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Agusta A-129

Attack Helicopter

Aviazione dell'Esercito
(Italian Army Aviation)

7° Reggimento “VEGA”
48° Gruppo Squadroni “Pavone”
Casarsa Della Delizia, 1998


This model added to on September 03, 2002

The Agusta Mangusta is the first attack helicopter to be designed and produced wholly in Europe. Preliminary design of the A.129 began in 1978, and the first of four flying prototypes made its initial flight on 11 September 1983.
The A-129 is an all-weather day or night attack, anti-armor, and scout helicopter. It's composite blades and 70% composite airframe are designed to survive 12.7mm hits and have considerable tolerance against 23mm hits.
Mangustas armed with TOW and rockets provided escort to troop-carrying transports in support of KFOR ground troops during the occupation of Kosovo in the summer of 1999.
The tandem cockpit is designed with the pilot seated in the rear raised high over the gunner below for maximum visibility to both crewmen. The Mangusta is fitted with a variety of safety features such as Martin-Baker HACS1 (helicopter armored crashworthy seats) and tailwheel type landing gear designed for ground impacts at vertical velocities up to 15ft (4.6m)/sec.
A variety of offensive armament can be carried by the A.129 on four stub-wing attachment points, the inner pair being stressed for loads up to 300kg. All four pylons can be elevated 3° and depressed 12°. Typical anti-armour weaponry which can be carried includes eight Hughes TOW or Euro-missile HOT missiles.
The kit goes together well the only rough spot at the canopy to fuselage mating. Overall a very easy fast build.
I sanded the molded harnesses off of the seats and made new ones with masking tape. The helmets were carved off of some ESCI soft plastic helicopter figures from a "NATO Pilots and Groundcrew" set. The add on instruments above the instrument shroud were made with stretched sprue bits.

Kit: Italeri # 006

Scale: 1/72
Cost: $9.95 (US) in year 2000. Like most Italeri helicopter kits, an excellent value.
Decals: I used the kit provided decals for 7° Reggimento “VEGA”. Optional markings are provided for Centro Aviazione dell'Esercito - Viterbo, 1998. Decals are thin and printed well.
After Market Parts: None
Review: 3 sprues with approximately 90 parts molded in green. Fine raised rivets are nicely done. Parts are crisply molded with no flash. Canopy is crystal clear. Fit is good on most parts with the exception of the canopy. Filler and very careful sanding is required to smooth out the clear canopy to fuselage seam. Kit assembly is very straight forward and traditional. Interior details are fair but nothing to brag about. Instruments are represented by decals. Cyclics are included. Seats are simplified but do include harnesses molded in. All things considered, this is a reasonably accurate and easy kit to build.
Customizing: I sanded away the molded in seat harnesses and made new ones with masking tape. I carved two appropriately styled helmets off of some ESCI "NATO Pilots and Groundcrew" figures and placed them in the cockpit for an added touch. Both metallic and transparent sequins were used for the various optics and formation lights. Stretched sprue was used for plumbing and electrical runs on weapons and rotor hubs.
Reference: "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Helicopters", 1984

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