USMC AH-1Z Viper

Finally it’s time for some helicopters. We’re going to start with the attack helicopters. The most modern attack helicopter the USMC use is the AH-1Z Viper. The Viper traces its heritage all the way back to the AH-1 Cobra used during the Vietnam War and shares a lot of components (but not its looks) with the UH-1Y Venom. The USMC is still using the older AH-1W Super Cobra, but I want an ultra-modern force and so it’s the latest and greatest.

The colours were a little tricky with this one, it’s a two-tone scheme that is similar to the F/A-18. However the grey on the topside is a little darker and bluer. My reference indicated it was FS35237 and Vallejo has an equivalent colour: Blue Grey Pale (VMC 70905). However, when I painted it next to the base you can barely see the difference, but in the pictures I had found the difference was quite noticeable. I tried to darken with a couple of different greys, but while this darkened the colour it also washed out the blue. However, I had a very dark blue-green on hand and that worked perfectly. The colours I finally settled on are below.

  • Underside FS36375: Light Grey (VMA 71050).
  • Topside FS35237: 20% Dark Sea Blue & 80% Blue Grey Pale (VMC 70898 & VMC 70905).
  • Canopy: 50% Black & 50% German Grey (VMC 70950 & VMC 70995).
  • Rocket Pods: Reflective Green (VMC 70890).

There’s a bit of a lesson here, while it’s wonderful to spend hours searching for the precise colour dictated by the powers that be it’s important to get the look right. If that means ignoring the documents and trusting oneself then so be it.

Here are a couple with the basecoat done. I have four which is enough for the half strike group, but I will add a few more at some point to fill this force out to a full group.

AH1Z-base1AH1Z-base2

AH1Z-base3

All that remains is to apply a wash to bring out the details, and that will be the same as for the other aircraft: AK’s Grey Wash for Kriegsmarine Ships (AK 303).

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