Trumpeter 1/72 Chinese JL-8/K-8 Karakorum
|PRICE:||$21.00 SRP ($15.70 from GreatModels )|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
AThe Hongdu JL-8 (or Nanchang JL-8), also known as the K-8 Karakorum, is a two-seat intermediate jet trainer and light attack aircraft built in joint-cooperation between the People's Republic of China (China Nanchang Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation) and Pakistan (Pakistan Aeronautical Complex). The contractor for this plane is the Hongdu Aviation Industry Corporation. Export versions are designated K-8 Karakorum, after the mountain range that separates China and Pakistan.
The aircraft has had considerable export success, mostly with African nations. Venezuela has placed an order and both Indonesia and the Philippines are considering purchases as well.
Let me start off by saying that I'm pleased to see that Trumpeter is producing kits of Chinese aircraft. This is an area in which there has not been much done and the Chinese aircraft industry is one of the more productive in the world.
The molding on this kit is very nicely done. No rivets as we have come to expect with some other kits and nicely engraved detailing as well. The kit is pretty simple as jets go. A nicely done cockpit with raised detailing on the instruments and side consoles. The bang seats are nicely done with molded in harness detail though if anyone did resin replacements, they'd look much better. Wheel wells are nicely molded as are the inside of the gear doors. Typical of many jet kits, the nose wheel is molded in with the nose gear for added strength. Not much to put under the wings and fuselage though there are two fuel tanks for the wings and a gun pod for the centerline. The clear bits are quite clear and so your interior work will be quite visible.
Instructions are well done with Gunze and generic references. No indication of nose weight is given though I'd put some in there to be sure. Markings are where you'll spend a lot of time. The full color decal and painting guide has three options. Two are Chinese planes with lots of red on a white fuselage. One is the demonstrator or perhaps the prototype as shown on the box art. The second is a more standard looking trainer. The third is a Pakistani plane that looks to be with their display team. While the major blue bits for the scheme are provided as decals, the equally difficult to paint red parts are not. One will also need to paint the anti-glare panels. Whichever scheme is chosen, the result will be a most colorful model. Decals look to be quite nice and are well printed. A look at photos on the internet of other nations' aircraft show that they are all vividly painted, so no easy schemes with this one.
A very nice and quite welcome kit of this important Chinese trainer. To be sure, the painting will be a challenge, but the final result will be well worth the efforts.
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