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ICM 1/32 AH-1G (Early Production)


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I received the new ICM Cobra today. There's a lot to be happy with here. It completely eclipses the old Revell kit (but don't throw it away just yet). Overall, it looks great in the box. The shape appears to be right on (even the nose is correct; something we haven't seen in some other Cobra models). Parts are included for both early and late G models. Both vertical stabilizers are provided. Weapons include XM-157, XM-158, XM-200 rocket pods, XM-18 minigun pods, and Tow missile tubes. The M-35 Vulcan is not included. The canopy is great; clear, thin and distortion free. Both clear and solid nose caps are provided. Decals are provided for the instrument panels (not my favorite way to do this). The cockpit interior is sparse and will need some extra detailing. The transmission area is provided, but no engine. The transmission doors are correct, but don't have much detail on the interior. The only error I saw on the instructions directs the modeler to use the flush riveted synchronized elevators. Early G models had pop riveted sync elevators (parts C 37, 38, 39, and 40). The plastic is the typical ICM (soft) plastic.

 

I do have a few disappointments specific to Viet Nam Cobras, most are easy to fix:

 

  • Early Cobras had blue tinted canopies (this is even depicted on the box art). You're on your own here. Definitely consult a photograph of the Cobra you're building
  • The sand shields are missing from the leading edge of the rotor head 
  • The IR strakes (below the exhaust on both sides) are missing
  • The air conditioning inlet (just below and aft of the pilot's left side canopy) is not present on early Cobras
  • The XM-158 pods (7 shot, exposed tubes) are poorly represented and should be replaced. This is a shame, since other than Aerial Rocket Artillery Cobras the XM-158 was almost universal on Vietnam Cobras
  • Ground handling wheels are provided but Cobras never flew with them installed

 

After building the ICM 0-2A, I'm concerned that the skids may not hold the model up; especially if you use the non-faired set. Don't know that it will be an issue; just worried.

If you've got the Revell kit, you have a good start on an engine if you're so inclined.

 

Overall, this is a very good kit. After several attempts to build the Revell kit; I'm really looking forward to building this kit. I'm just finishing up an ICM 1/48 Q-2A Firebee and will start this kit as soon as I'm done.

 

Mig

 

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Thanks for the update Rob.   Disappointed on the IP’s being nothing more than decals. Hopefully Eduard or Yahu will help us out.  
 

How’s the exterior surface detailing?   Did they replicate the rivets correctly?   

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8 hours ago, Rob Mignard said:

I received the new ICM Cobra today. There's a lot to be happy with here. It completely eclipses the old Revell kit (but don't throw it away just yet). Overall, it looks great in the box. The shape appears to be right on (even the nose is correct; something we haven't seen in some other Cobra models). Parts are included for both early and late G models. Both vertical stabilizers are provided. Weapons include XM-157, XM-158, XM-200 rocket pods, XM-18 minigun pods, and Tow missile tubes. The M-35 Vulcan is not included. The canopy is great; clear, thin and distortion free. Both clear and solid nose caps are provided. Decals are provided for the instrument panels (not my favorite way to do this). The cockpit interior is sparse and will need some extra detailing. The transmission area is provided, but no engine. The transmission doors are correct, but don't have much detail on the interior. The only error I saw on the instructions directs the modeler to use the flush riveted synchronized elevators. Early G models had pop riveted sync elevators (parts C 37, 38, 39, and 40). The plastic is the typical ICM (soft) plastic.

 

I do have a few disappointments specific to Viet Nam Cobras, most are easy to fix:

 

  • Early Cobras had blue tinted canopies (this is even depicted on the box art). You're on your own here. Definitely consult a photograph of the Cobra you're building
  • The sand shields are missing from the leading edge of the rotor head 
  • The IR strakes (below the exhaust on both sides) are missing
  • The air conditioning inlet (just below and aft of the pilot's left side canopy) is not present on early Cobras
  • The XM-158 pods (7 shot, exposed tubes) are poorly represented and should be replaced. This is a shame, since other than Aerial Rocket Artillery Cobras the XM-158 was almost universal on Vietnam Cobras
  • Ground handling wheels are provided but Cobras never flew with them installed

 

After building the ICM 0-2A, I'm concerned that the skids may not hold the model up; especially if you use the non-faired set. Don't know that it will be an issue; just worried.

If you've got the Revell kit, you have a good start on an engine if you're so inclined.

 

Overall, this is a very good kit. After several attempts to build the Revell kit; I'm really looking forward to building this kit. I'm just finishing up an ICM 1/48 Q-2A Firebee and will start this kit as soon as I'm done.

 

Mig

 

 

I got mine and started it yesterday.  So far the fit is phenomenal.  So far.  The shapes looks great. 

 

-The IR strakes that you are talking about below the exhaust are there.  They are separate pieces.  

 

-As for the blue tinted canopies and the lack of ECU inlet in the doghouse, they were only on the very first models.  It was quickly changed to clear and the Enviromental Control Unit (ECU) was added (thank God). 

-I didn't notice that the sand shields were missing.  I'll have to repair that with some Werner's Wings parts. 

-I didn't have an issue with the XM-158 pods...yet.  I will see how they build up.  I'm sure they aren't as nice as Fireball Modelworks ones were.  We'll see how they look built up though.  

 

My initial impressions are WOW!  Significantly superior to the old Revell kit in every aspect.  The kit has raised rivets.  That is a nice touch.  The instructions are easy to follow and understand.  The amount of detail is great.  Would I have preferred to have an engine too?  Yes but the transmission is impressive.  It does look like the gun sight in the back seat is missing the glass.  Easy enough to fix.  A CAD piece would be nicer.  Both style of tailbooms, left and right handed, are provided.  That is nice.  Love the nose piece and the option of the cap.  The belly panel is beautiful, something completely missing on the Revell kit.  Both turrets are provided which is very nice.  The M-28 turret allows for multiple options, twin minigun, or the usual set up of minigun and 40mm grenade launcher.  The inclusion of both vertical fin caps is nice as well.  The option of opening the transmission doors is a welcome addition.  I love that they have the canopy in five pieces, plus the ability to have them open with support struts.  So nice to have that option.  Having the rotor blades in two parts is surprising to me.  I love that the wings have the jettison actuators on them.  Having the ground handling wheels and tow bar is a nice touch.  The ability to have all the armament options on the wings is nice as well.  Plus they give you a loadout option chart.  Very nice.  Having the masks designs in the back is nice.  Hopefully Eduard will do a set of masks.  The decals are nice and look in register. 

 

Down side- As I mentioned the pilot’s gunsight XM-73, does not have the glass portion of the site.  It needs a resin replacement. The transmission doors have a strange pattern in them that is a little pronounced.  Its on the real thing just not as pronounced.  A little bit of sanding should take care of that though.  These are the only thing that I’m not keen on.  The rest looks perfect.  Decal options are not very inspiring.  The Cobra had some very colorful markings, including full color shark mouths.  Is there room for resin upgrades?  Absolutely.  

 

Unadvertised features- The parts are included in this kit to do a ‘late’ version AH-1G.  It has the Anti-Strella toilet bowl exhaust system, the right side tail rotor and unfaired skids.


You can tell that they are going to do a later variant like the AH-1S (Mod), because there are TOW missiles on the sprue but not used.  Plus the nose cone is a separate piece.  Can’t wait for that one too.

 

Now the question becomes will the Werner’s Wings AH-1F Super Conversion fit this kit?  I’ll have to tackle that someday soon.  I suspect that it will.

 

My $.02 worth.  I won't be able to share it here because I'm building it for a magazine.  You'll get it out of the box this time around.  

Floyd

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17 minutes ago, Floyd S. Werner, Jr. said:

 

I got mine and started it yesterday.  So far the fit is phenomenal.  So far.  The shapes looks great. 

 

-The IR strakes that you are talking about below the exhaust are there.  They are separate pieces.  

 

-As for the blue tinted canopies and the lack of ECU inlet in the doghouse, they were only on the very first models.  It was quickly changed to clear and the Enviromental Control Unit (ECU) was added (thank God). 

-I didn't notice that the sand shields were missing.  I'll have to repair that with some Werner's Wings parts. 

-I didn't have an issue with the XM-158 pods...yet.  I will see how they build up.  I'm sure they aren't as nice as Fireball Modelworks ones were.  We'll see how they look built up though.  

 

My initial impressions are WOW!  Significantly superior to the old Revell kit in every aspect.  The kit has raised rivets.  That is a nice touch.  The instructions are easy to follow and understand.  The amount of detail is great.  Would I have preferred to have an engine too?  Yes but the transmission is impressive.  It does look like the gun sight in the back seat is missing the glass.  Easy enough to fix.  A CAD piece would be nicer.  Both style of tailbooms, left and right handed, are provided.  That is nice.  Love the nose piece and the option of the cap.  The belly panel is beautiful, something completely missing on the Revell kit.  Both turrets are provided which is very nice.  The M-28 turret allows for multiple options, twin minigun, or the usual set up of minigun and 40mm grenade launcher.  The inclusion of both vertical fin caps is nice as well.  The option of opening the transmission doors is a welcome addition.  I love that they have the canopy in five pieces, plus the ability to have them open with support struts.  So nice to have that option.  Having the rotor blades in two parts is surprising to me.  I love that the wings have the jettison actuators on them.  Having the ground handling wheels and tow bar is a nice touch.  The ability to have all the armament options on the wings is nice as well.  Plus they give you a loadout option chart.  Very nice.  Having the masks designs in the back is nice.  Hopefully Eduard will do a set of masks.  The decals are nice and look in register. 

 

Down side- As I mentioned the pilot’s gunsight XM-73, does not have the glass portion of the site.  It needs a resin replacement. The transmission doors have a strange pattern in them that is a little pronounced.  Its on the real thing just not as pronounced.  A little bit of sanding should take care of that though.  These are the only thing that I’m not keen on.  The rest looks perfect.  Decal options are not very inspiring.  The Cobra had some very colorful markings, including full color shark mouths.  Is there room for resin upgrades?  Absolutely.  

 

Unadvertised features- The parts are included in this kit to do a ‘late’ version AH-1G.  It has the Anti-Strella toilet bowl exhaust system, the right side tail rotor and unfaired skids.


You can tell that they are going to do a later variant like the AH-1S (Mod), because there are TOW missiles on the sprue but not used.  Plus the nose cone is a separate piece.  Can’t wait for that one too.

 

Now the question becomes will the Werner’s Wings AH-1F Super Conversion fit this kit?  I’ll have to tackle that someday soon.  I suspect that it will.

 

My $.02 worth.  I won't be able to share it here because I'm building it for a magazine.  You'll get it out of the box this time around.  

Floyd

Nice review Floyd.  If I could ask - what are your thoughts on the turbine inlets?   The strakes seem a bit “off” to me.     
 

Also, if I could ask - any plans for WW to do some aftermarket bits for this kit?

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Floyd, I missed the IR strakes, thanks for pointing that out.

 

I flew in the Central Highlands (II Corps) in 1969 and 1970. All of the Cobra photos I took have blue canopies and don’t have the ECS inlet. Many of them still had the clear plastic nose, but the twin lights had been removed and the single landing light installed on the belly. I don’t know when Bell switched to clear canopies, but it was well into the production run. If you look through John Brennan’s Helicopter Art/Nose Art books (which are excellent and highly recommended) you’ll see that about half the Cobras have blue canopies. The ECS units were retrofitted, but it was after I left. Also, The VHF Collins antenna was located inside the doghouse during this period; later moved to the underside of the tailboom as depicted in the kit.

 

The main point is: carefully study the data you have; they were continually changed and upgraded during their Vietnam service.

 

Please let us know if there are issues with the landing gear.

 

Mig

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Here are some notes that I have made over the years in the evolution of the AH-1G.

 

A single vertical fin position light was on all aircraft prior-to and including 67-15701

Two position lights were added to the tail boom, one on each side of tail boom, with 68-15053 and all subsequent aircraft

 

Nose mounted landing lights on all aircraft prior-to and including 67-15489

A single belly mounted landing light was installed on 67-15490 and all subsequent aircraft

 

Note: the above information is based on aircraft serial numbers, I do not know the dates of these changes

 

Tinted Windscreens: The decision was taken around May 68 use clear canopies on all Cobras and do away with the blue tinted canopies.

 

UHF/VHF Antenna:  Likewise, in Jun 68 the decision was taken to move the UHF/VHF antenna to the lower side of the tail boom.  This provided for a significant increase in range for these radio systems.

 

UHF/VHF Antenna in the 'doghouse' on all production aircraft prior-to and including 68-15052

UHF/VHF antenna on the tail boom on 68-15053 and all subsequent aircraft

 

Tractor Tail Rotor: AH-1G, 66-15283 was the test aircraft for the Tractor Tail Rotor evaluation. Tests were conducted between Aug 68 and May 69 at which time the change was approved.

 

At this point I cannot identify the first aircraft to be manufactured as such, but will continue to look for that info.

 

Note: Sometime after the implementation of this change on new construction aircraft older aircraft that were being repaired / rebuilt began receiving the new tail boom and Tractor Tail Rotor.  I have yet to determine if this was only accomplished at CONUS Level Depots or could be accomplished at higher echelon maintenance facilities in Vietnam.  A close reference check for individual aircraft is needed here.

 

Wide Cord Tail Rotor:  In Aug 73 test concluded that a wider cord tail rotor would help improve the Cobra low speed / hovering capability.  AH-1G, 71-20985 was used in this test and as a result an a: cord.

 

Tests were conducted on changing the tail rotor from on sided to the other in late 1968 and early 1969.  Approval for this change was promulgated in May of 1969

 

Note: I do not know the serial number of the aircraft that was the first to receive the new tail rotor.

 

The tricky part

 

Once these aircraft arrived in SEA anything goes. Different echelons of maintenance in SEA performed varied degrees of maintenance procedures on Army aircraft.  New tail booms with external UHF/VHF antennas and perhaps tractor tail rotors were used to repair aircraft that were built original equipment as described above.

 

As Rob Mignard said: "The main point is: carefully study the data you have; they were continually changed and upgraded during their Vietnam service."

 

Truer words were never spoken.

 

Michael

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When I was at Fort Hood from 1977-79, we still had some AH-1Gs with blue glass.  Often it was a mix of blue and clear on the same bird.  I saw a dumpster full of blue glass one day.

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Here's a follow-up to my earlier posts. One of the problems you face when modeling Cobras is time and place. Not surprisingly, most of the photos you see of Cobras in Vietnam have shark-mouths, cool names, and other artwork all from later in the conflict. When I flew in the Central Highlands in 1969 and 1970 there wasn't any of that. The Cobras were basically as delivered from the factory. They had conspicuity and unit markings and little else. Occasionally, you'd see the crew chiefs' name. Here’s an example:

 

68-15051-03-Corrected.jpg.3869710d0f6eb56f53a1b8150b31ebfb.jpg.

 

This is 68-15051, the 594th Cobra built; a 361 Aerial Escort Company G model at the Volcano LZ near Duc Lap in November, 1969. It has a blue canopy and there is no Environmental Control System inlet. Additionally, the VHF blade antenna is not present on the underside of the tailboom. It's worn OD overall. The 90 degree gearbox cover has been replaced, and it's still in zinc chromate. The skids are black. There are no technical markings visible. It carries the standard conspicuity markings from that era; orange on the front half of the surfboard, orange on the tops of the sync elevators, the top of one rotor blade painted white, and the top of the opposite blade painted black. The tail rotor is flat OD with yellow tips. The red, white, and blue rings on the tailboom are 17th Combat Aviation Group markings. The tops of the sync elevators carry “52” in black on the left sync elevator and “361” in black on the right sync elevator (52nd Combat Aviation Battalion, 361 Aerial Escort Company) a common practice for 1st Aviation Brigade helicopters. The crew chief’s name (L. Sciapo) is hand painted on the nose in white. You'll also notice that the front crosstubes have the fairings installed and the rear crosstubes do not. The “last 3” are carried on the vertical stabilizer in yellow. Notice that the "5" is in fact an upside down and backwards "2". It carries a minigun in the right bay of the turret, and a 40mm grenade launcher in the left bay. Two XM-200 19-shot pods and two XM-158 7-shot pods are carried on the wing pylons. This loadout was ubiquitous at time. It has the original pusher tail rotor. Also notice the sand shields on the rotor head.

 

Not as colorful as later Cobras, but still interesting.

 

Mig

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, midnightprowler said:

Cool, I'm having trouble seeing sand shields you mention.

Here you go. They protect the advancing part of the rotor head.

 

Mig

 

 

 

Shield.jpg

Edited by Rob Mignard
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3 hours ago, midnightprowler said:

Ah ok, never noticed those on a Cobra before.

Nor did I.   Were they a common fit on Vietnam Cobras and if so, does the kit include these?

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12 hours ago, 11bee said:

Nor did I.   Were they a common fit on Vietnam Cobras and if so, does the kit include these?

As far as I know, all Cobras in Vietnam had the shields. To your earlier question, the engraving is very nice. The tailboom has raised rivets, and the forward fuselage is smooth; just like the original.

 

Mig

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On 5/30/2021 at 9:48 PM, Rob Mignard said:

Here you go. They protect the advancing part of the rotor head.

 

Mig

 

 

 

Shield.jpg

 I have these drawn up in CAD and included in the AH-1F Super Conversion set.  I will have to see if they fit.  They should.

 

As I'm finishing up the cockpit of the kit, I do notice a few things are missing.  First off, let me say that I don't like the XM-73 gunsight in the back seat.  The kit is missing seatbelts and shoulder harnesses, the breakout knives (front and back), the fire extinquisher, first aid kit and canopy jettison handles.  I don't think the early Cobras had the storage bag as I think they were part of the NVG era, to store NVGs when not in use.  The cyclics and pilot's collective could be better.  There is no circuit breaker panel on the right side pilot's elbow.  Not sure if it is on a G, it was on the AH-1P and F.  I do think the gunner's cushioned arm rest could be better as well.    

 

That said, so far everything is fitting perfectly.  If you have the Cobra Company set for the Revell kit you should be able to use a bunch of that stuff on this kit as well should you choose to.  

 

I'm building mine out of the box, with the exception of the seatbelts and shoulder harness.  That was something I couldn't live with out.  I still like the build, but when I build the next one I'll put in a bunch of aftermarket stuff, from CC and Werner's Wings, as well as, an Eduard set when it comes out.   

Floyd

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7 minutes ago, Floyd S. Werner, Jr. said:

I'll put in a bunch of aftermarket stuff, from CC and Werner's Wings, as well as

Hmm, sounds like a Werner's Wings update set may be in the works. 

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4 minutes ago, HeavyArty said:

Hmm, sounds like a Werner's Wings update set may be in the works. 


If Floyd was smart that would be a good idea. Old CC sets are not easy to come by and yes I know. I said what I said. 

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33 minutes ago, Dave Williams said:

What’s a good option for seat belts?  Anything similar currently available in 1/32 scale?

I may be wrong but I thought the belts on these helos were identical to the ones used on all US ww2 aircraft.   If so, you’ve got plenty of options.   

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Posted (edited)

I noticed the instructions have you install the retractable belly landing light regardless of whether you use the solid nose, or the clear nose with the two lights.  Is this right?  There doesn’t seem to be any provision in the kit to delete the belly light.

 

Also, on the instructions for the aircraft that have orange elevators, we’re they orange all over, or just on the top?  TIA.

Edited by Dave Williams
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My understanding is that the belly light was introduced when they phased out the nose lights.   
 

As far as the elevators, typically they were only painted high vis on their upper surfaces.  

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I just started my ICM cobra and did a research of all my resources but couldn't find any photo of the early Cobra belly to check how to mask the landing light... Finally as there are all parts available I decided to make squatter swatter using revell decals but I would appreciate if anyone could share early cobra belly photo.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Tank said:

Where is the bat signal for Ray? 

Haven't seen Ray around here in a while.   I know he's super active on FB's Huey site (and a few others).   I'm friends with him on FB, if you want me to PM him on this, I'd be happy to.    I haven't seen any good quality pics of the bottom of the G, so I'd be interested in some as well.    If anyone has some to share, it's undoubtedly Ray. 

Edited by 11bee
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I wouldn’t mind seeing a photo or two but it was kinda a joke to help Stakor, Ray was the photo guy on here. Be nice if he could do a cd like he did for the Hueys. 

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