Heli-Kit News #91, 29-May-00

1. HKN has received review samples of a number of the recent releases from The Aviation Workshop / Hawkeye Models Australia:

#AVW-HD07 is a set of 1:72 decals for the UH-1H of the RNZAF, No.3 Sqn. markings for two paint schemes are provided, the 'lizard' scheme of forest green and olive drab with normal insignia and markings, and the modern low-visibility scheme of all-over forest green. As well as the roundels, serials (13 different ones), and titles, both schemes are provided with No.3 Squadron's 'kneeling Maori' insignia for the tail-fin, and the Squadron badge for the cockpit doors. The markings given for the 'lizard' scheme would also be correct for the RNZAF all-over orange Antarctic scheme. The decals themselves look to be sharp and cleanly printed, but remember they will need a coat of varnish before being cut from sheet. I hope ESCI really are going to re-release their UH-1D/H this year, because I really want to make the Antarctic one.

#AVW-H02 is a 1:72 conversion set to make the Australian Army Aviation Corps 1st Aviation Regt. Bell JetRanger from the Italeri kit #195. The set consists of a sheet of decals comprising no fewer than 21 different serials with low-visibility kangaroos and titles, plus a pair of 'high' skids made from four pieces of soldered or brazed brass rod. I understand that the skids are also available in resin, but I think the brass will be preferable once I have adjusted the symmetry slightly. The paint scheme illustrated in the instructions is a three-colour camoflage of tan, olive drab, and black.

#AVW-H01 is a conversion set to make a 1:72 RNZN SH-2F Seasprite from the excellent Airfix kit #3041. The decals give you markings for three different low-visibility aircraft, all medium grey, and you also get a pair of high-quality fuel tanks, each moulded in two parts in a fine and glossy white resin.

#AVW-AC07 is set of 1:72 resin Hover Infra-Red Supressor Subsystem (HIRSS) exhaust parts suitable for Hasegawa and Fujimi Black Hawk and Seahawk kits. You get 10 resin pieces and some lengths of square-section plastic rod from which the surface ribs are to be constructed, and again the castings are of good quality. The Italeri Night Hawk #190 comes with HIRSS parts in the kit, but these have less internal detail.

2. The 39th Shizuoka Hobby Show in Japan produced no helicopter-related news except that Doyusha have released two 1:144 kits; #DTM-07 is an AH-64D Longbow, and #DTM-08 is an RAH-66 Comanche. These may both be original moulds because as far as I know there is no other kit of the Comanche in this scale. They are available from Hobbylink Japan.

3. Aztec Decals from Mexico have now released Part 2 of their Ecuador and Peru sheets. 4. The Italeri AB.204 and H-21 Gunship kits are now available in the UK at long last. Following the critical comments about the AB.204 #1201 in last week's issue of HKN, I have been having a long, hard look at all the AB.204 data and pictures that I can find. This has only served to confuse me even further; it seems that Agusta built 204's in a wide variety of different tail-boom and main rotor configurations, so the parts provided in the kit could yet prove correct in some instances. When making any particular version of this kit you need to check your references VERY carefully.

5. Hobbycraft's re-issue of their 1:72 H-21, #2304, comes with decals for the US Army in Vietnam, 1963; the RCAF, 1960; and the Congolese Air Force, 1965.

6. Unicraft are threatening to release a kit of the TsAGI 11-EA, scale unknown. This curious machine had a small forward-facing anti-torque 'rotor' at each wing tip and direct drive to the main rotor - which had three large blades and three smaller ones, as well as a propellor on the nose. The problems of sharing the power between the propellor and the rotors and the attentions of Josef Stalin ensured that this machine never flew, though it seems to have eventually led to the development of the Bratukhin Omega series.

7. I haven't yet seen the new 1:72 Mach 2 kit of the SE.313 Alouette II, but if the improvement in their box art is matched by an improvement in the quality of the contents, then it might yet make a serious competitor for the Xtratech kit. Review wanted.

Thanks to Maarten Schönfeld & Gary Madgwick.