Anigrand Craftswork 1/72 Bell YAH-63 Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||September 2006||Manufacturer||Anigrand Craftswork|
|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|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$56.00|
In the late 1960s, the US Army was on the fast-track to replace the slow and under-armed AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter. The solution was the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne which had been approved for production in 1968, but was subsequently cancelled in 1969 after a rotor blade struck and killed the pilot in the cockpit and the pressure of subsequent budget cuts. Development was halted completely in 1972.
In that same year, the Army went back to industry for another attempt at an attack helicopter replacement for the AH-1. This time, Bell Helicopter and Hughes made the downselect and a fly-off was commenced. Bell applied all of its lessons learned from combat experience with its AH-1 and created the YAH-63. Hughes, who had never produced an attack helicopter before, came to the table with the YAH-64.
With all of Bell's experience and combat track record, you'd think this would be a slam-dunk for the Bell design, right? Not so fast, the Hughes, later McDonnell Douglas Helicopter, and finally Boeing, YAH-64 won the competition and became the now familiar AH-64 Apache.
I remember the competition between the YAH-63 and YAH-64 and was amazed at just how ugly both aircraft were. It wasn't until this kit sample arrived from Nostalgic Plastics of Anigrands new YAH-63 did I see beyond the bolted-on details. Look at the top photo, before you add that new tail and the twin engine nacelles, that fuselage shows its lineage from the AH-1 airframe.
This unique aircraft is cast in tan resin and is laid out for simple construction. The fuselage halves are hollow-cast and dry-fit together nicely. The wing stubs and engine nacelles plug into the fuselage halves. The tail section is cast separately and plug into corresponding holes in the rear fuselage.
Take note of the third photograph, the packaging of this kit is nicely done so that there is little chance of any parts getting loose or damage from parts moving around inside the box. Nice!
The cockpit section has rear gunner and front pilot seating - Bell followed Lockheed's approach to putting the pilot in front to improve low-level flight visibility.
Like the Cobra it descended from, the YAH-63 was a twin-blade main and tail rotor design, adding the twin T700-GE-700 engines for improved flight safety.
The kit comes with a set of United States Army markings for the tailboom.
This is a nice-looking kit and should be a quick build for the experienced resin modeler. For a look at the build-up review, go here.
This kit is definitely recommended for the modeler who is tired of the same old subjects getting released by the 'big guys' in the hobby industry!
My sincere thanks to the US importer, Nostalgic Plastic for this review sample!