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Found 17 results

  1. Been keen to start this since getting it off Ebay a couple of years ago, and this group build seems like the perfect opportunity. The AC-47, nicknamed "Puff the Magic Dragon", was introduced in 1965 as a means of providing more firepower in certain situations where close air support was required. Armed with three 7.62mm miniguns sticking out of the port side windows, controlled by the pilot, the idea of the gunship was to orbit over a target for hours, with the ability to accurately deliver a significant weight of fire. For example, in February 1965, an FC-47 (as they were initially designated before protests from fighter pilots brought about the change to AC-47), fired 20,500 rounds over 4 hours into a VC hilltop position, killing an estimated 300 enemy troops. In February 1969, an AC-47 crewman, A1C John L. Levitow, was awarded the Medal of Honor for saving his aircraft after it was struck by an 82mm mortar round which inflicted 3,500 shrapnel holes and wounded Levitow 40 times. Using his body, he jettisoned an armed magnesium flare which ignited shortly after he ejected it from the aircraft. By the end of the 60s, most AC-47s, now known by the call sign "Spooky" had been transferred to the VNAF, to be replaced in USAF service by the more capable and heavily armed AC-119 Shadow/Stinger and AC-130 Spectre, the latter still being in use today. The Spooky proved the gunship concept worked and in testimony to its effectiveness, no village or hamlet under Spooky protection was ever lost. So, this is the kit in question, box corner damage courtesy of Bertie the dog; Considerably more (and larger) parts than the Airfix Bird Dog I've just completed in the Reconnaissance and Scouting GB; Hopefully the decals will be OK. My previous experience of Esci decals wasn't great, so we shall see. Instructions, plus painting details for two very similar schemes. Haven't decided which one I will do yet. The state of the decals may dictate this! Plus a bit of light reading to help me along and inspire! Will probably get started early next week.
  2. AH-1Q/S Cobra US & Turkish Army Service (SH48232) 1:48 Special Hobby The AH-1 Cobra was the first production Gunship or Attack Helicopter to see US service as a new type of weapons platform. During the Vietnam war the US Army began to see the need for armed helicopter to escort its unarmed UH-1 Hueys into combat. Fortunately, Bell Helicopters had been independently investigating helicopter gunships as early as the late 1950s, so in 1962 Bell was able to display a mock up concept to the US Army, featuring a 20mm gun pod, and a ball turret mounted grenade launcher. It was felt by the Army to be lightweight, under powered and unsuitable. Following this the US Army launched and Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS) competition, which gave rise to the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne heavy attack helicopter that proved to be too technologically advanced and therefore risky for its time, eventually being cancelled in 1972 after 10 years of development (some things never change). Despite the failure of the AAFSS programme, Bell stuck with its idea of a smaller, lighter gunship and invested its own money developing the AH-1 further. They used as many of the proven components they could from the UH-1 platform, adding these to a newly designed slender fuselage that had a minimal front profile. When The US Army later asked for plans for an interim gunship for Vietnam, Bell was in a fortunate position to be able to offer the ready-made AH-1, or the Bell 209 as it was then called. Given the work Bell had already done, the programme was completed in a relatively rapid eight months and won the evaluation battle against the competition. In 1966 the US Army signed an initial contract for 110 aircraft. Some slight modifications were made to the production airframes. The heavy armoured glass canopy was replaced by Plexiglas with an improvement in performance. Wider rotor blades were fitted and the original retracting skids were replaced by simple fixed units. The G model was the initial 1966 production model gunship for the US Army, with one 1,400shp (1,000 kW) Avco Lycoming T53-13 turboshaft. Bell built over 1,100 AH-1Gs between 1967 and 1973, and the Cobras would go on to fly over a million operational hours in Vietnam, losing approximately 300 to combat shoot-downs and accidents during the war. The U.S. Marine Corps would use AH-1G Cobra in Vietnam for a short period before acquiring more damage resilient twin-engined AH-1J Cobras. The AH-1Q/S was basically the AH-1G with the addition of a more capable Telescopic Sight Unit (TSU) and the facility to mount a four-pack of M56 TOW missiles under each winglet. The AH-1S is the same basic airframe but with a more powerful T53-L-703 turboshaft engine that was of benefit to the Turkish army because of their hotter climate. The AH-1 went on to serve the US Army until it was replaced by the AH-64 Apache. The last one leaving active service in 1999. The Kit This is a reboxing of a new tool from Special Hobby that brought us a long-overdue update to some of the older kits of the type on the market, plus more varied boxings as time goes by. This edition depicts the American airframes used in Vietnam, and arrives in a standard top-opening box in Special Hobby’s Hi-Tech black theme, and inside are eleven sprues in various sizes in grey styrene, a large clear sprue with a choice of canopies for upcoming versions, a decal sheet and their usual glossy A4 instruction booklet with spot colour throughout, plus colour profiles of the decal options in the rear. There are several red Xs on the sprue diagrams, as they have been tooled with future boxings in mind, so after you’re done building it, you will likely have parts left over. I’d also recommend checking the sprues for parts that have come off the runners during shipping, as a fair few were loose in past boxings, so don’t go tossing the bags in the recycling before you’ve checked for lurkers. Detail is excellent, as we’ve come to expect from SH, especially in the cockpit, the exterior surface and the rotors, while the instruction booklet takes you through the build process with colour and scrap diagrams used to clarify the process. Construction begins with the cockpit, which will be highly visible through the crystal-clear canopy parts, and this starts with the cockpit tub along with foot pedals front and rear, cyclic and collective sticks, gunner controls, filling a small depression in the floor, and the quilted rear bulkhead. The instrument panels receive dial decals to complete them along with coamings and HUD for the rear pilot, and the completed panels are applied to the appropriate crew station. The two seats are built up in the same manner but using different part numbers, starting with the L-shaped seat pan, and adding the sides then cushion to the base, inserting them into their slots between the side consoles and behind the instrument panels. The next step is to start prep of the fuselage halves by adding the nose cone and tail fin, taking care to align them carefully as well as choosing the correct one, as there are two tails provided on the sprues for the different decal options. The rotor-head is installed on a flat plate, allowing the head to rotate if you’re careful with the glue on the outer sleeve, then it is inserted into the fuselage along with the cockpit tub and the short internal exhaust trunk, closing it up after adding nose weight, and leaving it to set up so you can deal with the seams. The cockpit is then outfitted with armour panels on the internal sidewalls with an optional L-shaped part in the port front. What little there is of the underside of the fuselage is blank until you add the two armoured panels under the cockpit, and glue an insert into the hole in the underside around the rear of the turret. Two narrow intakes are added to the sides for three decal options, followed by two styles of main intakes further forward that slot into recesses on the fuselage sides. One of two types of tail stabiliser fins are slotted into the boom, and further forward the winglets that carry weapons are built from two halves plus hollow tip fairings, gluing two small sensor fairings to the nose for one decal option. The boom is covered in well-rendered raised rivets, as is correct for the type, and two appliqué parts are fitted either side below the exhausts, either filling the hole over the exhaust with putty, or fitting a curved baffle into the hole on top. There is a short or long exhaust ring for the decal options, then the winglets have pylons fitted under them midway, and in the tip fairing, allowing munition carriage on any of the four pylons. The fuselage is flipped on its back to create and insert the nose turret, with a pair of fairings added into the main turret part, and a 7.62mm Gatling gun in one aperture, plus a 40mm grenade launcher in the other, and glazing for the smaller turret in the tip of the nose. Four thick eyes, a blade antennae, pop-up searchlight and the rotating gun turret, plus the tail bumper wire under the tail are all installed around the airframe, plus a choice of skids with thicker or thinner supports finish off the main fuselage for now, after which the two-bladed tail-rotor has its crown fitted and is inserted into the hole in the side of the tail. The main rotor sits on a chunky axle, over which an angular washer slides that is joined to the base by a pair of actuators. The two main blades are moulded as a single item, and are first detailed with additional parts before they are glued to the top of the drive-shaft, and are supported by a pair of long control rods linked to the blades to adjust their incidence. A scrap diagram shows the various parts in false-colour to help you get everything correctly aligned. It is lowered into the top fairing later and glued into place. The Cobra’s crew exit on opposite sides, and the long narrow top is fitted first after fixing an instrument cluster to the edge of the moulded-in windscreen, gluing it onto the fuselage at the front and rear of the cockpit cut-out. After the fixed sloped starboard section and port rear section are fixed in place, the two openers can be mounted in the open position and are supported by rods to achieve the correct angle for them. A wire-cutter fin is fitted into the roof of the cockpit for two decal options, and a small styrene part is glued to the bottom frame of the windscreen. Although it is best known for its Gatling gun, the Cobra could also carry rocket pods, and four of the 19-shot M200 pods are included on a separate sprue, as well as the XM26 TOW missile pods that are cylindrical and mounted in a pack of four per side. An optional ground-handling pack is included that consists of a pair of strap-on wheels that attach to a pair of pegs on the upper rear of the skids, lifting them off the ground, and it is towed by a pair of bars that also have castors at the base near the skid to facilitate movement when levelled out and when they’re off the airframe. The bars attach to the front of the skids, then it’s down to you to find a suitable towing vehicle if you wish. Markings There are four markings options in the box, three painted in green, plus a camo scheme for the Turkish option. From the box you can build one of the following: AH-1S 71-21024, 503rd Aviation Company, US Army in Europe, Hanau, Germany, 1979 AH-1Q, 68-15086, converted from AH-1G, different camo in 1970s AH-1S, 68-15204, Massachusetts National Guard, 1991 AH-1S, 10636 (68-15071) delivered to Turkish Land Forces to supplement their AH-1W airframes The decals are printed using a digital process and have good registration, sharpness, and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut loosely around the printed areas. This means that the carrier film on their decals can be coaxed away from the printed part of the decal after they have been applied, effectively rendering them carrier film free, making the completed decals much thinner and more realistic, and obviating the need to apply successive coats of clear varnish to hide the edges of the carrier film. It’s a great step further in realism from my point of view, and saves a good quantity of precious modelling time into the bargain. Conclusion Another variant of the Cobra broadens the range again, and the colourful Turkish option is a little out of the ordinary. Detail is excellent, and should be simple enough to build. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  3. Bell AH-1G Cobra Early/Late (KPM0378) 1:72 Kovozávody Prostějov The AH-1 Cobra was the first dedicated production Gunship or Attack Helicopter to see US service as a new type of weapons platform. During the Vietnam war the US Army began to see the need for armed helicopter to escort its unarmed UH-1 Hueys into combat. Fortunately, Bell Helicopters had been independently investigating helicopter gunships as early as the late 1950s, so in 1962 Bell was able to display a mock up concept to the US Army, featuring a 20mm gun pod, and a ball turret mounted grenade launcher. It was felt by the Army to be lightweight, under powered and unsuitable. Following this the US Army launched and Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS) competition, which gave rise to the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne heavy attack helicopter that proved to be too technologically advanced and therefore risky for its time, eventually being cancelled in 1972 after 10 years of development (some things never change). Despite the failure of the AAFSS programme, Bell stuck with its idea of a smaller, lighter gunship and invested its own money developing the AH-1 further. They used as many of the proven components they could from the UH-1 platform, adding these to a newly designed slender fuselage that had a minimal frontal profile, making it harder to hit. When The US Army later asked for plans for an interim gunship for use in Vietnam, Bell was in a fortunate position to be able to offer the ready-made AH-1, or the Bell 209 as it was called internally. Given the work Bell had already done, the programme was completed in a relatively rapid eight months and won the evaluation battle against the competition. In 1966 the US Army signed an initial contract for 110 aircraft. Some slight modifications were made to the production airframes, replacing the heavy armoured glass canopy with Plexiglas to improve performance. Wider rotor blades were fitted and the original retracting skids were replaced by simple fixed units. The G model was the initial 1966 production model gunship for the US Army, with one 1,400shp (1,000 kW) Avco Lycoming T53-13 turboshaft. Bell built over 1,100 AH-1Gs between 1967 and 1973, and the Cobras would go on to fly over a million operational hours in Vietnam, losing approximately 300 to combat shoot-downs and accidents during the war. The U.S. Marine Corps would use AH-1G Cobra in Vietnam for a short period before acquiring more damage resilient twin-engined AH-1J Cobras. The M-35 Gun System was a single M195 20mm cannon (a short-barrelled version of the six-barrel M61A1 Vulcan) on the port inboard pylon of the AH-1G, with 950 rounds of ammunition stored in boxes faired to the side of the aircraft. The system was primarily pilot controlled, but featured dual controls so it could be either pilot or gunner controlled by an M73 sight. The AH-1 went on to serve the US Army until it was replaced by the AH-64 Apache, the last one leaving active service in 1999. The Kit This is a re-release with new parts of the original tooling from 2013, and arrives in an end-opening box with a painting of the subject on the front, and the decal profiles on the rear. Inside is one full-sized sprue in sand-coloured styrene in a resealable bag, a clear sprue in its own Ziploc bag, a sheet of decals and a folded A4 instruction booklet that is printed in colour and has a sprue diagram plus a little history of the type on the front page. Detail is good throughout, and there is no flash to speak of, with engraved panel lines and crisp raised and recessed details. Construction begins with creation of the cockpits and a few other assemblies, starting with the instrument panels, which have a highly detailed painting guide provided as step 1 and 2. The front panel has its coaming moulded-in, while the rear panel has a larger separate part for the coaming, plus a choice of two styles of HUD, then the cockpit tub is decorated with crew controls, one of which is made by stretching sprue from the runners to different diameters and gluing them together to create the collective stick for the pilot in the rear. The wing-back seats with decal seatbelts are then installed along with the two instrument panels, finishing the cockpit, and moving on to making the two-part fuel tanks, one for each side, and the gun turret for under the nose. Each barrel is inserted into a curved plate, which is slotted into the turret, leaving the plates inside the turret, while the barrels project from the two slots in the front. The fuselage halves are pre-painted in two areas with black for the cockpit and gunmetal for the rotorhead area, after which the cockpit and quilted rear bulkhead are inserted into the starboard side, with a circular platform placed on a ledge inside the rotorhead area. The fuselage is joined after adding the exhaust trunk, and the rotor is made up from the blades and control arms, which locate on the circular part within the rotorhead cowling, then adding a choice of short or extended exhaust lips at the end of the trunking. The canopy is made up from the fixed roof/windscreen and two side panes on each side, with the option of leaving the openers closed or ajar, as you wish. Under the tail is a wire bumper, then two choices of fin are joined to the tail boom and have the rotors with control ‘crown’ fitted on left or right sides, depending on which tail you have installed. Stabiliser fins are inserted into slots around the centre of the tail boom, as are the winglets with tips and pylons glued to them before they are fixed in place further forward. The main gear consists of a pair of skids under the fuselage on curved supports, adding a bulkhead behind the turret before gluing that in place along with the fuel tanks and a pair of rocket pods that are each made from two halves to make the cylindrical body, plus a pair of end-caps with the nose/tail of the rockets moulded-in. Markings There are three options on the decal sheet, and you can see the profiles on the back of the box. There’s a wide range of colour options from a blue Navy bird through green Marines to an Army airframe in Vietnam camo. The colours are marked out in oval swatches with names under them, showing no allegiance to any paint brand’s colour codes. From the box you can build one of the following: The decals appear to be printed using the same digital processes as Eduard are now using, and have good registration, sharpness, and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut loosely around the printed areas. I mention Eduard because from 2021, the carrier film on their decals can be coaxed away from the printed part of the decal after they have been applied, effectively rendering them carrier film free, making the completed decals much thinner and more realistic, and obviating the need to apply successive coats of clear varnish to hide the edges of the carrier film. It’s a great step further in realism from my point of view, and saves a good quantity of precious modelling time into the bargain. Conclusion A welcome reboxing of a good quality kit from KP in some interesting schemes, good quality decals and decent clear parts at a pretty good price. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  4. Heyy! I show you my completed Chinook. This models ona of the four examples converted into an ACH-47 variants. All of them were tested in Vietnam, untill three of them were lost and the only remaining were withdrewn from duty. You can see the boulding here: I used the Eduard etchted fret dedicated to this kit. To be honest, the only worthy part of this detail set is the bunch of ammo boxes, however these dont seems to be correct either. Also I got a CMK cockpit that I used and it stopped the build for long-long times, as it does not fits to the fusalage halves and does not fit to the windshield. Looking the kit itself, its a bit out of date and the holes in the cargo bay's ceilig is a huge negligence. All in all, If anyone wants to bould an ACH-47 I recommend to have the Trumpeter CH-47A kit and use the specific parts from this kit.
  5. AH-1G Arctic Cobra ICM 1:32 (32063) Most modellers will instantly recognise the Bell AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter. The AH-1 was the first production Gunship or Attack Helicopter to see service. During the Vietnam war the US Army began to see the need for armed helicopter to escort its unarmed UH-1 Hueys into combat. In parallel to this Bell Helicopters had been investigating helicopter gunships as early as the late 1950s. In 1962 Bell displayed a mock up concept to the US Army. This Helicopter featured a 20mm gun pod, and a ball turret mounted grenade launcher. It was felt by the Army to be lightweight, under powered and not suitable. Following this the US Army launched and Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS) competition. This competition gave rise to the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne heavy attack helicopter. However this proved to be to advanced for its time and was eventually cancelled in 1972 after 10 years of development (some things don't change!). Despite the AAFSS programme Bell stuck with its idea of a smaller, lighter gunship and invested its own money developing the AH-1. They used all of the proven components they could from the UH-1 platform, adding these to a newly designed fuselage. When The US Army therefore asked for plans for an interim gunship for Vietnam Bell was in a fortunate position to be able to offer the AH-1, or the Bell 209 as it was then called. Given the work Bell had already done the programme was completed in a relatively speed eight months and won the evaluation against the competition. In 1966 the US Army signed an initial contract for 110 aircraft. Some slight modifications were made to the production airframes. The heavy armoured glass canopy was replaced by Plexiglas with an improvement in performance. Wider rotor blades were fitted and the original retracting skids were replaced by simple fixed units. The G model was the initial 1966 production model gunship for the US Army, with one 1,400shp (1,000 kW) Avco Lycoming T53-13 turboshaft. Bell built over 1100 AH-1Gs between 1967 and 1973, and the Cobras would go on to fly over a million operational hours in Vietnam, approximately 300 were lost to combat and accidents during the war. The U.S. Marine Corps would use AH-1G Cobra in Vietnam for a short period before acquiring twin-engined AH-1J Cobras. The AH-1 went on to serve the US Army until it was replaced by the AH-64 Apache. The last one leaving active service in 1999. The AH-1G could be fitted with the The M-35 Gun System, this was a single M195 20mm cannon (a short-barrelled version of the six-barrel M61A1 Vulcan) on the port inboard pylon of the AH-1G. 950 rounds of ammunition were stored in boxes faired to the side of the aircraft. The system was primarily pilot controlled, but featured dual controls to be either pilot or gunner controlled. For this purpose the pilot was provided with a M73 sight. Some Cobras were tested by the US Army in low temperature conditions in Alaska. These were painted white with Arctic Red markings, these were known as Arctic Cobras. The Kit This is a brand new kit from ICM, and their first helicopter kit. The quality of the moulding is first rate from ICM with fine engraved panel lines and nice rivet detail on the tail boom and tail. While this boxing is the the early G you can see from the sprues that other versions will be along as there is the opposite handed tail, different landing skids, an upturned exhaust, different winglets and TOW missiles on the weapons sprures. The kit arrives on 5 main sprues of grey plastic and a clear sprue. As well as the main helicopter and armaments, the kit also comes with the ground handling attachments for the skids, something often missing from kits. While there is good detail on the kit and the option to open up the engine and gearbox area, this area is not massively detailed and will open itself up for the super detailer if they want. This boxing comes with an additional sprue for the M-35 Gun System. Work starts conventionally in the cockpit. The two five part armoured seats are built up and added into the main cockpit tub. Tail controls are added to the floor ,and for the pilots station a cyclic and collective columns go it. For the front seater the weapons control column is made up ad fitted in. Side controllers are also fitted for the gunner. Instrument panels and coamings go in for both stations with instruments being provided as decals. Now the cockpit is complete the visible parts of the engine/gear box and its compartment are built up. This is followed up by parts for the rotor controls. The tails are added onto the fuselage. Here there is quite a large part which overlaps to compete a good solid join. The tail rotor needs attaching to fuselage half before closing up if you want it to move. The engine / gear box parts are fitted into the right fuselage followed by the cockpit and cockpit rear bulkhead parts. The fuselage can now be closed up with additional cockpit armour panels being fitted at each side. At the rear of the engine housing the exhaust part goes in. At the front of the helo the nose goes on, being careful to choose the right parts for the decal option being modelled. The side applique armour panels can be fitted to the model if needed as these parts are marked as optional. Turning things over the large central fuselage insert goes on with additional parts at the nose. The chin turret is now fitted with either one or two miniguns depending on your decal option. A light goes behind the turret. The final exhaust ring goes on the back (if modelling option 3 then the anti IR upturned exhaust is fitted) and the tip of the tail is added. Next up we concentrate on the stub wings. The two wings are built up and the weapons pylons are fitted. These are fitted to the fuselage along with the rear stabilisers towards the tail. The landing skids can then be fitted. Next up the large clear canopy parts go on. A sight is fitted to the front of the central glazing section. The front and rear large side canopy parts are fitted, these can be open or closed as need by the modeller. The access panels can be fitted to each side of the open engine/gear box area; again these can be open or closed as required. We now move to the main rotor. Each of the two blades are split upper/lower, and they are joined together. The central rotor head is made from tow parts, these are upper and lower, these sandwich in the rotor blades. Once these are on the control arms to the swashplate are then added along with the central mounting shaft. The rotor this then mounted. To finish off armaments can be added to the pylons as needed. The kit provides Two M157 7 shot rocket pods, two M158 7 shot rocket pods, two M200 19 shot rocket pods; and two M18 minigun pods. If the modeller want to use them then two pairs of ground handling wheels can be made up and attached to the back of the skids, Towing bars then can be attached to the front of the skids. If fitting the M-35 Gun System then one of the pylons is left of the left stub wing as the gun fits directly to the inboard station here. The two large ammunition panniers fit to each side of the fuselage. A cross feed links the two sides at the front, and at the rear the feed to gun itself goes on. Decals The decal sheet is in house from ICM, the decals look thin, in register and have minimal carrier film. 3 Options are included; 69-16440, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska 1975 67-15767, 120th Aviation Co. "artic Knights", Fort Richardson, Alaska 1973 66-15250, Fort Richardson, Alaska 1968 Conclusion This is another great looking kit from ICM which great tooling and possibilities for future variants on the sprues. Very Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  6. AH-1G Cobra Spanish & IDF/AF Cobras (SH48202) 1:48 Special Hobby The AH-1 Cobra was the first production Gunship or Attack Helicopter to see US service as a new type of weapons platform. During the Vietnam war the US Army began to see the need for armed helicopter to escort its unarmed UH-1 Hueys into combat. Fortunately, Bell Helicopters had been independently investigating helicopter gunships as early as the late 1950s, so in 1962 Bell was able to display a mock up concept to the US Army, featuring a 20mm gun pod, and a ball turret mounted grenade launcher. It was felt by the Army to be lightweight, under powered and unsuitable. Following this the US Army launched and Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS) competition, which gave rise to the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne heavy attack helicopter that proved to be too advanced and therefore risky for its time, eventually being cancelled in 1972 after 10 years of development (some things never change). Despite the failure of the AAFSS programme, Bell stuck with its idea of a smaller, lighter gunship and invested its own money developing the AH-1 further. They used all of the proven components they could from the UH-1 platform, adding these to a newly designed slender fuselage that had a minimal front profile. When The US Army later asked for plans for an interim gunship for Vietnam, Bell was in a fortunate position to be able to offer the ready-made AH-1, or the Bell 209 as it was then called. Given the work Bell had already done, the programme was completed in a relatively rapid eight months and won the evaluation battle against the competition. In 1966 the US Army signed an initial contract for 110 aircraft. Some slight modifications were made to the production airframes. The heavy armoured glass canopy was replaced by Plexiglas with an improvement in performance. Wider rotor blades were fitted and the original retracting skids were replaced by simple fixed units. The G model was the initial 1966 production model gunship for the US Army, with one 1,400shp (1,000 kW) Avco Lycoming T53-13 turboshaft. Bell built over 1,100 AH-1Gs between 1967 and 1973, and the Cobras would go on to fly over a million operational hours in Vietnam, approximately 300 were lost to combat and accidents during the war. The U.S. Marine Corps would use AH-1G Cobra in Vietnam for a short period before acquiring more damage resilient twin-engined AH-1J Cobras. The M-35 Gun System was a single M195 20mm cannon (a short-barrelled version of the six-barrel M61A1 Vulcan) on the port inboard pylon of the AH-1G, with 950 rounds of ammunition stored in boxes faired to the side of the aircraft. The system was primarily pilot controlled, but featured dual controls so it could be either pilot or gunner controlled. For this purpose the pilot was provided with a M73 sight. The AH-1 went on to serve the US Army until it was replaced by the AH-64 Apache. The last one leaving active service in 1999. The Kit This is a new tool from Special Hobby and brings us a long-overdue update to some of the older kits of the type on the market. This first edition depicts the Spanish Navy and Israeli Defence Force (IDF) airframes, and arrives in a standard top-opening box in Special Hobby’s usual blue and white theme, and inside are eleven sprues in various sizes in grey styrene, a large clear sprue with a choice of canopies for upcoming versions, a decal sheet and their usual glossy A4 instruction booklet with spot colour throughout, and colour profiles of the decal options in the rear. There are a number of red Xs on the sprue diagrams, as they have been tooled with future boxings in mind, so after you’re done building it, you will likely have a number parts left over. I’d also recommend checking the sprues for parts that have come off the runners during shipping, as a fair few were loose in my bag, so don’t go tossing it in the recycling before you’ve checked them over. Detail is excellent, as we’ve come to expect from SH, especially in the cockpit, the exterior surface and the rotors, and the instruction booklet takes you through the build process with colour and scrap diagrams used to clarify the process. Construction begins with the cockpit, which will be highly visible through the crystal clear canopy parts, and this starts with the twin tub (no, not a 60s washing machine), into which the quilted rear bulkhead, twin pilot controls and tail rotor pedals are fitted, followed closely by a pair of instrument panels with decals and deep coamings to reduce glare coming though the big windows. The panels are different for front and rear crew, but their seats are very similar with armoured wings and sides on the cushioned seat, made of four parts each. Remarkably quickly we’re starting prep of the fuselage halves by drilling out a number of holes, adding the nose cone and tail fin, taking care to align them carefully as well as choosing the right one. There are two tails on the sprues. The rotor-head is installed on a flat plate, allowing the head to rotate if you’re careful with the glue, then it is inserted into the fuselage along with the cockpit tub and the short exhaust trunk, closing it up and leaving it to set up so you can deal with the seams. With that done, the cockpit is outfitted with more armour panels on the internal sidewalls and on the port side exterior, adding a number of appliqué panels in two parts. The underside of the fuselage is bereft of detail until you add the two armoured panels under the cockpit, and glue an insert into the hole in the underside after drilling out a pair of holes from within. Two small intakes are added to the sides, followed by the main intakes above that slot into recesses on the fuselage sides. The Cobra has wings! Little ones that are essentially weapons carriers, and these both have a separate wingtip and root mounted ammo pod under each one, the port pod later feeding the M35 gatling gun and a link between the starboard and port pods. At the rear you have a choice of two styles of tail stabilisers, one covered in rivets, the other nice and smooth. Speaking of the tail, the boom is covered in nicely rendered raised rivets, as is correct for the type. Two pylons attach to the underside of the winglets, one in the tip, another fitting into two holes. There is a choice of exhaust ring types, the Spanish one having a short circular type, while the Israeli airframes have a longer, upturned unit that is made from two halves. The Israeli bird also has a half-moon upstand near the outlet, and both types have a clear part mounted on a tapered turret. Speaking of turrets, with the fuselage flipped on its back, the nose turret is next, with a pair of inserts added into the main turret part, and a 7.62mm gatling gun in one aperture, plus a 40mm grenade launcher in the other that you’ll need to drill out the muzzles on. The tip of the nose cone is separate, and has a pitot probe added near the top, then it’s time to add a few antennae and clear lights, plus the BIG gun, which has a separate hollow muzzle part, ammo feed and two other small parts, which is suspended from the underside of the port winglet, and linked to the ammo pod as mentioned earlier. The skids with the thicker supports and a safety skid on the rear finish off the main fuselage for now, after which the spinning parts are made. The Cobra had a twin-blade tail rotor that slots straight into a hole in the top of the tail fin, with an M-shaped control mechanism fixed to the centre, and a couple of clear parts added to fairings nearby. The main rotor sits on a chunky axle, over which an angular washer slides that is joined to the base by a pair of actuators. The two main blades are moulded as a single item, and are first detailed with additional parts before they are glued to the top of the drive-shaft, and supported by a pair of long control rods linked to the blades to adjust their incidence. A scrap diagram shows the various parts in false-colour to help you get everything correctly aligned. It is lowered into the top fairing later and glued into place, but first the canopy is completed. The Cobra’s canopy opens on both sides, and has the long narrow top is fixed first, with the windscreen moulded-in. A small instrument is glued to the side of the screen, 3.5mm up from the bottom, after which it is glued onto the fuselage. The pilots exit from opposite sides, so after the sloped starboard section and port rear section are fixed in place, the two openers can be mounted in the open position and supported by props to achieve the correct angle for them. In addition to guns the Cobra could carry rocket pods, and two each of the seven-shot M157, M158 and four of the 19-shot M200 pods are included on separate sprues, the M157 & M200 pods cylindrical and with detail inserts in both ends. The bare tubed M158 pods have two ends, a central section and a curved cover at the top that is attached to the pylon. The final assembly is the optional towing equipment pack. This consists of a pair of graft-on wheels that attach to a pair of pegs on the upper rear of the skids, lifting them off the ground, and a pair of towing bars that also have castors near the skid-end to facilitate movement when they’re off the airframe. The bars attach to the front of the skids, then its down to you to find a suitable towing vehicle if you wish. Markings There are four markings options in the box, two each of Spanish and Israeli machines, painted blue and olive green respectively. From the box you can build one of the following: 007-8 Z.14-8 (72-21464) Arma Aerea de la Armada Española, 7 Escuadrilla, Base Naval de Rota, Spain, 1973-84 01-702 HA.14-2 (71-15091) Arma Aerea de la Armada Española, 7 Escuadrilla, Base Naval de Rota, Spain, 1973-84 No.126, Evaluation Unit/First Attack Helicopter Sqn., Chel Ha’Avir, Basis Tel Nof. Israel, 1975-6 No.130, Evaluation Unit/First Attack Helicopter Sqn., Chel Ha’Avir, Basis Tel Nof. Israel, 1975-6 Decals are by Cartograf, which is a guarantee of good registration, sharpness and colour density, with a thin gloss carrier film cut close to the printed areas. Conclusion A welcome new tool of this gutsy attack helo that stayed in service for a long time and was used by a wide variety of operators. Great detail and simple construction add to the appeal. If you're masking phobic, you'd do well to view our review of the inside/outside masks by Special Masks, here. Very highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  7. AH-1G Cobra (Early Production) US Attack Helicopter ICM 1:32 (32060) Most modellers will instantly recognise the Bell AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter. The AH-1 was the first production Gunship or Attack Helicopter to see service. During the Vietnam war the US Army began to see the need for armed helicopter to escort its unarmed UH-1 Hueys into combat. In parallel to this Bell Helicopters had been investigating helicopter gunships as early as the late 1950s. In 1962 Bell displayed a mock up concept to the US Army. This Helicopter featured a 20mm gun pod, and a ball turret mounted grenade launcher. It was felt by the Army to be lightweight, under powered and not suitable. Following this the US Army launched and Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS) competition. This competition gave rise to the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne heavy attack helicopter. However this proved to be to advanced for its time and was eventually cancelled in 1972 after 10 years of development (some things don't change!). Despite the AAFSS programme Bell stuck with its idea of a smaller, lighter gunship and invested its own money developing the AH-1. They used all of the proven components they could from the UH-1 platform, adding these to a newly designed fuselage. When The US Army therefore asked for pans for an interim gunship for Vietnam Bell was in a fortunate position to be able to offer the AH-1, or the Bell 209 as it was then called. Given the work Bell had already done the programme was completed in a relatively speed eight months and won the evaluation against the competition. In 1966 the US Army signed an initial contract for 110 aircraft. Some slight modifications were made to the production airframes. The heavy armoured glass canopy was replaced by Plexiglas with an improvement in performance. Wider rotor blades were fitted and the original retracting skids were replaced by simple fixed units. The G model was the initial 1966 production model gunship for the US Army, with one 1,400shp (1,000 kW) Avco Lycoming T53-13 turboshaft. Bell built over 1100 AH-1Gs between 1967 and 1973, and the Cobras would go on to fly over a million operational hours in Vietnam, approximately 300 were lost to combat and accidents during the war. The U.S. Marine Corps would use AH-1G Cobra in Vietnam for a short period before acquiring twin-engined AH-1J Cobras. The AH-1 went on to serve the US Army until it was replaced by the AH-64 Apache. The last one leaving active service in 1999. The Kit This is a brand new kit from ICM, and their first helicopter kit. The quality of the moulding is first rate from ICM with fine engraved panel lines and nice rivet detail on the tail boom and tail. While this boxing is the the early G you can see from the sprues that other versions will be along as there is the opposite handed tail, different landing skids, an upturned exhaust, different winglets and TOW missiles on the weapons sprures. The kit arrives on 5 main sprues of grey plastic and a clear sprue. As well as the main helicopter and armaments, the kit also comes with the ground handling attachments for the skids, something often missing from kits. While there is good detail on the kit and the option to open up the engine and gearbox area, this area is not massively detailed and will open itself up for the super detailer if they want. Work starts conventionally in the cockpit. The two five part armoured seats are built up and added into the main cockpit tub. Tail controls are added to the floor ,and for the pilots station a cyclic and collective columns go it. For the front seater the weapons control column is made up ad fitted in. Side controllers are also fitted for the gunner. Instrument panels and coamings go in for both stations with instruments being provided as decals. Now the cockpit is complete the visible parts of the engine/gear box and its compartment are built up. This is followed up by parts for the rotor controls. The tails are added onto the fuselage. Here there is quite a large part which overlaps to compete a good solid join. The tail rotor needs attaching to fuselage half before closing up if you want it to move. The engine / gear box parts are fitted into the right fuselage followed by the cockpit and cockpit rear bulkhead parts. The fuselage can now be closed up with additional cockpit armour panels being fitted at each side. At the rear of the engine housing the exhaust part goes in. At the front of the helo the nose goes on, being careful to choose the right parts for the decal option being modelled. Turning things over the large central fuselage insert goes on with additional parts at the nose. The chin turret is now fitted with either one or two miniguns depending on your decal option. A light goes behind the turret. The final exhaust ring goes on the back and the tip of the tail is added. Next up we concentrate on the stub wings. The two wings are built up and the weapons pylons are fitted. These are fitted to the fuselage along with the rear stabilisers towards the tail. The landing skids can then be fitted. Next up the large clear canopy parts go on. A sight is fitted to the front of the central glazing section. The front and rear large side canopy parts are fitted, these can be open or closed as need by the modeller. The access panels can be fitted to each side of the open engine/gear box area; again these can be open or closed as required. We now move to the main rotor. Each of the two blades are split upper/lower, and they are joined together. The central rotor head is made from tow parts, these are upper and lower, these sandwich in the rotor blades. Once these are on the control arms to the swashplate are then added along with the central mounting shaft. The rotor this then mounted. To finish off armaments can be added to the pylons as needed. The kit provides Two M157 7 shot rocket pods, two M158 7 shot rocket pods, two M200 19 shot rocket pods; and two M18 minigun pods. If the modeller want to use them then two pairs of ground handling wheels can be made up and attached to the back of the skids, Towing bars then can be attached to the front of the skids. Decals The decal sheet is in house from ICM, the declas look thin, in register and have minimal carrier film. 4 Options are included; 5728/47 "Blue Max", 2nd Battalion, 20th Aerial Rocket Artillery Regiment. 66-15252 / 15 - Presumed to be part of the Cobra NETT (New Equipment Transition Team) 66-15310, B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 20th Aerial Rocket Artillery Regiment., 1st Cavalry Division (Air mobile) originally from Cobra NETT and featured a two tone trial camouflage scheme. 67-15762 / "Executioner", 235th Air Cavalry, Capt Lou Bouault (Aircraft commander), Daub Ting, November 1969. Conclusion This is another great looking kit from ICM which great tooling and possibilities for future variants on the sprues. Very Highly recommended. Available in the UK from importers H G Hannants Ltd. Review sample courtesy of
  8. AH-1G Cobra "Early Tails over Nam" 1:72 Special Hobby (72427) Most modellers will instantly recognise the Bell AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter. The AH-1 was the first production Gunship or Attack Helicopter to see service. During the Vietnam war the US Army began to see the need for armed helicopter to escort its unarmed UH-1 Hueys into combat. In parallel to this Bell Helicopters had been investigating helicopter gunships as early as the late 1950s. In 1962 Bell displayed a mock up concept to the US Army. This Helicopter featured a 20mm gun pod, and a ball turret mounted grenade launcher. It was felt by the Army to be lightweight, under powered and not suitable. Following this the US Army launched and Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS) competition. This competition gave rise to the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne heavy attack helicopter. However this proved to be to advanced for its time and was eventually cancelled in 1972 after 10 years of development (some things don't change!). Despite the AAFSS programme Bell stuck with its idea of a smaller, lighter gunship and invested its own money developing the AH-1. They used all of the proven components they could from the UH-1 platform, adding these to a newly designed fuselage. When The US Army therefore asked for pans for an interim gunship for Vietnam Bell was in a fortunate position to be able to offer the AH-1, or the Bell 209 as it was then called. Given the work Bell had already done the programme was completed in a relatively speed eight months and won the evaluation against the competition. In 1966 the US Army signed an initial contract for 110 aircraft. Some slight modifications were made to the production airframes. The heavy armoured glass canopy was replaced by Plexiglas with an improvement in performance. Wider rotor blades were fitted and the original retracting skids were replaced by simple fixed units. The G model was the initial 1966 production model gunship for the US Army, with one 1,400shp (1,000 kW) Avco Lycoming T53-13 turboshaft. Bell built over 1100 AH-1Gs between 1967 and 1973, and the Cobras would go on to fly over a million operational hours in Vietnam, approximately 300 were lost to combat and accidents during the war. The U.S. Marine Corps would use AH-1G Cobra in Vietnam for a short period before acquiring twin-engined AH-1J Cobras. The AH-1 went on to serve the US Army until it was replaced by the AH-64 Apache. The last one leaving active service in 1999. The Kit The kit is for the early machines in Vietnam, It arrives as two major sprues, and 3 smaller sprues if light grey plastic, with a single clear sprue. All of the parts are very well moulded with no flaws I can see or flash. There are parts for other Cobra models on the sprues so care needs to be taken to select the right parts. Construction does not start with the cockpit (shock I know!) but with adding some small parts and the exhaust nozzle to the left fuselage half. We then move reassuringly back to the cockpit! The rear bulkhead needs to be removed and replaced with the right one for this boxing. The multipart seats with their armour plating shields are made up and added to the cockpit tub, along with instrument panels and control columns. The instrument are represented by decals. Once the cockpit tub is made up it can be placed inside the fuselage halves and they can be closed up. If you wish the main rotor to rotate then the head is placed into the fuselage at this point. If the modeller does not wish for it to rotate then this step can be left until later on in the build. Following completion of the main fuselage the stub wings/weapons pylons are made up and added to the fuselage. The nose turret is also completed and added at this point as are what look to be armour panels at the side of the cockpits. Construction then moves to the tail section. A left and right handed tail are supplied on the sprues so make sure you select the correct one (right hand for this kit). The tail is constructed and the tail rotor added, along with the tailplanes. Intakes and exhaust details are also added at this stage. Next its time to arm up your Cobra if you so wish (it would be naked without armament tho !). The armament in the kit is two M18 7.62mm Minigun pods, two M261 2.75" Rocket Pods, two M158 2.75" rocket pods, and the 20mm M-35 Gun System. The modeller will need to consult their references to get the exact combination s for the Cobra they are modelling as I suspect not all of these were used at the same time. Once your cobra is "tooled up" the canopies can be added. These are multi-part and can be displayed open as needed. The landing skids are also added at this time. There are different skids for different decal option in this kit so please select the right ones. A nice touch in the box is the addition of ground handling wheels for the skids, and a vehicle tow bar. Great if you wish to add a little something to the model, or included it in a diorama. Canopy Rather than a one part canopy the canopy is a single part main centre piece with two parts for each side. This will allow the modeller to pose the canopies open if they wish. It will though make for a more difficult construction. The parts are quite thin, and very clear. Decals Decals are by Eduard and are provided for four Cobras; A. 68-15183 C Battery, 2nd Battalion, 20th Regiment Aerial Rocket Artillery, Phuoc Vinh, Vietnam 1971. B. 68-15049 C Battery, 2nd Battalion, 20th Regiment Aerial Rocket Artillery, Bu Dop, Vietnam 1970 (Cambodian Invasion Markings) C. 66-15259 Cobra New equipment Training Team, Vung Tau, Vietnam 1967 (USAF Style SA Camo) D1. 68-15189 "Wretched Mildred" D Troop, 3rd Bridge, 4th Cav, Chu Chi, Vietnam 1971 D.2 68-15189 "Wretched Mildred" 1972, after suffering damage the airframe was rebuilt with a new tailboom, this one with the tail rotor on the right side. . Conclusion These new Cobras from Special Hobby are excellent kits of an important Helicopter type. Highly recommended. Review sample courtesy of
  9. Built from the 1/72 AMT kit, the only mods I did were to sand out the terrible windscreen panel etching and file flat the panels (which is a big issue with this kit). I also sanded a 'pinch' into the radome as the nose looks too fat. I also added the antennas for a Desert Storm period aircraft.
  10. Spotted these photos yesterday from RAF Odiham after their family day. Thoigt they might be of interest here, aircraft arnt my thing ATM but sure these will interest someone, hopefully not posted before
  11. Bell AH-1F Cobra Gunship Revell 1:48 Most modellers will instantly recognise the Bell AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter. The AH-1 was the first production Gunship or Attack Helicopter to see service. During the Vietnam war the US Army began to see the need for armed helicopter to escort its unarmed UH-1 Hueys into combat. In parallel to this Bell Helicopters had been investigating helicopter gunships as early as the late 1950s. In 1962 Bell displayed a mock up concept to the US Army. This Helicopter featured a 20mm gun pod and a ball turret mounted grenade launcher. It was felt by the Army to be lightweight, under powered and not suitable. Following this the US Army launched and Advanced Aerial Fire Support System (AAFSS) competition. This competition gave rise to the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne heavy attack helicopter. However this proved to be to advanced for its time and was eventually cancelled in 1972 after 10 years of development (some things dont change!) Despite the AAFSS programme Bell stuck with its idea of a smaller, lighter gunship and invested its own money developing the AH-1. They used all of the proven components they could from the UH-1 platform, adding these to a newly designed fuselage. When The US Army therefore asked for pans for an interim gunship for Vietnam Bell was in a fortunate position to be able to offer the AH-1, or the Bell 209 as it was then called. Given the work Bell had already done the programme was completed in a relatively speed eight months and won the evaluation against the competition. In 1966 the US Army signed an initial contract for 110 aircraft. Some slight modifications were made to the production airframes. The heavy armoured glass canopy was replaced by Plexiglas with an improvement in performance. Wider rotor blades were fitted and the original retracting skids were replaced by simple fixed units. The rest is history as they say. The AH-1 went on to serve the US Army until it was replaced by the AH-64 Apache. The last one leaving active service in 1999. The US Marine Corps opted for a twin engine AH-1 which still serve today, in fact a new development the AH-1Z has been ordered as the next generation USMC attack helicopter. US AH-1s have seen combat in Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, and Iraq. Surplus US AH-1s are now also in use by the US Forrest service. They use 25 retired AH-1Fs for real time fire monitoring under the name Firewatch Cobras. Additionally The Florida Dept of Forestry has three AH-1Ps called Firesnakes which carry a water/fire retardant system. The Cobra has in addition achieved some export success. It is used by Pakistan, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Bahrain, Spain, Turkey, Thailand and South Korea. The Kit The kit is the old Monogram AH-1S and there is no difference I can see in the plastic at all. The fuselage has a sticky label which says made in Poland (though the old Monogram raised Made in the USA is still on the other half!) , the box is apparently made in China and is Packaged in the USA. Welcome to the international world of modern manufacturing eh! There is some flash on the smaller parts, but nothing which wont come off easily with a quick scrape. The parts count is fairly low at 79 if the box is to be believed. This is by now a fairly old mould kit and I have read the fit (apart from the canopy) is not to brilliant. As befits a modern re-boxing we are told its now an offical Bell Helicopter, Textron Company Licensed product! Construction starts with the cockpit. Weapons controls and a sight are provided for the gunner with full flight controls for the pilot. The seats look fairly good, if a little basic. Pilot and Gunner figures are provided to make the cockpit looks busier. All instrument panels are provided as decals. Following this then engine is completed, the cockpit placed in and the fuselage halfs buttoned up, not forgetting the pin for the tail rotor. The instructions would have you attach the tail rotor at this time but I would think many will leave it off till the end. Following this all the exterior parts are added. Weapons pylons, weapons (Rocket pods and TOW missile launchers. The nose sight turret, and the underside mounted 20mm Gatling gun. The sight and gun are designed to move if you glue them in correctly. Finally the cockpit glass is added, and the main rotor is installed. Canopy The canopy comes as two parts. The Right and top being molded as one, with the left side being seperate and having to be glued in place. The parts look remarkably clear and from what I have read are one of the best fitting parts of the kit. Decals Decals are provided for 3 aircraft in the kit. 67-15771 1st Air Cavalry, C Troop "Jaws Of Death" on display Troy AL, USA. 67-15883 "Trigger & Boomers Excellent Adventure" Operation Desert Storm (I have read this serial is wrong and should be 67-15643) 67-15883 N Troop, 4th Sqn, 2nd Armored Cav Regiment, US Army Iraq 1991. The decals look glossy and in register. Conclusion While there maybe a little flash on the parts this is still the only single engined AH-1 model available in 1:48. While not one of the modern superkits it is my experience with old monogram prodcuts that with a little bit of work they do build into great looking models. Overall recomended. Review sample courtesy of
  12. Hi! Here's my 1/72 scale Huey Gunship It is built OOB, and painted using Gunze colors. Best regards Rune Haugen Norway
  13. Having a break from painting (a wall not the plastic) I glanced at the stash and thought " why have I 3 biplanes and 2 Parsols when I hate rigging?"...and thus the story begins... Would it be sacrilege to wiff with a Matchbox Walrus? Probably not thanks to the Revell re-issue, albeit without the multicolored plastic we all love so dearly. ok so ideas now began to form in my crazy mind... Turn this: into this: From Turning to Burning. Or maybe this: Monoplane it (although Supermarine already beat me to this with the Seagull) Or a simpler: Just drop the rigging, and repaint in a new scheme wether alternative warbird or civi. Of course there other whacky options: 'gunship' - rockets, torpedos, turrets etc 'electric' - long before the EKA-3, predating the F3D-2Q, and making even the TBM-3Q seem positively modern. '2000' - well if Dornier can modernise their WW2 vintage boats... 'racer' - didn't a Walrus do a lap at Reno? Not looking like this... ...and I'm sure there more! Some things would be hampered by the rather bare stores box, others by the skill box - but nothing by the 'outside the box'
  14. Douglas AC-47 Spooky Roden 1:144 The rapid development of jet aircraft in the immediate post-war years seemed to promise the end of the use of piston-engined aircraft in combat. However, the local conflicts of the first decades of the second half of the 20th Century proved that it was too early to send the veterans into retirement. The war in Vietnam presented a number of unpleasant surprises to the US military command, one of which was the so-called "Ho Chi Minh Trail" - an extensive network of trails and small roads in southern Vietnam and Laos, through which there was a continuous supply of weapons for the Army of the National Liberation Front. Attempting to attack it from the air using jet aircraft became a fiasco - the small groups of rebels quickly disappeared, long before the approaching aircraft, and therefore the effectiveness of such missions for the US Air Force was near zero. Perhaps the only positive factor was the weakness of the rebel defense, or indeed the complete lack of it. Initially the old A-26 Invader attack aircraft was used to fight the guerrillas, immediately converted to the B-26K standard. The plane carried effective weapons, but its flight endurance was very limited, even with the use of external fuel tanks. So the idea was born, to equip transport aircraft with weapons to attack ground targets from the air. Transports could stay up in the air for a long time, and their big cargo compartments allowed for the installation of ample armament. The ideal type in every respect to perform such work was the veteran C-47 Dakota / Skytrain. In two of the rear window openings were fitted six-barreled Miniguns, and a third was installed in the space for the side door of the cargo compartment. The new aircraft received the AC-47 designation ('A' denoted that the type belonged to the category of attacking machines). AC-47D is the next modification of this aircraft. The crew consisted of two pilots, three or four gunners, a navigator and an air to ground co-ordinating officer. The first squadron of these aircraft was established in early 1965. Several machines were non-standard modifications, while others had already standardized weapons and gained the call sign 'Spooky', after the mythical ghost that suddenly appeared and fatally struck down their enemies. The first few months of using the AC-47 were quite successful; however, in early 1966 the rebels on the Ho Chi Minh Trail appeared with 37 mm anti-aircraft armament, which offered formidable defense against the gunships. In a short time six of these machines were lost, and in the following months the intensity of their use significantly decreased. The AC-47 gave way to more modern gunships, such as the AC-119 and the AC-123. But with the advent of the mighty giant AC-130 all the earlier gunships were instantly obsolete. They were transferred to the air forces of South Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, where they were used until the early 1970s, when, given the advanced age of the design, they were finally deleted from the inventories of those countries' air forces. Source: Roden Scale Model Kits The Kit This kit, No. 310, is a new issue of Roden's No.308 Douglas C-47 Skytrain; however, this kit has an additional sprue, with parts to build a gunship version; often referred to as the "Spooky". The sprues containing the main components are crisp and well detailed, with finely recessed panel lines etc. Some areas have small amounts of flash around the pieces; however, these can be easily removed with a sharp blade. The engine facia and cowling units are separate items which means that the engine components can each be pre-painted before assembly, thereby avoiding any little overpaint issues. The panel lines on the wings, like the fuselage, are well defined without being overly deep. Elements of flash are more evident here, especially in the undercarriage wheel well but again this comes away cleanly with the use of a sharp bladed craft knife. Sprue C holds one each of the propellers, tailplane and undercarriage assembly. There are two sets of this sprue per kit. As mentioned previously, the engine cylinders are seperate, as in the view below, and they should be able to be painted up nicely with a mix of black and silver etc. If there is an area of concern then that would be where the wheel hub is joined to the tyre. There is an unusually wide gap between the hub and where the tyre fits to it, this can be seen with the wheels on the sprues above and below. As this element would normally be under the full load of the aircraft, then I would expect the tyre to be pressed fully against the rim of the hub. It appears that the hub has not been placed fully into the tyre recess before moulding and this leaves the rim proud on both sides. This next sprue is what differentiates this kit from the earlier C-47 Skytrain kit. It contains an internal half-deck and bulkhead; an additional half-door section, plus three MXU-470/A miniguns and mounts. The half deck is required to sit the miniguns on and the half-door section replaces the double door of the original kit. The Miniguns are quite detailed for such a diminutive size and should look effective when painted up and fitted. The clear spue has the main windscreen, cabin windows and the navigation lights and dome piece. The windscreen is incorporated within a larger piece of the fuselage which should make it easier for masking and painting. Three of the cabin windows on one strip will need to me removed, for fitting on the port side of the model, where the miniguns will protrude out. Decals The AC-47D Spooky carried minimal markings and this is reflected in the decal sheet. Apart from a small national insignia and tail marking, thre is only a nose art decal and propeller danger signage. The decals are clear and look to be register, although they are so small (correctly so) that I had to use a magnifying glass to check them. Conclusion Having checked the wheel hub and tyre setup more closely, I can see that, with a good sharp knife and some application, that the hubs could be cut away, the excess removed and then be replaced to give a more secure fit. All good modelling fun. This looks to be a nice kit and I can envisage lots of different models and dioramas being built of this. They didn't just operate in VIetnam, or only with the U.S., as many other operators used the C-47 as a gunship for their own security situations. Review sample courtesy of UK Distributors for
  15. Well, finally got this finished. Except now looking at the pictures, need to do a little work around the front windows. I believe as I am getting older my eyes are getting worse, what a shock!. Made this a tired old bird that had seen better days. The kit was almost no problem to put together. Two issues, one the undercarriage is way too weak to support this kit's weight. I am crafting a new one out of metal. The second issue is the nylon representations for the ammo versus the miniscule attachment points for the machine guns. I need to figure out a more permanent way to secure the guns since there is continuous pressure to distort them from the ammo. Still working on that. During the shoot one of the machine guns popped loose from the tension. Would recommend this kit to anyone of any level. Just wish they would reissue it as the phantom model. It is very large when finished. This is taken in front of my office door and it almost spans the width of the entryway. Comments welcome. Now back to the Mosquito and the obsolete group build.
  16. Thought I heard a rumblin'/Calling to my name/Two hundred million guns are loaded/Satan cries "take aim"/Better run through the jungle... Hey Gang- This is my recently completed 1/72 Italeri UH-1B Huey Gunship, in the markings of the 120th AHC Razorbacks, circa Vietnam. Made a bunch of enhancements and additions to the kit. Huey gunships are very busy in the cargo/cockpit area, so the bulk of the work was done in those two spots (most of which can be seen in this Facebook photo album- https://www.facebook.com/Albymoore/media_set?set=a.10201484012640568.1073741838.1183606216&type=3# ). I also did some exterior work where needed. The Razorback decals were custom made by Joseph Osborn of Fireball Modelworks, while the rest of the markings were sourced from various US Army Huey decal sheets. All comments and critiques welcomed, and thanks for looking!
  17. First post here (yay!) , so why not start off with a bang? And by bang, I mean gigantic helicopter. I'm not especially far along, I really just started: (if the photos don't work, lemme know) The painted passenger seats, right after I glued 'em on Front seats, painted grey. It's kind of hard to see, since the tape is clear, but I've masked the seat cushion to paint olive drab later. Instrument panel, slightly shiny from being semi-wet. I've yet to put the decal on it, but my local crafts store didn't have any decal setting solution, so I'm gonna apply it with water and prayers. The nicely painted (if I do say so myself) pitch sticks, drying on a Testors cap. I'd like to say that the scratch-marks and weathering on the silver parts were intentional, but it was really just my ineptitude at painting. Anndd the control sticks. I left the handle unpainted, I like it in OD green...(who knows why) Err...this photo came out a little blurry..oops..... That's it for now, more progress soon
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