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Italeri 1/48 AH-1Z (built as a AH-1(4B)W)

3 replies
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  • Member since
    December 2006
  • From: Phoenix, AZ
Posted by Fly-n-hi on Thursday, September 24, 2020 1:47 PM

Very nice!

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Valrico, FL
Posted by HeavyArty on Thursday, September 24, 2020 9:19 AM

It looks really nice.  Great job on the conversion.

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  • Member since
    August 2020
  • From: Everett, WA USA
Posted by Gunny Dan on Wednesday, September 23, 2020 5:55 PM

- O,

Stunning build.  The tri-color camo is right on.  I remember seeing the 4B and the 4BN a couple of times at Pax River during testing.  They were exceptionally clean as you depicted here.  Even before the turned exhaust, the tail booms on the Cobras were always grimy and sooty, but not this one.  Even after they put "orange wire" all over it for testing, the Bell team/DynCorps team kept the plane extremely clean.  

I too wish to have a fleet of 53's that covers all the T/M/S that were utilized over her career, but in 1/48th, I do not have the room, so I am going to tackle it in 1/72nd.

Again, just a great build.  


GySgt Daniel Hammer


1/48th scale WWII-present modeler


  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Between LA and OC, SoCal
Italeri 1/48 AH-1Z (built as a AH-1(4B)W)
Posted by oortiz10 on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 11:29 PM

Hey FSM,

I'm back with another project completed for the VTOL, STOL, STOVL GB. This is a project that had been thinking about for a while. My plan was to build all the (major) USMC Cobra variants in 1/48. Before KH released their Whiskey and Zulu variants, the venerable (read: inaccurate) Italeri kits were the only options. I had read that the Whiskey would take a lot of work to make accurate, and the Zulu was a mix between the (inaccurate) Whiskey, Bell's 4-bladed (4B) demonstrator, and the Zulu. I realized that making either boxing into accurate-ish representations of a Whiskey and a Zulu was beyond my skills, so the kits just sat in the closet...until recently.

One day, while surfing the web, I ran across some information and pictures of Bell's 4-bladed demonstrator. With a little more research, I found that Italeri's Zulu could, with some work and artistic license, be built to look like Bell's demonstrator. So, with that, I decided to build it up for the GB.

The original 4B started as a Tango model that was converted to a Whiskey model that was eventually converted to the demonstrator. Unfortunately, it was lost in to a mid-air collision, killing the crew. Here's a list of mods I made to Italeri's Zulu boxing.

  • Reshaped the nose between the TOW sighting system and the canopy using sheet styrene and Milliput
  • Added a "bulge" between the TOW sighting system and the cannon
  • Extended (what I think is) an avionics bay on the belly below the cockpit using styrene strip and Milliput
  • Modified some Monogram AH-1S skids (thanks Floyd!) to get round instead of the kit supplied airfoil shaped skid support struts
  • Extended the skid between the struts using some wire and styrene tube
  • Modified a TOW launcher and tubes from a Fujimi AH-1S
  • Cannibalized 3 pitots from various sources
  • Same with the two ventral aerials
  • Sourced the chaff dispensers from a Hasegawa A-4
  • Used CC/LSM AH-1W resin exhaust 
  • Moved the stabilizer aft using KH's AH-1Z for measurements and "scabbed" the original mounting locations using styrene sheet
  • Replaced some raised detail with Archer's Resin

The rest of the build is a mix of "Whiskey" and "Zulu" plastic from the box. Paints are MM and Testors' "little square bottle" enamels. Decals are mostly from Caracal with the BuNo pieced together from my spares drawer. Weathering is practically nonexistent because the real demonstrator was very clean in the pictures I saw.

Let's move on to the pictures, shall we?

I still have Italeri's Whiskey in the stash. I know KH will be releasing (if they haven't already) a new -W soon. I already have Italeri's in my stash, and since my modeling budget is pretty limited, I probably will be building it up instead of picking up the latest and greatest. I do have KH's Zulu though. I'll be tackling that one when my skills can match the task. 

Anyway, I know this isn't a contest winner. Heck, it's barely a three-footer! Still, I think it'll make a cool "missing link" when I finally get the -J, -T, -W, and -Z built up.

Thanks for looking! Comments, questions, and criticisms welcome! 

On to the next project...


-It's Omar, but they call me "O".


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