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  1. … what are you waiting for? WE’RE READY!
  2. Hi Guys, Here's another one and this is the second helicopter tweak list. And this time I'm not reviewing an old kit but a quite recent one. This assesment was very challenging as there is ZERO published reference on that specific helicopter mark! Whereas I had at least ONE book when I reviewed the OH-58, I could just rely on Interweb resources to create this list. Useless to say this is not the easiest way to do it. So, please do not hesitate to correct or add items as I did my best with very limited means. Hope this helps! ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- USMC AH-1Z “Shark Mouth” TWEAK LIST TYPE: Bell AH-1Z Viper SCALE: 1/32 COMPANY: Academy KIT Number: 12127 MOLD CREATION DATE: 2019 TWEAKS LIST VERSION 1.0 (publication date: March 2021) Compiled by Thierry Laurent The following list is intended to help modelers in improving scale accuracy of an airplane model replica. In no way it is intended to support or be offensive towards a scale model company. As such, it is only the result of a progressive process and is in no way intended to be absolute or even comprehensive. Hence, it is intended to focus on commonly admitted discrepancies and will probably not cover some errors. It is up to the modeler to decide whether correcting the listed issues is worth the time and money he will have to invest in the quest for accuracy process. No aftermarket correction or detail set is mentioned in this document as the availability of such items may be very variable. Hence, refer to other LSP sections to find relevant information. Moreover, aftermarket sets do not necessarily correct all listed issues. Please refer accordingly to relevant documentation. GENERAL REVIEW · The Academy AH-1Z kit is a simple kit made of five plastic light grey sprues, a clear one and a small photoetched fret. It also has very good Cartograf decals and a sheet of masks. · Molding is excellent with very fine details. By the way take care not damaging the very fine rivet lines while handling the main parts. · General dimensions are excellent. Most parts are in scale and only a few of them need work to get a correct 'in-scale' look. · Assembly is generally easy with cleverly designed parts and hidden seams. Many complex parts are made from multi-side sliding molds. FUSELAGE (from front to rear) · The TSS FLIR ball has a transparent plastic option (E5). It is recommended to use it as the optical lenses of the sighting systems are visible behind the upper windows unless if the ball is in a fully stored mode. However, this asks for some basic scratchbuilding of the internal systems. Another option is the use of an aftermarket ball. Note the lower window should either be painted with an iridescent color or covered by a holographic sticker. Unfortunately, all the large bare metal round fixtures located on the perimeter of the FLIR ball sections are missing. Silver-colored rivet decals are probably the best solution to simulate them. · The M197 gun parts are reasonably accurate but can be detailed further and it is recommended to replace the plastic tubes with metal ones as the triangle-shaped structure linking the guns is too thick and not hollowed as the full-scale one. Some basic additional items (such as electrical hoses) can be added to get a busier look in the opened bottom of the gun turret. Note the internal side of C25 and C26 must be painted in an light chromate green color. · The LAADS probe sensor rear part (A21) should actually be a hollow cylinder connected to the tube with a cross-shaped section structure. · The front face of the AN/AAR-47 Missile Approach Warning System parts (D35) does not replicate the sensor visible components. So, use two sizes of very fine drills to make a small hole in the top and two far smaller ones under the top one. Paint the top and mid-level ones with silver paint and transparent blue, the lower one edge with brass and the rest in flat black. Finally add a drop of UV or epoxy glue to simulate the sensor glass. Note you have similar sensors on the sides of the tail. Another option is the use of RBF protections. · The blade-shaped wire-cutting parts A26 and A29 are too a little bit thick. Thin them or replace them with aftermarket parts. · Two mesh sheets with a round hole pattern are missing on both sides of the cable cutter located above the canopy. Use aftermarket parts. · The kit has a very nice photoetched fret with more than 20 parts to depict the various meshes you find on the fuselage, exhausts and tail areas. However, some of the parts (the two parts 6) do not have an open mesh pattern and the corresponding kit areas are not opened except behind the parts 1 & 2. This is somewhat annoying as it is quite common to see through the full-scale airframe from one mesh to the symmetrical one located on the opposite side (typically at the level of the APU/upper radio antenna or the aft electronical compartments). Accordingly, it is recommended to replace the full pattern meshes by opened ones and to open the relevant kit areas before putting them. However, this also means it is required to detail a little bit the internal components but just basic shapes will do the trick. Note a Cobra Zulu cutaway of internal components may be easily found on the web to help in achieving that. The modeler needs to balance the fact this will give more life to the model with the required hours of additional work. · The C22 APU exhaust is too shallow and its edge far too thick in spite of the fact there is a flange on the full-scale end. Drill and modify it accordingly. An overlapping seam with two rivets should also be visible on the port side of the exhaust tube. · The engine exhaust parts D42 and their fairings B1 & 9 have thin rear edges but they could be sanded a little bit further to simulate the actual metal edge thickness. · The fuselage and tail connection is badly designed. It is a very fragile assembly. Because of the exhaust assembly order, it is difficult to reinforce internally that seam. Accordingly, it is recommended to modify that area to get a stronger bond. One option is to add a bulkhead at the rear of the fuselage that can be glued against part A25 with thick glue. Similarly, some small tabs can also be added to reinforce the seam between the B11 belly part and the fuselage halves. · Small hoses, safety wires and some bolt heads are missing on the rotor areas. This is very visible on the tail rotor gearbox. · 6-7 small drain tubes are missing on the external edges of each side the belly, just ahead of part A24. · The rear section of part A24 is actually made of a mesh. For a better detail level, open the rear section of the part and the lower fuselage under it, add some hoses and glue over them A24 with the photoetched rear section. · The kit does not have the commonly seen Full Motion Video boxes used to interact with ground troops. They are located on each side of the tail boom. Check the airframe you want to depict as many ones have them. If required use aftermarket ones. 3. WINGS & WARLOAD · The seam between both halves of the wing external pylons (A3-A6 & A4-A5) ask for some time-consuming sanding without damaging the top features. However, look closely at the full-scale pylon and you will see that there is a weld seam on the central section. So, if you fully remove the seam, consider recreating the weld with very thing plastic stretched sprue. · The instructions do not give information related to the connectors located under the wings leading edge. Note the three external ones located close to the wing front are normally painted with a metallic red color. A little bit of additional detail should be added at that level, more particularly if you do not add the pylons. · The connecting hose between the rear of A18 and A19 pylons and the bottom of the wings is missing. · A bolt head should be added in each of the two supports linking each wing top to the fuselage. · Parts D14 depict the securing rings in retracted mode. If you want to secure your kit with hooks and chains on a carrier or hangar deck, fill the locating holes under the wings, remove the locating tab on each D14 part, sand slightly the edge and glue them with the correct angle. · The AGM-114 Hellfire missiles are probably the worst parts of the kit. The winglets are far too thick and the panel lines are far too large. As there is no 1/35 aftermarket Hellfire, it is recommended to get better parts from other helicopter kits (such as the MRC OH-58D ones) if you want to add some air-to-ground missiles. Fortunately, the launchers are well detailed. They even include the wire harness of each launching rail. Eight rivets have just to be added on the rear panel perimeter. · Many pictures show airframes without the wingtip LAU-7 launchers. Note such launchers can also be used under the wing pylons but need an ADU-299 adaptor and accordingly this is a very rarely seen configuration. · The AIM-9 missiles are very nice but the rear wings have an odd square panel engraved on their trailing edge. Fill and sand it as it is not existing on any full scale Sidewinder. · LAU-61 & 68 (19 and 7 rockets) pods are included. They are well detailed replicas. However, do not use the "empty" front ends as they do not look like the full-scale ones (all tubes should be empty from the front to the rear edges). COCKPIT · If the main shapes are accurate, a lot of details are either very basic or missing in the cockpit tub and there are some injection pin marks that need to be filled or sanded. · Many missing items such as screw and bolt heads, wire bundles and small avionic boxes should be added on the IP coamings and behind the rear seat. · Pilot and gunner pedals are very basic even if not that visible. The floors are also totally smooth whereas there should be some features such as anti-slipping corrugations. Such issues are not relevant if pilot figures are used. In the opposite case, it is recommended to add at least the pedal bars or rebuild them fully with aftermarket parts (note they should be painted black). · The cockpit floor should be painted in FS36231 light grey rather than black. · Some knobs and switches are missing on the instrument panels, the cyclic/collective control sticks and on the gaming console-shaped mission grip of both stations. · The end of the large hose reinforced by black tape is missing behind the rear seat (part C24 on the starboard side). Replace it with a new one covered by extra-thin tape. · A small armor plate is missing inside each openable canopy section (close to the handle). · A map/document holder is missing on external side of the rear port armor plate. · A circuit breakers panel is missing on the starboard side of the back of the rear seat. · The seat cushions are totally smooth whereas the full-scale ones clearly show a quite thick fabric pattern. This is not terrible if you use some figures. However, without them, they look quite plain. Various techniques can be used to improve that situation: Airbrush the pattern through a mesh with a light grey, emboss the pattern with tissue in the cushion areas covered with very thin plastic glue or cover them with some very fine fabric surgical tape. Note that when discolored by sun the cushion black color turns to a red brown hue. This is quite visible on some head cushions. · For some weird reason, no seat belt is included in the kit. It is absolutely required to add them as they are very visible through the canopy. CANOPY · Multiple items are missing inside the canopy: cabling with small connection boxes, egress handles and rivet heads. moreover, all the opening canopy windows are lacking their handle support. Note the internal side of the canopy should be painted in the external light grey color. · Numerous screw heads are missing on the sides if the protection rails located on the windscreen external front edges. Note there are far more of them on the port side (where the strengtheners are fixed). 6. LANDING GEAR · Some airframes have black antiskid paint on the top surface of the skids and sometimes on the horizontal top section of the cross tubes. In some cases, this is overpainted with the camo grey paint. · A welded ring is missing on the front tip (it is used to fix the trailing bar hooks). · A small hole should be drilled through the flat side of each of the four protuberances on the top side of each skid. · Big hex-shaped bolt heads should be added on the four sides of the part joining each skid with the two squared section support bars: nine on the internal/external sides and six on each front and rear sides of the tips of A30 and 31. · Series of smaller bolt heads are missing on the skid body top and bottom. 7. OTHER REMARKS · The kit has no optional part except some weapons. There are two A-to-A missiles, four rocket pods and two complete Hellfire launchers for the six wing pylon stations. There is no T-700 engine part. Fortunately, the aftermarket is currently giving the option to fold the main rotor blades and secure them in their racks, to open the battery and ammo bays, to add pilots, FODs or a fuel tank. · Other training loads can be used on the AH-1Z. The AIM-9 can be easily modified into a CATM and the airframes commonly use the TACTS pod (10,3mm long in 1/35). Both can be scratchbuilt from the AIM-9. · The ALE-47 chaff/flare launchers are molded in the fuselage sides. So, you cannot reproduce a training configuration without them without some heavy surgery. · The belly search/landing light is retracted whereas it is quite commonly seen deployed. · The instruction sheet is indicating 3 grams are required to balance correctly the kit in order to avoid the tail-sitter syndrome. However, it is recommended to add more weight (at least the double). This is even more crucial if you consider the need to add some additional internal parts (as explained in section 2). Obviously, the use of a metal gun, resin figures, optional resin electronic bays will somewhat ease of create difficulties in such a dimension. · There have been a lot of discussions regarding the camouflage and decals colors. The instruction sheet camouflage colors are FS36375 light ghost gray and FS36320 dark ghost gray whereas it looks the correct colors should be FS36375 light ghost gray and FS35237 blue gray. So, test accordingly the decals you want to use to be sure you get the correct contrast. · Top rotor blades should be FS36495 light gray. · Cobras used in the field are generally filthy even if the Marines crew chiefs do their best to keep them in the best state of operations. Cleaning is an operational need, not an aesthetical one. So, do not hesitate to add a lot of grey color modulation, small paint touch-ups and dirt if you do not choose a unit commander airframe or one kept for CONUS training. Keep in mind the first AH-1Z entered USMC service a decade ago and many airframes are already showing signs of wear, more particularly when deployed in war zones. Nonetheless, Zulu airframes generally look better than the old Whisky ones. Unfortunately, NO written reference has yet been dedicated to the Bell AH-1Z in spite of the fact that mark appeared more than ten years ago! Accordingly, all pictures and technical manual extracts data used to assess the accuracy of that kit were found on the Internet. The following pdf documents were used: - NAVAIR 01-H1AAD-1 Preliminary NATOPS Flight manual Navy Model AH-1Z Helicopter, May 2008. - Bell AH-1Z Pocket guide, Bell Helicopter Textron, March 2006. - H-1 Program – AH-1Z and UH-1Y, NAVAIR PMA 276, 2012. - The H-1 Update Program: Affordable War Fighting Capability for the U.S. Marines, Defense Technical Information Center Compilation Part Notice ADPO10302.
  3. Hi there! This will be the launch pad for my large scale spacecraft. Mostly unmanned so far. Enjoy! - dutik
  4. Hello everyone. Some photos of my latest work. M-197 A/A49E-7(V4) gun turret system AH-1Z, Hydraulic-Helicopter-Ground-Handling-Wheels, Tow Tractor STT A/S32A-49.
  5. I haven't built a helicopter since I was a kid! This could be ugly. From the sound of it this Academy 1/35 kit should come with a cheat code to help me out - good engineering, a quality kit. The plastic sure looks beautiful. Excited about doing a Marine Zulu on the USS Boxer, Amphibious Ready Group. There's a couple BuNu on the Marine Skid Zulu sheet. The Evil Eyes Pirate appeals to me as i played Captain Red Beard the pirate at campouts for the Cub Scouts when my kids were growing up :-) I've really been trying not to spend any extra money on my builds but this one needs the full motion video mod and without the rotor fold not sure where it would fit so it may be time to spend a little on upgrades. What are the odds I won't use purchasing 1 upgrade to justify the full metal jacket?
  6. She is all done and looking to throw down some ordnance! This is the Academy 1/35 Viper. I used the Flying Leathernecks decals, so many to choose from - I decided on the Red Skeleton Jolly Roger of VMM-163. I picked up the Werner Wings decals for all the stencils. And of course you have to use some of the kit decals as well. I ended up buying Eduard seatbelts to really match everything else done in the cockpit. Since i was spending money on shipping why not get more right, so i picked up DefModels 20mm gun barrels as well :-) And with my jolly roger choice I needed some full motion video which I got from Shapeways. The cockpit additions are all scratch built. My favorite add is the tiny wound cable behind the gunner’s seat. Lot’s to see in this one. All the plastic behind the PE vents was cut away and wiring and components were added. Hard to see with my camera skills tho but I did my best to show something ;-) The target sight system is custom built. You can just see the gold reflector behind the Flying Leathernecks iridescent decal while the the camera type components are more visible. The 4 sensors(plume maybe?) on the corners are hand painted and filled with testors window maker to try and simulate the glass. The pitot is brass tubing bent and sanded to shape. The seal where the stub wing meets the fuselage was painted and then coated with mask solution so upon final painting it could be uncovered for a little added detail. And lastly some inspiration from a local buddy of mine, goes by Bradley25mm over on the IPMS forum - fine detailing the tail rotor gear assembly with wiring, sensors, and wire clips. His looks awesome and he gave me lots of pointers on this build. The most recent of which was the base. The deck of the USS Boxer is 80grit sandpaper. Many thanks to Starfighter at Scale Navy Stuff for providing the awesome, to scale, padeyes you see on the base!! Well worth it. The hellfires are custom hand painted. My kids love Rick & Morty cartoon and the main character turns himself into a hellfire so a set of missiles is a tribute to the show. The other set is from pics I found online of what looks like a winged Komodo Dragon. Paint was my usual mix of MCW with 1 addition this time. Thanks to Starfighter for the recommendation on color choices for the upper bluish gray on these birds. I ended up with Mission Models as they were available locally. Primer is Citadel Chaos Black (satin). Color coats are Mission Model and MCW acrylic lacquer. Cockpit is all done in Vallejo colors. Weathering is all Flory Models washes. And the final flat clear is MCW to close it out. I’ve been looking forward to building this model for some time and am excited to show these pics. adding one more...my wife loved this one most, btw check out those padeyes!
  7. So I had been waiting on the kit and soon as it came in I have began working on it. All was going well with the build until I saw the work Pete had done to the ceiling and I was inspired. So I started butting mine and began cutting and filing away. Ceiling is about to the point of primer coat, just a little more sanding left. Originally I was breezing through the kit and it just wasn’t feeling “right” to me and while to cabin door area was nice, it wasn’t as grand in the flight engineer seat area. Debating how to recreate current Pave Hawk seats.(last image)
  8. A little something I threw together watching the Cricket World Cup the last two weeks. This is Bronco's 1/35 40mm Bofors gun. It's a good kit, well detailed and fitting but with some frustrating points. Some sections are over complicated with detail included that cannot be seen once completed or photo etch that could have been included as molded on detail with a loss of detail. Also make sure you read ahead in the instructions as parts often need to fit into others in steps down the road, if you mess up the alignment you will have trouble down the road. It would also be nice if Bronco included some extra smaller parts as they are easy to lose. It's finished with Gunze Olive drab and weathered with MiG pigments dry mud and European dust.
  9. I took a break from most of the kits on my bench and decided to start a couple new builds over the last month and a bit. To mix it up, I went with some 1/35 armour kits. First up is the Miniart Dingo Mk1b Some of the parts were truly small.
  10. Looking for aftermarket pilot and gunner figures to add to the excellent Academy AH-1Z kit. Your recommendations are appreciated!
  11. Hello! Time to start another vehicle build. Some months ago we placed an order for Spdesign conversion sets via an Ukrainian online shop. My part of the order was a BREM-2 conversion and a T-80UM Bars - the "King of the Hill in yellow and violet camo. While still waiting for a decent styrene T-80U kit (Tumpeter announced one this year) (yeah, I know the Skif kit - thats why I wait for Trumpeter) I added a cheap Trumpeter BMP kit to my Skyraider order. Just to make good use of the shipping costs and so. The cheapest was a Chinese IFV version that went for less than 18 Euros. This will do the trick, because I just need the lower hull and suspension. What is the BREM-2? The recovery Version of the BMP family. Not very common compared to the vast numbers of BMPs all around. The turret was removed and replaced with a 1,5 ton crane and an internal spill for recovery of stuck vehicles plus a open cargo platform at the rear top and some more dothats useful for recovery of vehicles. Crew of 3, a top mounted PKT for self defense. That's it. If you don't know SPdesigns: This is Sergej Paksjukov from Ukraine casting conversion and correction sets of modern soviet/russian/ukrainian AFV stuff. Sergej started with corrections and conversions for Skifs T-80, corrections for Dragons BTRs, and a line of both conversions and full kits of MT-LB based vehicles. His early efforts were hard to build "Cottage industries" stuff, with bubbles, warping, even jelly spots were the resin hadn't cured. Good old days like other AM stuff from the past. Nowadays his castings are good, straight, with hollow turrets and even some interior parts here and there. Only drawback are huge pour stubs running along the parts, and you have the choice to cut into the part or to remove tons of resin. Old School modelling as we like it. Not to forget: If you are looking for all the command, control, communication vehicles to complete your battery of IM molded SAM or arty vehicles from Trumpeter and co then is SPdesigns THE only game in town. Let's begin! Regards - dutik
  12. hello to you all like i have said here is the toppic on my next build to get the juice flowing. Im going for some armour. This is the kit im going to build. The kit hase about 800 pieces the construction start with the chassis. This is what already is done the until today. [/url Next up to do is the suspension. Mark
  13. Got DMLs M-46 Patton in the "Orange box" (re-issue of older kits with an extra set of figures) some time ago for cheap. Removed it from the stash because my LSP Korea GB build stalled to get at least something related finished. Major parts assembled: Fit of the hull is superior. No need for Putty! Only gap was at the hull front. Closed it with a thin strip styrene. Some reviews pointed to a fit problem between upper and lower turret half and another at the front part. Nothing noted here. Only at the front part was to the left and right a small gap, easy filled with a little bit of putty. Amazing! A good advise: Check the instructions carefully! There are some holes to be opened in the hull and a backplate to be installed behind the hull MG BEFORE closing the hull! Same with the turret front: Install the smaller parts before gluing the larger front and back parts together. I missed this and had to cut down the sideparts and to snap them into place... More details added: Lamps and handles are somewhat flimsy. Fit of the lamp guard is so-so. The instructions want you to cut them somewhat down, but the lenghts given are misleading. Take your time to dry-fit. Enjoy! - dutik
  14. Ok here we go I have this conversion for almost a year now. Time to start the beast. I hope it will look like this when compleet. What i have for the start at the moment. The conversion set. A bit off reference. also i will use live resin weapons and some eduard an cobra company stuff(those pics ill follow) Time to cut some plastic but i still need to work on the mig. Mark
  15. I've had this old Testors kit kicking around the stash for ages. I bought it with the intention of building it which kept me from selling it when they were going for 250+ on Ebay because I thought, pffft, who's going to bring out another kit of this ugly looking tractor...hmm Dragon apparently. So since I passed up the chance to make a stonking great profit, I might as well build it. I have made some modifications. I left out most of the glass as looking at pictures these were either destroyed or removed anyway, I took the tools away from the back of the cab and I replaced the horrendous hard rubber tracks in the kit with some workable links from ModelKasten. All the stuff in the back came from the spares box along with the MP-40 holder in the cabin. To this, I added an Italeri ZIS-3 76mm anti tank gun. These weapons were captured by the hundreds and the Germans would often put them straight back into service, with some weapons being modified to fire German 75mm ammunition. For it's age the gun is pretty good and went together with minimal work.
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