Category: AH-1G Cobra

‘Nam Snake – part 3

In this times of internet we all live in a global village. And what’s nice about the villages? Everybody knows everybody… or at least it appears so. And so it happened – I posted in one of the Facebook’s many modelling groups and I got in contact with Don Hinton – ‘Thor’s Hammer’ Mel Hinton’s son! He was kind enough to email my several photos from his personal connection, that you can’t really find anywhere on the internet.

I once again thank you, Don, for the enormous help!


Anyhow, we move on on the decals. Although very thin (no need for decal softeners) they lack a bit in print quality – the edges are a bit soft and font’s appear a bit too thick.


Reference photos show that the Olive Drab was much darker, more brown like, than the paint Model Master sells as such. Having already unmasked everything and with decals applied, I went for a dark brown oil paint wash. Liberally applied all over the front part (tail boom appears slightly lighter on photos) I let the oil paint dry a bit…



…and after an hour or so, I removed excess paint and was left with darker OD than before. Unfortunately it doesn’t show very well in the photographs. Next I repeated the same procedure with replacement panels, which appeared a little bit too greyish, so I used a green oil paint.


Tail boom was last, receiving a coat of Burnt Sienna oil paint and after some drying time it was removed.





Final results of the oil paint washes/filters.

There’s a number of little things to be added, before finishing this bird. I have to decide on the final finish as well. Although I like the flat look of the weather beaten birds, Cobra’s often appear to be quite shiny. As a Cobra Crew Chief explained to me on Scalemates, they would often put Johnson’s Floor Polish on their birds to keep them clean.



‘Nam Snake – part 2

I have to say, Special Hobby Cobras are delightful kits to build. They go together really well, are very nicely detailed and before you know it, it’s time for some painting! Putty was used only in small amounts, mainly to blend in the canopy.



Painting the aircraft in one overall colour can give the model a toyish look. A while ago, I’ve read an article, where this modeller was building some WW2 fighter that was painted in Olive Drab and to give it a nice, not too uniform look, he painted the base first in yellow and brown tones, to break the surface. I’ve used Yellow Zinc Chromate and Brown. Certain areas of wear were masked with liquid mask.



Applying very thin Olive Drab, I slowly built the colour, being careful not to overdo it and achieve the random look of the OD colour.



The airframe I am building had several panels replaced, which were painted in Faded Olive Drab. This same paint was used also for some fading and the base OD was used in heavier coats to highlight some panel lines.


Test paint peeling on the tail – I really love the effect.



Black, Yellow and Red details. 




And all the masks removed. As I’ve said before, the reference photos show this bird quite weathered, especially the top of the stub wings. I’ve peeled the paint of from areas of heavier use – the steps to the cockpit and stub wings, certain panels and landing skids.

‘Nam Snake – part 1

I admit – I don’t build helicopters that often. But every once in a while, a helicopter model crosses my modelling bench. And when I saw the MPM announcement a few years ago, that they will be releasing a new tool first generation Cobras in 1:72, I wanted to build one. Especially, after I saw one of the decal options includes markings for ‘Thor’s Hammer’, as I love everything Vikings!

MPM’s kit looks really great on the sprues, is supposed to be very accurate, but let’s see how well it builds.


I am using Brengun photo-etched set for this kit as only aftermarket item. While MPM offers resin replacement seats, they are pretty simple affair and I’ve decided to use the kit ones. Combined with etched harnesses, they look convincing enough. The seats, instrument panels and cockpit tub were painted in their basic colours and given a coat of Future to protect them from further work.


Mixing a drop of Payne’s Grey and Raw Umber artist oil paints with a few drops White Spirit, I applied the wash to all the edges. Contrary to popular belief, wash doesn’t have to be used only for weathering. In my case, it was used to accentuate the many shadows and define the kit parts.


Wiping the wash away and spraying the pit with flat lacquer, it brings out all the little details, which would normally not be seen.



Using the light grey paint, I drybrushed several exposed areas, which would normally look rather bland under just a coat of black paint. Red buttons and indicators were applied using a thicker enamel paint applied with a sharp-pointed toothpick and the use of optivisor. I really love how the instrument dials shine from the otherwise flat instrument panel.



With the addition of seats, the cockpit is more or less finished. I will add the pilot’s gunsight glass later, just before attaching the canopy, to avoid any breakage during construction.


Cockpit tub attached, rotor shaft attached, meshes and exhaust attached, it’s time to close the fuselage.


And last but not least – Brengun did an amazing job with this photo-etched fret. Not only that the fit of the instrument panels was perfect, check the anti-torque pedals – they spell BELL COBRA!