Kit: No. DT22
Manufacturer: Hasegawa, distributed by Marco Polo Import, 532 S. Coralridge Pl., City of Industry, CA 91746
Comments: Injection molded, 80 parts, decals.
The world's first dedicated attack helicopter was deployed to Vietnam in the summer of 1967. It was a Bell AH-1G Cobra.
Thirty years later, the Cobra still strikes for the U.S. Army and several other air forces. New weapons and sensors have allowed the Cobra to become a tank killer, and this new kit from Hasegawa depicts the latest refit. Cobras with infrared suppressors and deflectors, TOW missiles, and three-barrel cannon were significant weapons in Desert Storm.
Hasegawa's crisply molded Cobra features olive drab and clear styrene, two good crew figures, rocket pods, and a pair of quadruple TOW missile launchers. The 20mm cannon in the nose swivels, and vinyl bushings allow the main and tail rotor to turn. No optional parts are provided, but three unused parts indicate different versions to come. The decals provide makings for one U.S. Army 7th Cavalry machine.
The interior is basic with decal instrument panels and consoles. The seats lack belts, but if you use the pilot and gunner figures, you won't notice. I'm not good at making figures look like miniature people, so I left them out and used True Details photoetched belts.
The pilot's cyclic control and gunner's handgrip are provided, but there is no collective control for the pilot.
Before closing the fuselage, study the instructions as several parts must be placed inside first. I forgot the bushing for the tail rotor and ended up gluing mine permanently. Three pairs of holes at the rear of the tail boom must be filled.
The parts fit well, but the seams on the rocket pods and weapons wings need to be cleaned up.
Fitting the clear one-piece canopy is tricky; the trailing edge must fit down and back before the front can snap into place. I was sure it would break before it would go in, but the canopy finally clicked in without a stress line.
I masked the clear panels of the canopy and airbrushed Testor Model Master II U.S. Army helo drab overall with flat black rotors. When the enamel was dry, I applied Future floor polish for a gloss coat underneath the decals.
The four-view paint and decal guide is good and the decals go on without problems. I suggest cutting out the center of the yellow oval decal that fits around the intake on the left side of the fuselage.
Only 12 hours were needed to finish this little snake. The tricky fit and small parts will require experience. My model measures a few scale inches short in length and rotor diameter; nothing noticeable. I used Aerofax Datagraph 4: Bell AH-1 Cobra Variants as my main reference.
Hasegawa's kit is a great addition to my growing Cobra family. Now if I could just get a new kit of the Vietnam-era AH-1G. . . .