Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Today’s the day in 1975 that an army’s best friend - or deadliest enemy - the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter, made its first flight. The two-seater totes a belly-mounted chaingun, with Hellfire missiles and rocket pods carried under stub wings either side of the fuselage. It’s an all-hours helo, with nose-mounted night-vision sensors that allow the crew to literally see in the dark. The present production model is the AH-64D Longbow, with a saucer-like fire-control radar mounted above the main rotor disc.

Model fans are spoilt for choice and scale, with kits ranging from 1:144 to 1:48, and from highly complex for the experienced modeller to snap-fit offerings for those with less time or skill (or patience!).

Among the simplest Apache kits is the Revell 1:100 Easy Kit, presented in an alarmingly bright yellow-and-black camo scheme, with quad-packs of garish blue missiles. Decorative these may be, but the kit is easy enough to put together, and just about makes the cut as a ‘model’. Attention with satin-coat spray and knocking back those vivid colours with careful weathering will work wonders for this little helicopter.

Up the size scale is Italeri’s fine 1:48 scale Longbow Apache. There’s not a lot to say about this one - the parts fit well, and it looks great when completed, scaling out to some 312 mm (12.3 in) long. I just love aircraft that have lots of bits-and-pieces sticking out - and the AH-64 is utterly satisfying in that regard. Even so, there’s room in future for an enterprising manufacturer to open up the interior with detailed compartments, control runs, equipment boxes and storage bays. And of course, a nice add-on pack of maintenance techs and their equipment. Incidentally, Italeri has some more 1:48 helo kits on offer - the heavyweight Chinook, for example, would make an excellent pairing with the Apache.

The pictures show, top to bottom:

1 Kuwaiti AH-64D.

2 Two of the SMN crew (Mat Irvine and Mr J) reflected in a nose sensor at the UK’s premier Farnborough Air Show.

3 Revell 1:100 scale Easy Kit.

4 Italeri AH-64D box art.

Visit Italeri’s 1:48 scale helicopter range here.

See a range of AH-64 kits on offer here.