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Project Notes

#618 Chengdu J-10S

Building the Trumpeter 1:72 Chengdu J-10S in early Ba Yi Aerobatics Team colours. No electronics in this one.



The Chengdu J-10 also known as Vigorous Dragon (猛龙; Měnglóng) is a single-engine, multirole fighter that was declared operational in 2003 after 18 years of development.

It is currently one of the main aircraft of the PLAAF

NB: Binkov’s Battlegrounds provided an interesting comparison of where the JF-17 and J-10 fit into China’s domestic and export situation:


August 1st or Ba Yi Aerobatics Team (Chinese: 八一飞行表演队)

The Ba Yi (August 1st) Aerobatics Team 八一飞行表演队 is the aerobatic demonstration team of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). It was founded in 1962 and named after the date of founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), August 1, 1927.

The Aerobatics Team is notable for their female recuits. Four of the team’s first female pilots were 盛懿绯 (Sheng Yifei), 余旭 (Yu Xu), 陶佳莉 (Tao Jiali), and 何晓莉 (He Xiaoli). They joined the team on 15 December 2013.

In researching the subject I was really sad to discover that Yu Xu passed away in a 2016 fatal training accident in the J-10.

The Kit

Trumpeter have a number of boxings of the Chengdu J-10 in 1:72 scale. I picked up No. 01644 which includes a Ba Yi Aerobatics Team scheme


As I wanted to display the craft in flight, I needed some pilot figures. These are not included in the kit.

I found some US Pilots with JHMCS helmet from PJ Productions. Not exactly right, but close enough for a few easy modifications to give the right effect at this scale.

Paint Scheme

It just took a bit of careful effort to measure and scale the paint scheme and make some patterns for masking. I used 5 patterns, and just masked the fuselage stripes by eye.


Main colours used:

Colour Recommended Used Feature
IJN Grey H61 70.989 Sky Grey cockpit interior
Flat Black H12 70.950 Black cockpit seats
Khaki Green H80 70.924 Russian Unf. WWII cockpit seats
White H1 70.951 White fuselage
Red H3 70.909 Vermillion + 70.956 Clear Orange (~3:1) fuselage
Blue H5 70.963 Medium Blue fuselage

For the pilots I used 70.893 US Dark Green as the base colour for the flight suits and a bunch of other colours for detail.

The Aerobatics Team scheme as detailed for the Trumpeter kit appears to have been one of a few variants that were seen in the early years of the J-10’s life.

The Ba Yi (August 1st) Aerobatics Team 八一飞行表演队 currently use J-10AY in a simpler and more angular red white and blue scheme. NB: this scheme is depicted in Trumpeter’s 1:48 kit No. 02857


Construction Log

Starting with the cockpit as is traditional. Reasonably well detailed.


Feels like I spent most of the weekend masking. Oh.. but surely worth the wait


“Three dayz laitur..” masking challenge complete! Now on to finishing this striking display team livery (八一飞行表演队)

build02a build02b build02c build02d

Done painting these nice 1:72 figures I found from PJ Productions to pilot my J-10S


Ready for the aircrew…


On the bench.. pretty much ready for first mounting test…



Happy campers..

build04d build04e

A helping hand..


Finally mounted and first shots of my Chengdu J-10S all dressed up to rock with the Bayi (August 1st) Aerobatics Team 八一飞行表演队. This is the Trumpeter 1:72 kit with pilot figures from PJ Productions.

Pictured in the background are four of the team’s first female pilots 盛懿绯 (Sheng Yifei), 余旭 (Yu Xu), 陶佳莉 (Tao Jiali), and 何晓莉 (He Xiaoli). They joined the team on Dec. 15, 2013.

In researching the subject I was really sad to learn that Yu Xu passed away in a 2016 fatal training accident in the J-10. This directly inspired my choice of display, hopefully capturing the soaring spirit of flight, and making a fitting and humble tribute to these amazing women.

build05a build05b build05c build05d build05e build05f

Trying again in daylight and after losing the acrylic protective sheet over the background - looking better now!

build06a build06b build06c build06d build06e build06f build06g

Credits and References

Project Source on GitHub Project Gallery Return to the LEAP Catalog

This page is a web-friendly rendering of my project notes shared in the LEAP GitHub repository.

LEAP is just my personal collection of projects. Two main themes have emerged in recent years, sometimes combined:

  • electronics - usually involving an Arduino or other microprocessor in one way or another. Some are full-blown projects, while many are trivial breadboard experiments, intended to learn and explore something interesting
  • scale modelling - I caught the bug after deciding to build a Harrier during covid to demonstrate an electronic jet engine simulation. Let the fun begin..
To be honest, I haven't quite figured out if these two interests belong in the same GitHub repo or not. But for now - they are all here!

Projects are often inspired by things found wild on the net, or ideas from the many great electronics and scale modelling podcasts and YouTube channels. Feel free to borrow liberally, and if you spot any issues do let me know (or send a PR!). See the individual projects for credits where due.