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Julien

Bell AH-1W SuperCobra - Revell 1:48

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Bell AH-1W SuperCobra

Revell 1:48


box.jpg


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 to replace its original Cobras and thus the SuperCobra was born. The AH-1W would keep its twin rotor. The original engine would be replace by a pair of GE T700-401 turboshafts. These give the AH-1W a maximum speed of 190 Knots with a range of 365 miles. Armament is one 3 barrelled 20mm gattling gun in a chin turret with provision for 2.72" & 5" rockets, TOW missiles, Hellfire missile and AIM-9 sidewinder missiles for an air-2-air capability. The USMC continues to believe in the SuperCobra for its use with them being updated to the AH-1Z. This features integrated digital avionics, helmet mounted displays. A four bladed main rotor which is bearingless and features composite technology will be a main noticeable change. The Cobra lives on!

The Kit
This kit is a re-box by Revel of the 1993 Italeri kit with new decals. The it arrives on two main sprues with a small clear spure. Detail is sparse and mainly raised. Construction starts in the cockpit. The clear part for the HUD Is added to the pilots console. This along with the two seats and a rear bulkhead are added to the cockpit tub. Also added are the pilots control column & cyclic control to the read cockpit. To the gunners cockpit at the front are added a pair of control levers. Once the rear bulkhead is installed the cockpit is ready to go. The next step is to build up the chin mounted 3 barrelled 20mm Gatling Gun. With careful construction the gun will be able to move. The three barrels are assembled and added to the mount.

sp1.JPG


Construction then moves to the main fuselage. The two halves are mad up by adding the engine parts to the fuselage parts. Sensor housing are then added to the front and rear of both sides. The gunners weapon sight is made up along with the engine exhausts for each side. The sight, turret and cockpit tub are then added into the fuselage sides. The tail plane, and tail rotor mounting pin must also be added at this time. Once these parts are installed the fuselage halves can be joined.

sp2.JPG


Once the main fuselage is together the canopy is added along with cheek pods at the front. The exhausts are added along with the chin mounted sensor pod. To each side are added the stub wings to carry the weapons and the main landing skids. Construction then moves onto the weapons pylons, and the weapons themselves. Flare dispensers are constructed and added to the stub wings. A combination of rocket pods and Hellfire missiles, or rocket pods & sidewinder missiles is recommended. The finishing off is accomplished by building and attaching the main twin rotor blades and an assortment of blade aerials, cable cutters and other antenna.

sp3.JPG


Canopy
Surprisingly a one part canopy is a provided. Why surprisingly? the picture on the instructions shows the model posed with the canopy open, and canopy jacks are provided. In order to open the canopy as suggested the modeller will need to cut the various parts of the canopy open.

sp4.JPG


Decals
Decals are provided for three different USMC Aircraft. They are well printed, in register an look dense.
  • #162571, HMM-163, USS Tarawa LHA-1 1989 - Grey/Green Camo
  • #162537, VX-5, Naval Weapon Center, China Lake 1988 - Grey Camo
  • #162541, HMT-303, Camp Pendleton, 1991 - Desert Camo

decals.jpg


Conclusion
This is by no means an uber kit, however it looks like a SuperCobra and should build up to a good looking model. Recommended if you would like an AH-1W in your collection.


Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers.


For further information visit logo-revell-2009.gif

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Thanks for the review Julian, nice to see the kit getting another airing. I was only looking at the Italeri kit the other day with a view to stealing the main rotorhead for a Huey...

Colin

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Thanks for the review Julian

Colin

Yes.

This is repack oll Italeri kit. Even the parts identical.

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Yes it is the Italeri kit re-boxed. Pretty sure I said that in the review.

Julien

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Hi Julien, is this one a re scribe job or is it recessed panel lines/details fella?

Cheers

Dan

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:whistle:

This kit is a re-box by Revel of the 1993 Italeri kit with new decals. The it arrives on two main sprues with a small clear spure. Detail is sparse and mainly raised.

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Hopefully new aftermarket items will be out for it. As for the canopy l would vac one to get an opened version

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Most interesting is that this kit is identical to his "brother" in the 1/72 scale (comparing with the number of parts).

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