In-Box Review
AH-1S Cobra
AH-1S Cobra Attack Helicopter
  • Hobby Boss AH-1S

by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

The Bell Helicopter AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter replaced the ubiquitous UH-1 "Huey” in gunship duties in 1967. Fast, maneuverable, heavily armed and small (a.k.a., hard to hit), the sleek Cobra and its deadly bite has been steadily upgraded to a tank-killer with TOW missiles, while still depended upon for aerial fire support, armed escort, and reconnaissance. In service for forty years, Cobras are still in use with the U.S. Marine Corps.

The Kit

The model is built with seventy-six pale grey styrene parts (including several optional weapons), a clear styrene canopy, and decals for two schemes. These are on five sprues sealed in plastic bags.

The styrene is slightly brittle, but not fragile. Hobby Boss’ molding is clean and crisp, with no flash. No ejector pin marks or sink marks are present on visible surfaces.

The airframe parts have engraved panel lines and details. Some rivets are raised where appropriate.

The airframe is molded as two fuselage pieces. This is a pseudo modular style for multiple Cobra versions. The specific fuselage halves are on a separate sprue joined around the cockpit. The fuselage is completed with the two boom and sponson airfoils; the helicopter is finished with the two-part skids, nose mounted Telescopic Sight Unit (TSU), chin mounted M28A3 armament subsystem with M134 minigun and M129 grenade launcher, belly plate behind that chin turret, antenna fittings, rotors and seven-plane semiflat canopy. Additionally, cable cutters are provided for the canopy and belly.

The cockpit is built with ten pieces, a basic tandem cockpit tub, two seats (with molded-on harnesses), collective, sticks (gunner and pilots’), two instrument panels with raised bezels, gunsight and rear bulkhead. Finally, the three exterior armament choices, each built with four or seven parts. These are the (two of each) 7-round 2.75 in (70 mm) M158 rocket launcher, M261 19-Tube 70mm (2.75”) rocket launcher, and BGM-71A 4-round TOW missile launcher.

The profile and dimensions appear accurate. The three-barrel M134 three-barreled electric Gatling chin gun is molded as one piece. Aside from the cockpit tub with some raised switches, there is no detail inside the crew compartment.

The canopy shows linear distortion. The sharply defined framing is textured. The kit includes no clear navigation or landing lamps.

Instructions, painting and decals

Hobby Boss’ instruction sheet is two pages of eight undefined stages. It should not be confusing.

The painting guide is a page with a color 4-view of each Cobra. Colors are referenced for Mr. Hobby, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol.

The kit includes markings for two:

1. AH-1S, a/n JG-3416, Japanese Self Defense Force.
2. AH-1S, a/n unknown, Israeli Air Force, 160 Sqn.

The decals appear on the sheet to be very good, with excellent registration, fine printing and color density. Scanned and enlarged, they look rough. The finish is glossy, with the carrier film trimmed close to most markings.


Hobby Boss did a grand job on their Cobra. "Rivet-counters" may find things to constructively critique. Nevertheless, Hobby Boss’ new kit offers some good detail and plenty of options.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Sharp, crisp molding with no flash, ejector pin marks or sink marks. Three weapon choices.
Lows: Three-barrel cannon molded as one chunk. Distorted canopy. Minimal cockpit detail.
Verdict: Hobby Boss’ new Cobra offers some good detail and plenty of options.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: 87225
  Suggested Retail: $20.99
  PUBLISHED: Jan 17, 2009
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Creative Models!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

View Vendor Homepage  |  More Reviews  

About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


I'm a little confused (or maybe I'm not reading the review right), but it looks like it says that it includes the "chin mounted M28A3 armament subsystem with M134 minigun and M129 grenade launcher," while the pictures pretty clearly show an M97 type. The helicopter looks like later type AH-1S (either ECAS/Upgunned, later AH-1E, or Modernized, later AH-1F). From the inclusion of the air data sensor (at least in the painting guide) it appears that this was intended to be the latter, an easy reboxing of the simultaneous released AH-1F kit with other decals. It appears this was also the case with their UH-1B and C kits.
JAN 19, 2009 - 05:11 AM
Hi there, Actually, I belive they messed up with the plastic - they put F plastic into the S boxes and vice versa. I am currently building their "F" so it is not F at all, but rather early E or? possibly, S(Prod) aka P version (but for some reason with the 20mm gun in a turret...so if P is inteded a new armament station has to be scratchbuilt). Regards
JAN 20, 2009 - 09:53 PM
Yeah, I just looked again, the rotor in the AH-1S kit in the review is definitely the AH-1F rotor. The AH-1F kit still has the air data sensor though, so it looks mostly like the rotor is wrong. Did you notice any other errors that I haven't picked up on yet? I'm sure I'll have them all after someone else points them out hehe. Now I'm just more interested, because I knew something was up, but didn't look closely enough. I'll have to check the Squadron walk-around for the AH-1 later tonight, because the more I'm looking at rotors, I'm seeing a lot of export AH-1S that were converted more or less to AH-1F standard with the late AH-1F rotor (as included in the AH-1S kit). The AH-1F kit seems to have the early rotor system. Both kits appear to lack late model intake covers as well, and the F kit lacks the AN/ALQ-144 (which I had thought was a pretty standard by 1991, which I'm guessing is the period for the US camouflage pattern in the F kit). The AH-1S kit also has what appears to be the AH-1F engine and muffler, while the F kit has the sugar scoop exhaust deflector. The more i look, the more I agree with the suggestion that the initial run could've had the names backwards.
JAN 21, 2009 - 02:37 AM
Well, the metal rotors were used on all S versions and Possibly on some Fs... However the version HB suggests definetely had the new composite blades. Though it did not have the intake covers. (if my memory tells me correctly. After looking at the F kit - I am pretty much sure it is easier to build an S-prod (or P if you wish) than any other variant - (and especially and ironically F). For the F version it misses - the new type engine and transmission covers, the sencor bulge on the cowling above the cockpit, the new IR supressor on top of the engine. The other things are - the old metal rotor woudl fit P better, as well as "toilet" style exaust. The weapon station is given with an old syle cover while on Fs and later S it is mostly "eposed". So using this cover to scratchbuild a waepon station for P would be easier than to build a new exposed turret for either E or F...
JAN 22, 2009 - 06:24 AM
Wow, lot of info on this kit. It looks ok, but it seems little it is not a true S although it has the right "look" to me. I think HB should have point for including two nice colour schemes for this kit. Thanks for the review
FEB 23, 2009 - 09:08 PM

Click image to enlarge
  • Hobby Boss AH-1S
  • Hobby Boss AH-1S
  • Hobby Boss AH-1S
  • Hobby Boss AH-1S
  • Hobby Boss AH-1S
  • Hobby Boss AH-1S
  • Hobby Boss AH-1S
  • Hobby Boss AH-1S