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Academy AH-1Z So much for quick build :(

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Posted (edited)

I'm not a big helicopter builder but I've always loved the AH-1 ever since I watched them fly overhead and knock the sheet out of 'targets'.  It was a sight to see to say the least.  Iv'e never seen the newest version up close but it looks like a killer to me.  


I have a rule that for every new kit I finish, I have to pull one off the shelf of doom and finish it before I start another.  I have been doing fairly good with that rule until Academy came out with the AH-1Z, damn you Academy haha.  After opening the box, I knew I wouldn't be able to resist starting it.  It really is one of Academy's best kits.  The exterior detail is just amazing!  


With that said, it's not perfect.  The cockpit is very basic and not all that accurate, they didn't even include seat belts.  What's up with that?  The canopy is very close to the real thing but the top part is flat when it should be a bit rounded.  The clear parts themselves are crystal clear either. The kit is very basic when it comes to things like open panels and not having engines.  Some will like this and it seems to be a way of saving money, this kit is fairly inexpensive after all.  


I had planned on going all out on this build but I couldn't find enough detailed cockpit photos to scratch the details, plus there isn't a lot of aftermarket stuff available.  I know I'll be building more than one of these in the future so I decided to build this one OOB and build another after hopefully more aftermarket becomes available, specifically a cockpit.  


I'm already at the paint stage but I haven't had the time to post a build thread.  I'll try to go through the issues I had along the way so it will hopefully help others with their build.  I have to say that so far there hasn't been a lot of problems to deal with.  The fit is first class and even rivals Tamiya's latest stuff.



There are a lot of kit photos on the internet but I'll drop a few to show just how nice it really is.








Slide molding, how nice is that!





Here is the Pit, not great but not bad either.  They did a good job with the IP's and they really stand out.









This first thing I noticed was it didn't have full intakes.  Turns out not to be a problem with the way it angles back to the engine face.  It's hard to explain how it works but it's not an issue at all once it's all built up, even the big panel line you see here isn't visible.






On the other hand, the ejector marks are a different story...





These need filled too...






The cockpit fit is really good, this is the only place I used putty.  Only the bottom part is visible once everything is put together.







Black cockpits are difficult for me.  I tried to break up all the black using different shades and dry brushing.  The pit reminds me of the Trumpeter Intruder pit, neither are very detailed and accurate but look pretty good after they are painted up.  I think it came out ok but it's still a lot of black!  I think the pit floor is supposed to be grey but I had already finished it before I found out.





This kit includes green decals for the touch screens but every photo I've seen they have a purple tint to them.  I was going to use clear film for these but I had to remind myself that this was supposed to be a quick build!  I just painted them dark purple...












Here is my attempted at making the belts, not great but will do the job.  Cheesy, I know.  I used lead sheet for the belts and some old buckles from the Tamiya F-16.  I made the bottom buckle based on a very grainy photo I found.  I still can't get over how these weren't included especially when there was a really nice PE set that came with the kit...








I'll post more soon, thanks for looking!




Edited by Durangokid
Title change

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Thanks for the comments fellas...


Here are the little things.  Nothing really fancy about this post but it may be helpful for some who plan on building the kit in the future.


So I wouldn't say there is a lot of ejector marks but there are a few that need to be dealt with.  Besides the intakes there are a few on the cockpit side walls.


This goes for both sides...





The intakes need some work.  I wish I had better shots of this but it's difficult to photograph





The instructions indicate to glue the intakes and engine bay doors on after the fuselage is together but it would be very difficult to fix the intakes that way.  That and it's easier to get everything lined up before hand.  After everything was glued and dried, I sanded the raised attachment points and used sufacer to fill the gaps.  I use thinner and a q-tip to remove the surfacer but still needed a bit of sanding afterward.







I painted the engine face with Mr. metal color Iron and Zinc Chromate #351.  I really like the buffable Mr. Color metal paints.





It's fairly basic but it doesn't look too bad once it's all done...





I also added most of the PE stuff before putting the fuselage together, it's just easier to manipulate everything that way.  The PE is a really nice touch and really makes a difference, not to mention it all fit well.





One thing I didn't like was there wasn't a lot of attachment points one some of the panels, mainly on the engine bay doors and the exhaust.  I'm not sure why they did it this way since they are not meant to be displayed open.  The saving grace is the fit is fantastic which saves the raised detail from sanding.  Before gluing the bay door, I added an attachment point which probably wasn't necessary but helped strengthen in join. 





I also sanded the little vent...







Also did the same for the exhaust...







Forgot to mention I thinned out this little vent too...





I wanted to attach the ball after the fuselage was completely done so it would easier to paint.   The only way I could come up with was to shave down the mounting pins so the ball would easily slid in.  I had to shave the pins down a lot to make this work but after some test fitting it slides right in.





The fit really tight here so I sanded down the post a bit.  I wanted to be able to move the rotor blades without the risk of breaking the assembly.  I learned this after breaking the assembly on my 1/48 KH AH-1Z.





Don't forget the nose weight!  It says 3g of ballast so I'm assuming they mean 3 grams.  A penny weighs 2.5 grams so I used 2 of them to be safe.  I can tell you it will definitely be a tail sitter if you don't add the weight.  I'm hoping I put enough!





The exhaust doesn't really look great so a metal tube does the trick.  This is part of the little things that can really make a difference in my humble opinion...





The gun is a bit lacking but you really only see the barrels for the most part.





The barrels are hollow at the tip but I drilled them out a bit more.





Very nice detail on the wings!  They give you a choice for the tie downs to be shown in the up or down position.  This will come in handy when I build my next one displayed on a ship.





And finally everything all buttoned up... Everything came together perfectly and I only had to use filler in a few spots, I was really impressed with the fit!







The instructions have you install this PE vent before gluing the fuselage but I found it easier to do afterward.  





I know these are boring updates but I'm hoping it will help others who want to build this kit.  Not that most will need any help since this is a straight forward build and the fit is exceptional. 


Thanks for looking in!




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5 hours ago, Out2gtcha said:

Not boring at all! To those of us with the kit, these are the kind of tips and tricks that can make the diff between an ok build and a great one. 


Where does that exhaust tube appear btw?



Thanks Brian!  Here is where the exhaust goes.  Not sure how I'm going to bend it, I may just angle it so it looks curved.


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So I have a problem, always got to be something!  

Here is the initial coat of paint.   You can see the top part is too light...And that is because the color call out in the instructions is wrong.  It calls for 36320 when it should be 35237. 







No big deal as I just repainted it with MR. Color 25237.  It's a bit difficult to see in this photo but it's definitely darker than 36320.  For the lower part I used MRP 36375 which seems a tad dark but not by much. 





Here is where the problem comes in.  After I attached the black decals I started with the stencils and they aren't even close the the correct color.  This is such a disappointment  :angry2:









Here is my Kitty Hawk kit with Werner's Wings decal for comparison.





I posted this in the LSP Discussion so everyone can have a heads up.  I have Dave Roof's decals on preorder so I'm stuck until then.

So much for the quick build! :blowup:

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Durangokid said:


Thanks Brian!  Here is where the exhaust goes.  Not sure how I'm going to bend it, I may just angle it so it looks curved.


Miniature plumber's pipe  benders......

and yes, they are made in smaller sizes below 9mm...


Edited by phantomdriver

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