Tuesday, March 14

In-Boxed: E of the World - AH-64E Attack Helicopter (Limited Edition) from Takom in 1/35th scale

Not one much for straight olive drab, Clayton chose the multi-coloured Apaches of Takom's new boxings for his build choice. Today he takes us around the world (the hint's in the title) in his review of Takom's new 1/35th scale boxing of the "E of the World – AH-64E Attack Helicopter (Limited Edition)" in his in box review...
In-Boxed: E of the World - AH-64E Attack Helicopter (Limited Edition)
From Takom
Kit No #2601
1/35th scale
Photo-etched parts
3D-printed parts
Designed with Snowman Model
Decals for 4 versions included: Korean, Indonesian, Qatar and Saudi Arabian versions 
Price: $92.35 USD from Hobbylink Japan
If there was one announcement last year that caught the modelling world by surprise, it could be argued that this would take the prize. The battle-hardened Apache in 1/35th scale! How could we get so lucky? If ever there was a cross over from armour to aircraft this would be the subject to bridge the gap. Brutal lines with the ability to deliver a knockout punch with a wealth of reference pictures available showing this formidable helicopter heavily weathered make the Apache such a desirable release.

Takom has released three boxings of the Apache. The AH-64D Longbow, the AH-64E Guardian and the boxing I have, the limited-edition E of the World Version.
But first a little history taking from the notes on the instruction sheet about the real thing...

The Subject - The AH-64 Apache
Beginning in the late 1980s, the US Army planned a series of upgrades to its AH-64A fleet. In 1992 McDonnell Douglas converted four AH-64As into prototypes for the variant designated AH-64D. The designations AH-64B and AH-64C for interim variants were later dropped so that the AH-64D became the second operational Apache variant.
The main upgrade focused on the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-78 Longbow millimetre-wave fire-control radar (FCR) target acquisition system and the Radar Frequency Interferometer (RFI) housed in the radome mounted on the mast above the main rotor shaft. This allows the AGM-114L to be fired in an autonomous fire-and-forget mode, whereas the laser-guided Hellfire requires external designation or use in conjunction with the TADS, and as such is a line-of-sight weapon. The AN/APG-78 radar can detect, classify and prioritize 12 targets simultaneously, and can see through the fog and smoke that currently disrupts infra-red and TV sensors. The AH/64D also features improvements in targeting, battle management, cockpit, communications, weapons and navigation systems. The forward avionics bay was expanded, and the landing gear fairings were extended forward to accommodate some of the new equipment. This gunship can carry a total of 16 AGM=114L Hellfire 2 anti-tank missiles and can also carry 2 AGM-122 Sidearm air-to-ground anti-radiation missiles. For self-defence against other aircraft, the Longbow Apache can carry 4 AIM-92 Stinger, 4 Mistral, or 2 AIM-9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles.
The AH-64E Apache Guardian is the latest version of the Apache, and up until 2012 it was designated as Ah-64D Block III. It has several improvements and upgrades, including more powerful General Electric T700-GE-701D engines and upgraded transmission. This helicopter can also be fitted with updated Longbow fire control radar. The US armed forces are upgrading a total of 634 AH-64D helicopters to AH-64E standard, with deliveries beginning in 2011. This helicopter has also been exported to Saudi Arabia, India, Indonesia and Taiwan, Qatar, and has been ordered by Iraq and South Korea.

The new 1/35th scale AH-64E Apache from Takom
As you would expect for a 35th scale helicopter, the box is huge. The box art on this limited-edition release of the ‘E of the World’ is a little different to the other two and takes a more technical approach. Instantly differentiates itself from the other kits.
The box is literally jammed packed with parts. No free space in this carton. Every corner is filled. I’d been thinking about this review and how to best approach it, and the moment I opened the box it became pretty clear that doing the typical sprue by sprue mug shots was going to become very tiresome. There is a heck of a lot in the kit, most of which the pieces don’t mean a lot out of context. I felt this review would be better served focusing in on some of the more distinctive parts of the machine as well as getting a good close up look at the surface detail.
But first things first – the instructions…
The instructions are printed in the typical Takom format and span over 33 steps. The technical drawing adorns the front page with a brief history of the chopper (as plagiarised above)
At first glance the steps look reasonably easy to follow and are broken into manageable, understandable steps.
A further example of the style of instruction. It did however become really concerning as I moved through the steps that there are no colour call outs for anything! Not that I expect to have my hand held all of the way, but a little hint here and there as to what colour the interior walls or the cockpit needed to be painted would be helpful!

One of the other things I noticed is there is no mention of the harnesses for the seats but there are straps on the etch set. An oversight on the person responsible for the instructions? I’m not sure but be mindful that this is the case, because the seats will absolutely need the straps to look convincing.
This boxing comes with 4 unique schemes. Whilst the Apache is mostly known for its Dark Olive Drab tones, fact of the matter is there are multiple users around the world that sees the helicopter in some interesting schemes.

The first two on offer are the predictable Green of the Saudi Arabian National Guard and the second is from the Qatar Emiri Air Force.

Not that I have anything against the Deep Green…it offers so many weathering opportunities for the modeller, but the interesting desert camouflage scheme really grabbed my eye.
The last two schemes are from the Korean Army, and one from the Indonesian Army. Again, the two-tone green camouflage looked very appealing.
To obviously decorate these unique subjects, this kit comes with the appropriate decals.
And then for the fun part, a sheet full of stencils and airframe markings. Hours of fun for the whole family… but completely worth it at this scale.
Next out of the box is a small bag with pins, some wire and a vinyl length of ammunition belt for the chain gun.
The kit comes with 3 generous sheets of photo etch to add that finer level of detail around the model. It wasn’t that long ago you used to have to pay more than the model cost to upgrade it with sheets of PE…now it comes in the box.
The first thing you notice is the size of the fuselage. Its massive. Now I hear all you 1/32nd scale builders out there saying ‘it’s not that big’, but when you are used to building Panzer II’s and Shermans, this thing is BIG. The small rule in the picture is just over 150mm, so I estimate the length to be around 420mm long (but don’t hold me to that !)
It’s up close the magic starts to appear. All of those CAD renders that have been floating around the socials are now proving to be pretty accurate in terms of detail and finish.
Better load up on the enamel washes because this baby’s got some rivets!
Some close-up detail of the cockpit parts show some lovely detail moulded directly into the part. The quilted wall sections are represented in the pieces also.
The cockpit tub comes in one moulded section and includes the various knobs and buttons. Given the exposed nature of this area it would be greatly enhanced with a decal set from Quinta Studios (or the like), however for now it’s going to be a fine brush and a lot of patience.
The undercuts and detail on the instrument panel is really quite stunning and a reminder of just how good the moulding technology has become.
The shrouds for the engines can be posed opened or closed. The interior faces are full or ejector pin marks so will need to be tended to should you wish to pose them open. Some awkward filling and sanding on the way I suspect...
...But flip the part over and the detail on the front face makes everything that little bit better.
The barrel for the chain gun is a small but important feature of the model, and the part looks very good.
Even some of the fine elements on the ammunition clip look to be considered and lovely.
The roof of the helicopter and the various styles of rivets and bolts are represented.
Sprue A (of which you get two) houses the weapons and the armoured tubs for the pilot’s seats.
The armoured tub for the seat then comes with its own padded section. The sculpting of the fabric looks convincing and has a visual softness to it.
A closer look at the rocket pods faces, loaded and unloaded.
More rivets… get the picture ?
The model can also be posed displaying the avionics and electronic gadgetry. In reality these areas would be filled lengths of wiring looms and various textures and colours, so to pose it in any meaningful way a great deal of research and scratch building will be required. In saying that the foundations are beautiful and certainly worth the effort to use them on your finished model.
The blades come over two sprues. Other boxings have an option to fold the blades in a transport mode however this one does not. It’s a shame because space in my display case is at a premium, so I probably would have liked the option to fold the blades.

Minor complaint just mentioned there is no option for blade folds in this boxing.
Bits and pieces… the kit is full of them !
The tail and weapons mounts.
The clear sprue contains the canopy and various lens covers. The right-hand side of the canopy is split in two pieces, so theoretically you could display the cockpit open, however a little more research is needed before I’d commit to that.
Something we are starting to see popping up in mainstream releases now is 3D printed parts. Looking at the pieces, I’m not really sure if they are any better than the moulded pieces, so I wonder if they were a correction of some omissions from the original kit and then marketed as a bonus? Not sure but I guess if they look good on the finished model, then who cares ?

This is an epic subject in a generous scale, and if the first look is anything to go by it looks as though it’s going to live up to the hype. There is a huge number of parts as well as 3D printed pieces, etch and other multi-media elements. On top of all this there is the opportunity to pose the model with open maintenance hatches and engine bays, so I get the feeling this is going to be one of those builds that, if you let it, will consume a great deal of bench time. In saying that, isn’t that what we all want from a kit-value for money and bang for your buck?

One of the more attractive camouflage choices in this kit, and a reason for getting this boxing over the olive drab choices in other boxings...
If I have to be critical, it would be the lack of colour call outs through the instruction …even something basic would have been helpful. The internet is full of reference images of just about every part of this helicopter, so it isn’t like the information is hard to find, it’s just a little help would have been a nice touch. Also, the oversight of how the harnesses should be addressed in the cockpit is a little disappointing.
Nevertheless… This is a big, beautiful machine and looks to be a winning release from the team at Takom. As always, all the fancy sprue pictures mean nothing if the build is problematic, so I guess I should proceed cautiously but optimistically. I have a lot on the bench at the moment and I am going to take my time with this one, so I’ll keep you all updated as I go. Really looking forward to this model.

Clayton Ockerby

Thanks to Takom for sending this kit to Clayton to build and review
See more of Clayton's amazing works on his modelling website "Workbench Hobbies" or his FB page