AA 1/48 F-8IIM






One version: generic PLAAF


Scott Van Aken






The Shenyang F-8 and J-8 is basically a very scaled up MiG-21.It bears a striking resemblance to the MiG Ye-162A 'Flipper'. First flight ofthe J-8 was made in July 1968, but was plagued with problems and never put intoproduction. An all weather version, the J-8I was equally unsuccessful, but didlead to the J-8II. This aircraft first flew in 1984 and is much improved. Italso relies on previous Soviet technology, incorporating features from theMiG-19 and MiG-23 as well as the MiG-21. The J-8II only has 30% commonality withthe previous J-8I, as so much needed to be changed. While there has been a smallproduction batch of J-8II's, it is not known for sure if they are in widespreadservice with the PLAAF.

The F-8II is simply an export version of the J-8II. Much Westerntechnology has been incorporated into the cockpit and avionics of the aircraftto make it more appealing to foreign buyers. Following the 1989 Tianamen Squareincident, the project was put on hold as many of the Chinese engineers wereremoved from the project. The purchase of Su-27 Flankers from Russia may wellhave spelt the death knell for what is now basically an 'F-4 generation'aircraft. However, like the F-7 (an incredibly updated MiG-21F from 1960), it isquite possible that this aircraft may yet prove to be just what the Chineseneed.

If anyone has any recent information, including photos for thisaircraft, I would be very pleased to hear from you.


   Typical of those kits built in the PRC, this one comes in avery sturdy cardboard box. There is a good painting of a prototype ordemonstrator on the box top as well as the side panels. One photo of thisaircraft is also included. Once you struggle with opening the box, you areconfronted by a number of bagged sprues of grey plastic. One bag has thetransparencies and the decal sheet in it. This kit even includes a stand,something I haven't seen in a long time in a kit. There is even a tube of glueincluded in the box, but it does not seem to be anywhere near enough to cementtogether all the parts that are included. The texture of the parts is somewhat'pebbly', like some of the KP, OEZ, and SMER 1/48 kits.

Another bag includes the fuselage section (which was too large to fitentirely on the bed of my scanner). Also on this sprue are the interior, arather odd looking seat, landing gear struts, wheels and other bits. The backside of all the parts have rather large holes and in some cases pegs created bythe ejector pins. This includes the wheels and struts, so some work will beneeded here. This is true of all the parts, with the exception of the singlepiece horizontal stabilizers and the underfuselage stabilizing fin. The wingsand tail parts are on the next two sprues, both of these sprues are in onebag. 

After test fitting the fuselageand a few other pieces, I can tell you that the fit is quite good. The largelocator pins do a good job and things are not misaligned. The panel lines runproperly from one side of a part to the other with no or very little alignmentproblems as you can see in the accompanying image of the underside of thefuselage.

The next two bags contain identical sprues. This one included a plethora ofunderwing ordnance and various racks. There are rocket pods, regular bombs,three varieties of missile and drop tanks. One should have no problem equippingthis aircraft for just about any scenario that one would wish.

Detailing on the kit is very good indeed. All of it is engraved and to a veryhigh standard. As you can see from the image, it has been masterfully done.Equally up to the standards of the day. One does need to be aware that some ofthe sprue attachment points are not perfect and some care will be needed whenremoving the parts. I have not tried to test fit any parts so fit is unknown.The locator pins and holes are very large and it is a credit to AA that thereare not a huge number of sink marks on the kit, though I did find a few very small ones.

Probably the biggest downfall of this kit is the instruction sheet. While itdoes give an 11 step pictorial construction sequence, there is absolutely noindication of colors for various parts. There is also no firm indication ofwhere the various weapons loads should fit, a problem also with some of thesmaller parts, nor is there any decal placement diagram. Since there is reallyvery little information available on this aircraft, painting it will be a realchallenge. There is some hope that an aftermarket decal sheet could becomeavailable, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for it.

As with the Trumpeter kit, my overall impression (sans the instructionsheet), is very positive. It looks like it will be a super kit to build. Onething is true, it will be quite large and equally as impressive. I can only hopethat the other kits from AA are as well done and come with better instructionsheets.



Encyclopedia of World Military Aircraft, edited by JohnLake, 1994, Airtime Publishing

Review copy courtesy of me and my wallet!! If any of youmanufacturers or shop owners want to send products for review and building,please contact me.