In the early 1980s, the US Army began a program to replace the UH-1, AH-1 and OH-58 helicopters in the scout/reconnaissance role. Known as the LHX (later LX) program, the Army requested proposals for a stealthy copter that could designate targets for the new AH-64 Apache, as well as attacking targets on its own. Boeing & Sikorsky teamed up for one proposal, while Bell Helicopters and McDonell Douglas put up another design. Boeing/Sikorsky eventually won, though the RAH-66 was later canceled.
Jointly released by Testors and Italeri in 1989, the ‘StingBat LHX’ is loosely based on the Bell/McDonell Douglas design, featuring weapons stowage in sponsons and a NOTAR system. The retractable skids and curved, three-bladed rotor is unique to the model though, as is the retractable three barrelled gun.
This is the second LHX I’ve built, having gotten one in 1990 or 1991. Pretty sure I did the olive drab Army chopper, so this time around I wanted to do something different. I picked up a sheet of markings for USMC AH-1Z Cobras, and painted the LHX in the appropriate shades of gray. Marine Cobras appear rather dirty, so I weathered the frame with dark gray around the panel lines and black around the exhausts. One weapons loading door is posed open, while the launch door is open on the other. The gun door is also open, and the turret extended.