|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Bell AH-1 Cobra is a two-blade rotor, single-engine attack helicopter manufactured by Bell Helicopter. It was developed using the engine, transmission and rotor system of the Bell UH-1 Iroquois. A member of the prolific Huey family, 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The AH-1 was the backbone of the United States Army's attack helicopter fleet, but has been replaced by the AH-64 Apache in Army service.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 (USMC) as the service's primary attack helicopter. Surplus AH-1 helicopters have been converted for fighting forest fires. It was the success of the AH-1G that sounded the death knell to the over-budget AH-56 Cheyenne program.
By June 1967, the first AH-1G HueyCobras had been delivered. Originally designated as UH-1H, the "A" for attack designation was soon adopted and when the improved UH-1D became the UH-1H, the HueyCobra became the AH-1G. The AH-1 was initially considered a variant of the H-1 line, resulting in the G series letter.
The first six AH-1s arrived at Bien Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam on 30 August 1967 for combat testing by the U.S. Army Cobra New Equipment Training Team. They made their first combat kill on 4 September, sinking a sampan boat and killing four Viet Cong. The first AH-1 unit, the 334th Assault Helicopter Company became operational on 6 October 1967. Cobras were in use by the Army until the U.S. withdrawal from South Vietnam in 1973. Cobras provided fire support for ground forces, escorted transport helicopters and other roles, including aerial rocket artillery (ARA) battalions in the two Airmobile divisions. They also formed "hunter killer" teams by pairing with OH-6A scout helicopters. A team featured one OH-6 flying slow and low to find enemy forces. If the OH-6 drew fire, the Cobra could strike at the then revealed enemy. On 12 September 1968, Capt. Ronald Fogleman was flying an F-100 Super Sabre when the aircraft was shot down and he ejected 200 miles north of Bien Hoa. Fogleman became the only pilot to be rescued by holding on to an Army AH-1G's deployed gun-panel door. Bell built 1,116AH-1Gs for the U.S. Army between 1967 and 1973, and the Cobras chalked up over a million operational hours in Vietnam; the number of Cobras in service peaked at 1,081. Out of nearly 1,110 AH-1s delivered from 1967 to 1973 approximately 300 were lost to combat and accidents during the war. The U.S. Marine Corps used AH-1G Cobras in Vietnam for a short time before acquiring twin-engine AH-1J Cobras.
A nice looking kit in the box. No flash or other molding defects were seen. Construction should be fairly brisk on this one. I'd test fit everything as often looks good and builds well are not the same. Still, it will be a huge improvement in detail over the venerable Monogram kit. Not only that, but if you have the Monogram kit, you can use the excess decals from this one on it.
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