|NOTES:||Converted from FBC-1 to production standards.|
This relatively large fighter bomber was designed around Rolls Royce Spey Mk.202 engines, which were at that time (early-mid eighties) still powering the British F-4 Phantoms. The first batches were built around Rolls Royce built examples, but later Chinese license-built WS-9 turbines were installed. The first deliveries to the PLAAF were in the early 1990’s and were primarily test and evaluation pre-production types. The in-service designation JH-7 (JH stands for Jian-Hong, or fighter bomber) was assigned and production examples were being delivered in 2004 to the Chinese Air Force. The JH-7A is an improved model which is lighter and better equipped in terms of avionics. It is able to carry around 9000kg of ordinance and is equipped with a terrain following radar and data communications system. Even though the PLAAF now has much more capable aircraft, the JH-7A is still in service and there are rumours of a stealth version of it being developed, the JH-7B, but no hard evidence of it yet.
The afterburner cans in the kit are nowhere near those of the Spey engines. So I ordered a resin set from Aires intended for the Fujimi British Phantoms. When they arrived, I decided that I keep these for the Fujimi F-4K and use that kit’s plastic parts for this one. The area around the nozzles need a lot of correction, and was built up from plastic parts and milliput while maintaining the right mounting diameter for the Fujimi nozzles. After several sessions, the rear part was ready and it was off to another problematic part, the fin. The supplied part is too narrow in chord, and also has incorrect leading edge angles. I split the fin halves so that I could still use the leading and trailing edges, and enlarged the middle section with thick plastic, again using the enlarged photo as reference. Filler and sanding finished it off, and then some rescribing of panel lines was performed. The parachute housing was also lowered a little bit as it was too high. There are soom electronic sensors, probably RWR aerial on top of the fin and these were made from plastic rods. The single ventral fin in the kit was not used, instead the twin fins were made from plastic card.
The main wings are not that bad and seem to be quite reasonable in their outline. As I mentioned earlier, they have the fences which were removed on production JH-7, so I removed them from the kit’s parts. I rescribed some detail and also added a few more on the top of the wings according to some photos. The scribing is not 100% correct, but I am more after the shape of the aircraft when I built my kits than the correct placement of panels. I fixed these to the main body and attached the flaps at deflected position but the ailerons in the neutral position. The tailplanes are also close to the real ones, but the attachment point is too high so I cut them with a new blade and after smoothing out their previous positions, fixed them at a lower level. I also sanded smooth the panel next to what seems an outlet from the engines which on the real aircraft seems to be a bare metal sheet riveted to the airframe. Trumpeter moulded it as a raised detail, but obviously it is overscale. I added some detail in the undercarriage bays from Evergreen sections to resemble the reinforcements in this area, as they are just plain boxes in the kit. I used the supplied undercarriage parts, but they look very weak (and they are as I broke one of them several times) and are nowhere near the robust real ones, but replacing them seemed too much hassle. The undercarriage layout in reminiscent of the Mirage F.1 and Jaguar, but obviously much larger, as this aircraft is huge when compared to the former two. The wheels in the kit are quite close, and both the main and front ones have a hole right trough to pass the “shafts” on the gear legs. After looking at photos of the real aircraft wheels, I decided to blank the outer side of the holes with white glue and left them to dry facing upwards to get a concave shape similar to the real ones. I cut off some of the lengths of the shafts so not to break off the blanked outer sides when gluing them in. The wheels were painted in aluminum and the undercarriage bays in RLM66 which seemed to match the photos available on the internet.
Another modification was carried out on one of the fuel tanks. As supplied with the kit, the three tanks are incorrect in both shape and dimensions. I added plastic card and milliput again matching it up with the enlarged photos. I decide to modify just one and place it on the centre pylon, and use the larger missiles (which are the anti-shipping ones) on the inner wing pylons, and the AA missiles on the wingtip rails.
I added a small strip of Evergreen on the rear side of the auxiliary intakes to make them square, and provide the intake with a step all round as the doors push inwards while deflecting for opening.
The last modification was the windscreen. I made a former from plastic and more milliput and thermoformed the one piece windscreen on it. The rest of the clear parts were appropriate and I used these. However I think that the whole canopy is a little on the larger side in height, but I can live with it as it is. After fixing the canopy in place with white glue, I wasn’t convinced with the shape of the nose both the upper and lower contours, and I added more filler on top and sanded both sides to get a better looking front fuselage.
|COLORS AND MARKINGS|
There really is no choice for a colour scheme
for this aircraft. All in service aircraft are all over grey finish with a black
nose cone and anti-glare panel. There are some that had a green nose cone, but I
think that these were all pre production examples and in fact they have a single
ventral fin and fences on the wings, so it’s not an option for a JH-7. After a
light coat of grey to check for imperfections in the filled up areas and several
corrections afterwards, I pre-shaded the whole model and then applied
Other online references.
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