JH-7A Flying Leopard in 1/72 Scale

Jeff Head

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My Review and Build of Trumpeter's 1/72 scale Kit #01664,
PLAN, JH-7A Flying Leopardk

Introduction and What's in the Box - December 9, 2014,

Introduction - The Chinese JH-7A Strike Aircaft:
The Xian Aircraft Industry Corporation JH-7A is a 4+ generation Chinese tandem two-seat, twin-engine fighter-bomber in service with the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), and the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). The JH-7A is the new build, improved variant of the original JH-7 which entered service in the 1990s. The JH-7A, was developed specifically to give the PLAN and PLAAF precision strike capability and to do so carrying a significantly larger load than the original JH-7. This is because the JH-7A has an all new, stronger, lighter airframe which allows the aircraft to carry a maximum ordnance load of 9000 kg, which can include up to four YJ-82 anti-ship missiles.

Other innovations for the JH-7A include a domestic Chinese helmet mounted sight (HMS) which is compatible with Chinese air-to-air and air-to-surface ordinance, and with airborne sensors such as radars and electro-optics which are slaved to HMS. The JH-7A has newer, more modern electronics including the BM/KJ-8605 jammer, a Type 271 radar altimeter, fully digitized fly-by-wire flight control system, and a JL-10A pulse Doppler radar. This enables the JH-7A to employ precision guided munitions.

The JH-7A has six, underwing hard points for munitions, and another station under the fuselage. It also has two forward stations under the fuselage for various jammers, sights, and other electronics, making for a total of nine stations.

These aircraft have a minimum speed of Mach 1.75, an 1,100 mile combat radius and a service altitude in excess of 50,000 feet. They are mainstay strike aircraft for the PRC's modern aircraft.

JH-7A Flying Shark Specifications:

Crew: 2
Length: 22.32 m (73 ft 2 in)
Wingspan: 12.8 m (41 ft 7 in)
Height: 6.22 m (20 ft 4 in)
Empty weight: 14,500 kg[22] (31,900 lb)
Max Take-off Weight: 28,475 kg[23] (62,720 lb)
Enginese: 2 × Xian WS-9 afterburning turbofans
Dry Thrust: 2 x 54.29 kN (12,250 lbf)
Thrust w/afterburner: 2 x 91.26 kN (20,515 lbf)
Max Speed: Mach 1.75 Mach
Combat Radius: 1,759 km (890 nm, 1,093 mi)
Service Ceiling: 16,000 m (51,180 ft)
- 1× GSh-23L 23mm twin-barrel autocannon,
- 4 x AAW Missiles (PL-12, R-77), and
- 4 x Anti-surface/ship missiles, or
- 4 x Anti-radiation (radar) missiles, or
- Combination of missiles, bombs, rockets, etc.
Hardpoints: 9 external hardpoints, 3 under each wing, 2 wing-tip, 1 under-fuselage) capacity of 9,000 kg (20,000 lb) external fuel and ordnance

The JH-7A a modern, supersonic, strike aircraft for the Chinese Navy (ground based) and Air Force that has precision strike capabilities. It has been produced in numbers and represents a powerful force that the Chinese leadership has at its disposal for pursuing its national intetrests.

The Kit:
This is a new trumpeter model that represents the latest model JH-7A Flying Leopard and is a significant advancement for Trumpeter over their older JH-7 variant model.

This is the only JH-7A Flying Leopard kit available to my knowledge in any scale, and is modeled in 1/72 scale. it comes with eight sprues molded in gray, one sprue molded in clear plastic (the canopy) and one Photo Etch sprue for various cockpit details (like the seat belts). There are a total of 212 part.

The fuselage is in four pieces with two halves for the major portion of the fuselage and a nose cone and taip-pipe/jet exhaust piece for the two engines. The cockpit has decent detailing with decent ejection seat detai, controls and raised surfaces for the various instrumentation. it comes with good decals for the instrumentation, but I will probably hand paint the details because the raised instrumentation will lend itself to doing that very nicely.

As with all modern Trumpter kits, it has been well modled and has very little to no flash or leftovers from the injection molding process.

The landing gear bays are well detailed and the gear can be built either in the raised or lowered position.

There are some very decent modern, indegenous Chinese armaments included with the model including the following:

4 x KD-88 Anti-radiation missiles that can be built as either the "L" or "R" variants.
4 x YJ-83 Anti-shipping missiles.
2 x PL-5 Short Range Anti-aircraft missiles.
2 x PL-12 Medium Range Anti-aircraft missiles.
1 x Electronic Counter Maasure Pod.
1 x Precision Guiadance Pod.
1 x Center line Fuel Tank.

I will build it with a full weapons load of all of four AAW missiles, 4 ASM missiles (2 x anti-radiation and 2 x anti-ship) and the centerline fuel tank, as well as the two pods.

The decal sheet is nice with a great depiction of the Flyring Leopard withg authentic Chinese markings for the aircraft and weapons. Numerous panel markings are cinluded for a total of o2120 decals.

The instructions are well done, as it typical for Trumpeter, with intuitive diagrams, and a very nice, full color painting scheme for the aircraft (on one side) and the weapons (on the other side)

I have some other 1/72 scale Chinese aircraft to build to represent the most modern Chinese aircraft in addition to the JH-7A.

- J-11B Flanker Air Superiority Fighter by Trumpeter.
- H-6F Badger Bomber by Trumpeter, I intend to modify oit to the latest "K" version.
- Z-10 Fierce Thunderbolt Attack helicopter by Hobby Boss.

These will go along with the foloowing that I have already built in 1/72 scale:
- J-15 Flying Shark by Trumpeter, which is the Chinese aircraft carrier strike fighter.
- J-10S Vigorous Dragon by Trumpeter.
- J-20 Mighty dragon 5th generation stealth Fighter by Trumpeter.

Here are pictures of the JH-7A kit before starting the build:

The Build - Cockpit, Gear Bays, Fuselage - December 9, 2014

I began by gathering all of the pieces necessary to build the cockpit and painting them. it is a tandem, two place cockpit and so there are two of everyhting. The instrumentation is raised in the model so rather than grinding that down and using the decals, I decdied to hand paint the instrumentation. I then assembled the cockpit.

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Jeff Head

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Once the cockpit assembly was completed I assembled the pieces for, painted, and began assembling the landing gear bays. These re relatively nicely detailed. The forward landing gear bay and the two main gear bays along either side of the fuselage. I then glued the main fuselage together, carefully adding the cockpit and landing ger bays in their apporpriate positions.

At this point I assembled and added the wings, vertical stabilizor (tails) and the horizontal stabilizor. I also added the vintrals underneat the rear of the fuselage and the air intakes. With all of these added, I was then able to paint the entire fuselage in the Ghost Gray I am using for the PLAN aircraft. I also built and painted the tail exhasut section for the two engines and painted the nose cone, which I will add in the next session.

This is looking nice indeed.

In the next session I will add the tail section, ythe nose cone, the landing gear and the weapons pylons, and prehaps build and paint the weapons. I will aslo paint the canopy.

Jeff Head

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The Build - Landing Gear, Pylons, and Weapons - December 11, 2014

I began this session by gluing the nose cone and the engine exhaust sections onto the fuselage. Then it was time to build the landing gear. The gear on this aircraft are hefty...strong. Each has dual wheels/tires, including the front gear.

I painted the main landing gear, as well as the various struts, supports, and shocks in their blue and silver coloring. I then added the main and front gear structure to the aircraft.

At this point I painted the wheels and tires. These all come as individual pievces so there was no need to glue halves together. The tires are flat black, and the wheels are they typical Chinese green (which I suppose they got from the Russians). I then added these wheels/tires to the aircraft.

Like I said, these landing gear are hefty. Very strongly built.

At this point I added the pylons. Before I could do that I needed to add the underside decal markings for the Chinese aircraft because the pylons in this case cover them. I then painted the pylons and let them dry. They are all single, individual pieces but have very decent panel and structural detail.

Then I added the three under each wing, the centerline pylon between the main landing gear, and the two small pylons for the pods forward of the main gear on either side under the fuselage.

She's looking like a fearsome Flying Leopard now.

And to add to that fearce nature, what better than to assemble the weapons. In this session I will have time to build them. They are all small assemblies themselves with anywhere from two pieces (the centerline fuel tank and the pods, to sicx pieces for various missiles.

I have decided to make the weapons fit for this aircraft the following:

2 x PL-5 Short Range, Infrared Anti-aircraft missiles
2 x PL-12 Medium Range, Radar guided, ainti-aircraft missiles
2 x Yj-83 Anti-shipping missiles
2 x K-88 Anti-radiation missiles
1 x Centerline Fuel Tanks
1 x Guidance pod
1 x ECM pod

This is a heavy, attack loadout, with ample self defense included in case of encountering opposition air craft.

I went ahead and assembled all of these, let them dry, and then arranged them as they will fit onto the aircraft.

That's going to be a very capable loadout, and the aircraft is going to look very good.

In my next session I will paint all of the weapons and add their decals and then position them on the aircraft. I will also add the numerous details (antennae, air scoops, fairings, etc.) to the fuselage, and paint and add the canpoy.

If I get the chance I will aslo add the decals but it will probably be that I add the many decals this kit offers in my final session.

Jeff Head

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The Build - Canopy, Details, Painting and Placing Wapons - December 12, 2014

The canopy for this aircraft comes in a single piece. In life, the sections over both the pilot and back seater open separately. It would be difficult, but the canopy is scored and could be cut to depict

the two canopies open. I chose to show them closed.

I panted the canopy oin the Light Ghost gray that I have been painting the entire fuselage in. This had to be carefully done with snall brushes.

I then added the numerous details to the fuselage which includes the various antennae, scopps, the gun, and other details...including the targeting and ECM pods, which I had also painted.

I had alread painted the various weapons as well. These eight weapons, the two PL-5 air to air missiles, the two PL-12 air to air missles, the two YJ-83 air to surface missiles, and the two KD-88 anti-

radiation missiles were then added to their pylons.

With the canpoy (which I have just dry fitted for now...I will glue it after adding the last two dull coats to the model), the details, and the weapons added to the model, this JH-7A Flying LEopard for the

Chinese is nearing completeion.

The next session will be the final session for the model and I will add all of the decals, do the touch up, and then apply the final dull coats and glue on the canopy.

She's looking very good now.


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JH-7 have 7 external hardpoints main difference with him.

And you know Jeff our Deino wait very anxious since long time know a new Rgt :D

Jeff Head

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JH-7 have 7 external hardpoints main difference with him.

And you know Jeff our Deino wait very anxious since long time know a new Rgt :D
Yes...and at this point I do not know if production has continued to establish a new one. They may wait on the JH-7B?

As it is, I have been putting the decals on this baby this evening and should be finished tomorrow. She's looking good!

I really like the look and the capability of the JH-7A. A fine aircraft.

Jeff Head

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The Build - Decals and completing the model - December 13, 2014

There are a lot of decals for this model. Some of them are so small as to be illegible. Bit outside of that, it is vry comrpehensive. I ended up putting over 100 decals on...many of them

various panel marking. A lot of time involved, and some of them were indeed small and required some effort to get into place and oriented properly. But I believe it came out fairly good.

At this point I had some touch up to do. Some of the glue smudged, and some of the paint was discolored in the assembly preocess nd this needs to be fixed. I needed to paint the forward pitot

tube the proper color and also touch up some other areas. Then it was time to give the aircraft two good coats of dull coat. This helps protect the decals and also gives a good, dull matt


Finally, I gouled the capopy in place.

I believe it turned out very nicely.

...and here are some close ups shpowing some of the detail:

A very capable looking and well armed Chinese JH-7A Flying Leopard.
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