AS 532 U2 Cougar
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Cougar model in 1/32 scale Matchbox / Revell Puma Helicopter Conversion by Meindert de Vreeze
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1/72 Build....

Cougar model in 1/32 scale Matchbox / Revell Puma Helicopter Conversion 

The Eurocopter AS 532 U2 Cougar Mk II is operated by the Dutch Air Force [KLu] on behalf on the Dutch Air Mobile Army Brigade. It seemed very nice to have a large 1/32 model of this helicopter in the collection and as Matchbox issued a 1/32 Puma kit (later improved and issued by Revell), a conversion project was started.
But first let's look at a brief background of this chopper.

The Eurocopter Cougar AS 532 helicopter is derived from the Super Puma and in fact the Puma helicopter developed by Aerospatiale and Westland emerging the mid nineteen-sixties. The original Puma helicopter designated SA 330 was a tactical transport helicopter and the first production Puma flew in 1968. It was and still is used by many air forces and by civil operators. It has a crew of 2 pilots and a navigator and a cabin for maximum of 16-20 troops or passengers. The Puma has a maximum take off weight of  6400 kg with two Turbomeca Turmo engines. The rotor has a diameter of 15 meters and its overall length with rotors turning is 18.15 m. Fuselage length is 14.06 m and its maximum speed about 280 km/hour at sealevel.

The Super Puma twin turbine medium lift helicopter was extensively modified from the original Puma. The Super Puma AS 332 was a longer and upgraded version of the Puma, the type being continually improved and enlarged. It had a larger cabin and more powerfull engines. 

The latest military variant of the Super Puma is called the Cougar. It has even more modifications as compared to the Super Puma. First flight of the Cougar was in Februari 1987. The new European Eurocopter organisation is now the manufacturer. 

The variant AS 532 U2 Cougar Mk II is an unarmed tactical military transport helicopter and it is also used by the Royal Netherlands Air Force on behalf on the Air Mobile Army Brigade. It is even longer than the Super Puma as the fairing between the aft cabin and tailboom is a bit longer and made of composites. The latest Cougars got an improved rotor system with larger diameter blades and a new rotorhead that incorporates some lessons learned from the NH90 helicopter currently being developed (a never ending project....) . It also has a small weather radar in the longer nose. 
The Cougar landing gear was also changed with two single larger rear wheels and twin nose wheels. Powerplant of the AS 532 U2 is the Turbomeca Makila 1A2 with max 2100 shp for 30 seconds emergency power and a normal max power of 1657 shp. 
The Cougar cabin can accommodate various lay-outs such as folding seats for up to 28 troops, 12 stretchers etc. The latest Cougar helicopters also have EFIS/IFDS cockpit displays and an automatic flight control system. 

Eurocopter  AS 532 U2 Cougar technical data:
Main rotor : diameter  16.20 m , 4 blades with curved tips  (diameter 0.60 m more than the Super Puma)
Tailrotor: diameter 3.15 m, 4 blades 
Wheel track : 3.00 m
Cruising speed about max 277 km/hour;
Fuselage modifications: cabin plug with a 0.76 m forward section as compared to normal Puma with also new longer radarnose; rear section is quite different as compared to Super Puma with new composite fairing and shorter tailboom ; Overall, the AS 532 U2 fuselage length from forward radarnose to atmost tailtip (exclusive rotors) is  16.27 m  (50,8 cm in 1/32 scale  or  22.6 cm in 1/72 scale ).

The drawing shows the correct measurements for a AS 532 U2 Cougar. 
  (Click here for a very large drawing)

Note for 1/72 builders: the 1/72 Italeri/Revell kit is fine for a Super Puma and can be used as a basis for a AS 532 Cougar with the exception of the rear composite fairing; 
for a Cougar as compared to a Super Puma the rear fuselage cone fairing even longer and has a "straight" different shape, being  47 cm longer (= 0.65 cm in 1/72 scale. So the Italeri kit's fuselage fairing cone should be converted for a Cougar. )


The kit in 1/32 scale

Matchbox (owned by Lesney) issued a large model in 1/32 of the SA 330 Puma in 1980. Kit number was PK-507. It was a very nice kit and at the time quite impressive with many parts including engines. It has decals for no less than 4 liveries including RAF and the company Puma demonstrator.

The kit parts are basic but usable for the conversion and it was at the time one of finest kits issued by Matchbox.

Later, Revell obtained the Matchbox moulds and issued in 1993 the Puma as kit 
#04499 with some improvements to the original Matchbox kit. It has additional new sprues with parts for the interior, much better pilot seats, intake filters and various other improvements.

It came with a large decal sheet comprising a spectacular Tigermeet scheme from a RAF Puma. 

Revell also later issued another update on the Puma kit. Kit #04412 has again some added some sprues with extra parts enabling the modelling of a German BGS ( Bundes Grenz Schutz) "border patrol" Puma, with larger side sponsons/ fairings and a radar nose protruding antenna. 

Extra BGS parts & decals; the kit has also the parts of the Revell kit #04499.

The 1/32 scale conversion project for the Dutch AS 532 Cougar can use either of these Puma kits. It is noted that any of the Revell kits are recommended as you get some finer updated parts and the intake filters. 

To extend the fuselage and rotor blade diameter however, two Puma kits are required to save some work. I obtained an old Matchbox Puma and a newer Revell #04499 kit to be used in the conversion Cougar project.

Model Made
The Royal Netherlands AF Cougar can be made as in model in various configurations.
It is flown with two types of main gear interchangeable sponsons: a smaller type and a larger type (note that the larger one is very different than the ones in the BGS kit). 
Also, various engine exhaust configurations are seen with sometimes a JDD, jet diffusion devices which is in fact a infrared protection fairing. There are also various other changes, so scratch modelling will be required any way. 

It was decided to make a Dutch Cougar as flown during flying qualification tests from Royal Netherlands Navy assault/ transport ship Hr.Ms. Rotterdam in 2005. 
The test helicoper was flown with:
- large sponsons
- JDD engine exhaust fairings
- water tank and test equipment inside cabin
- small test instrument on nose

Also, a lot of folding blade test were done on deck to check handling and behaviour. This is an interesting setting, and for me as a modeller: it would save a lot of space later on in the model display cabinet! 

   a real Cougar on deck

It is noted first that a description to all the bits and pieces regarding the conversion is nearly impossible. Many many parts were made based on pictures, drawings, estimates and a lot of scratch building. 
About 50% of the parts could be used in some way of the Puma kits, the rest was scratch. This modelling report can only show some items. But enjoy!

Fuselage Conversion
First, the fuselage had to be lengthened for the Cougar conversion. Measuring the overall fuselage is quite complex. The main dimension to keep in mind is the overall length from nose to tail tip. (see also the drawing on page [1] ). See also page [3] as the tailfin chord is also a bit larger.

Besides the lengthening, the Dutch Cougar has different windows. Cutting out the various windows and giving them the correct size should now be done and is obviously important. The dimensions of the various windows were determined from the drawing and checking also with the 1/72 Italeri kit. Filing, sanding and cutting was now done at the various fuselage parts. The various windows have raised edges. These were made with metal wire. 

(The windows were not fitted at this stage; the windows are made from transparant acetate sheet, the various windows cut to size. This is quite a tedious job. They also got a coat of Johnson Future to give some more glass effect on the windows ). 

The original Puma fuselage part is seen in green (upper), at the lower in white with 2 extra openings made for additional windows, with stretch sections for the Cougar in black. 

"Left overs" after cutting... 

Also, the floor seen right is the extended floor using two floors from 2 kits. 

The extened fuselage was now first constructed. As there are two large side doors, adding all the internal details within the cabin is not required at this stage. 
The extended floor was added, and also a roof added in the upper cabin from card. Also some details at the fuselage cabin sides were added made from plastic strip. 

The Cougar has a different and longer rear cone at the rear fuselage as compared to the (Super) Puma. It is the fairing towards the tail rotor boom that needs another extension to make the composite fairing typical for the later Cougar AS 532 variants. Some Puma parts were used with white plasticcard and sprue for strength (see page 1 for dimensions). 

Milliput was required to get a smooth straight cone shape. A lot of work was needed here. The cone shape is rather straight tapered. 


The larger window situated in the cone made things difficult and required some extra plastic strips glued on and sanded in shape. 



Most of the AS 532 Cougars also have an added fairing with a hatch at the lower side of the cone. So does the Dutch Cougar. This was made from straight card.

Here, the glued on tail boom can be seen. Internally plastic strip and rod were used to get the necessary strength. Also, an additional small box can be seen added to the side. 

Nose cone
The longer radar nose was moulded from Milliput. The clear cockpit windows were cut off and are to be added later on after the basic model has been correctly shaped. 
The lower cockpit section can be seen here (after main fuselage assembly) with added fairings and various stubs. Quite some work is needed here to get a smooth result.   
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Back to 1/32 models....
- Janes All the World Aircraft, 1999

- Italeri 1/72 kit #096 of the AS-532 Cougar (1999)

- IPMS Nederland Cougar Walk Around...  

- IPMS Nederland NedMil Cougar information pages...

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Created this page
November 6, 2005