Kitty Hawk 1/35 AH-6M/MH-6M 'Little Bird'
|KIT #:||KH 50002|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||2018 boxing. Includes five resin figures.|
The MD Helicopters MH-6 Little Bird (nicknamed the Killer Egg), and its attack variant AH-6, are light helicopters used for special operations in the United States Army. Originally based on a modified OH-6A, it was later based on the MD 500E, with a single five-bladed main rotor. The newest version, the MH-6M, is based on the MD 530F and has a single, six-bladed main rotor and four-bladed tail rotor.
The OH-6 was started in 1960, when the U.S. Army issued Technical Specification 153 for a Light Observation Helicopter (LOH) that could perform personnel transport, escort and attack missions, casualty evacuation, and observation. Twelve companies took part in the competition and Hughes Tool Company's Aircraft Division submitted the Model 369. Two designs, those submitted by Fairchild-Hiller and Bell, were selected as finalists by the Army-Navy design competition board, but the Army later included the helicopter from Hughes as well.
The first Model 369 prototype flew on 27 February 1963. Originally designated the YHO-6A under the army's designation system, the aircraft was redesignated the YOH-6A under the Department of Defense's new joint system in 1962. Five prototypes were built, each fitted with a 252 shp (188 kW) Allison T63-A-5A engine, and delivered to the U.S. Army at Fort Rucker, Alabama to compete against the other 10 prototype aircraft submitted by Bell and Fairchild-Hiller. In the end, Hughes won the competition and the Army awarded a contract for production in May 1965. The initial order was for 714 aircraft, but that was later increased to 1,300 with an option to buy another 114. Seventy helicopters were built in the first month.
This agile, unarmed helicopter is outfitted with outboard "benches" designed to ferry up to three commandos on each side. There is also a gunship variant, the AH-6. Some are painted black for nighttime operations, this small aircraft can conduct rapid insertions and extractions of special operations forces into areas its larger brother, the MH-60 Black Hawk, cannot.
For information on the AH-6 variant, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_AH-6
The actual sprues for this kit are identical to what was provided in the A/MH-6J boxing. One thing for sure about Kitty Hawk is they add a ton of detail to their kits. This one is no exception and you have not only a superbly detailed interior (pretty well needed in this scale), but you also get a full engine along with the ability to display the engine access doors open. You also get separate main cockpit doors and the abbreviated cabin doors carried by the attack version. These doors are shown closed in the instructions, but it looks very much like you can also display them open.
Photo etch is included for some small areas of the build, the main items being the ammunition belts that go to the guns. There are also seat harness pieces, vent covers, and a few other small bits. Not all the p.e. is used from what I can see. This brings to mind the way the kit is designed. It is pretty obvious from the parts layout that you can expect other variants of the H-6. Having six main rotor blades indicates that later versions are planned and I'd hope an OH-6A as well. We shall see.
For weapons on the AH-6 version there are three miniguns and when building this variant, there are a number of optional parts to be installed including the mounting bar and ammo bins. There are braces on the side of the upper fuselage to allow special ops troops to rappel. When building the MH-6 version, you would of course, not include the gun package but have the seat trays. In addition to the miniguns, the instructions show rocket pods and Hellfire missiles.
Instructions are well done and provide clues as to which version gets which parts. There are also a number of bits marked 'optional', but no indication as to which scheme gets them. These optional parts, aside from the obvious weapons and seats are the tips of the skids and various antennas. If one is really concerned about what plane carries what, then one will have to either use photos or additional research to see which are appropriate.
A nice addition to this boxing are five resin figures and a variety of weapons. There are four standing/moving figures and one seated pilot figure. Some of the figures have their hands molded onto the weapons they are holding. The casting is very nicely done and this provides some interest when adding this kit to a diorama setting.
Markings are for four aircraft. Three AH-6Ms and one MH-6M. No unit information is provided for any of the options. Three planes are in overall black while one of the AH-6Ms is in 'light aircraft grey' over 'duck egg blue'. Let me tell you that the colors shown in the painting guide look more like a dark blue grey over a medium grey to me. I'd hunt for photos. The decal sheet is nicely printed and is bound to be quite thin. As you can see, there are instrument panel decals included and some of the markings are very light so difficult to scan.
Modelers who like the Loach will be very pleased with this one. The details look like KH got everything right and the kit provides a good basis for other variants. It should also appeal to those who like to include helos in their dioramas.
February 2019 Copyright ModelingMadness.com.
All rights reserved. Thanks to Kitty Hawk and Alan Griffith for the preview
kit. You can get yours today at your favorite retailer. If you would like your product reviewed fairly and
fairly quickly, please
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Thanks to Kitty Hawk and Alan Griffith for the preview kit. You can get yours today at your favorite retailer.
If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
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