Dragon 1/144 WZ-10 Attack Helicopter

KIT #: 4632
PRICE: $12.00 SRP
DECALS: Three Options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: New tool kit


WZ-10 (WZ, 武直 = Wuzhuang Zhishengji, 武装直升机, literally "Armed Helicopter") is an attack helicopter developed by the People's Republic of China. It is designed primarily for anti-tank missions but is believed to have a secondary air-to-air capability as well. It is being built by Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC).

In 2000, the Chinese again attempted to obtain a Russian attack helicopter, but the deal for the Kamov Ka-50 fell apart just as the Mil Mi-28 deal several years earlier. The repeated failures in obtaining foreign attack helicopters reinforced feelings that China had no choice but to ignore foreign options and develop its own such aircraft and work on the WZ-10 accelerated. In the same year, HAMC transferred most of its production responsibilities to CAIC of AVIC II. The official reason given was excessive workload; HAMC was busy producing the HC120 and Harbin Z-9, as well as other fixed-wing aircraft such as the Harbin Y-12, and thus was stretched to the limit. However, many speculated that HAMC was not performing well enough due to rigid and ineffective Soviet-style management practices, believed to have caused the company to go into debt.

Although HAMC was in the process of reform, which finally succeeded, the government and military were weary and impatient. The SH-5 factory had become very profitable after its successful restructuring and reform, but it had to get out of the aircraft manufacturing business for good, manufacturing pressurized tanks and other specialized containers. It was decided that the WZ-10 program was too important to be run by HAMC, so a more stable contractor was sought and CAIC was selected. HAMC still retained responsibility for production of certain sub-systems and components, for which it could utilize experience gained from manufacturing parts for foreign helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft such as the Embraer ERJ 145 family.

In May 2002, the WZ-10 tail rotor and some other components were tested on the ground by the 602nd Research Institute. In April 2003, a WZ-10 prototype completed its maiden flight at Lumeng (吕蒙) airfield, the airfield having been assigned to CAIC for such use. According to Chinese sources, the initial test flights were concluded on December 17, 2003, whereas according to other sources they were completed nine month earlier in March 2003. According to Jane's Information Group, a total of 3 prototypes had completed over 400 hours of test flights by this time. By 2004 3 more prototypes were built, for a total of 6, and a second stage of test flights were concluded on December 15, 2004. In one of the test flights the future commander-in-chief of the People's Liberation Army Ground Force Air Force (PLAGAF), Song Xiangsheng (宋湘生), was on board the prototype. A third stage of intensive test flights followed, taking place during both day and night. By January 2006 weaponry and sensor tests, including firing of live ammunition, were taking place.

Prototypes and a small number of pre-production aircraft are in service with the Chinese military for evaluation. The design is undergoing continuous minor modification and upgrade based on the feedback.

Unlike many of Dragon's 1/144 kits, this one comes with a single subject. Molded on one opaque and one clear sprue, the kit is very nicely molded, with a goodly percentage of the parts being devoted to the weapons.

There is no interior, yet the canopy pieces are quite clear so you will need to paint the interior black. The aircraft's stub wings and stabs slot into openings in the fuselage. Landing gear are well molded and look properly sturdy. The six-bladed rotor is well molded with separate blades and a nicely done rotor hub done in two parts that sandwich the blades between them. A four blade tail rotor is provided.

As mentioned, there are quite a few parts to make up the weapons. As with the Apace and its anti-tank missiles, the WZ-10 has a similar arrangement and these eight missiles with launchers make up the outer stub wing stations. Missiles are separate from the launchers. For the inboard station is a standard rocket launcher. In the nose is FLIR sensor and nose machine gun/cannon.

All this is to be painted black aside from the weapons on the stub wings. The upper canopy sections are shown as tinted green. Instructions are on the back of the box along with the painting guide using Gunze and Model Master paint references. The small decal sheet contains three different serial numbers, otherwise all options are identical.


1/144 fans will be sure to want to add this one to their list of kits to go into their collection. It is a neat looking new helo and Chinese stuff is rare enough that you will want to pick this one up.



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