Trumpeter 1/72 Nanchang Q-5C

KIT #: 01685
PRICE: $35.00 or so
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Short run with photo etch and resin parts


The PRC was an enthusiastic user of the MiG-19, which it manufactured locally as the Shenyang J-6 from 1958. In August 1958 the People's Liberation Army requested development of a jet attack aircraft for the air support role.

Lu Xiaopeng was appointed chief designer of this project. Lu also designed the J-12 fighter jet. Although based on the MiG-19, the new design, designated Qiangjiji-5 (fifth attack aircraft design), had a longer fuselage, area ruled to reduce transonic drag and accommodate a 4 m (13-ft) long internal weapons bay. The air intakes were moved to the fuselage sides to make space in the nose for a planned target radar (which was never actually fitted). New wings with greater area and reduced sweep were incorporated. The Q-5 shares the J-6's Liming Wopen WP-6 A (Tumansky RD-9) turbojet engines. The redesign cost some high-altitude speed, but the Q-5 is as fast as the MiG-19/J-6 at low level, thanks largely to the area-ruled fuselage.

Fixed armament of the Q-5 was reduced to two Type 23-1 23 mm cannon with 100 rounds per gun, mounted in the wing roots. Two pylons under each wing and two pairs of tandem pylons under the engines were provided in addition to the weapons bay. A total of 1,000 kg (2,205 lb) of ordnance could be carried internally, with an additional 1,000 kg externally. On many aircraft the weapons bay is now used primarily for an auxiliary fuel tank.

Production drawings were completed in 1960 allowing construction of prototypes to begin, but the political climate in China resulted in the project being canceled in 1961. A small team kept the program alive until it work restarted in earnest at Nanchang. The first flight finally occurred on 10 June 1965. Series production began in 1969, with squadron delivery starting in 1970.

About 1,000 aircraft were produced, 600 of them being the updated Q-5A. A small number, perhaps a few dozen, Q-5As were modified to carry nuclear weapons; these are believed to retain their internal weapons bay. A long-range Q-5I, introduced in 1983, added a fuel tank instead of the internal weapons bay, compensating for that with the provision of two additional underwing pylons. Some of these aircraft serve with the PLA Navy, and have apparently been equipped with radar to guide anti-ship missiles. Subsequent minor upgrades include the Q-5IA, with a new gun/bomb sighting system and avionics, and the Q-5II, with radar warning receiver (RWR).

In the 1980s, the aircraft was exported to nations such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and is often known as the A-5 in those nations.

Plans for an upgraded Q-5/A-5 with Western equipment and new navigation and attack (nav/attack) systems were largely aborted following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, but the aircraft continues in service. It is a capable light attack aircraft, although its limited navigation and weapons-delivery systems are inferior to more modern aircraft.

In more recent years, the PLAAF has begun to field newer models of the Q-5, that incorporate some of the technology developed during the canceled Q-5M and Q-5K projects. The Q-5 introduces a nose-mounted laser rangefinder, and a laser designator is also likely to be fitted since the aircraft is said to be able to deliver laser-guided bombs. The Q-5A variant is believed to be capable of delivering nuclear munitions. The Q-5D is an upgrade with new avionics, including a HUD and a new navigation system. The Q-5E and Q-5F models are reportedly being worked on, though little is known about them at this time. One of them could potentially be the new two-seater that has been seen in a few photographs, although the two-seater could bear the designation Q-5J.


Molding is what we've come to expect from Trumpeter and you get the obligatory photo etch fret. In this case it includes the wing fences, some antennas and some circular bits that are the fins of the bombs included in the weapons sprue.

Cockpit has a tub, two piece seat with a control stick and instrument panel. A decal is provided for the panel. This assembly, the roof of the not used bomb bay and 10 grams of weight are put into the fuselage halves before closing them up.

The wings are upper and lower halves and you need to open pylon holes prior to gluing. The main gear wells are molded in the lower wings. Once you attach the final compressor stages to the exhaust section, that at the wings can be attached to the fuselage. Fin is two pieces with the tail planes a separate piece. The kit has shallow intakes and one of the small p.e. rectangles fits inside the intake. A separate windscreen and canopy are provided and shown in the closed position.

Landing gear are adequate for the scale and I'm not sure why they mounted the main gear attachment point a a separate piece, but they did. The gear all have separate retraction struts. There are a few air scoops to attach, but all the small ones are thankfully molded in place.

As mentioned, this airplane has a bomb bay, but in this version it is modeled with a cover over it. The sprues have separate doors and an outer bay with a depression for a large weapon; again not used on this version. All the gear doors are separate and have well defined attachment areas. You have the choice of bombs, rocket pods and fuel tanks, which will fill all of the wing and fuselage pylons. I still find it odd looking to have fuel tanks on the outer pylons, but it seems to be a Soviet aircraft design thing.

Instructions are well done and are apparently also used for the standard Q-5 as well as the Q-5C as there are parts that differentiate between the two in terms of adding stuff. Markings are provided for four aircraft. Three of them are Chinese with two in overall white and a third in overall olive drab. The fourth is a colorful Pakistani plane in their four color ground attack scheme of tan, brown, and green over light blue. Decals are nicely printed.


Another nice kit from Trumpeter. Though they do make errors on kits from time to time, that does not seem to apply to Chinese subjects and this one will make a nice addition to any display shelf.


May 2020

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