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AH-6M/MH-6M Little Bird Nightstalkers - 1:35 KittyHawk KH50002


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AH-6M/MH-6M Little Bird Nightstalkers

1:35 KittyHawk KH50002

 

ah601.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 AH/MH-6 also referred to as the Mission Enhanced Little Bird (MELB), it is a highly modified version of the MD 530 series commercial helicopter. 

 

 

The Kit

This is a re-issue 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. Included in this boxing is a set of six resin figure. Even in 1/35 scale the helicopter is not what you would call large, hence the "Little Bird" name. It was hoped these vaients would be tooled as some of the parts were in earlier boxings. 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. 

 

ah602.jpg

 

ah603.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;

 

AH-6M - 25358 US Army

MH-6M - 25377 US Arny

MH-6M - 25361 US Army

MH-6M - 25356 US Army

 

ah604.jpg

 

 

Figures

There are 6 resin figures compete with weapons supplied with the kit. There are two helicopter crew men; the Pilot seated in the helicopter, and the Co-pilot standing outside with his personal weapon. There are then four Special forces who are by the looks of them withdrawing to the helicopter foe extraction. On figure carries an incapacitated one, while two others proved cover (one standing and one kneeling). Where the figures are carrying/using weapons the hands of the figures are moulded to their weapons and not the figures. The quality of the sculpting and casting for the figures and their weapons is excellent. There is however no information about them in the instructions at all. 

 

ah605.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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  • 1 year later...

Been some time since I posted anything on the forum due to personal issues keeping me from my hobby unfortunately. But this month, I was able to purchase this kit, and the KH50004 kit, which also contains figures. I do worry that the figures are pirated, and the real figures are being sold separately for a bigger profit, I hope that is not the case.

 

Anyway, I plan to use these figures with a Blackhawk, and fit the weapons systems on this kit, I do need to procure a second pilot though, as this one will be configured in flight.

 

I love the review, it's in depth enough to give us a real good head start, so thank you for this. I do have a few questions, mainly regarding the weapons systems in the kit. What are your impressions of the mini-gun? Is it made well enough to install, or would we be better off getting one from the aftermarket arena? I can only see the mini-gun, hydra rockets (I think that's what they are called) and hellfires. Is there an option to install a GAU-19 or Mk19?

 

My kits won't arrive until I return from exile for a month, so I am very curious to know more about the kits I just purchased. The next buys hopefully will be their ( )H-60 kits, I think they exceed the older academy kits in the way of details by leaps and bounds, just wish they were a bit more affordable oob.

 

Cheers,

 

Anthony

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