HobbyBoss 1/72 AH-1S Cobra

KIT #: 87225
PRICE: $25.00  MSRP  $20.35 from www.greatmodels.com 
DECALS: Two Options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


The AH-1 Cobra (company designation: Bell 209) is a two-bladed, single engine attack helicopter manufactured by Bell. It shares a common engine, transmission and rotor system with the older UH-1 Iroquois. The AH-1 is also referred to as the HueyCobra or Snake.

The AH-1 was the backbone of the United States Army's attack helicopter fleet, but has been replaced by the AH-64 Apache in Army service. Upgraded versions continue to fly with the militaries of several other nations. The AH-1 twin engine versions remain in service with United States Marine Corps as the service's primary attack helicopter. Surplus AH-1 helicopters have been converted for fighting forest fires. The United States Forest Service refers to their program as the Firewatch Cobra. Garlick Helicopters also converts surplus AH-1s for forest firefighting under the name, FireSnake.

The baseline AH-1S, and subject of this kit, is an AH-1Q upgraded with a 1,800 shp (1,300 kW) T53-L-703 turboshaft engine. The AH-1S is also referred to as the "Improved AH-1S", "AH-1S Modified", or "AH-1S(MOD)" prior to 1988. (Prior to 1988, all upgraded aircraft were referred to as variants of the AH-1S.) From what I understand, they were all redesignated AH-1F. The Cobra has been exported to a number of countries including Japan, Israel, North Korea, and Jordan.

This seems to be the first kits of the AH-1S I've seen in 1/72 scale. The only other company who may have made one is Italeri as they are quite big into helicopters. As it is a relatively small helicopter, there are but five sprues, one of which is the clear sprue that has a one-piece canopy. One sprue is dedicated to the TOW missile system and rocket pods, another to the two fuselage halves, one to the rotor and the other has the rest of the bits.

There is a nicely done cockpit tub and seats with some raised harness detailing. A nicely done instrument panel is included as are full controls for the crew. Nice to see that the collective hasn't been left out. About the only option for the kit is the choice between 7 or 19 shot rocket pods. I guess I should also mention that the molding is very good with large tabs for the attachment of the various bits.

Instructions are well drawn and clear. Color information is provided for a variety of manufacturers, which is nice. A full color decal and camouflage guide is given for two aircraft. One is the box art plane of the Israeli Defense Force with the large snake on the right side while the other option is a Japanese JSDF version with a very nice camo scheme. There are aftermarket decal options for this kit as well as some nice resin bits by Pavla. I should mention that Hobby Boss needs to do something about their glue on the boxes. Once I removed the shrink wrap, several of the box glue joins separated. A little thing, but something that needs to be addressed.


Overall it is a very nice little kit. Some may blanche at the MSRP, but one can always find it cheaper and that is the going rate for many 1/72 kits nowadays.



February 2010

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