by: Andy Brazier [ ]
History Soon after its engagement in the Vietnam War the US Air Force started to use helicopters as offensive weapons platforms. Even during 1962-63 period field modified UH-1A helicopters supported the troopsí landing with machineguns, cannons and rockets. The success of such equipped helicopters showed the need of a new, single purpose attack machine of the smallest possible dimensions, equipped with effective firepower and high damage resistance.
Bell Company started to develop of specified helicopter on their expenses since the US Army had immense interest in such machine. The first project based on type Bell 47 was not successful. Its main downfall was a weak piston engine. The new project designated D-262 grew into the late appearance designated as model 209. The model 209 took over some of the structural solutions from UH-1C helicopter (undercarriage skis, main rotor, tail boom, etc.) but featured new fuselage that housed cockpit for crew of two and stub wings for carrying external armament.
When in 1965 the US Army issued a specification calling for new attack helicopter, Bell model 209 was a clear winner. The very next year the US Army ordered, initially two pre-production machines and then 110 production helicopters under army designation AH-1G Cobra. Additional orders followed the original one. To speed up the Cobra deployment into Vietnam a NETT (New Equipment Training Team) training centre was founded in Vung Tau in South Vietnam. The first unit that flew the new machines in combat was the 334th platoon based at Bien Hoa. Other units were rapidly equipped with Cobras. The knowledge and pilots requirements during the fights in Vietnam were incorporated into the production of the helicopters.
The first helicopters featured the tail rotor on the left side, later relocated to the right side, strengthened undercarriage skis were adopted, the original nose mounted TAT-102 turret with Minigun was replaced by M-28 turret equipped with Minigun and grenade launcher (most often). The stub wings were capable of carrying variety of weapons; from various rocket blocks, Minigun pods to M-35 pod (Vulcan cannon with ammunition boxes). All depended on the mission purpose and pilotís preferences.
As a reaction to the heat seeking missiles used by the Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong starting in 1972 the helicopters were equipped with exhaust gas deflectors.
Cobras indisputable prove to be effective in Vietnam. They were used not only by US Army helicopter units but also by the US Marines that were also satisfied with AH-1G but for the shipboard and over sea operations which required a helicopter with two engines.
This requirement led to the development of twin-engined version AH-1J. AH-1Gs were exported only to Spain and Israel. Cobras were
used by the Spanish Navy. Israeli Cobras faced troubles with hot and dusty environment. Israel needed tank buster helicopters and
therefore subsequent orders were placed for the anti-tank version AH-1Q/S. Plenty of the US AH-1Gs were modified to this version,
including the machines withdrawn from Vietnam. The conception of AH-1G Cobra became a standard for attack helicopters.
Subsequent versions of this helicopter are still in use not only in the USA but also in many other armies.
Info from Special Hobby
In the box Packed in a top opening box with a painted picture of a Cobra flying over Vietnam, the kit contains 5 grey sprues, one clear sprue, two decal sheets and a set of instructions.
The kit contains 147 grey parts and 16 clear parts. 34 of the parts on the sprues are not used for this boxing.
External detail has recessed panel lines and lots of rivet detail, espaically over the tail section. Although the panel lines and rivets are in my opinion a little overdone, it would help for popping the details out when painted and a wash put over them.
The fuselage halves do have locating tabs so lining up the fuselage should be easy.
The rotors all though not over detailed or engineered are quite acceptable in this scale. The rotor hub and blades are one part each on both the main and tail rotors.
Two separate tails are provided to accommodate either the starboard or port side tail rotor, depending upon which marking option you intend to build.
Two different skids are provided, and again depends on which marking option you are building. A nice touch is the inclusion of the dolly wheels and tow bar for moving the Cobra around. Quite a few tie down points are dotted around the airframe, so along with the tow bar and wheels a nice dio of one parked up can be modelled.
The external armament of the Cobra consists of 2 ◊ 7.62 mm multi-barrel Miniguns, or 2 ◊ M129 40 mm grenade launchers, or one of each, in the M28 turret.
A choice of 7 or 19 rockets mounted in the launchers for the stub wings, are supplied along with two XM-18 minigun pods, two XM-157 rocket launchers and an XM-35 stub wing mounted minigun included on the sprues although not all are shown to be used.
Detail for the interior is pretty basic considering the amount you can see through the large glazed area of the canopy. The instrument panels sport decals for the dials and switches, and there is some raised details for the bulkhead and flooring. The side consoles are a little bare of detail, with just a few lumps and bumps.
The cyclic and control columns are beautifully cast, and are thin and quite well detailed considering how small they are.
The tail rotor pedals are absent.
The seats of which there are two for the cockpit have separate armoured sides to fit, but unfortunately donít have any harness's supplied.
The clear parts are nice and thin with little distortion. Several of the clear parts are not used in this boxing.
The canopy is provided as all separate parts, so the pilots and weapons officer doors can be modelled open. The doors are not shown in the closed position in the instructions, but by eliminating the door actuators I would imagine they can be closed quite easily.
Instructions, decals, markings The instruction booklet is made up of a folded A5 size paper and is glossy and in colour.
The front page carries a little history on the Cobra.
The first page has the parts tree, with any parts not used crossed out.
The build takes place over 19 parts on three pages, and has some notes on the various parts for the three marking options.
Interior colours are for the Gunze Sangyo range of paints.
The build is pretty easy to follow, as long as you take note of the different options for the marking options.
The two decal sheets are not very big, and are printed by Eduard, so issues shouldn't be a problem.
The larger sheet carries the unit codes and national insignia for the four marking options, with the smaller sheet having the stencils on them.
Colour registration on my opinion looks pretty good on the most part, and carrier film is at a minimum.
Four marking options are supplied, which are as follows -
A - AH-1G, s/n 68-15183, flown by Neil McMillan,
C/2/20 ARA - C Battery, 2nd Battalion, 20th
Regiment, Aerial Rocket Artillery, Phuoc Vinh,
B - AH-1G, s/n 68-15049, flown by 1Lt George
Alexander and WO1 Jim Moran, C/2/20 ARA, Bu
Dop, Vietnam, June 1970. Helicopters participating in
the Cambodian invasion had their tailbooms painted in black
to obscure the US markings.
C - AH-1G, s/n 66-15259, Cobra NETT - New
Equipment Training Team, Vung Tau, Vietnam,
December 1967. Wearing an USAF-style camouflage
pattern, this machine also happened to complete the first AH1 flight in South Vietnam on 4 September 1967.
D - AH-1G, s/n 68-15189, D Troop, 3rd Brigade, 4th
Cavalry, Chu Chi, Vietnam 1971. In 1972, Wretched
Mildred sustained severe damage to her tail boom which was then replaced
with a new one, with the tail rotor on the starboard side. The sharkmouth
was repainted, Chinese s/n appeared on the fin and the word snake in
Chinese under the pilot canopy.
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