Bronco 1/350 AH-1W SuperCobra

KIT #: NB 5049
PRICE: $12.00 SRP
DECALS: Five options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Four complete kits


The Bell AH-1 SuperCobra is a twin-engine attack helicopter based on the United States Army's AH-1 Cobra. The twin Cobra family includes the AH-1J SeaCobra, the AH-1T Improved SeaCobra, and the AH-1W SuperCobra. The AH-1W is the backbone of the United States Marine Corps's attack helicopter fleet, but it will be replaced in service by the Bell AH-1Z Viper upgrade.

In the early 1980s, the U.S. Marine Corps sought a new navalized helicopter, but it was denied funding to buy the AH-64 Apache by Congress in 1981. The Marines in turn pursued a more powerful version of the AH-1T. Other changes included modified fire control systems to carry and fire AIM-9 Sidewinder and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. The new version was funded by Congress and received the AH-1W designation. Deliveries of AH-1W SuperCobras totaled 179 new-built helicopters plus 43 upgrades of AH-1Ts.

The AH-1W prototype was later tested with a new experimental composite four blade main rotor system. The new system offered better performance, reduced noise and improved battle damage tolerance. Lacking a USMC contract, Bell developed this new design into the AH-1Z with its own funds. By 1996, the Marines were again not allowed to order the AH-64. Developing a marine version of the Apache would have been expensive and it was likely that the Marine Corps would be its only customer. They instead signed a contract for upgrading 180 AH-1Ws into AH-1Zs.


Bronco has been doing modern 1/350 ships for the last several years, including some amphibious ships. So it is natural that they would offer models that would be appropriate for those vessels. Typically those ship kits come with a minimal number of aircraft and vehicles, so sets like this are a logical addition.

Typical of very small scale airplanes, this kit is molded in clear plastic and offers no interior detailing. The clear plastic is to allow the canopy to be masked while the rest of the model is painted. Clear plastic also requires some additional care in handling as it tends to be more brittle than standard styrene.

In this box you get four identical sprues. Each contain one helicopter. There are two fuselage halves, a separate main and tail rotor, landing skids, engine side pieces as well as Hellfire launchers and standard rocket launchers. Assembly will be made easier using some sort of magnifying lens. Instructions are quite basic and consist of two steps printed on one side of a sheet. Markings are provided for five helicopters, all in an overall light grey. Painting and markings guide is on the back of the box and offers several different paint manufacturers. There are two units identified, that being HMM-261 and HMLA-167. The decals are nicely printed and should work well.


I am not sure how many people would build a kit like this as a stand alone, but if you are really short on shelf space, these seem like an ideal model. Those with the ships will appreciate having these add-on options.


November 2014 

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