1/72 AZ Model AH-1G Cobra

Gallery Article by Keith Goodman on Dec 6 2019

 

      

In 1965 as the Vietnam war intensified, the U.S. Army needed a dedicated "fire support" helicopter that could be put in to production as swiftly as possible. Prototypes submitted by Bell, Sikorsky and Kamen competed in a fly-off which resulted in the Army placing an order for 100 production Bell Model 209s.

The production Model 209 was designated AH-1G (Attack Helicopter, Type 1, G or 7th in the Bell Huey Series). It got it's nickname "Cobra" after a Bell representative visited the 114th Aviation Company "Cobras" stationed in Vietnam. The Army adopted the name which was the first deviation from the Army practice of naming their aircraft after American Indian tribes or animals.

The initial production Cobra had a max. speed of 171 mph (277 km/h) and a max. range of 357 miles (574 km).
The chin-mounted M28 turrent would hold either a pair of 7.62mm miniguns, or a pair of M129 40mm Grenade launchers, or most often one of each.

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About the kit: AZ Model provided a weapons load that was pretty much standard for the Cobra, a pair of M200 rocket pods (which represents 38 x 2.75 inch Folding-Fin Aerial Rockets) and a pair of M18 pods (which would contain GAU-2 7.62mm 51mm miniguns).

Photo-etch mesh screens are provided for the main engine intakes and the intake above the canopy. I used some sheet styrene to block off the side vents on the engine cowling, otherwise you can see daylight through the empty fuselage.

The canopy glass is not terrible on this kit but it leaves a lot to be desired. The nice details inside the cockpit are difficult to see due to the distortion of the thick clear plastic, and even after careful sanding and trimming it doesn't blend into the fuselage as well as it should. A nice thick vac-form canopy would be a huge upgrade for this kit.

The decals are really well done on this kit, bright and opaque and perfectly in register. They blended in nicely with a light coat of Micro Sol. I was pleasantly surprised with how well the mouth/teeth fit around the gun turret. 

The canopy glass is probably the weakest feature on this kit, it's not terrible, but it could be much better. The nice details inside the cockpit are obscured due to the distortion of the thick clear plastic, and even after careful sanding and trimming I wasn't able to blend it into the fuselage as well as it should be. A nice vac-form canopy would be a huge upgrade for this kit.

Included is a shot before the canopy was closed up. The provided brass seatbelts are a nice touch. I thinned down the side armor plates and headrests to make them more scale accurate. There is room to add more custom details in the cockpit area but if you use the provided canopy part you won't be able to make them out anyway so no real need.

This was a fairly quick and easy build, the only problem I had was figuring out how to install one of the instrument panels the way the instructions suggest, I ended up having to modify the part and add some shims to get it into the proper position. Overall I'm pretty happy with this kit, there are a lot of Cobra kits in this scale and with the included metal details and decals this one stacks up pretty well.

More details: https://www.kgwings.com/ah1g/ah1g.html

Keith Goodman

Photos and text by Keith Goodman