Monday, May 25

Guillaume builds the 1/48th scale AH-1Z from Kittyhawk with Werner's Wings decals...

Kittyhawk has released their new tool AH-1Z "Viper" in 1/48th scale - to add to the kit Guillaume decided to use Werner's Wings new Decal sheet designed for this very kit - what happened? Let's see with today's review build...
Build Review: AH-1Z "Viper"
Kittyhawk Models
1/48th scale
Kit includes grey injected plastic & clear sprues as well as nose weight
Available from Kittyhawk's Distributors Worldwide
Model by: Guillaume Friart
Text By: Nicolas Deboeck 

Recently, Kitty Hawk announced that it will introduce more helicopter models into its range, both in 1/48 and 1/35 scale. For its second release in this series of choppers the AH-1Z “Viper” or "Super Cobra" was selected.  We also knew that Floyd Werner had some brand new decals just released to suit the kit so what better combination? We asked Guillaume to build it and give us his opinion on it - and the best way to truly know how a kit fits together and how well decals perform is to use them "in action".
This picture might have been good inspiration for the box art don't you think?
Recently, Kitty Hawk announced that it will introduce more helicopter models in its range, both in 1/48 and 1/35 scale. For its second release – the first one being the SeaSprite – the AH-1Z “Viper” or Super Cobra was selected. We asked Guillaume to build it and give us his opinion on it. 
What a machine! Yet another great choice of release from Kitty Hawk. And what is more this is just the next in a line of other good choices on the way from KH. Let's look at what was inside the box.

 Instructions were in the form of a small booklet in partial colour
Upon opening the box of this new kit, we find lots of very nice looking parts: a large number of very nicely moulded parts in the well-known grey plastic, 
Tail and rotor parts
 Armament includes Hellfires, rocket pods and Sidewinders
 Engine fan blades, linkages and all of the internals are here.
 The forward fuselage and cockpit parts make for an easy assembly with a lot of detail still in there. More than you would find on the Academy AH-Y in 35th scale for instance
a little box containing the transparent parts, decals, a fret of photo-etched parts (just the way I like it) and – very nice, thank you – and a counterweight to prevent the model from being a ‘tail-sitter’. 

Decals for several USMC aircraft are included from Kittyhwak.
A close up of the PE sheet with harnesses for the pilot & engine mesh

 Transparent parts were thin and clear. Important on such a visible cockpit.
I decided to use the new set of decals from Werner’s Wings for this newly released Viper. Now, why would I refuse those when you see all those lovely liveries? The decal set provides a lot of information on the proposed helicopters – no fewer than 8! The only hard thing about this: which one should I pick? More on these later...

Time to get started:
First step: the cockpit. Most of it has to be painted in black and grey; most of the instruments are screens or black buttons, so it is just a matter of painting and dry-brushing the nicely moulded details. A little search on the web helped me to get the right information.
The construction of the cockpit is really straightforward and the fit inside the fuselage was close to perfect. You can scratch more, but the level of detail is quite good, so basically: the cockpit is just a matter of a night’s work.

Second step is the fuselage and the first thing I did was to glue the photo-etched grills provided in the kit. Again, no problems here, everything fits really well. Kitty Hawk offers the possibility to have some panels in an opened position, showing quite a bit of detail. I kept them closed. It’s not that the details aren’t great, it’s just that I like the overall line of the helicopter. 
 ...And on the tail sections which was really easy to put together..The places where the fuselage parts are cut are logically chosen – I didn’t need to get the putty out for this kit!
 The rear heat diffuser on the engines is very well detailed with the PE parts.
The fans on the front of the engine were all that were going to be seen here so i did not include the engine in this instance although it is pretty well detailed. Only a few wires need to be added to represent it fairly well. Not this time 'cos i didn't want to break up the flow of the airframe.
The panel doors have a perfect fit, maybe even a little too perfect because when you see some of the real Vipers online, they have about the same battered look as late World War II aircraft with bumped and dented panels and seam joints.
 ..and from the rear end masked up and ready to paint..
The Super Cobra has a very nasty bite, so I wanted to get some of the weapons just right. I scratched the rockets from Albion micro tube, while the gun was replaced with a metal one from Master PL. 
 And with a coat of Alclad Gunmetal...
Third step: paint! I always start with a layer of primer and some pre-shading. Next came the light grey, on the 2/3 of the lower fuselage, followed by the darker grey for the top part. 
Pre-shading with a black was done right over the model
Lighter grey went over the lower parts of the airframe in a thin layer to allow the shading to still be seen.
 I selected the colours according to what I felt was the best tone, after looking at online photos. The “walking zones” were painted in a mix of black and grey. 
A quick layer of gloss varnish prepares the next stage of this build: the decals. Decals - Werner's Wings get their chance to strike!
“AH-1Z Vipers Den” Decals
Werner's Wings Decals   
#48-08 to suit AH-1Z Kitty Hawk
1/48th scale  
Featuring eight markings for different Marine Vipers.
The aircraft included are:
VMM-163 (REIN)_YP43 - our choice!
HMM-268 (REIN)_YQ41
HMM-364 (REIN)_PF44
VMM-161 (REIN)_YR44
VMM-166 (REIN)_YX46
Kitty Hawk provides nice decals as well, but maybe the difference is that the these aftermarket decals can be positioned just a little more easily as they are quite tough. 

A picture showing the decal layout
Other modellers in our gang who have used Kittyhawk's Decals on quite a few models told me that Kitty Hawk decals are very nice, but once they are on the kit, they are hard to slide into the right position and want to bed down rather quickly. Floyd's decals went on easily and although they were able to be moved without breaking up or sticking down until they I was satisfied they were in the right position.
Werner’s Wings offers good quality, very thin decals and i was very happy with the result which gave me a lot of choice of which Viper to make and a definite talking point around the other modellers who were quite interested in the choices offered.
After another coat of gloss varnish, I gave the kit a dark wash. A very thin layer of matt varnish concluded this part of the construction. I finished the paint job with some exhaust stains, guided by online photos. The last step is to glue the tiny little details on the Viper and…done!

And here she looks like in the flesh. Kittyhawk and Werner's Wings teamed up well here...
Kitty Hawk offers with this AH-1Z Viper a highly detailed and very easy to build kit. The quality and detail of the kits by this brand gets higher with each new release! We can’t wait to see what the Huey will look like when she’s finished. Our gang has already started the construction of it!

Model by: Guillaume Friart
Text By: Nicolas Deboeck

Thanks to Kittyhawk for sending this kit to us to make – it is available through Kittyhawk’s Distributors Worldwide
Thanks also to Floyd from Werner’s Wings for sending his lovely decals to use with the kit.