The Bell Helicopter AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter replaced the ubiquitous UH-1 "Huey” in gunship duties in 1967. Fast, maneuverable, heavily armed and small (a.k.a., hard to hit), the sleek Cobra and its deadly bite has been steadily upgraded and employed for forty years. They are still in use with the U.S. Marine Corps.
The model is built with sixty-nine pale grey styrene parts (including several optional weapons), a clear styrene canopy, and decals for two schemes. These are on five sprues sealed in plastic bags.
The styrene is slightly brittle, but not fragile. Hobby Boss’ molding is clean and crisp, with no flash. No ejector pin marks or sink marks are present on visible surfaces.
The airframe parts have engraved panel lines and details. The rivets are properly raised, where appropriate.
The airframe is molded as two fuselage pieces. This is a pseudo modular style for multiple Cobra versions. The specific fuselage halves are on a separate sprue joined around the cockpit. The fuselage is completed with the two boom and sponson airfoils; the helicopter is finished with the two-part skids, nose sight, chin mounted 20mm three-barreled cannon in M97A4 universal turret, belly plate behind the chin turret, antenna fittings, rotors and canopy.
The cockpit is built with ten pieces, a basic tandem cockpit tube, two seats (with molded-on harnesses), collective, sticks (gunner and pilots’), two instrument panels with raised bezels, gunsight and rear bulkhead. Finally, the three exterior armament choices, each built with four or seven parts. These are the (two of each) 7-round 2.75 in (70 mm) M158 rocket launcher, M261 19-Tube 70mm (2.75”) rocket launcher, and BGM-71A 4-round TOW missile launcher.
The profile and dimensions appear accurate. The three-barrel M197 20mm three-barreled electric Gatling chin gun is molded as one piece. Aside from the cockpit tub with some raised switches, there is no detail inside the crew compartment.
The clear parts are distortion-free with sharply defined framing. The kit includes no clear navigation or landing lamps.
Instructions, painting and decals
Hobby Boss’ instruction sheet is two pages of eight undefined stages. It should not be confusing.
The painting guide is a page with a color 4-view of each Cobra. Colors are referenced for Mr. Hobby, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya and Humbrol.
The kit includes markings for two:
1. AH-1F, a/n 082, U.S. Army Cobra, “Wild Thing” (the decal guide states this is “The Road Warrior”), 3rd Sqn, 17th Cavalry.
2. AH-1F, a/n 335, Israeli Defense Force, 1982.
The decals appear to be very good, with excellent registration, fine printing and color density. The finish is glossy, with the carrier film trimmed close to most items.
Hobby Boss did a grand job on their Cobra. "Rivet-counters" may find things to constructively critique. Nevertheless, Hobby Boss’ new kit offers some good detail and plenty of options for low price.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Sharp, crisp molding with no flash, ejector pin marks or sink marks. Three weapon choices.Lows: Three-barrel cannon molded as one chunk. Minimal cockpit detail.Verdict: Hobby Boss’ new Cobra offers some good detail and plenty of options.
About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR) FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES
I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art.
My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling!
My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...