Italeri 1/48 AH-1W SuperCobra Kit Build Review
By Fotios Rouch
|Date of Review||July 2021||Manufacturer||Italeri|
|Kit Number||0833||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Not many other options in this scale||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$38.99|
The Italeri AH-1W kit is based on older Cobra variants from the same company, and it comes with most of the relevant components that make it an early W version. It is an older kit design, and it shows everywhere in the fit and finish of the parts. Back in the day I had bought two Cobra Company resin cockpit and exhaust update sets that brought the Italeri kit to a much better standard. A little later I bought two Olimp resin sets to bring the kit to the latest Iraqi war configuration.
The Olimp resin sets come with all the external updates, include weapons and consist of resin, photoetch and decals for one HMLA-267 Whiskey Cobra. The set does not include any of the necessary cockpit updates. The resin in this set is crude and very reminiscent of the resin aftermarket sets we used to get back in the late 80's. Lots of flash, heavy carrier backing resin and inconsistent panel lines and shapes. Of course, you see all that after you open the set. So, the project was shelved until the time that I would feel ready for a sound beating. Then much later Kitty Hawk announced their AH-1W kit and I thought that all the stuff I had accumulated for the project would be instantly obsolete. In early June, Kitty Hawk announced that they were done with making new kits and suddenly the project was back in the front burner.
Work as usual started with cleaning the resin parts with 409 de-greaser and the study of all the parts, plastic and resin alike. The Olimp instructions are not super clear on where to cut the plastic but with a little study and careful cutting the project moved on. It is always better to remove less plastic and sand things down than cut too deep. The first disappointment was the ridiculous fit of the large exhaust resin part. It is a solid chunk of resin, way too large and uneven and misshapen. It took a lot of effort to get it to fit and reshape. An added difficulty was the Italeri kit has raised panel lines and rivets and it is almost impossible not to obliterate some details as you are taming the resin parts. The resin chunk of the exhaust was drilled out to lighten the rear portion of the model. Lots of lead weight was glued on the very front and under the cockpit floor as well.
No issues at all with the Cobra Company resin of course. The cockpit is very nice for what it is supposed to represent but not for the future version of the Whiskey Cobra. Truth is that I did not perform the updates myself and if you look carefully there are no digital instrument panels or any other such updates in my build.
The resin nose is okay, but it needed a little reshaping on the top where it meets the windshield. Also, the nose/canopy interface is of a different shape and the clear part has to be cut back.
The resin intakes are mastered based on the kit parts and have been enlarged to represent the later intake shapes. Unfortunately, Olimp did not know how to make proper molds and the intakes have huge blobs of resin in the middle that have to be carefully drilled out.
The Flying Leatherneck decals provide instructions on how to update the plastic rotor blades to the proper shape. This was accomplished with cutting off the blade tips and grafting plastic Evergreen stock plastic.
The belly of the fuselage was also cut to make room for the resin oil cooler. The fit of the cooler was not to my liking, so I inserted thin plastic sheets to create a proper backing.
After all the resin parts were on, I sanded and blended everything using putty and spraying primer.
The next big job is to rescribe the lost panel lines and maybe add a few rivets here and there.