Author Topic: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra - Story & Photos  (Read 16190 times)

Offline Weaver

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F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra - Story & Photos
« on: June 21, 2015, 07:34:20 AM »
Okay, I'm in.

This is the middle model of three I have planned showing the same airframe at different points in it's life. It starts off as a stock AH-1G that gets exported to Argentine in the mid-'70s for use in it's COIN campaign in the north (an equivalent to the Air Force's Pucara that's under the Army's control, basically). They then take a few to the Falklands in '82, and this one gets captured intact, de-militarised, and put into service with the Falkland Islands Government Air Service (FIGAS) as a flying crane, which is the stage I'm modelling here. Once they get fed up with the running costs, they sell it off to a private company which results in an "interesting" end to it's career.

Other than the shady last episode, this is actually the real story of a UH-1H Huey that ended up in the Falklands, which is how it's decals got on the S&M British Antarctic Aviation sheet that I used for my BAS Skyvan. in it's flying crane incarnation it needs to be stripped of all uneccessary weight, so the wings, turret and cockpit armour will all be going, and a U-shaped frame hanging from the the wing attachment points will carry a cargo hook underneath the CofG.

Here's the bits:



The model is the Special Hobby one that they were selling without boxes or decals at Telford for a very reasonable 6, which is why I got three. Some Montex canopy masks are on the way. The hook frame will be scratchbuilt and the hook itself will be the unused catapult hook from the Belizean Seahawk.

I'm also putting it into the Civilianise It GB on the What If site which is running concurrently with this one, but with a longer deadline.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2015, 04:43:25 AM by Weaver »
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline Tophe

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Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2015, 03:24:18 PM »
Will this Hueycobra be converted into an airplane for speed thus efficiency? or will stay a normal helicopter simply with unusual user?

Offline Weaver

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Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2015, 07:02:54 PM »
Will this Hueycobra be converted into an airplane for speed thus efficiency? or will stay a normal helicopter simply with unusual user?

Nope, if anything it'll be a "purer" helicopter with the small wings removed. Not much need for speed on the Falklands (everything's near to everything else) but a flying crane needs the lowest possible unladen weight to increase slung payload.
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline Tophe

  • He sees things in double...
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Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2015, 01:34:46 PM »
All right. Simply a Hueycobra heroic for the other side. The fantom of Margaret Thatcher is shivering in the graveyard... ;)

Offline Weaver

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Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2015, 11:24:30 AM »
Well this is interesting: there is NO means of support for the rotor mast. What you see in this pic is what you get:



The streamlining plate fits in the conical hole on the top of the fuselage, but if you use the open option (as I'm doing) it falls right through. I'm not particularly bothered about the rotor turning, but I would like the option of taking it out for safe transport, so I'm concocting a confection of tubes at the moment.

I've also cut the armour off the seats. I reckon that a flying crane needs the lowest possible unladen weight, and this stuff is heavy, so I'm just not fitting most of it (the cockpit side pieces are separate) but the shoulder pieces are moulded in:



It'll need seatbelts making 'cos the canopy's huge and shows everything.
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2015, 12:40:03 PM »
Will there be a sling load of sheep involved in this project? ;)
"Every day we hear about new studies 'revealing' what should have been obvious to sentient beings for generations; 'Research shows wolverines don't like to be teased" -- Jonah Goldberg

Offline Weaver

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Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2015, 06:09:10 PM »
Will there be a sling load of sheep involved in this project? ;)

Heh, now there's an idea.... ;)

No, the idea is that there's rather more destruction on the islands in this version than in reality, plus the harbour is mined with much smarter weapons, so there's a temporary need for a flying crane to help with reconstruction and flying supplies ashore from ships. They only keep it for a couple of years before selling it on.
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline taiidantomcat

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Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2015, 04:43:41 AM »
Patiently waiting  :)
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Offline KiwiZac

  • The Modeller Formerly Known As K5054NZ
Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2015, 12:40:55 PM »
Same here  8)
Zac in NZ
#avgeek, modelbuilder, photographer, writer. Callsign: "HANDBAG"
https://linktr.ee/zacyates

Offline Weaver

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Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2015, 08:54:18 PM »
Stuff keeps cropping up and getting in the way, however that's pretty much over now, so hopefully there will be some progress to post over the weekend.
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline Weaver

  • Skyhawk stealer and violator of Panthers, with designs on a Cougar and a Tiger too
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Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2015, 06:20:39 PM »
Well there wasn't as much progress as I'd have liked, but some minor painting has taken place. There isn't much else to do on this one while crawling through the cockpit stage because it isn't carrying weapons or anything else I can be building in the meantime.

My internet connection was playing up last night so I'm going to do a picture roundup post later today. Prepare to be underwhelmed...
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline Weaver

  • Skyhawk stealer and violator of Panthers, with designs on a Cougar and a Tiger too
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Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2015, 06:33:01 AM »
Still the weekend, right?  ;)

Not much progress but some. Here's the rotor mast fix. There are two tubes inside each other glued into the fuselage, so the one glued to the mast plate fits smoothly. This was nowhere near as easy as it looks because the inside of the fuselage is a complicated shape and lots of fettling was needed to get it aligned correctly:




Here's how it looks assembled:




There's a small vent in the side of the fuselage with a silver grill on the inside of it that has to be fitted before the fuselage is sealed up, so I decided to paint the red on the lips of it's hole now, since the hole will have to be filled with blu-tack to mask the grill before the main paint is applied. While I was at it, I did the deep holes and fin slots around the intakes, where spray might not reach:



The intakes on the AZ kit are wrong, and there's a Brengun resin correction kit available. I nearly bought it when I bought the canopy masks, but adding it bumped up the postage to the point where it all got quite expensive. This being whiff-world, I'll just claim that the Argentinian Cobras had locally-produced intake shrouds.
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline Weaver

  • Skyhawk stealer and violator of Panthers, with designs on a Cougar and a Tiger too
  • Chaos Engineer & Evangelistic Agnostic
Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2015, 08:56:29 AM »
Pictures tomorrow, promise...

I have to say that I'm rather disappointed by the level of fit on this model. It looks nice in the box, but just about everything needs fettling to make it fit and the engineering could be better.
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline Weaver

  • Skyhawk stealer and violator of Panthers, with designs on a Cougar and a Tiger too
  • Chaos Engineer & Evangelistic Agnostic
Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2015, 06:17:01 PM »
Well after assuming I had to finish the cockpit before doing anything else, I then suddenly realised that the Cobra's cockpit is so open and accessible that I can fit most of the contents after it's assembled and painted, AND that that will make it much easier to mask. Filling it with the masked canopy isn't an attractive option because the canopy is in five pieces to allow for opening panels, so the chance of spray getting inside it would be high.

Having glued the fuselage together, I started thinking about the sling hook arrangement, and playing about with balance points, I noticed that it might well be a tail sitter (yes, even skid-equipped helo models can tail-sit). Put some weight in the nose: not enough. Put some more in the bottom of the rotor tube: still not enough. So, yet again, I had to drill a hole, this time behind the pilot's seat, to drop steel balls into. One of these days I will do nose weight the easy way and shock myself.... ::)




Then I put the tail on, and frankly, not a great fit:






Since the FIGAS Huey is going to be disarmed, I cut a circular panel to blank off the turret. As with the rotor, the kit makes zero provision for the turret to rotate:



Note another fit issue there: the solid nose tip is too small for the opening: more sanding. (Early Cobras had landing lights in the nose, later ones had a solid nose and a retractable light under the fuselage. You can see the keyhole-shaped recess for it in the pic).


Here's another potential problem. The models is quite heavy now, and the skid attachment looks fragile. The pegs are too big for the holes and the holes arn't deep enough, so there's a distinct possibility that, in making it fit, it'll end up too loose and be prone to sagging under load. It's way too thin to drill out and reinforce too, and the curve of the struts means you wouldn't get much length of wire/rod in the the strut anyway:



Can't help feeling they missed a trick with that one. There's a panel line around the areas where the ski struts go through the fuselage, so they could have moulded left and rigth struts in one piece with the struts joined by a square-section, fuselage-width plug that fitted into a slot on the underside.

Next up, wing fittings. Cobra wings are external with continuous fuselage skin behind the wing root, broken only by a pair of brackets. However the kit has a big slot instead, so that will need to be filled and the brackets approximated. My idea is that, since the Cobra doesn't have a sling hook as standard, the FIGAS one will have a U-shaped cradle that attaches to the wing mountings and holds the hook underneath it.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2015, 06:22:25 PM by Weaver »
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline Jeffry Fontaine

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Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2015, 09:15:09 PM »
Harold, removing the gun turret was a good idea.  Would it not be practical to maybe mount a television camera in that location that would allow the operator to view his load during flight or when picking up said load from the ground?  Since the aircraft was not purpose designed for viewing directly below it makes perfect sense to add such a feature. 
"Every day we hear about new studies 'revealing' what should have been obvious to sentient beings for generations; 'Research shows wolverines don't like to be teased" -- Jonah Goldberg

Offline Old Wombat

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Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2015, 09:37:49 PM »
Harold, removing the gun turret was a good idea.  Would it not be practical to maybe mount a television camera in that location that would allow the operator to view his load during flight or when picking up said load from the ground?  Since the aircraft was not purpose designed for viewing directly below it makes perfect sense to add such a feature.

Good thinking, 99! :)
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Offline Weaver

  • Skyhawk stealer and violator of Panthers, with designs on a Cougar and a Tiger too
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Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2015, 09:51:15 PM »
Harold, removing the gun turret was a good idea.  Would it not be practical to maybe mount a television camera in that location that would allow the operator to view his load during flight or when picking up said load from the ground?  Since the aircraft was not purpose designed for viewing directly below it makes perfect sense to add such a feature.

Good thinking, 99! :)

It would be a good idea in theory, but remember that this mod is being done in-situ on the Falklands in the aftermath of a significantly more destructive war than the real one, so they can't just pop down to the local avionics store with a shopping list. The mods are being done by RAF fitters who've got plenty of other things to do and not enough to do them with, so they're kind of basic and improvised. I am aware of the seeing downwards issue though, and doing something about it is in the plan... ;)
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline Volkodav

  • Counts rivits with his abacus...
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Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2015, 11:05:07 PM »
I know what you mean about tail sitting helos, have that problem with an Airfix Gazelle.

Offline Weaver

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Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2015, 09:38:11 AM »
Okay, I got kinda bogged down in research for this one, trying to find out what the wing attachments looked like and then trying to figure out how to attach to them. I was trying to think what you'd do if you were doing a field conversion, with limited local resources, and no engineering support: I think you'd play it VERY safe of strength factors in those circumstances.

This is the side fitting. A couple of lengths of H-section cover all five spar lugs, attach to them with spacers, and also carry the belly straps:




The belly straps are stabilised by this plate, and the hook is mounted to the middle one:




The model's got a coat of white primer on it now, so not many steps away from finished. I tried spraying the rotor blades with the dregs of a can of black, but it ran out after literally one squirt, so now I need some more rattle-can black tomorrow.
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline KiwiZac

  • The Modeller Formerly Known As K5054NZ
Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2015, 09:49:53 AM »
I love what you've done with the hook mount, brilliant work and excellent thinking to use the stub-wing spar.
Zac in NZ
#avgeek, modelbuilder, photographer, writer. Callsign: "HANDBAG"
https://linktr.ee/zacyates

Offline Weaver

  • Skyhawk stealer and violator of Panthers, with designs on a Cougar and a Tiger too
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Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #20 on: August 03, 2015, 02:04:39 AM »
Getting there slowly:



Unfortunately I've made a mistake on the canopies, but it's saveable. The red needs an undercoat of white to make it bright enough, so I gave the canopy frames just that. Unfotunately, I didn't realise until the red went on that the white would show through to the inside. On a canopy this big it matters, but thankfully, the five-piece design now comes to the rescue: I can mask the frames on the inside and paint them green. Lovely job...

On the other downside, it looks like the canopy masks have lifted a little in places, so there maky be some cleanup to do on the outside...

Can't really do much else until the canopy's on: can't set the position of the mirror(s) and don't want ot put the declas on while there's still a lot of handling ahead.
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline Steve Blazo

  • The man likes white plastic...weird.
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Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2015, 05:10:30 AM »
Nice build so far, looking forward to see a civi Snake. :D
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I have no fear, because I am the meanest mother*ucker in the whole valley.
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Offline Weaver

  • Skyhawk stealer and violator of Panthers, with designs on a Cougar and a Tiger too
  • Chaos Engineer & Evangelistic Agnostic
Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2015, 04:26:26 AM »
Still struggling with the canopy, plus I lost a load of time today because I stupidly made myself unwell (long story, but totally my fault). Still doable, but it's going to go down to the wire.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2015, 06:07:44 PM by Weaver »
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith

Offline KiwiZac

  • The Modeller Formerly Known As K5054NZ
Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2015, 03:11:17 PM »
Zac in NZ
#avgeek, modelbuilder, photographer, writer. Callsign: "HANDBAG"
https://linktr.ee/zacyates

Offline Weaver

  • Skyhawk stealer and violator of Panthers, with designs on a Cougar and a Tiger too
  • Chaos Engineer & Evangelistic Agnostic
Re: F.I.G.A.S. Hueycobra
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2015, 06:11:41 PM »
Hopefully you're feeling ok!

For your Cobra pilot's vision, left skid mirror! Super easy to do in 1/72 :)
http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y185/RodanAZ/RC/N505MP/DSCN0367.jpg
https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2342/2223380089_4fc5f9f996_z.jpg
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/220/512979852_16510fcfb1.jpg


That's interesting, but does it really let you see far down enough to monitor a slung load? My working assumption has been that you need the mirror higher up so that it looks down at a steep angle, and the example pic I found has just that:




In other news, I realised after fitting the collectives that the seats sit far too low in the cockpit, so I'm having to put spacers under them...  ::) Reinforces the impression that nobody at Special Hobby actually built this kit...
« Last Edit: August 07, 2015, 06:15:16 PM by Weaver »
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
Minds.com: @HaroldWeaverSmith