 70 general-purpose unguided 70mm rockets, and AIM-92 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles for defence.
The kit is in the standard lidded box with each of the three sprue trees packed separately in its own cellophane wrapper. The clear canopy part also has a foam sheet wrapped around it to ensure extra protection. A lot of companies could learn from this simple yet effective way of protecting the clear parts during transit.
The two main sprues are moulded in light grey plastic, which hold 86 parts, have no flash present. Any pin marks seem to be in places that won't be seen.
Detail wise the cockpit looks a little sparse, with the seats not featuring any harness's, so making your own or adding some A.M ones would improve the kit. There is no detail on the side consoles and the instrument panels are pretty plain looking.
Detail is very good for the exterior of the helicopter with some nice recessed panel lines. The kit also has hundreds of recessed rivets which are incorrect as the real helo has raised rivets on its skin. These rivets are very shallow on the kit and will probably disappear under a couple of coats of paint.
The engine exhausts are nicely moulded with the engine exhausts screens moulded on the engine exhaust pylons.
The kit itself looks simplicity to build with the chain gun, engine exhausts, and undercarriage only requiring at the most 4 parts to build. The rotor assembly is broken down into 8 parts and should be revolvable once placed into position.
Weapons for the kit are 8 Hellfire missiles, 2 rocket pods and 4 A.A missiles in tubes which fit on the ends of the stub wings.
The instructions are printed on a A4 size sheet of paper, which has been folded in half. The front covers what tools will be needed and an explanation of the various symbols used during construction.
The main build sequence is printed in the normal black and white line drawing style, but there is no step number guide. The build sequence should be followed as though your reading a book.
The back page contains the parts diagram.
Painting and decals
Two versions are given, one for a U.S Army machine and one for an Israeli Air Force helicopter. Both Apaches are in olive drab, so neither are particularly colourful lol.
The U.S Apache is for a AH-64A 88-0202 Devil's Dance machine which has a shark-mouth motif on the front.
The Israeli machine is just given the number 941 and has a yellow "V" shape marking on the tail boom.
The decals look to be in register with little carrier film around the edges. Previous experience with Hobby Boss decals show they work well with decal solutions and conform well to raised and recessed details.