Monogram 1/48 AH-1S (later AH-1F) Cobra “Hello Death Kitty”

KIT #: 5444
PRICE: Under $15.00
DECALS: One option (training markings)
REVIEWER: Greg Ewald
NOTES: A fun and simple build. Great for a weekend !


The Cobra gunship has been around for decades, there is little to say about it other than that is has proven itself extremely successful, and extremely adaptable.  The upgrades of the G’s into the S models meant that the bird had longer wings, and a much better targeting system.  The S’s went the way of the Dodo with introduction of the Whiskey and then Zulu platforms, however.  Damn. That is a lot of consonants, is it not?

Newer materials led to the upgraded Cobras being much harder to locate via third world targeting systems, but let’s face it…large T53 engines pump out just too much heat to  be missed .  It is a large red barn, moving about 150 miles per hour max, all in all.

Of course, the slim profile of the Cobra does make a head on shot from a ground to air missile difficult. Having flown in them, (and I am somewhat skinny) they are thin, thin, thin !  From the side, though, they are easily brought down by a SAM or decent AA.

It is quite possibly the greatest infantry support helicopter of all time, and a brilliant design.  They have even been modified for such diverse duties as  “fire watch” for the park service. ‘ Nuff said.


The plastic is well molded with very few sinkholes, though the fit leaves something to be desired. Hey, it is an oldie, right?  There are two figures included, though I doubt you would want to use them. These guys must be about 5’ tall, and weigh 190. Jeez. “Da Bears!”

The weapons and the engine detail are so-so…but what do you expect from a weekend sort of kit?  I thought it was fun to build, and since I got it from a friend, I got to put my own spin on it. J


One thing you can say about Monogram…they may not cast them perfectly, but their kits are easy to assemble!  The engine goes together simply, and fits into the mounts easily. I feel like a politician in Las Vegas !

The cockpit interior is somewhat sparse, and the location points are a little bit dubious, but once it is buttoned up, I doubt anyone will notice.

The fit is so good that you really don’t need much putty. The only place I used bondo was on the tube missile racks, the rest was easily solved with a bit of Mr. Surfacer and some 200 grit wet paper.

I am not too fond of the moldings for the gatling gun, I suppose you could scratch up some syringes or whatnot to make it better. They are hard to fit together, and look clunky to my eye.

The main rotor is a nightmare. Use a heavy bonding cement for this one…it will break if you look at it the wrong way. Cr*p. I looked at it the wrong way! Ah well, that is why they invented CA glue, right?

The canopy is a marvel. It fits absolutely perfectly…no filler, nothing. Just fit right in. I think I had my jaw hanging open for at least five minutes in wonderment.

Fiddly bits went on without any issue at all, and it was time for:


  Oh, when I saw the fire chopper, I just about lost it.  Yeah, I had to Hello Kitty this one !

Using a mix of the scheme for the fire helicopter and the trial version, I came up with my own bend.  I hit the spares bin for a lot of decals after first spraying the whole thing in flat white.  With a 2b pencil, I hit the panel lines and rivets, then smudged the craft down with a somewhat clean thumb. 2b is perfect for this, as it is easy to move around on a dried paint surface, and you get lots of neat raised detail.

The HK head was sprayed over the set orange decal using a simple mask, and the eyes and whiskers were put in by hand brush. Of course, the rotor blade tips had to be light pink. They HAD to be.  A final satin clear coat went on, and Hello Kitty was ready for airborne assault ! I can see a whole formation of these coming over a hillside, firing their SHJM’s into a platoon of enemy armor !  (S.miling H.appy J.oy M.issiles)


A fun kit for a short build. If you want total accuracy, look to another model.  Thanks to a friend of mine for sending me the kit !!!


August 2011

Greg Ewald

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