Author Topic: Hughes AH-7A Monache, South Vietnam, 1966 - WIP  (Read 4375 times)

Offline KiwiZac

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Hughes AH-7A Monache, South Vietnam, 1966 - WIP
« on: January 30, 2015, 07:01:39 AM »
Hi all,
When I got the Fletcher FU-24 order in a couple of years back I also ordered another Unicraft kit, the Hughes XV-9A Hot Cycle research chopper. This is a machine that fascinated me as a kid and I had hoped for such a kit for years. I had assembled the fuse and attached the rotor mast when I first got it but was daunted at how much resin there was, so shelved it for a while.

Fastforward to last week when I was working on the Woomera and I worked up the courage to recommence work on the Hughes too.  And what to do with it, scheme-wise, as it came with no decals for the sole prototype? So....

***
The conclusion of the Army’s test programme in August 1965 showed the XV-9A programme had borne remarkable fruit, and the Hughes design team was encouraged to put the now-perfected “silenced” hot cycle system into another prototype with an eye on a military contract.

Designated the Model 390 and nicknamed “Cayuse Warrior”, the new aircraft was very similar to the XV-9A but included provision for weaponry such as an under-nose turret with two 20mm M24 cannon and a stub wing with four weapons pylons. Originally the aircraft was to be an armed transport, however the planned 12-troop cabin would have greatly reduced the fuel capacity so the decision was made to progress as a pure gunship.

The prototype Cayuse Warrior, s/n 65-17245, first flew on November 12 1965 but testing revealed problems with airflow over the stub wing. This was remedied by “cranking” or adding anhedral to the inner section of the wing. At the same time a sturdier undercarriage was installed, allowing greater weapons loads to be carried.

Weapons testing under the Army designation YH-7 followed, and Army crew loaded the craft with even more rocket pods including “cheek” mounts modified from those used on UH-1Bs in Vietnam. Soon the ideal complement of six M260 rocket pods on the wing pylons, two cheek-mounted XM157A pods and the turret was arrived at and, following testing, recommended to the Army by Hughes should they order the craft. The generals quickly decided they would, and a contract for 100 AH-7A “Monache” – named for a Californian tribe whose name translates to “fly people”.

The sheer amount of firepower a pair of Monaches could put down made them highly sought-after within the Army and, despite not being as manoeuvrable as other assault types, was popular with its crews for this reason. In some units the outer M260 pods were replaced with XM14 minigun pods.

Experience in Vietnam saw modifications – more cockpit armour and a new, cruciform tail unit among them - added to the original prototype and produced as the AH-7B, 115 examples of which soon replaced the A-model in-country.

However the size of the AH-7 – rotors turning, close to that of the HH-3 Jolly Green – and the aforementioned lack of agility were proving to be drawbacks and the type was pulled from front-line service, starting in late 1969, in favour of the AH-1G Cobra. By June 1970 there were no Monaches flying in South-east Asia.

One AH-7B, s/n 70-12545, was bought back by Hughes in late 1969 for use as a trials and systems aircraft for their entry to the Advanced Attack Helicopter competition, and was spotted as late as 1988 being used as a chaseplane for the YAH-69 LHX prototype.

Upon their return to the USA, Air National Guard units received the surviving Monache airframes but these too were gone from units by 1975. A handful were retained for gate guard duty and museum display, however the remaining 80 airframes were stripped by Hughes technicians and scrapped.
***

So here's some progress shots...better ones tomorrow/Sunday  8)



It will be finished in colours like that of the old Monogram 1/48 Huey Hog: all-over OD, yellow warning stripe near the reaction thruster thingies at the tail, yellow ARMY titles and serial and good ol' star-and-bars. It will have the armament fit of dual podded M260s and an XM14 on each wing, the cheek pods and the turret (the latter two are already on). I'll go into the other mods Ive made once it's finished.

This build has been a LOT of fun so far, and I'm so excited to share it with you guys!
« Last Edit: January 30, 2015, 07:04:22 AM by KiwiZac »
With warm regards from Whanganui, New Zealand

"Who said Kiwis can't fly...though this one can organise for a kit of the Fletcher FU24 to be produced!"

Offline LemonJello

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Re: Hughes AH-7A Monache, South Vietnam, 1966 - WIP
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2015, 09:16:35 AM »
Awesomeness.  Pure unadulterated awesomeness. Can't wait to see the next update.

Offline KiwiZac

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Re: Hughes AH-7A Monache, South Vietnam, 1966 - WIP
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2015, 09:51:10 AM »
 8) Thanks LJ! As I said I feel stupidly excited about this project, so it's cool to see others enthused too! In my humble opinion the AH-7A will be as badass a helo as the US Army could've hoped for in 1966.

That being said, I watched a documentary on the Cheyenne yesterday.....
With warm regards from Whanganui, New Zealand

"Who said Kiwis can't fly...though this one can organise for a kit of the Fletcher FU24 to be produced!"

Offline buzzbomb

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Re: Hughes AH-7A Monache, South Vietnam, 1966 - WIP
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2015, 01:34:26 PM »
Waiting for more here as well

Offline KiwiZac

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Re: Hughes AH-7A Monache, South Vietnam, 1966 - WIP
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2015, 07:44:33 AM »


Out of town tonight visiting the in-laws so here's a teaser! A slightly better pic of the Monache showing off the cockpit.

More photos and progress - completion? - tomorrow ;-)
With warm regards from Whanganui, New Zealand

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Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Hughes AH-7A Monache, South Vietnam, 1966 - WIP
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2015, 10:58:00 PM »
You've got a real talent for choppers, Zac!

I like how believable this one is. Can't wait to see more!

Brian da Basher

P.S. Ironic you'd post this just when I started work on an auto-gyro...

Offline taiidantomcat

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Re: Hughes AH-7A Monache, South Vietnam, 1966 - WIP
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2015, 05:20:32 AM »
This helicopter looks like it means business  :icon_punal:
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Offline KiwiZac

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Re: Hughes AH-7A Monache, South Vietnam, 1966 - WIP
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2015, 01:41:25 PM »
Thanks gents! Brian - a gyro? Wicked!!

I'm stuck on my phone so WIP pics aren't great, but this is how I leave it tonight:



Decals and rotor cementing are next weekend.
With warm regards from Whanganui, New Zealand

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Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Hughes AH-7A Monache, South Vietnam, 1966 - WIP
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2015, 09:53:44 PM »
Ahh yes, using the old bottle of Tamiya paint to weigh things down. Looks eerily familiar. My problem is every time I try that, the bottle falls off. Sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left, but it falls over. Every. Doggone. Time.

Zac, are you employing some kind of secret hobbit magic to keep that bottle from tipping over?

Looking good, especially the canopy framing!

Brian da Basher

Offline KiwiZac

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Re: Hughes AH-7A Monache, South Vietnam, 1966 - WIP
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2015, 03:57:15 AM »
Brian, I'm afraid I don't follow - the Tamiya bottles aren't good for weighing down anything heavier than a paper towel!!

The windscreen was tricky to do as a) I don't have a mask, and 2) Igor's canopy framing is very soft. But I'm happy with the result! Even though Hughes used an OH-6A Cayuse front fuselage on the real XV-9A the canopy framing is subtly different, but I painted it with the wider lower central frame to look more Army.
With warm regards from Whanganui, New Zealand

"Who said Kiwis can't fly...though this one can organise for a kit of the Fletcher FU24 to be produced!"

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Hughes AH-7A Monache, South Vietnam, 1966 - WIP
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2015, 05:00:54 AM »
In today's first pic it first looked to me like the Tamiya bottle was on top of the tail boom.

Now that the cold medicine is wearing off, I see it's just in the background.

Man I can't wait to replace this DayQuil® with good old-fashioned snake-bite medicine!

Brian da Basher

Offline KiwiZac

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Re: Hughes AH-7A Monache, South Vietnam, 1966 - done
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2015, 02:40:16 PM »



And to show how big it is compared to a Spitfire:


I have some better photos to upload over the weekend :-)
With warm regards from Whanganui, New Zealand

"Who said Kiwis can't fly...though this one can organise for a kit of the Fletcher FU24 to be produced!"

Online finsrin

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Re: Hughes AH-7A Monache, South Vietnam, 1966 - WIP
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2015, 04:28:52 PM »
Enjoying the pics.  Like what you done with build.  Those are serious size rotor blades.  Good for high altitude mountain missions?

Offline The Big Gimper

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Re: Hughes AH-7A Monache, South Vietnam, 1966 - WIP
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2015, 06:21:53 PM »
What Bill said!!

What I like is the VCR. Does it still work? Or is it a hanger? ;)
Work in progress ::

I am giving up listing them. They all end up on the shelf of procrastination anyways.

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Offline kerick

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Re: Hughes AH-7A Monache, South Vietnam, 1966 - WIP
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2015, 12:43:39 AM »
I just wonder if those big rotor blades rotated at much lower rpm than conventional choppers.
She looks great and will cause some real questions from viewers.

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Re: Hughes AH-7A Monache, South Vietnam, 1966 - WIP
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2015, 03:49:58 AM »
Here is a quite detailed report on the XV-9A:  http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/621684.pdf
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Offline taiidantomcat

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Re: Hughes AH-7A Monache, South Vietnam, 1966 - WIP
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2015, 05:45:17 AM »
That is wonderful  :-*
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Offline KiwiZac

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Re: Hughes AH-7A Monache, South Vietnam, 1966 - WIP
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2015, 08:31:25 AM »
Greg - I downloaded three XV-9A reports (including that one) as well as Cheyenne and LHX. Some light reading for the slow periods at work.

The Gimper - she's a goer! Although I use it with a USB thing to transfer videos to DVD on the laptop, occasionally I delve into the VHS collection for entertainment while building. It's great!

Re rotor speed: while nowhere near as slow as on the similarly-configured XH-17, the film I've seen shows it to be about normal. Perhaps the report Greg linked to has detail?

EDIT: it does! Minimum of 243rpm, true max of 295. Max speed of 150kt with 200 in a dive, MAUW of 25,000lb.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2015, 08:43:42 AM by KiwiZac »
With warm regards from Whanganui, New Zealand

"Who said Kiwis can't fly...though this one can organise for a kit of the Fletcher FU24 to be produced!"