Build log of the building of a Bell AH-1 Tow Cobra
using Align Trex 500 Pro FBL mechanics
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         The Bell AH-1 Cobra in all it's glory

The Bell AH-1 Tow Cobra showing off it's impressive capabilities

I have been asked to build a scale helicopter that I have always wanted to build, but have never got around to doing so for myself.  The helicopter in question is the Bell AH-1 Cobra, often called the Tow Cobra because  it has the ability to mount and fire Tow missiles, which are wire guided and very accurate indeed.  It also mounts many other types of munitions, some of which can be seen quite clearly in the photo above.  One of the most famous weapons carried is the Gatling Gun, which is a rotating  multi barrelled weapon that can deliver a startlingly rapid rate of totally lethal fire.

The task I have ahead of me is to use the Align AH-1 fuselage, provide an accurate and working lighting system, and fit the good old faithful Align (Trex) 500 mechanics. In this case we have chosen the 500 ESP combo with FBL (Flybarless Head.) and the Align 3GX controller, as shown below.

By using the 500 FBL we do of course get ourselves a "scale" 2 bladed head, so we have to throw away a perfectly good flybarred head away and buy a special scale 2 blade head.  As most of us know now, these flybarless heads do require some help to make the helicopter fly correctly, and this is achieved by using one of the many 3 gyro control/phasing electronic gizmos that are available on the market today.  As we are using an Align fuselage and Align helicopter, it seemed only reasonable to stick with the Align 3GX system, especially as it comes as part of the full combo we purchase for this project.

For the lighting, we have chosen a system from the US called DELight. This is a clever bit of electronics that is more advanced than the normal black box with various different LED's already connected to it.  DELight is of course a black box, but it not only lets you connect as many LED's as you like to it (within reason anyway), but best of all, it lets you program each of the 8 channels provided separately, and each channel can power different sequences of on/off/flash/slow build-fade/permanent on/off settings.  This is achieved using special software, and you can even save each set of lighting designs and then upload them quickly and easily to the control unit at any time to change the lighting on the helicopter.

 

Well, the Align fuselage has arrived, in a box almost as tall as me (well nearly 5 feet long) with a very nice picture of the completed model on the outside of the box.  No time to waste, took the top off the box and peered inside.  The first impression was how long the actual fuselage really is.  Then you find all the other bits all very neatly partitioned off and wrapped to protect them.

And here it is in all it's glory, straight out of the box...

 

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