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Trumpeter 1/72 J-10S Fighter Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2010 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject J-10S Fighter Scale 1/72
Kit Number 1644 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nicely detailed kit of this hot new PLAAF fighter Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $29.95

First Look


The Chinese aircraft industry has come a long way over the last several decades. They produced a number of aircraft types for the PLAAF under license from the former Soviet Union, and when relations chilled, they simply acquired examples of newer types and produced them. One distinction about Chinese built MiG fighters however - these copies were usually better built and more robust than the originals.

As the Chinese companies improved their skills and manufacturing technologies, newer designs and innovations became possible. One such design was the J-10 series which was an interesting adaptation of the IAI Lavi design. This aircraft isn't a copy of Lavi, but you can see the influence of the design and data that was allegedly provided by Israel. What's also there is some serous influence from the Russian aircraft industry that has been available to China after relations improved between the two countries a number of years ago.

While the canard and wing planform are distinctively Lavi-inspired as are the overall lines of the fuselage and ventral fins, the intake is more of Russian influence as it should be since the aircraft is powered by a Saturn-Lyulka AL-31FN engine. The vertical stabilizer has a much wider chord and the radome is rounder than the F-16-influenced Lavi design. In short, there almost appears to be some MiG 1.42 elements in this design which also flow from similar characteristics of the cancelled J-9 fighter design. The J-10 is currently in service with the PLAAF with 300 said to be ordered and another 36 ordered for the Pakistani Air Force.

Trumpeter has returned with this scaled-down version of their recent 1/48 two-seat J-10S. This kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on six parts trees plus one small clear tree. According to the specs, this kit has 149 parts to make up the J-10S. Detailing of this kit is quite nice with finely scribed details throughout.

Among the highlights of this kit:

  • Nicely detailed front and rear cockpits with MFDs provided as decals
  • Nicely detailed ejection seats
  • Positionable canopy
  • Positionable canards

As for external stores, you have the first good selection of modern PLAAF weapons for this kit including:

  • 3 x external fuel tanks
  • 2 x PL-8 AAM
  • 2 x PL-9 AAM
  • 2 x PL-11 AAM
  • 2 x PL-12 AAM

This is not only a scaled-down version of the 1/48 scale kit, it is simplified quite a bit to make it a simpler project for many modelers.

Profiles are provided for two examples:

  • J-10S, Demo Aircraft
  • J-10S, 50755

One sheet of decals are included in this release. Extra tail numbers are provided to render other aircraft other than the two represented in the kit. The demonstration aircraft has a very nice paint scheme but unfortunately you're on your own for airframe stripes and patterns as the decal sheet only provides the distinctive markings.

This will be a nice, easy build of a distinctive aircraft and if you're good at masking complex patterns, this demonstration scheme will take more time to paint than the kit will take to build. This will definitely look great on your modern scale fighter flightline.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!