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Julien

AH-6J/MH-6J Little Bird Nightstalkers - 1:35 KittyHawk

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AH-6J/MH-6J Little Bird Nightstalkers

1:35 KittyHawk

 

l1.JPG

 

The Hughes OH-6 was developed from a US Army technical specification calling fir a light observation helicopter (LOH) which need to fulfil the roles of personnel transport, escort & attack, casevac and observation. The prototype first flew in 1963. The helicopter entered service in 1966 and almost immediately went to war in Vietnam. Crews soon nicknamed the helo "Loach" after the LOH acronym. Out of the 1419 built for the US Army 842 would be lost in Vietnam, mainly due to hostile ground fire.

 

Following the disastrous attempt to rescue the American hostages in Tehran in 1980 the US Army's 160 Special Operations Aviation Regiment began developing a special aviation task force to prepare for what was then to be a second attempt at the rescue. They identified a need for a small helicopter to land in restrictive locations, and be transported by Air Force Transport aircraft. The OH-6A was selected for this and given the name Little bird as it was much smaller than the MH-60 & MH-47 aircraft they had. In the end there was no second rescue mission but the Army decided to keep the unit it had formed, and this would eventually become the 160th Aviation Battalion. The helicopters used for transport would become MH-6, and the armed ones AH-6.

 

Later when Hughes would become part of MD helicopters a newer helicopter based on the OH-6 the MD-500 would arrive. This would feature a five bladed rotor and T tail. These aircraft would be produced as version for the Special Operations teams starting with the MH-6E. This would lead later to the AH/MH-6J. This improved helo based on the MD500MG would be used for transport and attack, it features an improved engine, FLIR, and GPS/Inertial navigation. The Ah-6 can usually be seen equipped with a lightweight universal mounting platform which has two M134 mini guns and two M260 7 shot Hydra 70 rocket pods. However they can carry a variety of other weapons including Hellfire missiles, stinger missiles, 40mm grenade launchers or .50 cal machine guns. 

 

 

The Kit

A brand new tooling from KittyHawk who seem to be bringing us helicopters we want just recently. The kit arrives on three sprues of light grey plastic, a clear sprue, two smallish sheets of photo etch, and a small decal sheet. Even in 1/35 scale the helicopter is not what you would call large, hence the "Little Bird" name. It is interesting to see there are 6 rotor blades on the sprue, that and the fact the kit is moulded with cutouts for the larger back door would leave us to believe a H-6M is on the cards from KH as well. Construction starts with not with the cockpit but with the engine and its mounting. The 16 part engine is first constructed, this is then attached to its mounting. The engine bay is then made up and the engine added. The modeller can now breathe easy and move back to the cockpit / cabin interior.  The centre instrument console is built up with instruments and MFDs being supplied as decals. In this scale I think PE might have been better suited to this. The cyclic controls are also connected to the centre console at this point. The forward bulkhead is then made up with the pilots seats added, PE seatbets are supplied here. Collective controls and other parts are added at this point. 

 

l2.JPG

 

l3.JPG

 

The rudder pedals are now made up and attached to the cabin floor. The modeller is now faced with two choices for the back of the helo. Either the cross member support and side planks are fitted for carrying troops, or the lightweight universal mounting platform is added for mounting weapons. The weapons support is the more intricate structure as it contains the weapons mounts and ammunition boxes. The mountings and centre console are then fitted to the cabin floor. If fitting for weapons then an additional ammunition box is mounted in the back. The engine and bay assembly is then added to the cabin floor. Moving on to the fuselage halves holes need to be opened up for various parts, once done the cabin assembly can then be fitted into them, and they are closed up. The main nose glazing can then be added along with the front doors. Its worth noting that in most pictures of these helos the doors are not fitted, but consult your references as always. The clamshell doors for the engine compartment can now be added. These do have detail inside of them and it would seem a shame to close them up and cover all the engine detail. 

 

l4.JPG

 

If making an armed helo then the next stage deals with the various armament options, though it would seem only the mini guns are dealt with in instructions? again here its really upto the modeller to consult their references as the weapons fits differed from mission to mission. If fitting the mini guns then the PE sheet has detailed feed chutes for these, but they are supplied in plastic, though the way they run in the instructions is not the same as photos I have seen. The skids are built up and added next. Various and multiple aerials are added to the fuselage along with the back doors (if you want to fit them). The tailboom and tail rotor is then made up and added to the fuselage. The last item then to finish is the main rotor assembly. The mount is made up and then the five blades are added to the hub. The blade which are nicely curved fit onto pins on the hub which seems a positive step. The whole assembly can then be mounted to the top of the helo.

 

l5.JPG

 

 

Clear Parts

These arrive in the now trademark cardboard box for added protection (something other kit manufactures should take note of). At first glance they do not look that great, and certainly not as good as the UH-1 I recently reviewed. The large single front part does appear slightly pebbly at first, but when held the appropriate distance as would be used on the model the appearance does improve some.  

 

l6.JPG

 

Decals

Decals are provided on one small sheet as these aircraft due to the nature of their work dont carry many markings, Decals are provided for 4 machines;

 

  • MH-6J - 95-25371 US Army in Somalia.
  • AH-6J - 16 th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, US Army.
  • AH-6J - 90-25362 US Army in Somalia.
  • AH-6J - 90-23635 US Army in Somalia.

 

l7.JPG

 

Conclusion

A comprehensive kit of an iconic helicopter which is let down slightly I feel by the instructions.

 

Highly recommended.

 

Review sample courtesy of

logo.gif and available soon from major hobby shops

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Good review Julien.  It's your favourite Helo isn't it?

 

Mike

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36 minutes ago, bootneck said:

Good review Julien.  It's your favourite Helo isn't it?

 

Mike

Thanks Mike. Yes the whole OH-6/MD500 family are about my favourite helos. 

 

Julien

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3 hours ago, magman2 said:

Just a note, Somalia (Black Hawk Down) the Titles and numbers were Green. :o 

Flloyd Werner helped with the kit so I would say they are correct. Strange he did not get a mention on the box tho.

 

julien

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That's because, he sells the green decals and probably didn't want to shoot him self in the foot.

The grey decals,are ok for modern little birds.

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9 hours ago, Julien said:

Flloyd Werner helped with the kit so I would say they are correct. Strange he did not get a mention on the box tho.

 

julien

Going by his brief comments at ARC, he thinks so too!

 

I'm another diehard 500 fan so I can only hope KH will follow with a (proper) OH-6A or - prayers being answered - 500C.

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53 minutes ago, k5054nz said:

Going by his brief comments at ARC, he thinks so too!

 

I'm another diehard 500 fan so I can only hope KH will follow with a (proper) OH-6A or - prayers being answered - 500C.

Or both!

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