I love the classic Monogram 1/48 Cobra. In fact, it is perhaps my favorite kit, and is relatively inexpensive with high quality raised detail, great interior, great weapons and overall good looks. Decals are a different matter however. The kit is basically correct for a US machine circa 1987, pre-NVG capable mods. Careful building, simple to add internal and external details, and an attractive paint scheme makes this a winning kit.

Monogram makes great cockpits, and this one only needs a bit of care to really stand out. I painted overall
black cut with grey, drybrushed most of the panel details and picked in the instrument detail.
I added drops of epoxy to each dial as a lens which really makes it stand out. Additional cockpit details should include wire communications cords, True Details seatbelts and anyting else you care for such as maps.
I did not use the PE seatbelts and elected to paint the molded-in belts.

the cooling tubes to the seats have a grey connector and are connected to the Circuit breaker panel, picked out in white.

The cockpit is a nice fit, but it would help to seal the join from below with white glue to prevent overspra
from getting inside the canopy. Notice that I have a massive amount of lead in the nose. I dont like tailsitters!
The major departure for the Japanese Self Defense Force Cobra is the Debris deflector mounted at the engine inlet. I made this by gluing up .010" strip to the final shape, front and back, and then laying on .010" and .020" sheet plastic. I massaged the plastic to shape and filled seams/pits with Tamiya Putty, Mr. Surfacer and superglue. Then I layed on four strips of stretched sprue, which I sanded nearly flat. Everything was given a good coat of grey and polished out.

Before gluing up the fuselage do a big favor to yourself and sand off the locating pegs. They don't line up right. I also added brass mesh to the engine housing.

I cut apart the canopy, polished it and set it aside to dry for a couple of weeks before installation.

The Cobra has a massive canopy that lets you see everthing, inluding the Helmet Sight System rails that are missing from the canopy top. I made these from wire following drawings I have and installed with epoxy. I also added a car-type PE rearview mirror to the front rigth corner of the canopy and drilled the fuse at the Pilot's left thigh for the temperature probe ( striaight pins are perfect for this). I glued up the fuse with Tamiya glue after adding the brass mesh, and with careful alignment only two spots of putty were needed:
the tip of the nose and forward of the belly ADF antenna.
I then scribed the engine and ammo drum access bay doors.

Buildup is pretty much straightforward from this point out, but I wanted to totally unload my weapons. I did this by cutting away the TOW missile tubes from the vertical arming handle that straps them into the pod. I sanded this out flat on the back. The front and aft tube extensions have been drilled out with the mounting lugs removed. The "boards" which make up the body of the TOW pods need to be filled with strip and sanded out where the extension mounting lugs would have gone. I detailed the pods with solder wire and strip on the bottom. I am also making another kit with only two pods mounted instead of the customary four.

A OOB TOW pod is shown for comparison purposes.

The scheme is from Twobobs Aviation Graphics Foreign User Cobra Sheet. Go here to read my review of these excellent decals.

Check out the Helmet Sight System rails and connecting cord for the helmet link. That detail really stands out!

I applied the decals, applied a thin oil wash, made main rotor tiedowns and added other small details.
I hope you have enjoyed this little trip down Cobra Lane, and look for more in the future!

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