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Warren Ruiter (R1830)


AH-1W Supercobra

HMLA-367 Tanajib, Saudi Arabia

Scarface 120



Academy 1/35 AH-1W kit 2193.  Decals are Two Bobs: Whiskeys in the Mix, and the Verlinden detail set.



The Marine Corps deployed 4 of 6 active force squadrons (48 AH-1Ws) to Southwest Asia during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.


The deployment required no additional augmentation to squadron support personnel and only one Bell Helicopter technical representative.


During Operation Desert Storm, the AH-1W comprised less than 20% of the attack helicopter force deployed, yet flew more than 50% of the total attack force flight-hours. In the entire Desert Shield/Desert Storm campaign, Super Cobras flew more than three times the number of hours per aircraft per month than any other attack helicopter.


During the "100 Hour War," its reliability and 92% mission readiness rate were superior to all other attack helicopters by as much as 24% without any factory-supported maintenance augmentation.


Perhaps most impressive, was that this record was amassed under some of the most adverse environmental conditions ever endured in modern warfare.


Temperatures consistently reached the 57-63°C (135-145°F) range. A mix of fine granite/limestone sand dust the consistency of talcum powder, was a constant threat to man and machine.


The air was often filled with a black concoction of burning oil and blowing sand The final result was that Marine Corps crews and their AH-1W destroyed 97 tanks, 104 armored personnel carriers and vehicles, 16 bunkers and two antiaircraft artillery sites.(1)


HMLA-367 was initially based at Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia and later moved north to Tanajib.  Scarface 120 claimed the first AH-1W tank kill during the Battle of "Al Elbow" on Jan 30, 1991.  This was most likely the first USMC Cobra tank kill.  Scarface Cobras also participated in the Battle of Khafji on Jan 30-31. 


As the ground war approached the squadron moved to the Forward Operating Base "Lonesome Dove" on the Kuwaiti border.  During the ground war Scarface Cobras supported both the 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions as well as Coalition forces. 


The 10 Cobras( 9 of which remain operational during the entire war) and 20 pilots accounted for over 100 vehicles and "captured" thousands of EPWs in less than 4 days of fighting.(2)















Refererence picture of the Hellfire misile:

Used some clear sprue and used the method Karl showed us for landing lights:


Cockpit almost complete, just need to heat up the resin hoses and get them bent into place.

Primed it all with XF-20, then sprayed VMA057 flat black all over.  Put a few drops of the XF-20 in the black and picked out the armour plates and glare shields.  Assembled PE HUD and used some acetate in between. 


Picked out switches with Citadel chainmail, Red, White, and Yellow.  Drybrushed everything with XF-19, then citadel silver. 


Gave a wash with the PM light, then the dark to tone it down a bit.  Did some detail painting on the seats, first aid kit, oxygen bottle, a bit of grey on the Attitude indicator and around the engine guages. 


Drilled holes in the Pilots instrument panel and installed T handles for the fire handles.  Did the same for the emergency canopy release in the gunners pit. 


Gave the seats an oil wash with raw umber and assembled it:



Removed the molded on lifting hooks from the landing skids and installed PE ones:


Trumpeter 1/35 CH-47 crew and the Academy 1/35 OH-58D kits. 


Used 2 of the Trumpeter figures and one from the Academy kit (there is a crew chief on the ground).  


They did require some modification to fit into the Supercobra, the Academy guy fit fine.

Here are the completed figures:

Installation of the cockpit and fuselage halves together:

Reference Picture:

Started with the kit TOW, then cut away the tubes.  Drilled out the middle spacer piece as well as both ends then glued pastic card sized to fit between the ends and the middle spacer. 

Started on drilling out the rocket pods now so some look like they were fired.

Build up the main rotor.  Here is what she looks like with the rotor, tail rotor and landing skids posed on:


Drilled out some of the rockets from 4 of them and painted them up. 


The stub wings and launchers for the Hellfires and Hydra pods were assembled. 


The launchers, TOWs and Hellfires are glossed and waiting for the application of the excellent Fireball modern US helo missle markings. 


For the 4 hellfires 2 launchers and 2 TOWs that will be decaled it is getting up towards 50 decals. 


Here are the rocket pods:

Plastic kit barrel with the new metal one:

And glued into the gun body:



The rest of the weapons were decalled up uing the fireball modern US Helo missle markings set:


Gun painted:


And all layed out ready to go:



Canopy seams have mostly been sanded.  Stub wings in place. 


In preparation for attaching the canopy completed the grab handles and the links for the helmet sight. 

Seatbelt construction.


The front seater borrowed from the Kiowa kit had them moulded on but the didn't go around his back, the Trumpeter guy had none. 
Seams all sanded and checked.  Canopy on, gun on.  First colour paint on which is a mixture of Vallejo sand and light brown, and the second which is model master acryl red earth. 



First colour:

Second colour:


The rotor has been painted. 


Sand really took a toll on the paint on the cobras all metal rotor system.  Rather than chipping the leading edges were basically sand blasted. 


Did some post shading by adding a little white.  Then used Citadel Boltgun Metal and painted the areas I wanted sandblasted.  Natural hand shake gave it a bit of randomization, but not too much, the sandblasting was fairly uniform over the outer half of the blade.

The streaking is because of direct sunlight, it doesn't look like that to the naked eye and a flat coat should knock it back.

Weathered up the weapons with some drybrushing and Tamiya weathering compounds. 

A little postshading and drybrushing on the model, glossed it and applied the 5 decals. 

Exhaust completed, first it was painted black, then silver. 


Plus 2 coats of citadel mud wash.  After that used the Alclad hot metal colours just each lightly misted on to give it a bit of hot metal looking tonal variation:

The model after a coat of ProModeller dark wash:

I was inspired by some of the others who have building display bases for their models lately so I tried to do this for the first time.  


Found a photo of a Gulf War Supercobra at what I think is a forward operating base:

Used Sand from a local beach for the sand, the Tamiya 1/35 sandbag set for the bags, and Fine Turf Burnt Grass for the grass.  The base itself is an old picture frame:

The weapons have been installed, the rotors are on, almost all net cutters and antenas are on, and some chipping and exhaust staining done, here it is on the base:

Just a bit left to full completion, disco ball, and lights and a few other details.






Scarface 120 claimed the first USMC Supercobra Tank kill during the battle of "Al Elbow" on Jan 30'91.  The dio scene is intended to depict the return of Scarface 120 to a forward operating location where one of the HMLA-367 Huey crew chiefs has just painted on the first tank kill marking on a USMC Helicopter.


  • Kit manufacture: Academy 2193 
  • Scale: 1/35
  • Type: AH-1W Supercobra 
  • Extras used: Verlinden 1795 Cobra update set, Two Bobs 35-001 Whiskeys in the Mix, Tamiya 1/35 Sandbags, Trumpeter 00415 Modern US Helicopter Crew, Crew from Academy Kiowa, Fireball Modern US Helo Missle markings, Home turned brass minigun.
  • Paints and colours used: Sand mix of VMA 027 and VMA 075, Earth Model Master Acryl 4707 Earth Red, various other Tamiya, Vallejo, Citadel and Model Master Acryl colours, Alclad Hot Metal Range, Promodeller Dark, Light, Mud and Black washes, Model Master Flat Varnish, Future, Tamiya weathering powders.
  • Other info: Grandfather made the gun barrels on his lathe for me, Hellfire exhaust drilled out and clear nose cone added, empty Tow Launcher built from plastic card and kit parts of Tow launcher, Rocket pods drilled out to simulate usage.
  • Full build is here :