The Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior is an armed reconnaissance helicopter used by the US Army.
I started building a Kiowa Warrior more than a year ago, on the scale I use for most of my helicopters and aircraft, 1/36. I didn't have much luck with it. The forward fuselage was only five studs wide, the canopy frame looked too thick, as did the landing gear. I scrapped it.
Building my SH-14D Lynx a while ago to a scale of 1/22 as well as some of the US Army vehicles made me revisit the idea to build a Kiowa, but now built to this larger scale as well. The Kiowa is a military development of the famous Bell Jetranger, which is still evident from the shape of the fuselage. The Kiowa Warrior was developed to complement the AH-64A Apache. The mast-mounted sight enabled the helicopter to detect targets at a long distance, with the helicopter itself remaining hidden from view behind trees, for instance, and could guide Apaches or their Hellfire missiles to the targets it found. Operations with armed versions of the Kiowa developed for use in the 'tanker war' against the Iranian Navy in the Persian Gulf in 1988 were so successful that the army decided to upgrade all Kiowa Warriors, allowing them to carry their own weapons on two stub pylons. My model is fitted with two Hellfires and a missile pod
One of the most difficult issues I faced when building this helicopter was getting the shape of the cockpit windows and the chin bubbles right. I have often used transparent non-LEGO plastic for this sort of thing, but I wanted a purist solution. Unfortunately LEGO don't make windscreens that fit, so instead I decided to sculpt the shape using transparent slopes, plates, tiles and jumper plates. Expensive and difficult, but well worth it IMO.
Another tricky bit was the mast-mounted sight. At first I looked at using a 'Bram sphere'. Looking at various spheres with 2x2x2 stud centres I realised that I might be able to use interlocking slopes instead of plates. The sphere is held together by a 2x4 plate on the front, the 2x2 round plate at the bottom and a few T-pieces that hold together the Daleks/ Travis bricks inside.
I'm happy that after more than a year I finally have my Kiowa. I hope you'll like it too.
Edited by Rufus, 02 July 2011 - 01:43 PM.