Aoshima 1/48 Airwolf Kit First Look
|Date of Review||October 2009||Manufacturer||Aoshima|
|Kit Number||04495||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo Etch|
|Pros||Nice detail in this scale||Cons||Cabin doors not positionable|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (Yen)||¥4500 (about $49.00 USD)|
In 1984, CBS television aired a new series called 'Airwolf' that was centered around a super helicopter by the same name that was supersonic, had active stealth capabilities, and had an interesting array of gun and rocket armament. The series ran 79 episodes before getting cancelled, but provided some fun and mindless entertainment for nearly four years.
The aircraft is based upon the Bell Model 222 which in itself is one of Bell's most beautiful airframes. It didn't take much external modifications to make the aircraft look like the Airwolf as the stock Bell 222 looked supersonic sitting on the ground. It was difficult in those days to decide which was more pleasing to the eye during the Airwolf episodes - the Bell 222 or Jean Bruce Scott. We may never know...
According to the Wikipedia write-up on Airwolf, the actual airframe used in the filming of the series was later became an air ambulance in Germany where it was lost with all hands in mid-1992.
When I first heard about this kit, I initially assumed that this was a reissue of the AMT/ERTL kit produced many years ago. I think you'll see that nothing could be further from the truth. While the AMT/ERTL kit was also 1/48 scale, it had a superficial interior and raised detailing on the exterior. Nevertheless, at the time it was the only kit of the Airwolf or the Bell 222. Idea and Kitech have also boxed clone kits of the AMT/ERTL tooling.
This kit is a completely new-tool production provided on three trees of black styrene, two trees molded in gray styrene, four trees of white styrene, one chromed tree, one clear styrene tree, and several separately provided parts in black styrene or vinyl (for the display base). This release also includes a fret of photo-etched metal parts. There is also another release of this kit that is (kit 04494) that is roughly $8.00 USD cheaper that is the same kit less the photo-etched parts.
The flight deck and mission compartment of this kit are very nicely done and bear no resemblance to the AMT kit The flight deck is properly laid out and only lacks seat belts/shoulder harnesses on the seats from being spot-on. The mission compartment nicely captures all of the interior detail though you'll have one heck of a time seeing any of that detail once the airframe goes together.
Given that there were no rear cabin doors on this aircraft, it is a pity that the forward doors are molded closed. Once the windows go in and the fuselage is together, you won't see much of the detailing that Aoshima engineered into the kit. You might consider doing some careful surgery and posing at least the left cabin door open so you can see the flight deck and some of the rear compartment as well.
The chromed engine exhaust ducts are plated with a dull finish so it won't look toylike, but some modelers will want to remove the chrome plating and metalize the ducts after assembly to make it easier to remove seamlines as well as weather/thermal color the ducts.
Among the features of the kit:
- Nicely detailed interior
- Positionable landing gear
- Positionable armament
- Movable main and tail rotors
- Poseable display stand
The photo-etched details add:
- Windshield wipers
- Door handles
- Fuel filler surround
- Alternative stabilator vertical fins
- Photo-etched panels for the flight deck
- Photo-etched panels for the mission compartment
One other nice touch in this kit is a fully articulating display base that you can plug into the bottom of your completed Airwolf and pose the aircraft in flight. You can also put the completed model on its gear if you wish as well.
The kit decals provide instrument faces for the flight deck instrument panel and mission panels in the back.
It is interesting that Aoshima produced this exquisite model of the Airwolf nearly 25 years after the TV series went off the air. Together with the Aoshima Blue Thunder, this kit provides an interesting pair of rotary-winged heroes for your scale flightline
My sincere thanks to HobbyLink Japan for this review sample!