British Army AH-64D "Afghanistan"

Published on
August 30, 2016
Review Author(s)
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Company: Academy Models - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: MRC - Website: Visit Site
Box art

This AH-64D Apache Longbow is license built by Westland/Boeing for the British Army. A couple of interesting features unique to the British built aircraft are the inclusion of folding rotor blades, and Rolls Royce Turbomeca engines that replace the General Electric T700 in the US machines. There are also some avionics and weapon systems differences.

This was a very enjoyable and for the most part easy model to build. The two instruction sheets are a foldout type with, for the most part, clear pictures and logical directions. There is one for assembly, and one for the parts tree map and decal guide. It was nice having the tree map separate as I didn’t have to fold pages back and forth to find a part.

The fit was very good overall. I had a couple of areas needing a small amount of filler (Super Glue) - the belly under the cockpit and around the canopy front and rear. The nose has recessed area right in front of the windscreen that was difficult to sand and eliminate the seam. A separate nose piece would have made for a cleaner build, however a circular antenna hides part of it.

The cockpit builds up nicely with a good amount of detail that can be seen through the clear canopy. All the flying controls are present and the collective is molded onto the side of the cockpit tub. I added tape for the harnesses. The MFD screens in each instrument panel are supplied as green decals. I used a #11 blade to scrape away the black paint to show the switches and other detail.

A lot of parts have multiple (3 to 4) sprue attachment points which require careful removal and cleaning. Many smaller parts are very delicate. I certainly appreciate the protection this gives, but some attachments were in awkward places. I used my razor saw or sprue cutter on nearly all small items.

The undercarriage has to be installed early. There is no way to easily assemble it later. They are strong however. Paint the inside of wheel wells before attaching the side faring parts 58 and 25 that fit over the undercarriage legs.

The 30 mm chain gun under the nose is a mini model in itself, with many delicate parts. Once assembled it is quite sturdy.

You’ll end up with many spare parts meant for other versions.

The complete main rotor is one piece, so no alignment is needed, just some basic clean up. All I did was heat each blade to help induce some downward flex. Be careful as the blades are brittle. One succumbed to my abuse! I used bare metal foil for the main and tail rotor shafts.

This was a build that only had a few separate sub-assemblies like the cockpit, rotor gearbox, “Longbow” radar mounted above the rotor head, and chain gun, but a huge number of individual sensors and antenna’s. All these fit precisely with no gaps. I replaced the top part of the tail antenna with fishing line. The engine exhausts are split horizontally, so clean up of the seam is challenging through the rear end of the pipes. A seam scraper came in handy.

The decals are very good with little to no silvering applied over a good coat of gloss. I chose “ZJ171” out of all 66 aircraft numbers supplied. It is a bird that Prince Harry flew at the 2013 Cosford airshow.

All stencils are legible. There are eight AGM-14 missiles, and each had about 14 decals apiece. A daunting task that took several hours of fun and bleeding eye balls!!! Two yellow stripes wrap around the missile body, and appear too short. This is actually OK. Apply them so the gap is aligned at the top. It will be hidden by the mount and launch rails. I realized this after I had already finished, and now have gaps on the bottom of the missiles where the stripes don’t meet!! Definitely my fault, however the instructions could have explained this. To paint and decal these eight missiles, I left the flat rear exhaust side attached to the sprue, and when all finished removed them and sanded and painted that part of the missile.

Overall this was a really nice helicopter to build, and has to be the meanest, bad tempered, ugliest and lethal bird. I’d recommend this Academy AH-64D model for most modelers, however some experience may be helpful removing so many small parts with lots of sprue attachments.

My sincere thanks to MRC, Academy and IPMS for the opportunity to build and review this fine, accurate and detailed model.


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