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In-Box Review
135
AH-6M Conversion
160th SAOR AH-6M Conversion set
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by: Gino P. Quintiliani [ HEAVYARTY ]

Little Bird History
:The H-6 Little Bird (nicknamed the Killer Egg) is a light helicopter operated by the United States Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), Night Stalkers. It draws its roots from the original OH-6A Cayuse helicopter from the mid-1960s, a Light Observation Helicopter (LOH) that performed personnel transport, escort, armed scout, casualty evacuation, and observation missions. After the April 1980 failure of the Iran hostage rescue mission, Operation Eagle Claw, it was determined that the US Army lacked aircraft and crews who were trained and prepared to perform special operations missions. To remedy this shortcoming, the Army began developing a special aviation task force to prepare for the next attempt to rescue the Iran hostages, Operation Credible Sport. The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), also known as Night Stalkers, was born. Even though Op Credible Sport was cancelled when the hostages were released in January 1981, the Army saw the wisdom in having such a force and their associated aircraft.

The Special Operations version of H-6 helicopter entered service with the US military in 1980. It was originally based on a modified OH-6A with a single, four-blade main rotor and a “Y” tail. Later, it was updated to the MD 500E, with a single, five-bladed main rotor and a “T” tail; the H-6J of Black Hawk Down (Op Gothic Serpent) fame. The current version is the H-6M which is based on the MD 530F and has a single, six-bladed main rotor, a four-bladed tail rotor, and the “T” tail. It can travel at 175 miles per hour, has a range of 232 nmi, and a crew of two; pilot and co-pilot.

Both the AH-6 and MH-6 have extensive modifications to their avionics and provisions for mounting specialized equipment and weapons. The MH-6 (Multi-mission Helicopter) is an unarmed version which can carry up to six passengers on external planks as well as the 2-man crew, and can mount a support system for Fast Ropes. The AH-6 (Attack Helicopter) version can carry two M134 7.62mm miniguns, two M260 7-shot Hydra 70 2.75” FFAR pods, two M261 19-shot Hydra 70 2.75” FFAR pods, four AGM-114 Hellfire anti-tank missiles, four FIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles, two Mk-19 40 mm automatic grenade launchers, two .50 caliber machine guns, two GAU-19 .50 caliber 3-barrel rotary machine gun, or almost any combination of the above.

Since entering service, the H-6 Little Bird helicopter has been involved in a number of missions including Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada (1983), supporting the Contras flying missions into Nicaragua (mid-‘80s), Operation Prime Chance to guard merchant ships after a Kuwaiti oil tanker struck a mine in the Persian Gulf (1987), Operation Just Cause in Panama (1989), Operation Gothic Serpent during the Battle of Mogadishu (Black Hawk Down) in Somalia (1993), and most recently during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003), and Operation Celestial Balance (2009) in which US Navy SEALs were sent to Somalia to kill terrorist Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan.

The kit
:Black Ops Models is a resin company out of Australia with their second H6 Conversion set, which is an extensive set to convert the 1/35 Dragon AH-6J to the current AH-6M Little Bird as flown by the 160th SOAR. The set comes packed in a very sturdy, top opening box with packing peanuts inside to keep all the delicate parts safe. Further, the parts are bagged in individual Ziploc bags labeled A through L with each bag listing the parts contained in it and for what subassembly they go to. This makes for a very nice and tidy packaging and it is easy to keep track of all the parts.

Contents
The parts breakdown is as follows:

Bag A. Interior Details
•Part 1 - Left Side Collective
•Part 2 - Right Side Collective
•Part 3 - FLIR Joystick
•Part 4 - Left Side Personal Weapon
•Part 5 - Right Side Personal Weapon
•Part 6 - Right Side FLIR Display
•Part 7 - Left Side FLIR Display
•Part 8 - Left Side Armored Floor
•Part 9 - Right Side Armored Floor
•Part 10 - Fuel Filler
•Part 11 - Cyclic Joystick x 2
•Part 12 - Rudder Pedals x 2
•Part 13 - Front Ring x 2
•Part 14 - Fuel Tank Mount Ring x 2 (1 Spare)
•Part 15 - Rear Ring x 4
•Part 16 - Seat x 2

Bag B. Instrument Console
•Part 17 - Instrument Console

Bag C. Rear Bulkhead
•Part 18 - Rear Bulkhead

Bag D. Fuselage Brackets
•Part 19 – Fuselage Bracket A
•Part 20 – Fuselage Bracket B
•Part 21 – Fuselage Bracket C
•Part 22 – Fuselage Bracket D
•Part 23 – Fuselage Bracket E
•Part 24 – Fuselage Bracket F

Bag E. 4 Blade Tail Rotor & Wide Chord Tail
•Part 25 - Wide Chord Vertical Tail
•Part 26 - Horizontal Tail Plane
•Part 27 - Left End Plate
•Part 28 - Right End Plate
•Part 29 - Outboard Rotor Blades
•Part 30 - Inboard Rotor Blades
•Part 31 - Gear Box
•Part 32 - Mounting Shaft
•Part 33 - Bell Crank

Bag F. Weapons Plank
•Part 34 – Weapons Plank
•Part 35 – Cabin Mounts x 2
•Part 36 – Left Weapons Pylon
•Part 37 – Right Weapons Pylon

Bag G. Aerials
•Part 38 - Aerial A x 2 (1 Spare)
•Part 39 - Aerial B x 2 (1 Spare)
•Part 40 - Aerial C x 2 (1 Spare)
•Part 41 - Under Body Box A
•Part 42 - Warning Receivers x 4
•Part 43 - Under Body Box B x 2
•Part 44 - Aerial D x 2
•Part 45 - Aerial E x 2
•Part 46 - SATCOM Antenna
•Part 47 - Antenna Mount
•Part 48 - Antenna Bracket
•Part 49 - FLIR Mount
•Part 50 - FLIR Gimbal
•Part 51 – Infrared Lamp
•Part 52 – Scoops x 2

Bag H. 6 Blade Main Rotor Hub
•Part 53 - Rotor Hub
•Part 54 - Collective Hub

Bag I. Ammunition Box
•Part 55 – Ammunition Box
•Part 56 – Flex Shoot Adaptor x 2
•Part 57 – 7.62 Flex Chute x 2
•Part 58 – 0.50 Cal Flex Chute x 1

Bag J. M134
•Part 59 – Gun Body x 2
•Part 60 – Gun Bracket x 2
•Part 61 – Left Link Ejection
•Part 62 – Right Link Ejection
•Part 63 – Barrels x 2

Bag K. GAU 19
•Part 64 – Turtle Back
•Part 65 – Flash Suppressor
•Part 66 – Gun Part
•Part 67 – Barrels
•Part 68 – Gun Body

Bag L. Rockets
•Part 69 – M157 Warheads
•Part 70 – M268 Warheads
•Part 71 – M261 Short Warheads
•Part 72 – M261 Long Warheads
•Part 73 – 19 Shot Rocket Pod x 1
•Part 74 – 19 Shot End Cap x 1
•Part 75 – 7 Shot Rocket Pods x 2
•Part 76 – 7 Shot End Caps x 2

The set contains 76 resin parts, a section of brass rod for the tail stinger, metal barrels and PE parts for the M134 and GAU 19, and a section of plastic rod for the control linkages on the rotor head. All of the parts are finely cast with no flash or broken pieces. Also included is a very nicely done 11 page instruction booklet that clearly shows how to modify and build the AH-6M. The booklet breaks it down into 10 steps to complete the build. Each step clearly shows what needs to be modified or added. There are also extensive measurements shown so you can accurately cut or place parts onto the Dragon kit pieces. All of the pieces fit the Dragon parts perfectly with little to no sanding or modifications needed.

Conclusion
Black Ops has really made some nice pieces here. Every part is very delicate and full of details. The set pretty much replaces the entire interior of the Dragon kit. The only parts still used are the center wall and a few of the black boxes added to it, and the floor. These new parts include a new, very detailed instrument panel with FLIR screens, seats, collective and cyclic control levers, yaw pedals, armored plates for the floor, a new rear wall with integrated fuel tank and engine cowl, and cross fuselage support plank. Also included are all new parts for the tail, to include the four-blade tail rotor and gear boxes, and a six bladed rotor head. The parts for the weapons really capture the look of the actual articles excellently. The array of weapons (2x M134, 1x GAU 19, 2x M260 7-shot FFAR pod, 1x M261 19-shot FFAR pod; with 4 different warhead types for each) is really nice as well. The inclusion of metal barrels and PE parts for the guns is also a very nice touch. The guns are gems in their own right. Lastly, there are ample antennae and sensors for the fuselage and a very nice FLIR ball mount for the nose.

This set is complete and will allow you to build a very detailed and accurate AH-6M model. The parts are perfect and fit the donor kit excellently. If Black Ops continues to produce kits to this level of details and quality, they will definitely succeed. I highly recommend this kit. It is a real gem.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
SUMMARY
Highs: Crisply molded pieces with excellent details. Metal barrels for the M134s and the GAU 19 are very nice additions.
Lows: The only area I can see that could use a little more attention is the instructions for assembling the guns. They are not really clear an what pieces go where. Study them carefully.
Verdict: An outstanding kit. I highly recommend it if you are a fan of modern helos or Spec Ops birds.
Percentage Rating
90%
  Scale: 1:35
  Suggested Retail: $78.00 USD
  PUBLISHED: Jan 13, 2015
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.82%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 94.00%

About Gino P. Quintiliani (HeavyArty)
FROM: FLORIDA, UNITED STATES

Retired US Army Artillery Officer, currently a contractor at MacDill AFB in the Tampa, FL area. I have been modelling for the past 35+ years, really seriously on armor and large scale helos (1/32, 1/35) for the last 30 or so.

Copyright ©2019 text by Gino P. Quintiliani [ HEAVYARTY ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.



Comments

Thanks for posting this Richard. It is really a great conversion set.
JAN 14, 2015 - 01:37 AM
Excellent review, Gino.
JAN 14, 2015 - 10:35 PM
After seeing reviews of other Black Ops products I bought this conversion, sight unseen. Gino's review pretty much is spot on. It's beautiful, but pricey. BUT, you get what you pay for too.. as it's definitely worth the money to me. BTW, Black Ops' shipping cost from Australia to the US was very reasonable.
JAN 15, 2015 - 06:35 PM
There has been discussion on ARC helo DG about the availability of the base kit being a sticking point. I will cross post this here having posted the notice in the helo group, but noodling around last night I found there is one on US Ebay now. LINK Looks like the seller has a really eclectic inventory, but a long track record and good history. I also noticed that there are 5 people 'watching' it, so maybe the bids shoot up in the last 5 min. The starting price is pretty steep for my blood, but if your pockets are deep (-er than mine) and the need is great. Here you go. That and last I was there Hobby Emporium in Tyngsboro MA had one on the shelf for most of US$50.
JAN 15, 2015 - 09:34 PM
   

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