AH-1G Cobra "Over The USA & Europe"
(Special Hobby - Nr. SH 72278)
I think I should better skip all the information about the original snake.:-)
It took some time until MPM productions have transformed their announcement into reality and released their AH-1G Cobra in 1:72 scale under their Special Hobby product label. As other competitors from the Czech Republic also started to produce a new AH-1G around the same time, MPM was very active in marketing and supplied modeling forums and message boards with information of the development progress. This was a good chance to point out that their product will have a number of advantages.
The kit comes in a rather large box and with five grey sprues, one transparent sprue, one resin part for the dummy chin turret, two decal sheets and a little instruction booklet.
The kit is very comprehensive and offers a quite large number of parts for such a small model. The moulding quality is excellent and has nothing to do with the past short run products out of ceramic moulds. Only tiny ammounts of flash are visible at the rotor mast and the toilet bowl exhaust deflector. But there it appears only at places that have to be sanded anyway. This kit is made by CAD-based drawings and steel mouldings. There are no sinkmarks or ejector pins at visible places and the detail is very fine and crisp. Small parts like the cyclic control stick are remarkably thin. Tiny bits like anti-collision lights seem to be almost too small for the common tweezers. The instrument panels have a raised structure and the instruments are supplied as a decal. Unfortunaly, the side consoles of the cockpit tub are a bit crude and the collective pitch handle for the gunner is moulded in. Tail rotor pedals and seat belts are missing. But somethins has to be left over for the in-house aftermarket production - as already advertized in the instruction sheet.
The panel lines and rivets are recessed. At a first glance, they appear to be a bit too prominent for 1:72 scale. But I believe that this appearance will change once the first coat of primer or paint is applied.
The clear parts are exellent. No scratches and very thin. Although due to the shape of the Cobra canopy, the distortion effect could not be completely avoided. Due to the split up of the cabin glazing, this is the first G Cobra kit that features the correct contraction/ undercut in the lower part of the side windows. This was not possible with earlier kits as they only offered one-piece canopies.
The kit offfers a large variety of arnament options:
As with the ordonance, other different aspects of the original were also considered. The kit includes two tailfins, either with the tailrotor on the starbord or port side for late and early production models respectively. Skids with different crosstubes are provided as well as the anti-strela exhaust deflector. The nose can either be built with glazing for the landing lights or with the solid one. Furthermore, the modeler has the choice of two different rotor mast installations.
Decals are provided for 5 different aircraft on a sheet printed by Aviprint without any faults in quality. The generic stencils are to be found on an extra sheet.
For those who like dioramas, MPM included a complete set of gound handling gear including wheels and tow bars.
Finally, customers get a 25% off voucher for Mike Verier's Book: Cobra! The Attack Helicopter - Fifty Years of Sharks, Teeth and Fangs. (at least included in the review sample)
Well done MPM productions - They took the time to make it right. Rome was not built in a day. A look at pictures of already built pre-production models (e.g. on MPM production's facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/aeromodel.eu?fref=photo) show really neat cobra models.
Honestly, I don't have a Monogram, Matchbox or Plastyk kit here at hand for direct comparison. I also don't have scale drawings to put the fuselage on. But it is more than obvious that this kit outmatches its old predecessors clearly at least as far as production standards are concerned.
I would even go further and say that the recent AZModel kit is no real competitor for Special Hobby/MPM. No matter what, AZModel wanted to be earlier wit their release as sonn as they heard about MPMs intentions. What came out was more or less a snapshot Cobra party based on Hasegawas AH-1S with lots of issues.
So, in my humble opinion: Keep calm - but everythin else aside and build Special Hobby's Snakes. Vietnam and USMC boxings are to follow later this year.
Kit is available via: www.aeromodel.eu (MPM production s.r.o. E-Shop distribution)
Reviewed by Felix Troschier - 11. July 2014
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