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Fujimi 1/48 AH-1G (Kitbash)

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Happy New Year, fellow plastic mashers! One of my three modeling resolutions for the year is to try new things and push my limits. I figured this would be a good project to start with...


I was able to scoop up all USMC Cobra variants in 1/48 (2 - AH-1Js, 1 - AH-1T, 1 - AH-1W, 1 - AH-1Z (W boxing with "Z" parts; 1 - AH-1Z). My goal is to improve my skills with each one until I work my way up to the Zulu. Obviously, there is no -G in 1/48, so I gotta make my own. I know that the Js are can be hard to come by and can cost a pretty penny, but I was able to get one and a -S fairly cheaply at a local model swap meet.





Since I have two -Js, I'm not too worried about screwing this up. To start, I figured I'd try to scratch the chin turret. I told myself, if things went well with the turret, then I'd press on with the rest of the build. I have to say, I'm fairly satisfied with my first attempt at scratch building.


I used the existing opening in the turret and traced its size and shape onto a piece of tape. Then I used that tape as a template to open up a second slot.





After opening up the slot, I used some plastic rod, tube and card to create the grenade launcher, then I found a minigun in my spares box to round things out.





Nothing's glued together in the picture above, but I'm thinking once everything's assembled, things will be passable under some paint.


Feeling invincible, I moved on to the doghouse. I decided to build the doghouse separate from the fuselage. My thinking was, if I screwed the pooch with the doghouse and its modifications, I could still salvage a -J from the plastic. The first thing I did was tend to the exhaust. As it goes, out of the box, the plastic allows for a "see-through" exhaust. I fixed that by finding about 1/2" of 5/16" OD tubing to substitute as the exhaust. On the interior end, I glued what I think is a wheel hub from my spares box for some visual interest. As of now, the exhaust is just dry-fit to allow for final adjustments and painting.











Continuing with the doghouse, I moved on to the inlets and their debris screens. I looked at a lot of pictures of both Army and USMC AH-1Gs. While all of the screens were similar, not all were exactly the same. That was nice to see because it gave me some flexibility in my "interpretation." I had some random PE screen sitting around, so I cut it to size and trimmed it with strips of Tamiya tape. Perfect? Nope. Replicates in scale? Nuh-uh. Close enough? Yep. I'm sure they'll look OK under some paint.







Satisfied with the stuff on the outside, I worked on the cockpit. Everything up front is pretty much OOB, except for some wrapped wire to represent the ECS hoses. I cut one free from the rear bulkhead and wrapped the bulkhead in foil to serve as soundproofing. I'm not too worried about the texture not being perfect. Little is going to be seen once everything is closed up. Besides the ECS hoses, I used a small square of clear acetate as the pilot's sighting glass, and some tape strips as simple seat belts. These shots were taken before it was all cleaned up and flat coated.







Well, that's where things stand as of now. Winter break is over, and I gotta get myself back in the classroom tomorrow. It was nice having some time at the bench, but I don't know when I'll be able to get some more progress done on this. The good thing is that I'll have some time to come up with a plan to tackle the canopy issue. If anyone has any ideas, I'm open to suggestions. Feel free to share any questions, comments, and criticisms. 


Thanks for looking!





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Cool. You do know that Lone Star Models sells the Cobra Company conversion set for this though right? I have several in my stash as there isn't a production AH-1G in 1/48 that's worth looking at. 

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2 hours ago, usmcski6502 said:

"...I did something similar using the same kits..."



Hey Ski,


Nice work. I think I saw your build when I was looking at 1/48 -Gs online. I do have a question for you. How'd you go about modifying the doghouse to fit the canopy? Any pointers or suggestions would be very helpful. That'll be the last hurdle I'll need to get over to pull off this build.



Edited by oortiz10

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Thanks for the kind words!  Yeah, the S vs. J/G canopy join is definitely challenging.  I just gradually cut back the fuselage until the rounded canopy fit.  Definitely be conservative, I just trimmed back a little at a time until I got it right.


Keep up the great work, looking forward to seeing how much better yours looks than mine! 😂





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Hey gang,

Thanks for stopping by and looking. I don't have a lot to show today, but I've gotten over the last big hurdle of the build. I think it's all down hill from this point on.


I got the doghouse cut and shaped for the canopy. The fit isn't perfect, but it's pretty good. I'm very happy with the results. There are a few small gaps here and there, but a little filling and sanding should blend things in. 


Let's take a look...

















So...whatcha think? Comments, questions, and criticisms are welcome. Feel free to share your two cents.




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First and foremost, I have to thank Mig for saving this build. If it wasn't for him, this project would be on the shelf. Let me explain...


After I got the doghouse cut to accept the -J canopy, I noticed that the canopy itself was about 2mms too wide.




Well, I went back and forth about how to attack this. I tried heating the plastic and slowly squeezing it to lessen the gap, but the plastic was very thick and that idea didn't work too well. I decided I'd glue one side down, and after that side was dry and solid, I'd clamp and glue the heck out of the other side. 


As I was dry-fitting and squeezing the canopy...CRACK!


My canopy was ruined.


Lucky for me, Mig had an extra canopy and generously donated it, thus saving my build. THANKS MIG!


As it turns out, the canopy Mig gave me fit much better. It was still about 1mm too wide, but it was much more forgiving. A little filling, shimming, and sanding got me a pretty good fit. Here's what it looks like under an initial coat of primer.







A little more clean-up, and I think it'll look just fine under the final coat of paint.


Another small problem I encountered was with the skids. One skid (port side) was "tip high." That is, it didn't want to lay flat when installed. As I was tinkering with its fit, I broke that part too. Luckily, I had the skids from the -S that I was planning on using. That explains the green skid. Unfortunately, it, too, is tip high. I wonder if it's the mounting holes. Oh well, I can live with it. I don't want to risk snapping another skid...especially since I have no more to spare.



Anyway, here's where my -G is at.




Comments, questions, and criticisms are welcome.




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Howdy ARC,


Just a little progress to share on my Corbra. Got it all glossed and decalled. Now that the airframe is mostly done, I'll be focusing on the minor assemblies (ordnance and rotors) and final assembly. Stay tuned!







Comments, questions, and criticisms welcome!



Edited by oortiz10

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