This is the Apache Longbow as I'm sure you are all well aware, this version is the AH-64 D. This is a more recent model of the famous attack chopper incorporating advanced radar and targeting systems. There are very few obvious differences between this and the earlier Apache's on the surface, till you look into the technologies that is, then the AH-64 D is far far superior. In terms of visual differences the large radar is noticeable, as are the left side panels down from the cockpit. The main cannon is also an upgraded version. I also chose to add the stinger missiles to the wing tips for this model.
This is my second attempt at an Apache as my first one didn't survive 3 house moves in quick succession! To be honest though I thought I could do a better job on another one as I encountered problems with Humbrol products on my first couple of builds.
I was delighted when I came across this kit on Ebay, It is a recent 1/35 scale kit from a manufacturer called Hapdong! Never heard of them! But what could not be to love about a new large scale helicopter? Well let me tell you, and this might take a while...
I was initially impressed when I first opened the box, Nicely molded thin grey plastic, rubber tyres, glass tips for the hellfire missiles. Even a tube of glue free in the box, some nice touches! The only disappointment on first inspection was the closed canopy. Then I started building it...
The first thing you should do if you attempt this kit is throw away the instructions. They are in Chinese, terribly inaccurately drawn, don't make sense, miss parts out and just do not work in general. There isn't a single part of the main fuselage that fits together properly! There were either HUGE gaps or I had to start cutting, drilling and filling to get parts to fit. The wings didn't fit into the body, the missile rails just dropped back out with no connecting plastic to glue and the canopy didn't fit properly.
Just when I thought I had won with the help of Perfect Plastic Putty ( mini review- it is awesome! Water soluble so no need for sanding, with a small nozzle applicator. Amazing! Try it! ) I then applied the decals. I used a quarter of a bottle of micro sol trying to get them to stick but they were immune. After the bombs fall there will be cockroaches and Hapdong decals remaining!
By this point I had gave up, so those of you with a keen eye will notice that this chopper is US Marines! I don't even think they have Apache's but by this point I had honestly lost interest on this build and used some decals from my spares box! Then the final upset was when I realized that I needed to remove an inch from the undercarriage, literally an inch! It looked like it was on stilts!
On a lighter note, I added some extra detail to the armament using Eduard PE and scratch built the wind speed gauges on the sides of the engines, and the radio aerial on the tail is crafted from guitar string. I added some PE seat belts which unfortunately can't really be seen in the closed cockpit. I got quite a good results on the rotors by dipping them briefly into boiling water. My first attempt using an industrial pressure steamer oven wasn't quite as successful, lucky it was only a test on the sprues.
In all, this has been the most difficult kit I have built! A challenge was soon replaced with sheer frustration. For anyone wanting to model a large scale Apache, I would recommend the old Revell 1/32 kit, there are still some knocking around on Ebay. and there is a excellent Verlinden detail up resin conversion kit available.