|KIT:||Kiddyland 1/48 AT-3A Tzu-Chiang|
|KIT #:||KC 5|
|DECALS:||One aircraft with many spares|
|NOTES:||A nice surprise|
The design of what is known to the Taiwanese Air Force as the Tsu Chiang was initiated by the Aero Industry Development Centre (AIDC) in 1975. The first military jet aircraft developed in Taiwan to enter series production, the first of two XAT-3 prototypes first flew on 16 September 1980. The RoCAF subsequently placed contracts for 60 production aircraft, the first being delivered on 6 February 1984 and the last in early 1990.
Of conventional construction, the AT-3A resembles the Spanish CASA 101 Aviojet, with low-set slab wings, mid-set tailplanes on a large unswept fin, and twin engines mounted within the centre fuselage, in the AT-3 these being Garrett TFE731-2-2Lís rated at 3,500lb thrust each.
The AT-3A is the basic trainer version, with provision for up to 6,000lb of ordinance on one centreline, four wing and two wingtip pylons for weapons training, and the AT-3B is a Close Air Support version fitted with an APG-66 radar in the nose.
This is a kit I have been after for some time, but itís not exactly one you see piled high on the shelves here in Australia! Thanks to the wonders of E-Bay I scored one fairly cheaply, and when it arrived I was pleasantly surprised at what I found inside the box. The only other Kiddyland kit I have is a 1/48 F-111E, a copy of the old Monogram kit (even has the Monogram logo still on the flaps!), so letís just say my expectations werenít that high!
Inside the overly large box are six sprues contained within two separate bags, the clear sprue which is unbagged and two decal sheets.
The parts are moulded in dark grey, and exhibit some subtle engraved details, in some areas so subtle they fade away! The overall effect is very nice though, reminiscent of MPM and other Eastern European manufacturers. The wheel wells are particularly nice; unfortunately my camera skills arenít up to the same standard! There are two identical weapons sprues, with a nice assortment of rockets, LGBís, Mavericks, Sidewinders and SUU-20 practice bomblet dispensers. Some parts had come away from the sprues, but they remained secure in the bags and there was no damage.
The clear parts are nicely clear, a few small scuff marks from being lose in the box but a dip in Future should sort this right out.
The decals were the biggest surprise Ė one massive sheet with what appears to be enough decals to do any and all of the AT-3ís in service with the RoCAF, including the colourful red, white and blue birds of their display team. Some have cracked, and there was some yellowing, but as this was an E-Bay win this may be due to the way the kit was stored previously. Also included is a smaller sheet with markings for RoCAF F-16ís, IDFís and Mirage 2000ís as well as AT-3ís, now THAT will come in very handy!
There is also a single colour sheet with a four-view of the kit built as AT-3A 77-6052/0852, very handy for the camo scheme, decal placement and other details such as weapon load-out.
All in all Iím very happy with this purchase, itís a great looking kit of a rare bird both in model form and real life, and all those decal options just round off the package nicely. I think the biggest challenge will be deciding which of those lovely weapons to load it out with Ė like a little A-10!
The Encyclopaedia Of World Military Aircraft, Aerospace Publishing Ltd 2000.
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