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HobbyBoss 1/144 scale Chinese Y-9 plastic model kit review

A good kit let down by its instructions 
Kit:83906 // Scale:1/144 // Price:$41.50
HobbyBoss (Sample courtesy of Model Rectifier)
Crisply molded parts; outstanding fine details; recessed panel lines; a nice interior; great parts fit
Instruction sheet has vagaries; poor painting and color directions; engraved window frames too wide
Injection-molded plastic (gray, clear); 126 parts (1 fret photo-etched metal); decals
China’s Shaanxi Aircraft Corporation has produced a continued line of aircraft based on the Antonov An-12 design, and the Y-9 (Yun-9) is the fifth in HobbyBoss’ 1/144 scale kits based on the series. The versions use basic components and include parts specific to each variant. Overall, the parts fit well, but some sprues aren’t shown on the instruction’s parts diagram, others aren’t numbers, and others are duplicates. And the instructions inconsistently list which parts are and aren’t for use.

The finely molded gray plastic parts feature engraved panel lines, to-scale landing gear and struts, wheels, and an optically clear forward part that forms the cockpit and flight deck. A nice interior provides the cargo deck, overhead, cargo doors, and access ramp, plus a flight deck with seats, consoles, forward instrument panel, and control columns. A photo-etched metal fret supplies the control yokes plus 18 blade antennas —not for use on this version of the aircraft.

A separate small box in the kit holds four beautifully molded JL-4 scimitar props. Two sets of horizontal stabilizers are supplied, one for the aircraft variant with finlets and one without. You choose between a single- or two-piece forward landing gear — both are delicate and easily bent.

Attaching both the cabin deck and the aft cockpit bulkhead is critical — the main landing gear trunnions attach to the deck, so alignment is important. The aft cockpit bulkhead stiffens the forward fuselage and serves as the coupling between the clear nose and the fuselage. Though the instructions show a tab at the forward end of the cargo deck, there is none, just a butt join.

Separate finlets and extended wingtips are included by do not appear in the instructions, so check your references. To replicate the cargo version’s thin, airfoil-shaped extensions, I used only the upper halves of the wingtip parts, affixed them to the wingtips with brass pins for strength, and puttied and sanded them to match the wing contour. The kit omits the under-nose and fin-tip sensors.

Interior color callouts are missing, but photos show a light gray interior —Tamiya Royal Light Gray (No. XF-80) will do the job — and a blue upholstered co-pilot seat. I painted the flight deck seats to match. HobbyBoss specifies the belly of the aircraft to be white, with the rest of the aircraft’s exterior being painted Tamiya Sky Gray (No. XF-19). I regretted following the kit’s guidance; the real aircraft sports a distinctively blue shade of gray. I recommend Tamiya Light Blue (No. XF-23) or an equivalent color to approximate the azure tint.

The nose gear doors are posed open, but on the real aircraft, they open only in flight when the gear is in transit or for ground maintenance. The engraved window frames for the cockpit are too wide, and the windows too small, giving the finished model a squinty look. I applied small strips of black decal film to the windshield center post to help narrow its appearance, but it’s just a band-aid fix.

Markings are provided for a single aircraft. All the decals worked well and reacted nicely to setting solutions. The numbers 8 and 1 for the center of the PLA red stars are separate decals, as are the star decals for the tiny fin flags.

I spent about 30 hours completing the HobbyBoss 1/144 scale Chinese Y-9 plastic model kit, and other than a few very tiny parts and decals, it’s an easy build. This is a fine kit, brought down a bit by its confusing instructions.
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