When I told a friend I’d be building a 1/48 JL-9, he stared for a second and said “what is a JL-9?” I’ll admit that on the scale of “which modern jet should I build?”, the JL-9 is probably not high on the list.
With my recent fascination with jets though, I’ve found I’m much more intrigued by shape, obscurity, or both. And in the case of the JL-9, both factors are at play.
The JL-9 is a Chinese developed supersonic fighter trainer and light strike aircraft. It’s actually a derivative of the JJ-7, which is the trainer version of the J-7. Which is itself the Chinese produced copy of the MiG-21. So part of the appeal is the JL-9’s odd lineage.
Another aspect that appealed to me was the surprisingly large number of resource photos and videos I was able to find. While some other Chinese aircraft are not so well documented, the JL-9 seems to have a large number of material to review for the modeler. And much of it at very high resolution.
Finally, I’m really impressed with Trumpeter’s kit. The surface detail is every bit as refined as what Eduard is producing. And the fit of previous Trumpeter kits I’ve built has been outstanding. The biggest criticism leveled at Trumpeter, that of accuracy, does not seem to be an issue here. No surprise, really, as I’m sure access to the actual aircraft was not too difficult, and I’d have to imagine a certain level of national pride would be at play. Regardless of the reason, examination of the kit so far indicates it is very true to the original.
On with the JL-9….