Heli-Kit News #135, 21-Dec-01

1. Revell have at last released their 1:72 Eurocopter EC-135, #4457 - but it was worth waiting for. This all-new moulding includes a detailed medical interior including a stretcher and a stack of equipment boxes. The fine detail is excellent, as is the fit, the only problem I've noticed is that there are a number of small sink marks in the bright yellow plastic that need to be filled. It is perhaps unfortunate that the doors are all moulded shut, because when the fuselage is assembled the interior is largely invisible; opening up the clamshell doors at the back would probably be easier than trying to open up the cabin rear sliding doors. I also note that in the instructions the position of the steps on the skids is wrong. Several parts on the sprues are not used, notably some alternative seating, indicating that other versions of EC-135 are planned for the future.

Two decal options are included, the first being for a German ADAC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil Club) machine D-HAIT, the second for an Austrian OAMTC (Osterreichische Automobil Motorrad und Touring Club) machine OE-XEB.

A number of the many fine decals on the sheet are not called out in the instructions. Most of these are intended to be applied to the interior, being instrument panels for both the cockpit and the medical equipment, and small items such as 'exit' signs and 'no smoking' symbols. There are four large black stripes (78-81) on the decal sheet that remain a mystery to me.

Detailed pictures of D-HAIT, including the interior, can be seen at Christoph 16, while there are a number of views of OAMTC machines at Helionline.de and at EC-135. Most pictures of the Austrian machines show them equipped with cable cutters top and bottom and conspicuous rear-view mirrors on the pilot's side. These are not included in the kit, nor are the distinctive upturned and elongated ends to the skids.

2. Model Art Decals have now released the decal sheets that were delayed by problems with their printer. They look great now:

#72/039 has markings for the Royal Navy 815 NAS Westland Lynx HAS.3 and HMA.8 (all medium sea grey), and for the Italian Air Force SAR H-19D (aluminium with yellow nose and fuselage band, bordered in black). The options are: Also on this sheet are a number of Mirage IIIC's from the French Air Force (not shown).

#72/041 has markings for three British Whirlwinds and six S-55 & H-19D from the Aeronautique Navale. Also on this sheet are a number of Max Holste Broussards, four from the Aeronautique Navale and three civil examples (not shown).

3. Academy have re-released the 1:35 UH-1C Huey 'Frog' formerly known as MRC kit #BA106, it's now #2196. All the MRC 1:35 helicopters will eventually be re-issued under the Academy label.

4. Rotorcraft have sent some updated news about their forthcoming SAAF Oryx conversion kit, the masters of which were displayed at Scale ModelWorld 2000. Work is now underway on making the moulds.

The Oryx is basically a Puma with the engines, new tail boom, main and tail rotors and horizontal stabilisor of the Super Puma. The conversion is based on the Heller SuperPuma kit.

There will be several versions, with and without the floatation gear, as well as the elint versions which were on show at SAAF'80 last year at AFB Waterkloof. One carries a radar jamming set in the cabin with new bulged doors, the second an external antenna array mounted on the starboard door, plus lots of other new antennae and flare dispensers.

The kits will contain: new tail boom, rotorhead, tail rotor, and floatation gear, plus new cockpit detail including seats, instrument panel, overhead console and a new canopy. In etch and white metal there will be more detail, plus the hoist and a new undercarriage to the correct static position. Maxdecal are working on the decals.

5. Future releases from Czech Master: 6. Trumpeter's revised release list for 2002/2003 includes the following: 7. Although still not officially available from Italeri, more details of their 2002 intentions are leaking out. We now know the following: No Gazelle, no Mojave. It is however noticeable that ex-Esci moulds feature elsewhere in the emerging 2002 list, so perhaps there is still hope that the old UH-1D/H moulds may yet see the light of day again.

8. Dave Roof has posted a questionnaire on the Hyperscale forum (16th Dec, 09:21). This asks what helicopter decals we want Orion to produce. His current list of promises is: Don't forget that a substantial collection of helicopter books, both reference and 'reading' books, is being offered for sale as individual items. If you would like to receive a copy of the list, send an email to Pete Tasker

Thanks to Tim Vereecke and Colin Burgess.