Trumpeter 1/72 Xian FBC-1 Flying Leopard

By Michael Benolkin

Background

You're not going to believe that a model company based in China isn't going to feature some of that nation's latest aircraft are you? The Xian FBC-1 (JH-7) Flying Leopard is no surprise as this machine is one of the many indigenous combat aircraft under development in that country. Intended as a strike aircraft in the Panavia Tornado and Su-24 class, the FBC-1 combines the distinguishing features of two other notable strike aircraft: the intakes and twin engines of the Jaguar with the fuselage and wings of the Mirage F.1.

The Kit

Molded in Trumpeter signature light gray styrene, this kit is comprised of four parts trees, plus an addition tree of clear parts. Another Trumpeter signature is also present in this kit, ejector pin marks that will need to be cleaned up. These are present in the cockpit tub, wheel wells, gear doors, etc. Assembly appears to be straightforward with a simple layout and positionable horizontal stabs, rudders, ailerons and flaps, plus a full loadout of external weaponry to round out the model.

When I opened the box, I was a little surprised at the fuselage. While I am no expert on contemporary Chinese combat aircraft, I thought the fuselage looked a little short in length against the graceful lines depicted on the box art. A quick check on the internet revealed that the FBC-1 has a fuselage length of 21 meters (though some sites claim around 22 meters), or translated into 1/72 scale, about 11.5". A quick check of with my handy ruler reveals a length of only 10.5". No wonder it looks a little stubby. Markings are included with optional numbers to represent any number of aircraft in the inventory.

Conclusion

After discovering the short fuselage, I didn't have the heart to check other dimensions. Nevertheless, this kit represents an unusual subject that with a little work, would build into a unique addition to the scale flightline.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!

 

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