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RAH-66 Comanche

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  • Member since
    June 2018
  • From: Ohio (USA)
RAH-66 Comanche
Posted by DRUMS01 on Monday, February 15, 2021 2:01 PM

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Overview

The Boeing–Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche is an American stealth armed reconnaissance and attack helicopter designed for the United States Army. During the early 1980s, the U.S. Army started to formulate requirements for the replacement of its helicopters then in service, which resulted in the launch of the Light Helicopter Experimental (LHX) program. Nearly a decade later, following the refinement of requirements, evaluation of submissions, and the rebranding of the programme as the Light Helicopter (LX) program, during April 1991, the Army announced the selection of the Boeing–Sikorsky team's design as the contest winner, shortly after which a contract for construction of prototypes was awarded. The Comanche was to incorporate several advanced elements, such as stealth technologies, and a number of previously untried design features. Operationally, it was to employ advanced sensors in its reconnaissance role, where it was intended to designate targets for the AH-64 Apache. It was also armed with one rotary cannon and could carry missiles and rockets in internal bays and optionally on stub wings for light attack duties.

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General Characteristics

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Crew: 2
Length: 46 ft 10.25 in (14.2812 m)
Width: 6 ft 8.25 in (2.0384 m) maximum fuselage width
Height: 11 ft 0.75 in (3.3719 m)
Empty weight: 9,300 lb (4,218 kg)
Gross weight: 12,349 lb (5,601 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 17,408 lb (7,896 kg) maximum fuel for self-deployment
Fuel capacity: 301.6 US gal (251.1 imp gal; 1,142 l) internal fuel + 2x 450 US gal (370 imp gal; 1,700 l) drop tank + 2x 112 US gal (93 imp gal; 420 l) optional side weapon bay tanks; Total 1,201.6 US gal (1,000.5 imp gal; 4,549 l) / 1,425.6 US gal (1,187.1 imp gal; 5,396 l) with weapon bay tanks
Powerplant: 2 × LHTEC T800-LHT-801 turboshaft engines, 1,563 shp (1,166 kW) each
Main rotor diameter: 40 ft 0 in (12.19 m)
Main rotor area: 443 sq ft (41.2 m2) 5-bladed main rotor with fenestron tail rotor
Blade sections: - root: Boeing VR-12; tip: Sikorsky SSC-A09[36]

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Performance

Maximum speed: 175 kn (201 mph, 324 km/h) without mast radar
166 kn (191 mph; 307 km/h) with mast radar
Cruise speed: 165 kn (190 mph, 306 km/h) without mast radar
149 kn (171 mph; 276 km/h) with mast radar
Range: 262 nmi (302 mi, 485 km)
Combat range: 150 nmi (170 mi, 280 km) internal fuel
Ferry range: 1,200 nmi (1,400 mi, 2,200 km)
Endurance: 2 hours 30 minutes on internal fuel
Service ceiling: 14,980 ft (4,570 m)
g limits: +3.5 -1
Rate of climb: 895 ft/min (4.55 m/s) without mast radar
500 ft/min (152.4 m/min) with mast radar
Disk loading: 71 lb/sq ft (350 kg/m2) YRAH-66
Power/mass: 0.13 hp/lb (0.21 kW/kg) at MTOW, take-off power

Armament

1× Turreted Gun System with a 20 mm XM301 three-barrel rotary cannon (capacity: 500 rounds)

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Internal bays: 6× AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, or 12× AIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles, or 24× 2.75 in (70 mm) Hydra 70 air-to-ground rockets
Optional stub wings: 8× Hellfires, 16× Stingers, or 56× Hydra 70 rockets

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Avionics

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Miniaturised Longbow radar

Litton laser ring gyro and GPS Nav/Attack system

Model Kit

As shown on the box art, this is a 1/48 scale Italeri kit made in Italy. The kit is very simple and contains only two sprue trees molded in O.D. green plastic. There is also a clear sprue, some screen for the intakes, and decals. 

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When looking at the mold quality it seems to be something between the first prototypes and what the design team envisioned as the final variant. While the cockpit glass is cleanly molded, most of the panel lines are too deep and do not match up with the source photos. The cockpit is very simplified with no detail on the inside of the fuselage. The seats, control panels, and rear bulkhead beg for more detail. I should also note that the kit comes without any crew figures. So if you want to build the Comanche in flight to better show off its stealth design, you will need to source the pilot and gunner. There is zero detail in the landing gear bays while the internal weapon storage areas have some basic rib and wiring detail. 

The model can be assembled in three different armament configurations:

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I am going to build my kit in the "attack" mode, but I am not completely sure if mine will be in flight or on the ground (?). Funny thing is the model is of a fully armed production model but the decals provided are for the two prototypes, go figure. I've always wanted to build this kit since I saw it in a Janes weapons update many years ago. While these 1/48 kits are apparently hard to get, I have seen a couple on-line built into some impressive models. I'm also not quite sure how much extra detail I will add, but follow along and feel free to provide ideas and input towards my build. 

Next update will begin the build process... I hope...

Ben

I am a Veteran; to all other Veterans thank you for your service. Retired now and living well

PROJECTS:

- 1/48 RAH-66 Comanche - WIP

- 1/350 USS Alabama (GB) - DONE

- 1/16 1910 Thomas Flyer - DONE

- 1/78 AC-119 Stinger Gunship (GB) - DONE

 

 

 

  • Member since
    June 2018
  • From: Ohio (USA)
Posted by DRUMS01 on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 8:51 PM

So the progress on the Comanche is dragging. I decided to build my RAH-66 in flight to showcase the smooth / stealth bodywork. That decision impacts the build in several ways:

1) In my first message I indicated that this kit does not have any pilots, so I ordered two resin crew members in 1/48 scale. 

2) Looking at the seats in the kit all I can say is that they are severely lacking. So I am looking at replacements or just how to upgrade the kit "chairs" if a modified ejection seats do not fit. I know the real ones are not ejection seats, but the detail on some resin replacements, if properly modified, could really add some detail (?).

3) I also mentioned in my first message that the decals are only for the two prototypes while the kit is for a fully armed production model. To fix that I looked at what was available for other 1/48 Cobra or Apache variations. I purchased a Caracal Decals 1/48 BOEING AH-64D/E APACHE Attack Helicopter sheet that has numerous options for 16 different war birds.

4) I previously mentioned I was building the Comanche in the "Attack" configuration. Specifically, I am loading Stinger missiles inboard and Hellfire misses on the wings. The problem is the kits Hellfire missles are very generic looking. Eduard makes an after-market set with P.E. fins and clear plastic eyes that have a much better appearance than what the kit has to offer. 

5) The cockpit panel details do not match those of the actual aircraft. I do have to give Italeri some credit though as what is there looks good, it just isn't enough... again too generic. So I've purchased some P.E. and placards to refresh the cockpit.  

So I'm currently waiting for all these items to arrive. 

The paint scheme on the box and within the instructions call for the Comanche to be solid F.S.34087 Olive Drab with a F.S. 36375 Light Ghost Gray cockpit. I am thinking of making the exterior some other color or a combination of colors. I think that a digital desert camouflage or even a European Forest camoflage would be really neat. Perhaps a three tone black, dark gray, light gray camouflage could work too?  

What colors do you all think would look neat on this? 

Let me here you on this please.

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Ben

I am a Veteran; to all other Veterans thank you for your service. Retired now and living well

PROJECTS:

- 1/48 RAH-66 Comanche - WIP

- 1/350 USS Alabama (GB) - DONE

- 1/16 1910 Thomas Flyer - DONE

- 1/78 AC-119 Stinger Gunship (GB) - DONE

 

 

 

  • Member since
    June 2007
Posted by jrb53 on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 7:24 PM

Wow, what a very unusual kit that looks very futaristic.  That photo with the black paint scheme looks awesome.

Since it doesn't have a service record, why don't you "invent" one?  Despite it's "cancellation", many additonal prototypes were built and these are actually Black Ops aircraft currently being used for Covert Operations inside the US, i.e. Conspiracy Theory (1997)!  These are the aircraft you can't see flying quietly over your house at night that are still looking for Jason Bourne. Smile

Jack

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Valrico, FL
Posted by HeavyArty on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 7:44 PM

DRUMS01
The paint scheme on the box and within the instructions call for the Comanche to be solid F.S.34087 Olive Drab...

This is not correct.  The actual color is US Army Helo Drag Green, FS 34031.  Testors makes it in both oil and acrylic, and Mig has it in his AK range.

I vote for an in-service look w/the Helo Drab Green paint job as I don't go for made-up scenarios for my models.

 

 

Gino P. Quintiliani - Field Artillery - The KING of BATTLE!!!

Check out my Gallery: http://smg.photobuck...v231/HeavyArty/?

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." -- George Orwell

  • Member since
    June 2018
  • From: Ohio (USA)
Posted by DRUMS01 on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 7:56 PM

Thanks for the info HeavyArty, that will help if I want to paint the prototypes. I hear you and thanks for sharing your input regarding your desire to keep things authentic. 

Jack, I totally understand what you mean when venturing out from the standard Army helo green. Considering they never made it into regular Army or Marine production, I was thinking of perhaps something more daring for the "what if" scenario. 

If you google images for this model you can find several built in different camouflage colors and designs along with the kit or correct green colors. Here are some way out patterns and colors. Does anyone like any of these styles?

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Ben

I am a Veteran; to all other Veterans thank you for your service. Retired now and living well

PROJECTS:

- 1/48 RAH-66 Comanche - WIP

- 1/350 USS Alabama (GB) - DONE

- 1/16 1910 Thomas Flyer - DONE

- 1/78 AC-119 Stinger Gunship (GB) - DONE

 

 

 

  • Member since
    August 2014
  • From: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Posted by goldhammer on Thursday, February 18, 2021 1:06 AM

In one way I agree with heavy arty, but I really like the green, tan and brown look.

The second choice of what I like is the grey/black splinter just below

  • Member since
    June 2018
  • From: Ohio (USA)
Posted by DRUMS01 on Monday, February 22, 2021 11:24 PM

slowly moving forward....

Thanks to all for your input regarding the color(s) of my Comanche. Based on what everyone has said you brought me to another option all together... I am going to use the traditional Green, along with desert tan, and one more color (either a rust/brown, or gunship gray). The way it will be applied will be through a digital camouflage in a disrupter kind of scheme as shown below. I may or may not decide to paint the belly in a light sky blue (still thinking). 

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After looking at the cockpit, I've decided to use the kits seats with some modification and other details. The dash panel of the cockpits front and rear areas does not match with that seen on the actual aircraft. I've decided to scratch build them with a combination of sheet styrene and 3D decals (waiting for the arrival of the 3D decals). The side panels will also benefit from the 3D decals after I modify the panel layout to something more in line with photos. I received the figures for the cockpit and think they will be perfect (see below). 

REAR SEAT (Prototype 2)
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FRONT SEAT (Prototype 2)
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SEAT DETAIL (by Boeing)
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3D DECALS (Similar item, from Quinta)
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PILOT FIGURES (JP Productions)
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Because of the lack to any detail in the landing gear tubs and because I want to so the clean lines in action I am building her in flight. I have purchase three stands of various size. Once they arrive I will know which one to use. 

SMALL (Gemini)
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MEDUIM (Gemini)
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LARGE (Gemini)
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Being a "stealth" copter, I am going to focus on three major areas: 1) the cockpit, 2) the paint/decals, 3) the weapons bay and components. Unfortunately, most of it is still in transit. 

DECALS (Caracal Decals Apache D/E)
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AGM-114 HELLFIRE (Eduard)
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Next update should finally have some the purchased items along with photos showing some of the work performed, till then....

Ben

I am a Veteran; to all other Veterans thank you for your service. Retired now and living well

PROJECTS:

- 1/48 RAH-66 Comanche - WIP

- 1/350 USS Alabama (GB) - DONE

- 1/16 1910 Thomas Flyer - DONE

- 1/78 AC-119 Stinger Gunship (GB) - DONE

 

 

 

  • Member since
    June 2018
  • From: Ohio (USA)
Posted by DRUMS01 on Thursday, February 25, 2021 5:26 PM

OK, Lets get started... STEP 1 The Cockpit

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As you can see with the images, it does not have the same shapes or detail of the original aircraft

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The first area to modify was the arm panels in the cockpit to better match those of the actual helicopter. My goal is to extend the small rectangular shapes so they connect to the side walls of the cockpit. These flat sheet plastic parts will need to have two tapers. One from the back to the front of the cockpit and the second from the lower to the upper portion. In order to get a more accurate position and contact I removed the little bumps on the rectangular shapes in the cockpit (see photo)

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Next was the careful shaping of the panels to smoothly tie into the cockpit walls and then attaching them to the cockpit base. In the picture below you can see the 4 shaped horizontal panels attached. The rear instrument panel face has been rough cut to replicate the photo while the kit panel has been trimmed down flat to accept the new facing. Some of the detail work has been started on the seats. 

The drawing below gives better detail to the seats. The kit seats laid flat on the floor of the cockpit while the photo shows they are elevated and have tubular support bracing. In the second photo the solder represents the seats initial tubular sport bracing and the flat pieces behind the headrest and seat back fill in the hollow part in the model kit and represent the backs of those parts. The seats have been slightly elevated using small squares of sheet plastic to better replicate the Boeing drawing. The remaining (upper) tubular bracing will be added when the seats go into the cockpit. 

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Here is a bonus photo showing the upper and lower torsos of the pilots attached and sitting in the seats.

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Tomorrow I hope to the seats and the main part of the rear cockpit finished, less the 3D decals. 

Step one also includes the assembly of the front sensor array. This is something that would be on the actual production version but was nothing but a dummy shape grafted into the fuselage for the prototypes.

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Another part of Step 1 was the assembly of the 20mm three barrel gun turret which mounts below the sensor under the front of the aircraft. So far the only details I've completed on this was drilling the holes in the triangular braces (as on the real aircraft). I still plan to add hollow brass tips to the three barrels before completion. 

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My next update will talk about the remains item in step 1, the enclosed tail rotor.

Till then please provide your input or comments, THANKS!

Ben

I am a Veteran; to all other Veterans thank you for your service. Retired now and living well

PROJECTS:

- 1/48 RAH-66 Comanche - WIP

- 1/350 USS Alabama (GB) - DONE

- 1/16 1910 Thomas Flyer - DONE

- 1/78 AC-119 Stinger Gunship (GB) - DONE

 

 

 

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