ARAH Dragonfly XH-1

The Dragonfly XH-1 was one of my all-time favorite toys. I saved up about three weeks' allowance and bought it shortly after it was released in 1983. Sadly, this is not the same helicopter - mine survived the many backyard battles, but was in such poor condition that I had to replace it. This one got a completely new paint job. I used the same paint as I used on my Wolverine (Krylon's Hosta Leaf). It was reasonably close to the original, but the color just 'popped' a little more. To get the details just the way I wanted them, I spent a lot of time searching the Internet for various images of the AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter, which served as the original inspiration for the Dragonfly.

With regard to the missiles - the blueprints for the Dragonfly indicate that the missiles are Sidewinders. Although the AIM-9 Sidewinder can be carried by some helicopters, it is an air-to-air missile. Helicopter gunships, like the AH-1 Cobra, are frequently used for SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defense) operations. This means that they are assigned to take out radar and anti-aircraft sites to clear the way for fixed-wing aircraft. So I decided that the AGM-122 Sidearm, an anti-radar air-to-ground missile, would be way more practical. The Sidearm is no longer in service with the U.S. military, but it shared a common body style with the Sidewinder, so it was an easy thing to re-paint the existing Sidewinders in the Sidearm's color scheme. According to the blueprints, the fat, stubby missiles were an HE (High Explosive) variant of the Sidewinder. I could find no real world examples of anything that looked similar, so I borrowed the approximately color scheme from the J.A.G.M. (Joint Air-to-Ground Missile).

The rotor was repainted with a dark gunmetal color. The chin turret was painted to match the rest of the airframe. The guns themselves were painted steel. The engines were painted in intricate detail, despite the fact that I will probably never display the helicopter with the engine covers off. The decals were made by Ruben Jiminez of Rattler Repros.

The only thing that kind of bums me out about this whole thing is that the 25th Anniversary Wild Bill and Airborne figures don't really fit into the cockpit. But in the end, that's okay because I tend to always display my pilots and drivers outside of their respective vehicles so that they can be seen.

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