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AIDC AT-3 Tzu Chiang
Advanced Jet Trainer / Light Attack Aircraft

 ROCAF

Air Force Academy
Flight Training Command
Republic of China (Taiwan) Air Force
Gangshan Air Base

Lo Model

This model added to kgwings.com on January 26, 2012

Lo Model AIDC AT-3 Tzu Chiang
In 1975 Aero Industry Develop Center (AIDC) began developing the AT-3 "Tzu Chaing" as an advanced jet trainer with ground attack capability to replace the aging T-33A of the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF).
Lo Model AIDC AT-3 Tsu Chang
The prototype made its maiden flight on 16 September 1980 and a total of sixty-two aircraft were produced by AIDC in partnership with Northrop corporation between 1984 and 1990.
Lo Model AIDC AT-3 Tzu Chiang
The name Tzu Chiang (also Tsu Chang or Zìqiáng) means "Self Reliance", chosen to boost morale and convey Chinese strength without relying on others.

Lo Model AIDC AT-3 Tzu Chiang
The AT-3 has two wingtip pylons for Air-to-air missiles and 5 wing hardpoints with provision of up to 5998lb (2721kg) in stores. In addition it also has a small bomb bay, most commonly used to hold an auxiliary fuel tank.
Lo Model AIDC AT-3 Tzu Chiang
Two Garrett TFE731-2-2L non-afterburning turbofan engines produce a total thrust of 7000 lb (3178 kg) giving the Tzu Chaing a maximum speed of 562 mph (904 km/h) or a maximum range of 1417nm (2280km).
Lo Model AIDC AT-3 Tzu Chiang
The Tzu Chaing can carry a wide variety of weopons including Sky Sword I and AIM-9P4 Sidewinder air to air missiles, HF-2 Mk 2 anti-ship missile, iron and cluster bombs, rocket pods and a gun pack with twin .50 cal machine guns mounted on the center wing hardpoint.
Lo Model AIDC AT-3 Tzu Chiang

This neat little kit from Lo Model caught my eye for several reasons; I had never seen a kit from this manufacture, and I had never seen a kit of any Chinese jet trainer at the time.

Lo Model AIDC AT-3 Tzu Chiang
Although this kit has a simplified cockpit, blocked off intakes and deep panel lines, it assembles into a fairly accurate looking aircraft with no real hassles.
Lo Model AIDC AT-3 Tzu Chiang
The kit's undercarriage and bays are adequately detailed, better than most.
Lo Model AIDC AT-3 Tzu Chiang
Here you can see my modifications to the kit-provided seats. Harnesses were made from masking tape, scraps of styrene and putty were used to shape other details.
Lo Model AIDC AT-3 Tzu Chiang
This was a very fun build overall, the colorful paint scheme was a nice change from all the camouflage. Lack of detail in the cockpit is the kits biggest drawback, the rest of the kit is pretty good. This is a nice addition to any modern aircraft collection, if you can find one.



Lo Model #7251
Lo Model    
Kit: Lo Model #7251
1/72 scale
Scale: 1/72
Value:

I purchased this kit for $10.00 (US) at a hobby store in Denver Colorado back in 1992, it was a bargain even back then. I believe the kit is out of production now.
Decals:

Decals are provided for tail code 0823 (serial 75-6023) of RPOC Air Force Flight Training Command in pre-1989 "Thunder Tiger" scheme. Decals are printed in perfect register on a nice thin carrier and adequately opaque. Markings appear to be slightly oversized but not enough to ruin the kit.
Paint:

I used Testors #1146 Silver mixed with a few drops of Testors #1168 Flat White for the overall metal. The red areas are Testors Gloss Red #1103. The anti-glare shield and nosecone are Testors #1149 Flat Black with a few drops of Testors #1168 Flat White. After weathering with pastel chaulk the entire kit was painted with Future Acrylic Floor Wax.

Assembly:

The kit includes 54 parts molded in light gray plastic, 3 transparent parts, one decal sheet and one 4-page instruction sheet. Instructions are written in 7 languages including English. Top, bottom and side veiws are provided for painting and marking locations.

Construction begins with the highly simplified cockpit tub which includes two control sticks, two pilots and two ejection seats. The Martin Baker Mk10 seats are shaped mostly correct but lack harnesses or any other detail. Instrument panels are poorly shaped and completely void of detail. A three-piece canopy is provided, a bit thick but fairly clear.

The fuselage is molded in two halves with the single piece rudder molded separately. Panel lines are recessed and well defined but overly deep and wide. The main wing is a single piece with separate right and left tail planes. Engine intakes are separate parts with thick splitter plates that require sanding to look more realistic. Exhausts are also separate parts with no tubes or detail inside. Fit is fair overall with a few trouble spots requiring filler and sanding, especially at the main wing and rudder joints.

Undercarraige detail is surprisingly better than average. The wheels and struts are all very well done, all doors are nicely molded, detail in the main bays is very good although the nose gear bay is featureless for some reason.

Wingtip missile rails are provided with two AIM-9P weapons as well as four underwing stores, two drop tanks and two Mark 80 series GB bombs. All are fairly well molded.

This is far from a perfect kit, but it builds into a very nice replica of the Tzu Chaing and is possibly the only choice available in any scale.

After Market Parts Used: None
Customizations:

Transparent pearlized sequin was used for the HUD glass. Masking tape was used to create seat harnesses. Scraps of styrene were used to make canopy breakers on top of the ejections seats. Splitter plates were sanded and thinned.
Recommendation:

This is a reasonably easy build for any modeler, advanced modelers will want to scratch build detail for the cockpit and modify the engine intakes and exhausts. Recommended for any fan of jet trainers or ROC aircraft.

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