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Friday, May 4, 2012

Karakorum K-8

The advent of Trumpeter as a substantial kit manufacturing force has opened up a whole new sub-area of modelling for me: Chinese aircraft subjects. Except for various Russian castoffs, I don’t think there were very many indigenous Chinese types that had been kitted in 1:72 until Trumpeter really got going. But they have been supplying a number of types, including the J-10, J-20, FC-1, J-11 (Su-27 clone), and Tu-16 (mostly so they could do the Chinese variant), and the subject of today’s finished model, the Karakorum K-8.

Unfortunately, the instruction sheet has absolutely nothing in the way of description or history, so I had to do some grazing on the internet to get some details. It is apparently a joint effort between China and Pakistan to provide basic jet trainers that could be armed as light strike fighters if necessary (not unlike the BAe Hawk, which it rather resembles). First flight was in 1990, and early production batches were split between the two primary developing countries. It has also been exported to Sri Lanka, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Venezuela and Bolivia. The type is still in production.

The kit is a competent rendering, with adequate detail and good engineering. The cockpit could use some work if you are so inclined, including the ejection seats (a good option for replacement in most kits). There is a color print of the paint scheme, which comes in handy since it is a somewhat complex masking job. An overall coat of White came first, followed by months of procrastination on doing the masking job, then a burst of springtime energy to finish the thing off. Decals seem to be thin, and attach well. If you have a thing for unusual aircraft, trainers, or Far Eastern air forces, this would be a fine example to add to your stash.

This is completed model #389 (#14 for the year), finished in April of 2012.

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