Kitty Hawk Models 1/35 AH-6M/MH-6M Little Bird Nightstalkers Kit First Look
|Date of Review||February 2019||Manufacturer||Kitty Hawk Models|
|Subject||AH-6M/MH-6M Little Bird Nightstalkers||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||50002||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch, Resin|
|Pros||Nice details and options||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$54.95|
For a brief history of the Little Bird, the 160th Special Operations Regiment (SOAR), and/or Kitty Hawk's previous Little Bird (AH-6J/MH-6J), look here.
While the AH-6J and MH-6J Little Birds offered enhanced capabilities in their special operations roles, they became part of a larger challenge for the 160th SOAR. The electronic systems integrated into the Little Birds, Black Hawks, and Chinooks all looked, operated, and sounded different from one another, not to mention the logistics complications that go with them. With the AH-6 Mission-Enhanced Little Birds (MELB) came a very unique engineering accomplishment - all of the 160th's aircraft now operate with the same (or very similar) avionics suite running under a common 'operating system'. Never before had different military aircraft from different manufacturers operated under a common operating system. The AH/MH-6 from Boeing/MDD, the AH/MH-60 from Sikorsky (now Lockheed Martin), and the MH-47 from Boeing/Vertol - all were integrated using some impressive engineering!
In addition to the common 'operating system', the AH-6M and MH-6M are based upon the MD-530, but with a more powerful engine, six-bladed main rotor, four-bladed tail rotor, and better performance. The pointed nose of the MD530 was replaced with the older OH-6 nose to retain its existing military airlift capabilities.
A little over a year ago, Kitty Hawk released their AH-6J/MH-6J Little Bird kit, which were the versions that took part in operations over Mogadishu as well as a number of other special operations and in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This release covers the contemporary AH-6M/MH-6M MELB Little Bird and this is the one I've been waiting for! Like the prevous release, this kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on three parts trees, plus one tree of clear parts, and a fret of photo-etched details. Unlike the first release, this kit offers five resin figures in the box (Kitty Hawk did reissue the AH-6J/MH-6J with different figures last year). While two of the parts trees are common with the previous release, the first tree at the top is completely new. If you compare the photo with the fuselage tree from the last kit, you'll see that the fuselage, tail, rear cockpit bulkhead, and more are different to capture the essentials, not the least of which are the six-bladed main rotor head and dual tail rotors.
Among the features and options in this kit:
- Detailed Allison T63 engine and engine compartment
- Positionable engine compartment doors
- MFD-based instrument cluster with nice relief and optional decal overlays
- Updated crew seats with photo-etched crew restraints
- Detailed flight deck
- Positionable/optional flight deck doors
- Detailed rear cabin
- Choice of weapons plank with ammo containers (AH-6M) or troop planks for exterior seating (MH-6M)
- Choice of antennas, and other small details to cover the AH-6M/MH-6M configurations (check your references)
- Nicely detailed 7.62mm miniguns
- Optional ammo container and GAU-9 .50 caliber (12.7mm) gatling gun
- Photo-etched ammo chutes for above guns
- Positionable/optional updated cabin doors
- Optional repelling frames (MH-6M)
- Detailed rotor head
- Rotor blades molded with sag/droop
The kit provides the following external stores options:
- 2 x 7.62mm miniguns
- 1 x GAU-19 .50 caliber gatling gun
- 1 x M260 7-shot rocket pod
- 1 x M261 19-shot rocket pod
- 2 x twin-rail Hellfire launchers
- 4 x AGM-114 Hellfire missiles
Markings are included for four options:
- AH-6M, 25358
- MH-6M, 25377
- MH-6M, 25361
- MH-6M, 25356
As previously mentioned, this kit comes with a set of nice resin figures to set up a nice vignette or part of a diorama. The figures include one seated pilot, one standing pilot, two special forces troops standing by while a third special forces figure is carrying a wounded comrade back to the aircraft. These are not the same figures included in the re-release of the AH/MH-6J kit, so if you have that kit, you can mix and match the figure sets as you'd like.
This kit looks as nice as their previous release and should build as nicely. If you'd like to see our quick-build of the AH-6J/MH-6J kit (no paint or filler), look here.
If you love black ops subjects like the Little Bird, you'll also want to find a set of Werners Wings 1/35 Night Stalkers Part 1 and Night Stalkers Part 2 decals that also provide additional information useful for building an accurate Little Bird for a specific time/mission period.
Coming next from Kitty Hawk in this series are a number of H-60 aircraft in 1/35, including the MH-60L, HH-60G, HH-60H, and SH-60F. With all of the engineering done with their 1/48 UH-1 Huey series, let's hope that we'll see these in 1/35 scale as well!
My sincere thanks to Kitty Hawk Models for this review sample!