|Anigrand Craftworks 1/72 Bell YAH-63
|$.00 from www.nostalgicplastic.com
|Scott Van Aken
|Resin with vacuformed plastic canopy
1972 and the Vietnam war was still going strong. The Army had deployed its first purpose built helicopter gunship, the AH-1 Huey Cobra in action and it was doing very well. It seemed as if the helicopter gunship was here to stay so the Army was looking forward to the next generation. As with American cars, it was going to be bigger, better and have more firepower. The specification was basically for a two seat gunship built around the 30mm rotary cannon with the ability to carry TOW missiles and have an additional pylon for unguided rockets. Twin engine reliability was a requirement.
A tender went out to six different companies and in the end, Bell and Hughes were selected to provide prototypes. The Bell entry was based on its popular Twin Huey powerplant and gearbox/rotor design. The rest of the helo looked very much like a fatter Huey Cobra with angled canopies, a pointy nose with the gun slung underneath it and stub wings with the weapons pylons hung from it.
It was an ominous occurrence for the initial prototype to crash barely a year after its initial flight. It was repaired and the second prototype was brought up to the same standards of the first, but the contract was awarded to Hughes. Not because the YAH-64 was a better helicopter, but because Bell was already cranking out helos and Hughes needed the job. Once again, the choice of a weapons system was made on political grounds instead of which machine was actually more capable of carrying out the job. While the AH-64 has turned into a fine weapons system, one does have to wonder how many of a country's military people have died because of a political decision instead of getting the best that is available.
Anigrand has a long history of doing vertical take off kits. If you look back at not only their early releases, but continuing on, you'll find all sorts of interesting vehicles. This is probably the largest straight helicopter that they have done. The YAH-63 was not a small helo and I'm pleased that Anigrand was able to do the full fuselage without having to resort to separate tail booms or anything else like that. As usual, the tan resin is nicely engraved, though some may consider it to be a bit overdone. A coat of paint will tone that down. There are a few of the usual molding glitches, none of which will be difficult to correct. I've included the full parts layout from the Anigrand website along with the main bits from the kit as you'll get it without it having all the bits cleaned up.
The kit also includes a set of rocket pods and TOW anti-tank missiles which fit on pylons that attach to the short wing stubs. There are additional exhaust sections that fit into the pods on the side of the upper fuselage. Some clean up work will be needed to get a good fit on these. Probably the most fiddly part of the build will be the TOW missiles and the little winglets on the top and bottom of the fin structure. These do have small slots for tabs at the tips of the fin, but the area is quite small so care will be needed. Rotor head design is somewhat simplified as you might expect on a resin kit. The nose 'chain gun' is also rather simplified, but adequate for the kit.
As you'd expect, the instructions consist of an exploded view with parts layout on one side with the painting and marking information on the other. The prototypes were originally overall Olive Drab, but at least one was painted in a very fetching multi-colored camouflage scheme as you can see in the image. Somewhat reminiscent of Israeli Air Force camo. The small decal sheet has a number of markings not germane to this kit so I'm thinking this is one of those multi-kit sheets.
Well, there you have it. Anigrand has provided us with another superb prototype, especially for those who like helicopters. The kit gives you a good shelf model as it is and there is room for the detailer to get in there and add those extra touches.
My thanks to
Nostalgic Plastic, the US importer, for the review kit. Get yours today and
shipping is free in the US. September 2006 If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly by a
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me or see other details in the
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If you would like your product reviewed fairly and fairly quickly by a site that has nearly 325,000 visitors a month, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.
Back to the Main Page
Back to the Previews Index Page