Hasegawa 1/48 AH-64D


Pt 23




One aircraft


Scott Van Aken




The Hughes/McDonnell-Douglas/Boeing AH-64 was chosen as the US Army's advanced attack helicopter to replace its venerable Vietnam-era AH-1 Huey Cobras. It was felt that a large, sophisticated, twin-engined chopper was more to what the Army needed than the smaller, lighter, and less sophisticated Cobras. Interestingly, the USMC has continued to use updated Cobras as its helo gunship of choice, preferring the smaller helo as being more able to survive in combat.

Much of the Corps faith in the Cobra was shown during Desert Storm when the AH-1s were able to deal with the sandy conditions better than the Army's more complex helo. Despite the problems that the Apache has had over the years, it has proven itself to be a very capable platform, doing all that the Army could want from it. Such has been the success of the Apache that it has been exported to a number of foreign military forces.

The latest and greatest Apache is the radar-equipped AH-64D that is the current production model. This has even more advanced sensors including a mast-mounted radar set that can peer over the tops of obstacles without putting the rest of the chopper in harm's way. The benefit of this fire control radar is that it can track and target objectives, then when ready, the helo pops up, fires off its weapons and then ducks back down behind cover. Like its earlier AH-64A variant, the Longbow carries a variety of weapons from Hellfire missiles to conventional rocket pods to Sidewinder self-defense missile.



Hasegawa has taken a big chance doing this kit. Several reasons. First of all, other than doing a decal change, there isn't much in the way of alternate variants that can be done with this model. Secondly, it is a helicopter, a type of kit that generally does not do that well on the market. However, Hasegawa never does things small and despite not having released a new helo kit in probably 15 years (the 1/72 Mi-24 Hind series), this new kit is all that one would expect from the world's premier model plane company.

This is not a kit for those who like quick builds or minimal parts. There are 296 pieces to this kit, many of them small. If you equate detail to the number of parts then this one is probably the most detailed helo kits every made. The cockpit alone consists of  nearly 30 parts excluding the two four part crew members. Not only is the detail on the instrument panels and side consoles raised and very good, but you also get decals to place over them should you wish.

Hasegawa's Apache also brings back two things I haven't seen in a new kit in a long time. The first is rivets. The AH-64 is not a supersonic aircraft so flush rivet construction is not a consideration. Secondly is flash. I found that a number of parts had flash on them. Not a lot, but enough so that you'll have to be a bit more diligent in cleaning up the parts prior to construction.

The detailing in the rotor head is superb from this reviewer's point of view. There are enough of the little push rods and other articulating 'thingies' to make it look quite complex. Same for the tail rotor. The gatling gun and sensor pods are also very well detailed. Same for the landing gear, which includes flattened tires. You can pose the canopy hatches open if  you so desire. The kit includes a full suite of Hellfire missiles and a pair of rocket pods to place on the weapons pylons. On the fuselage are flare chutes and radar warning antennas. About the only thing that is not included are the 'disco lights' IR jammer pods.

The decal sheet (not shown) includes markings for a single helo. Unfortunately, there are no unit markings of any kind, though there are enough serial numbers available to do just about any AH-64D built. The decals look pretty good, though how they will stick to the lumpy and bumpy surface of the model one will just have to wait and see. Apparently the color of the AH-64 is darker than the normal Olive Drab as Hasegawa asks you to mix in 30% black to the normal Gunze paint.



Well, it is a superb looking model with oodles of detail. The high parts count is what makes this such an expensive model. It will be interesting to see how the rotor heads accept this kit. It really is impressive and one that I know will be a challenging build. I can see a number of Monogram 1/48 Apaches headed for the sale table or eBay! Stay tuned!

Review kit courtesy of Marco Polo Importers. Thanks for your support.

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