1/35 Dragon AH-6 Little Bird

MH-6 Mission Enhanced Little Bird (MELB)

by David Campbell

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Converting the 1/35 Dragon AH-6 Little Bird (kit 3527) into a Mission Enhanced Little Bird MELB) with the Cobra Company resin conversion set.  The MELB has the typical beam to carry loads including lightweight composite seating for several "operators"  Enough backstory, we saw the movie, lets get on with it. Up for it? Hooah!

Pic your subject and build that subject, and dont let the guys who say they have "a picture" saying that your model is wrong get you down. Who knows how much time went by between the said "picture" and what you are portraying.

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Before I get a hundred or so Emails from folks saying "I have a picture that shows your model is incorrect" I took the safe route, picked one particular machine, and modeled that machine as it appeared during that brief moment in time.  These things are flying antenna farms, and sprout antennas, growths and protruberances at the snap of a FLIR-power switch. Most antenna and sensor mods are locally applied and no two machines are the same for long. Such is life in spec ops! 

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Cobras resin parts were up to their usual standard, but a bit of cleanup needed to be done to the seat belts, looked like a fingerprint in the master, about three seconds to clean that up. Install your parts per the instructions, and plan ahead since this model has no doors. I chose not to build the fastrope rig, but used foil to make the mounts for it. I used .010" solder wire to wire up the back end wire bundle and connect the radio rack and control heads. I made a simple rack mount from .030 strip styrene for the pilot side radio rack, and glued everything but the seats, mounting beam, back wall, fire extenguisher and control grips in place before painting. The collectives got a bit more detail since the MH6's have a control panel mounted to the end of the grip, with several switches. Communication cords and cockpit floodlight wires were made from .010" solder wrapped around a pin and installed. These small details surely add to the overall detail of any aircraft model.

Paint color used was Model Master Aircraft Interior Flat Black over the whole interior, drybrushed with sand, chromate yellow and silver. I overcoated the drybrushed spots with a thin coat of the Aircraft Black, which created a very satisfactory appearance.

I shot spots of semigloss black here and there representing where a crewcheif had touched up worn spots. Detail your instruments to your liking, and paint your seats OD backrest with black seatcushion. 

After making the resin beam mount and getting it to fit the back floor, I prepainted the fuse inside with several coats of black and glued the fuse together. When dry I slipped the completed cabin inside through the front end. Dont forget to paint the upper greenhouse windows with Tamiya Clear Smoke before you install the canopy and lock it down with epoxy. You have to do a lot of test fitting and adding strip stock where needed to get it to fit right, its by far the most troulbe of the otherwise fine kit, but when it's in, the hard part is over.

 

The skids were detailed with HO railroad lifting rings and I carved the large ring mounted to the skid from .020 plastic.

With the bubble in place, I mounted the FLIR ring and searchlight, and drilled a hole for the straigth pin Air Temp Probe. The tailfin got a new sensor mount that juts aft, where the kit anticollision beacon used to be. Cut that off and glue up a hunk of rectangular stock, and install two small lights side by side. That will get a double set of anticollision beacons (red and superdark red) later on.

The big sensors can be mounted to the fuse but leave the antenna farm off. I made the fastrope rig mounting clips from dental Xray foil (just ask and they will load you up with it, especially if the tech is cute and likes you! :-) ). I made new engine cover clips from strip stock and thin solder, looks much better than the plastic hunks on the kit.

Overall paint outside was again Aircraft Interior Black (its lighter than Flat black, and looks sun faded). I sprayed spots here and there with semi gloss and flat black to represent spots that have been touched up. 

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I had the beam and one side of the bench already built up so that I could slip it in the left side, and just attach the right side benches when that was done. They, along with the FLIR turret, were painted US Army Helo Drab.

I made a slime light for the tailboom from strip stock, and painted it with a mix of 9 parts white to 1 part zinc chromate green. I added a simple square GPS antenna on top of the upper deck; the X shaped antenna was made from quarter round strip stock on a 1/16th rod and mounted appropriately. Antennas (other than the vertical VHF) were semigloss black.No decals have been applied.

By now, you are thinking I'm totally off my rocker. You right! I LOVE this stuff!.  This kit was enjoyable, with the only real effort going into the bubble installation. I am not finished with this kit, as several small details still need to be added, which will total an afternoon for me. Actually, despite its apparent complexity, this kit was a joy to build! Now, I'm off to finish the UH60L Blackhawk for a contest in February.

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David 

Hover Lover's Model Page is at: http://www.angelfire.com/ca4/hlmp/home.html

Kings County Scale Modelers can be found on the web at: http://kcsm.freeservers.com 

 

Photos and text by David Campbell