Who doesn’t remember Airwolf? This show is everything good about the 80’s wrapped up into one full hour every weeknight! Highlights from the show include: the spy game, technology, the Communist threat, and, of course, one sleek, futuristic aircraft. Using a Bell 222, the producers of Airwolf designed a supersonic helicopter complete with enough weapons to take down an army, as well as every electronic gizmo. But this review isn’t about the show…so let’s get onto the kit, shall we?
At first glance, the kit is a very cleanly cast. Everything is chock full of wonderful detail and very little flash. Included are two versions of the fuselage – clear and black. I will touch on these later, but let’s just say to throw the clear one away, it has no use. Additionally, the kit comes with a stand featuring 3 points of articulation…I loved the stand so much that I have asked Aoshima to release them separately.
There are many different configurations that you can chose with the kit: gear up or down, side guns extended or retracted, as well as the underside cannon on or off. What I found very neat about the landing gear portion is that the gear itself fits into rubber bushings, so you can remove the gear at any time and place the gear doors on (also made to fit into the bushings).
The only drawback that I noticed seems to be with the fuselage seam. Right down the middle and ugly...plain ugly. Aside from the masking, this part of the kit took the most work to make right. Perhaps Aoshima should perform a little QC or post-clean on these seams to make them fit a bit better. Most of the windows were friction fit and required little adhesive as well.
Lastly, there were a few inaccuracies that I noticed with the main rotor shaft, but unless you are panting for a hyper-accurate replica, it’s really of no concern.
This build, start to finish, took me 7 days. I will say a few of the comments I will make could be attributed to the rush build, but some were just minor wants. Overall, the kit is gorgeous and assembled fairly cleanly.
The interior itself is GORGEOUS! However, there is no way to see it once assembled. I decided to omit most of the decals, as they were just wasted effort. The clamshell nature of the interior prohibits anyone from seeing in there. This is why I said the clear body was useless earlier. I find this very sad, as there is so much to see in there.
As previously mentioned, the seam down the middle was a major challenge. Sanding the center windshield support without scraping the windshield itself was hard to accomplish, as was taking care not to destroy too many of the raised rivets found all over the surface of the model.
Another point of contention during construction was the insanely complex masking that had to be done. Airwolf has a very cool scheme of white and black, but making this scheme fit to the sidepods was maddening. Not being very good with masking, I did the best I could achieve. Perhaps in another release, they could offer some masks.
My fondness for this helicopter went a long way toward making it an enjoyable build. I don’t know how many times I found myself humming the theme song while working. I would love to see more of these sorts of kits in the future. I felt the biggest flaw in the kit (interior) was unavoidable, really. Even on the show, it was very hard to see back into the weapons officer portion of the craft.
Major thanks to Dragon Models USA and IPMS-USA for the opportunity to review this kit.