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YAH-63

Anigrand Craftswork 1/72 Bell YAH-63 Build Review

By Michael Benolkin

Background

Date of Review September 2006 Manufacturer Anigrand Craftswork
Subject Bell YAH-63 Scale 1/72
Kit Number 2063 Primary Media Resin
Pros Resin pieces fit together VERY nicely, closest thing to a resin snap-tite kit you'll find! Cons See text
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $56.00

Background

For a look at the kit and some background on the aircraft, check out our review here.

Getting Started

I have been looking forward to tearing into a large and beautiful resin kit that recently arrived on my bench, but before I start, I thought I'd take one last check of my resin skills. This Anigrand Craftwork's YAH-63 prototype was just the ticket.

Like the XR-1A that I recently built (look here), this kit fits so nicely together. The only real preparation work is to remove the small pour stubs on the ends of each part. This kit required a bit more clean-up than the XR-1A as it had more parts.

The first step was to assemble the fuselage halves. The cockpit interior mounts to a floor that drops into the cockpit bay later in the assembly process. Nice! This allowed for the fuselage to be manhandled without worrying about knocking off a delicate part at this stage.

The halves were glued together using thin cyano out of a Mission Models needle applicator. This allowed for precise control into the seams. Once this had dried, I applied a bead of thick gap-filling cyano around the seams and Zip-kicked the filler instantly cured. It was off to the sink for some wet-sanding.

YAH-63 I applied a primer coat of Tamiya Olive Drab acrylic, found one seam problem, made another pass with the gap-filler, Zip-kicker, wet sanding, and a quick touch-up with the airbrush. This basic fuselage was ready. At this stage, you can see the AH-1 Cobra roots in the YAH-63 design. Once I install the rest of the exterior details, that resemblance will more or less disappear.

Assembly is the rest of the kit is straightforward, requiring a bit of patience, lots of dry-fitting to make sure of the fit, a microfile to adjust the fit, and a bit of cyano to seal the deal (so to speak).

YAH-63 The front and rear instrument panels mount to the cockpit floor. The front panel sits at a angle to conform to the interior tub in the fuselage. I dropped the floor into the bay, installed the front instrument panel with a touch of cyano and removed the cockpit floor again. Be careful as you could inadvertently glue the cockpit floor into the bay before you're ready. With the front instrument panel angle properly set, I installed the rear panel, cyclic, and crew seats. I gave the cockpit bay and the assembled cockpit subassembly a coat of black. I'll dry-brush out the details later.

YAH-63 The engine nacelles are keyed to slots in the sides of the fuselage. These nacelles are not interchangeable, so note how the tabs on the nacelles fit. The casting is really nice and once the mold stubs are removed, the nacelles fit with no gaps against the fuselage. I painted the inside of the nacelles black so that the color of bare resin will not be visible through the intakes later. I leave the exhaust ducts out of the nacelles for now and use the duct hole to insert the thin cyano needle and glue the nacelles to the fuselage from the inside. No glue marks!

YAH-63 The winglets are next. These again need careful clean-up to get a snug fit. These plug into the fuselage sides and each one mounts two weapons pylons and a main landing gear strut. The winglets have a bit of dihedral and the inboard pylons are molded to compensate. Be sure to select the inboard pylon that will be vertical when the wings are installed. Anigrand even molded a line where these pylons mount to the underside of the winglets to help keep them properly oriented. I installed mine along with the main landing gear.

The outboard pylon is an odd affair that mounts four missile tubes on each pylon. I opt to keep these off the aircraft until later.

The nosegear and FLIR complete the front end for now. I'll add the cannon at the end of the project.

On the other end, there is a flat spot molded into the end of the tail boom. The tail rotor drive mounts out here, connected to a drive shaft that mounts atop of the tail boom. I mounted the 90 degree drive at the end of the tail boom and then test fit the drive shaft. The shaft is a hair too long, and the ends won't fit into the openings. I trim about a millimeter off one end and then whittle the ends to a dull point. The shaft now fits into the holes nicely and is the right length to boot.

YAH-63 The horizontal stabilizer mounts as a T-Tail to the vertical stab. This gets cyanoed into place and the vertical stab literally plugs into the side of the tail boom.

Time for paint! I shoot the overall airframe with more Tamiya Olive Drab and check again for glue flaws or gaps. A few little adjustments and a little touch-up with the airbrush and the airframe is ready.

YAH-63 The main and tail rotors are simple affairs and are assembled with thick cyano and Zip kicker. After a little more clean-up, I spray both assemblies black and set them aside to dry.

YAH-63 The outboard pylons are still waiting and it is time to tackle them. I center the first tube on a mounting stub on the first pylon. Note that the front of the pylon is angled near the top so be sure you're aiming these the right way, The front of the missile tube has a reinforcing ring near the front. With the first tube installed and aligned, the other three are installed aligned with the first. Repeat again for the other pylon. Both assemblies are sprayed with Tamiya Olive Drab.

YAH-63 The engine exhaust nozzles get a coating of Vallejo Steel and after that has dried, the interior of each nozzle received a wash of black oil. These are installed in the rear of the engine nacelles. The oleo struts on each of the landing gear is painted Tamiya Chrome Silver. Each of the wheels are mounted onto toothpicks and sprayed Vallejo Flat Black. When this has dried, I use a drill-bit sizing template to find the right diameter hole for each of the wheel hubs and spray the hubs Tamiya Olive Drab. The main and tail rotors are masked at the tips and sprayed Tamiya Flat Yellow. Lastly, the ends of the rocket pods are masked and sprayed Vallejo Steel.

YAH-63 It is time! The wheels, main gun, rocket pods, missile launchers and tail rotor are cyanoed into place. The main rotor is left unglued so it can be removed. This is starting to look like a helicopter!

YAH-63 Now for the finale. The vacuformed canopy. This part is crisply formed, so the trick here is to carefully cut away all of the acetate that isn't part of the canopy. I left a millimeter or so of edge around the formed part, then performed my first dry fit. The rear of the canopy tended to close up in the rear, so at installation time and during fitting, I'll have to ensure the edges of the canopy are sitting on the rails properly. Over the course of the next 15 minutes, I'd trim a little and fit again to see what part of the canopy is obstructing a good fit. This wasn't much of a pain in this kit. Once I had a good fit, it was time for paint.

YAH-63 I masked off only part of the canopy and sprayed the frames Tamiya Olive Drab. Since the Tamiya acrylics dry quickly, I was able to mask and paint each section about 20-30 minutes apart. While this took a little longer, this avoided having to cut precise masks for the windows and run the risk of cutting or scratching the canopy while trimming the masks.

With the canopy painted, I used watch crystal cement to install the canopy. I still had a bit of gap here and there, so a bead of Elmer's White Glue to gap fill was used. When this had all dried, I shot a touch-up of Tamiya Olive Drab using a Post-It to protect the canopy clear sections.

This project is finished!

Conclusions

This was a relatively simple build. I am amazed at how well engineered these kits are. Some of the offerings from Anigrand Craftworks would make excellent first kits for modelers wanting to try their hand at resin modeling. I'm not sure I'd make a helicopter my first attempt at resin kits, but this project was very straightforward for anyone experienced with resin kits.

My sincere thanks to the US importer, Nostalgic Plastic for this review sample!

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