The AH-64 Apache was the result of a competition between Hughes Aircraft and Bell Helicopter for the Advanced Attack Helicopter (AAH) program. After the cancellation of the AH-54 Cheyenne, the US Army was in need of another replacement for the AH-1 Cobra. First flown in the mid-1970s the YAH-64 would emerge the victor against rival Bell’s YAH-63. The first production AH-64A airframes were delivered to the U.S. Army in 1984 and the aircraft was declared operational in 1986.
The AH-64A provided the US Army with a number of improvements over the Cobra. The Apache had better range, armor protection, all-important dual engine redundancy, an advanced rotorhead for a smoother ride, independent night attack sensors for the pilot and gunner, and much more. With the Apache came a new anti-tank bullet to replace the TOW – the Hellfire. The Apache was designed to operate and survive in the worst scenario – a Soviet attack into NATO. In the years since it entered service, the AH-64A has seen combat in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and other hot spots around the world. In addition to the U.S. Army, the AH-64A is also in service in Greece, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. As the AH-64A was displaced by the AH-64D Longbow Apache, many A-models were supplied to Army National Guard aviation units to replace their AH-1 Cobras. These A-models were later sent off to be converted into the AH-64D.
When Academy announced this AH-64A Apache kit in 1/35 scale, it was excited as their 1/35 AH-1Z was a masterpiece. However, this is a rebox of another company’s tooling. From what is known, there is only one mold for the 1/35 AH-64A, first released in 2001, and the kit has since appeared in Kangnam, IMEX, Hapdong Tech, and now Academy boxes. Molded in gray styrene, this kit is presented on six parts trees plus one tree of clear parts. In this Academy boxing, there are window masks and a nice set of decals included. The kit is designed to be a simple build that would interest a larger audience. AMS modelers can tackle different aspects of the kit like the cockpit detail, opening the canopy doors, etc.
Speaking of the cockpit, the details on the side consoles appears to be accurate compared to period cockpit shots out of the Verlinden monograph. Some of the detail is a bit soft.
Markings are included for two examples:
AH-64A, 40331, South Carolina NG, 2007
AH-64A, 10117, South Carolina NG, Iraq, 2004
Both examples have the same distinctive paint scheme – Gray-Blue (FS3523) over Dark Ghost Gray (FS36320) – and carry a sharkmouth on the sides of the nose. This is unique compared to the standard U.S. Army Helo Green carried on the standard service Apaches.