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[Military MOC] AH/MH-6 Little Bird Helicopter


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#1 BrickMonkeyMOCs

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 09:08 AM

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Hello again. I've more or less finished designing in LDraw the AH/MH-6 Little Bird that made a brief appearance in my DPV thread. I'd like to get some feedback from other builders here so that I can incorporate any suggested improvements before hitting BrickLink for parts. Here are some pics (click for bigger images)...

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The idea was to accurately model the real world Little Bird at a compact scale, and make it easy to quickly change between AH-6 (attack) and MH-6 (transport) versions. The pilot, his seat, and the mid-fuselage vertical supports are all built at a half-stud (longitudinal) offset, which was a bit tricky. The weapons and troop-carrying platforms attach by a single stud for easy removal. There is no hinge connection at the top of the cockpit, partly because the part isn't available in the new dark gray, but also because it makes it easier to get the pilot in and out.

I have two options for the weapons layout. Either miniguns plus rocket launchers, or miniguns plus TOW anti-tank missiles. The rocket launchers use minifig binocs (like the UCS AT-ST) but they are a little oversized. Is there a better way of doing 2.75 inch rocket tubes? I'm also a little worried about balance (as it might fall backwards), but I can move the landing skids back half a stud with jumper plates if I need too. Another concern is the dish above the main rotor. I don't have that prop part (2479) to experiment with, so I'm not sure what will attach firmly to the hole above its center. Can anyone tell me what will fit there? I've used 1x1 round plates. Will the base of those fit inside and hold by friction?

I've opted against trying to fit 2 pilots in the front, and I've chosen not to attempt a (more accurate) 5-bladed main rotor. But I'd love to hear any other suggestions for improving this model before I go shopping for the parts to build one.

Edited by SpaceMonkey, 18 April 2015 - 07:45 AM.
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#2 Wouwie

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 03:25 PM

Great model SpaceMonkey. It really resembles the Little Bird well. Keep up the good work! Maybe make a version which is used in combination with the Apache helicopter, which is a remote controlled version of the Little Bird.

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The rocket launchers use minifig binocs (like the UCS AT-ST) but they are a little oversized. Is there a better way of doing 2.75 inch rocket tubes?
For the rocket tubes, you could use the 4L poles hold together with a rubber band.

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Another concern is the dish above the main rotor. I don't have that  prop part (2479) to experiment with, so I'm not sure what will attach  firmly to the hole above its center. Can anyone tell me what will fit  there? I've used 1x1 round plates. Will the base of those fit inside  and hold by friction?
I've used a 4x4 round dish on my model, which you can see here. Maybe that will work on your model too?
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#3 BrickMonkeyMOCs

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 03:54 PM

View PostWouwie, on Nov 3 2009, 12:25 AM, said:

Great model SpaceMonkey. It really resembles the Little Bird well. Keep up the good work! Maybe make a version which is used in combination with the Apache helicopter, which is a remote controlled version of the Little Bird.
Thanks. Do you mean like a rotary wing UAV? That could be fun.

View PostWouwie, on Nov 3 2009, 12:25 AM, said:

For the rocket tubes, you could use the 4L poles hold together with a rubber band.
I'd be concerned that might look a bit too much like a chain gun (though so do the binocs I guess), but it's a good suggestion. I'll look into it.

View PostWouwie, on Nov 3 2009, 12:25 AM, said:

I've used a 4x4 round dish on my model, which you can see here. Maybe that will work on your model too?
I like how you've done the two-part windscreen there, and it looks good in black. You have the same main rotor piece there. How does your dish attach? And is it possible to attach the base of a 1x1 round plate into the opening in the center at the top?
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#4 Wouwie

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 04:11 PM

View PostSpaceMonkey, on Nov 2 2009, 03:54 PM, said:

Thanks. Do you mean like a rotary wing UAV? That could be fun.
I mean something like this, the AH-6X

View PostSpaceMonkey, on Nov 2 2009, 03:54 PM, said:

I'd be concerned that might look a bit too much like a chain gun (though so do the binocs I guess), but it's a good suggestion. I'll look into it.
Now that you mention it....That's true....

View PostSpaceMonkey, on Nov 2 2009, 03:54 PM, said:

I like how you've done the two-part windscreen there, and it looks good in black. You have the same main rotor piece there. How does your dish attach? And is it possible to attach the base of a 1x1 round plate into the opening in the center at the top?

.Thanks! And yes, that's the way it's attached. A 1x1 round plate into the opening, with a 4x4 round dish attached to the 1x1 round plate
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#5 Milan

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 11:47 PM

I like it with the minigun!
You really seem to have a eye for military vessels. Good job. I am looking forward to see this one in real bricks!
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#6 RampantDingo

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 12:15 AM

Looks fantastic, the only thing I could say about it is the tail. For some reason, that piece just doesn't do it for me. Maybe try a brick built rotor?

#7 BrickMonkeyMOCs

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 10:41 AM

View PostWouwie, on Nov 3 2009, 01:11 AM, said:

I mean something like this, the AH-6X

Thanks! And yes, that's the way it's attached. A 1x1 round plate into the opening, with a 4x4 round dish attached to the 1x1 round plate
Thanks for the video link - that was amazing! As a model though I don't see how it would be any different from this model with the pilot removed (unless you're trying to get me to make an Apache too!). And thank you for confirming the attachment of the dish piece. Very helpful. I'd prefer to use an inverted 2x2 dish there, but I can't think of any way to attach one.

View PostMilan, on Nov 3 2009, 08:47 AM, said:

I like it with the minigun!
You really seem to have a eye for military vessels. Good job. I am looking forward to see this one in real bricks!
Me too! Glad you like it. You might be confusing my rocket pods for miniguns though(?). There are miniguns on both gunship versions - they are the bits on the inner pylons with 4-long lightsaber blades and technic friction pins. The bits made with the minifig binocs are supposed to be rocket pods, though they are rather oversized and don't really match any real world weapon. I'm certainly open to any suggestions on how to do better rocket pods.

View PostRampantDingo, on Nov 3 2009, 09:15 AM, said:

Looks fantastic, the only thing I could say about it is the tail. For some reason, that piece just doesn't do it for me. Maybe try a brick built rotor?
That's a good suggestion. I'm not quite sure about how to do a brick built one without it ending up too big or too thick, but I'll see what I can do.
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#8 Wouwie

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 02:25 PM

I've got another idea for the rocket pods: use some 2x2 round bricks with a 2x2 round tile on it with a decal maybe, like on this model from Lego Monster
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#9 BrickMonkeyMOCs

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 05:45 PM

View PostWouwie, on Nov 3 2009, 11:25 PM, said:

I've got another idea for the rocket pods: use some 2x2 round bricks with a 2x2 round tile on it with a decal maybe, like on this model from Lego Monster.
Thanks for the suggestion! As it happens I was playing around with exactly that technique today, but found that it still looks too big on this model to serve as a 2.75in rocket pod. So if it has to be big I think I'd prefer to stick with the binoc-style weapon.

That's quite a helicopter in your linked image though! Lego Monster has some great stuff for sure.

Edited by SpaceMonkey, 03 November 2009 - 05:47 PM.

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#10 Ralph_S

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 08:39 PM

I'm a big fan of military helicopters and have built many of them. A little bird, however, is something I'd only do on a much larger scale. You;ve done a pretty good job, however. It's a nice little helicopter. These things are really quite small, so it is probably wise not to try to fit two crew-members side by side in the front. I also like how you used triple wedges for the sides of the aft fuselage. It really does look like an H-6.

One thing that bugs me, though, is the four-bladed rotor. There are ways of making five-bladed ones, although the rotor hub may end up looking a bit big.Still, it might be worth a try. One possible design is the one I used for my Sea Knight
http://www.flickr.co...57605248635277/


For the missiles you could use something similar to what LEGO monster has done (and I have done many times), but using 1x1 round bricks. You can see a 7-round missile pod on my AH-1W model.  
http://www.flickr.co...ist/2428159238/

Cheers,
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#11 BrickMonkeyMOCs

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 06:09 PM

View PostRalph_S, on Nov 4 2009, 05:39 AM, said:

I'm a big fan of military helicopters and have built many of them. A little bird, however, is something I'd only do on a much larger scale.
Yeah, I wanted this one at minifig scale because my spec ops minifigs are in need of some aerial capability. A Little Bird seemed like a good compact solution. A larger version would sure be a fun build though! Something around model team scale perhaps?

View PostRalph_S, on Nov 4 2009, 05:39 AM, said:

You;ve done a pretty good job, however. It's a nice little helicopter. These things are really quite small, so it is probably wise not to try to fit two crew-members side by side in the front. I also like how you used triple wedges for the sides of the aft fuselage. It really does look like an H-6.
Thanks. I would have liked to get a better transition between the roof and the top of those triple wedges, but the half stud offset of the mid-fuselage pillars and the lateral positioning of the wedges makes it too difficult.

View PostRalph_S, on Nov 4 2009, 05:39 AM, said:

One thing that bugs me, though, is the four-bladed rotor. There are ways of making five-bladed ones, although the rotor hub may end up looking a bit big.Still, it might be worth a try. One possible design is the one I used for my Sea Knight
http://www.flickr.co...57605248635277/
You mean Sea King, right? (You really do have some amazing MOCs there!) It's a good solution, but as you say I think that rotor hub would look a bit bulky on this little H-6. There's also an MD500 Defender I've seen on Brickshelf (rather similar to mine though all I've actually borrowed was his TOW missile design) which achieves a five-rotor hub using hinge plates (he also managed a 2-pilot cockpit though it looks a little cramped). But as I said in the OP, I'm quite comfortable settling for a less complicated 4-rotor hub.

View PostRalph_S, on Nov 4 2009, 05:39 AM, said:

For the missiles you could use something similar to what LEGO monster has done (and I have done many times), but using 1x1 round bricks. You can see a 7-round missile pod on my AH-1W model.  
http://www.flickr.co...ist/2428159238/
Yes, I looked at using 1x1 rounds as well as 2x2 rounds, but found the latter to be too big and the former to be a bit small (especially in comparison with the TOW missiles). They sure look good on your AH-1 though. The custom sticker sure makes it look the part. I might try it again with the 1x1 rounds and re-evaluate.

Thanks for your comments and criticism! Much appreciated.
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#12 Ralph_S

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 06:50 PM

View PostSpaceMonkey, on Nov 5 2009, 07:09 PM, said:

Yeah, I wanted this one at minifig scale because my spec ops minifigs are in need of some aerial capability. A Little Bird seemed like a good compact solution. A larger version would sure be a fun build though! Something around model team scale perhaps?
The cockpit canopy does present a major issue on a larger scale. I built a larger Defender quite a while back roughly to model team scale and used transparent plastic for the windows. It also used the 5-bladed hub design
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It would be fun to rebuild that using a bubble sculpted out of transparent pieces, but I'm not sure it's feasible.

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Thanks. I would have liked to get a better transition between the roof and the top of those triple wedges, but the half stud offset of the mid-fuselage pillars and the lateral positioning of the wedges makes it too difficult.


You mean Sea King, right? (You really do have some amazing MOCs there!) It's a good solution, but as you say I think that rotor hub would look a bit bulky on this little H-6. There's also an MD500 Defender I've seen on Brickshelf (rather similar to mine though all I've actually borrowed was his TOW missile design) which achieves a five-rotor hub using hinge plates (he also managed a 2-pilot cockpit though it looks a little cramped). But as I said in the OP, I'm quite comfortable settling for a less complicated 4-rotor hub.
Damn. I obviously wasn't thinking straight when I was writing that. I do have a Sea Knight as well, but this was a Sea King. As you can see from my picture, the five-bladed hub works reasonably well on my Defender, but I agree that it would probably look too big on a helicopter about twice as small.

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Yes, I looked at using 1x1 rounds as well as 2x2 rounds, but found the latter to be too big and the former to be a bit small (especially in comparison with the TOW missiles). They sure look good on your AH-1 though. The custom sticker sure makes it look the part. I might try it again with the 1x1 rounds and re-evaluate.

Thanks for your comments and criticism! Much appreciated.
You're welcome. As a compromise, you could also try black minifig heads. Their diameter is between that of a 1x1 and a 2x2 round.

Cheers,
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#13 BrickMonkeyMOCs

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 07:33 PM

I've gone with the 1x1 rounds technique (with technic pin connectors as well). Looks great. Thanks. I'll still get parts for the larger binoc-style launchers and TOW tubes as well though, so I can have a selection of different payloads.

That defender looks great! I hadn't seen that one before. I agree that you'd be hard pressed to do a better brick-built windscreen though. I think the transparent plastic looks just fine.

I've ordered the parts for my Little Bird now, and I'll post more pics when they arrive.
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#14 BrickMonkeyMOCs

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 05:55 AM

Parts on the chopper are still about a week away. But here's a preview of the Humvee I'm working on. It's influenced by the Humvees of MrYoder and Tam Antony. I want it to be easily convertible between a regular version and a stripped down roofless and doorless Spec Ops version. Will also have an opening front hood, an engine, and an opening rear hatch.

[pic removed] See thread for completed MOC here.

Edited by SpaceMonkey, 17 November 2009 - 05:00 PM.

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#15 Milan

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 03:47 PM

View PostSpaceMonkey, on Nov 9 2009, 06:55 AM, said:

Parts on the chopper are still about a week away. But here's a preview of the Humvee I'm working on. It's influenced by the Humvees of MrYoder and Tam Antony. I want it to be easily convertible between a regular version and a stripped down roofless and doorless Spec Ops version. Will also have an opening front hood, an engine, and an opening rear hatch.

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I saw this on BS this morning.
Looking forward to finish it.
Looking good.
I like the tires very much!
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#16 BrickMonkeyMOCs

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 06:20 AM

Grrr! Wouwie, you've let me down!

View PostSpaceMonkey, on Nov 2 2009, 06:08 PM, said:

Another concern is the dish above the main rotor. I don't have that prop part (2479) to experiment with, so I'm not sure what will attach firmly to the hole above its center. Can anyone tell me what will fit there? I've used 1x1 round plates. Will the base of those fit inside and hold by friction?

View PostWouwie, on Nov 3 2009, 12:25 AM, said:

I've used a 4x4 round dish on my model, which you can see here. Maybe that will work on your model too?

View PostSpaceMonkey, on Nov 3 2009, 12:54 AM, said:

You have the same main rotor piece there. How does your dish attach? And is it possible to attach the base of a 1x1 round plate into the opening in the center at the top?

View PostWouwie, on Nov 3 2009, 01:11 AM, said:

And yes, that's the way it's attached. A 1x1 round plate into the opening, with a 4x4 round dish attached to the 1x1 round plate
I have the part now, and the base of a 1x1 round plate will NOT fit into the top of the 2479 rotor hub! Your 3x3 dish must be attached by the outside edges of the dish gripping the studs on top of the actual rotors.

But I've definitely seen 2x2 dishes attached above these rotor hubs before (on Brickshelf which I now can't check!). Can someone help me out by showing me how it can be done?

Edit: I've found one possible solution, though it's not entirely ideal - using an inverted 2x2 dish (2654 instead of 4740) attached to an upside-down control lever threaded through a technic 1/2 bush into the center of the rotor hub. It grips well enough not to fall out when tipped upside down but will still wiggle out of alignment if pushed. Anyone know how to do it better?

Edited by SpaceMonkey, 30 November 2009 - 07:22 AM.

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#17 Wouwie

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 08:31 AM

It's always good to know when your skills are recognized. :grin:
It is attached by a 1x1 round plate, but also and 1x1 square plate in the center.  :wink:
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#18 BrickMonkeyMOCs

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 08:39 AM

View PostWouwie, on Nov 30 2009, 05:31 PM, said:

It's always good to know when your skills are recognized. :grin:
It is attached by a 1x1 round plate, but also and 1x1 square plate in the center.  :wink:
But there's nothing for the 1x1 square plate to attach to! There's no stud there! Are you saying your dish is not attached via the outer rim of the dish itself? i.e. Would yours still attach if you used a 2x2 dish instead of the 3x3 one? Can you maybe post an exploded image showing how yours works? I can't for the life of me find any way of attaching anything directly to the center top of the rotor hub.

Edited by SpaceMonkey, 30 November 2009 - 08:40 AM.

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#19 Wouwie

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 09:17 AM

View PostSpaceMonkey, on Nov 30 2009, 08:39 AM, said:

But there's nothing for the 1x1 square plate to attach to! There's no stud there! Are you saying your dish is not attached via the outer rim of the dish itself? i.e. Would yours still attach if you used a 2x2 dish instead of the 3x3 one? Can you maybe post an exploded image showing how yours works? I can't for the life of me find any way of attaching anything directly to the center top of the rotor hub.
I think it would still be attached if it was a 2x2 dish, but then there would be a big gap between the dish en the rotors itself. On my helicopter rotor, there is a 1x3 plate in the middle, with 2 1x1 plates on the sides of the 1x3, with in the center of the 1x3 the 1x1 round plate with the dish. I hope you understand it now. I wish I could make a picture but I can't, sorry. :sceptic:
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#20 BrickMonkeyMOCs

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 09:21 AM

View PostWouwie, on Nov 30 2009, 06:17 PM, said:

I think it would still be attached if it was a 2x2 dish, but then there would be a big gap between the dish en the rotors itself. On my helicopter rotor, there is a 1x3 plate in the middle, with 2 1x1 plates on the sides of the 1x3, with in the center of the 1x3 the 1x1 round plate with the dish. I hope you understand it now. I wish I could make a picture but I can't, sorry. :sceptic:
Okay, I've got it now. You don't have anything attaching to the top center of the rotor hub, but rather have a 1x3 plate which spans the center gap attaching to the studs on either side. Thanks for the clarification. That's not going to work for me though, so I may have to stick with the inverted control lever method.

Unless anyone else knows how I can do this?
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#21 Wouwie

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 10:01 AM

View PostSpaceMonkey, on Nov 30 2009, 09:21 AM, said:

Okay, I've got it now. You don't have anything attaching to the top center of the rotor hub, but rather have a 1x3 plate which spans the center gap attaching to the studs on either side. Thanks for the clarification. That's not going to work for me though, so I may have to stick with the inverted control lever method.
That's the way I done it. Why won't that work for your version? To big?
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#22 BrickMonkeyMOCs

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 10:36 AM

View PostWouwie, on Nov 30 2009, 07:01 PM, said:

That's the way I done it. Why won't that work for your version? To big?
I'd just prefer not to have my rotors two plates thick.
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#23 Wouwie

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 10:48 AM

View PostSpaceMonkey, on Nov 30 2009, 10:36 AM, said:

I'd just prefer not to have my rotors two plates thick.
They don't need to be 2 plates thick, they are 2 plates thick on my version, but that's because the rotors are 2 separate plates, instead of 1, so they need to be connected by another plate.
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#24 BrickMonkeyMOCs

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 10:58 AM

View PostWouwie, on Nov 30 2009, 07:48 PM, said:

They don't need to be 2 plates thick, they are 2 plates thick on my version, but that's because the rotors are 2 separate plates, instead of 1, so they need to be connected by another plate.
It would have to be two plates thick at least at the center of the hub. Or otherwise, if just one plate thick, the main rotors would only connect by a single stud, which would be too flimsy.

The control stick method seems to work okay, and is probably the best solution I'm going to get. But I'm open to any other suggestions if anyone knows of a better technique.

Edit: I've changed my mind. That control stick method puts the dish higher than I'd like it. So instead I've attached the dish to an upside down 1x1 plate which sits unattached in the hole directly above the rotor. It means that it will fall off if the model is turned upside down, but I can live with that in order to achieve the correct look. I'd still prefer a method for attaching it, but I don't see how it could be done, short of cheating with glue or something similar.

Edited by SpaceMonkey, 30 November 2009 - 01:55 PM.

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#25 BrickMonkeyMOCs

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 02:46 PM

I got my final parts order yesterday, so here are pics of the completed models:

LINK TO SET

There were a few minor issues to deal with once I had actual (as opposed to virtual) parts to work with. As discussed above, the dish above the main rotor now just sits in place. And it turns out that the tail rotor piece won't attach via a regular technic pin, so I had to improvise and use a 1x1 round plate instead (which works although the tail rotor doesn't spin). On the plus side, I added flex hoses as ammo feeds for the miniguns, and also picked up some string parts to use as deployment ropes.

Edited by SpaceMonkey, 18 April 2015 - 07:40 AM.

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