Heli-Kit News #154, 25-Oct-02

1. The new 1:35 Panda UH-1H is, as previously suggested, a near-duplicate of the 1:48 Italeri UH-1D 'Slick'.

The pilot doors are fixed in place, the jump doors are clear plastic that gets painted over and the cargo doors are separate full size doors with the correct window shape in them. The cockpit parts are poorly rendered, just as they were in the 1:48th kit. The main rotor blades are wrong in shape, they have the wider chord of the UH-1N, but that is easily corrected. The tail rotor blades are more like N blades as well, they have shorter length and wider chord. The basic shape is fairly good and the clear parts are crisp although the windshield has pinholes in it where the wipers are to be fixed. In addition, there are several parts that don't belong on a Vietnam era Huey but that help if you want to build a more modern one.

There are panel lines that shouldn't be there in various places along the tail-boom, and they are way too deep and wide. One correspondent says that they look like the Matchbox trench-digger met up with the Airfix mad riveter. They've got big wide, mushy looking trenches all over them, covered liberally with steamship boiler sized rivets.

One last thing, this kit is a UH-1H not a UH-1D. The UH-1D had the airspeed pitot tube on the nose, the kit features the cabin roof mounted pitot of the UH-1H. They tried to fake it by adding parts for the FM nose antennas, which very few UH-1Hs had.

2. The 1:72 Bilek Mi-24D kit (HKN #149) is #969. A selection of excellent photographs of the Czech tiger schemes featured on the decal sheet (as well as a tiger-striped Trabant!) can be found in the Wings & Wheels book "Czech Tigers in Detail".

Another good source is Jaroslav Špacek's new website which has a growing number of helicopter pictures and articles, although only in Czech at the moment

Also due or possibly already available in 1:72 from Bilek are: 3. Pictures of the Trumpeter 1:35 Mi-4M sprues are shown at the website of the Australian importer JB Wholesalers.

Trumpeter will also be releasing another decal variant of their 1:48 Dauphin, this time a civilian Japanese Rescue aircraft, kit #2818

4. RotorCRAFT of South Africa (aka Colin Burgess) will be attending Scale ModelWorld 2002 next month. Colin says he will be bringing the masters for the Oryx, BK-117 and Whirlwind, plus samples of the Wessex Prototype, HAS.3 and HU.5 noses, and anything else I may have by then (maybe the Rooivalk if the sample is finished).

5. Sanger have completed their 1:72 vacform and white metal Mi-10 & Mi-10K kits. Production is under way and they will be ready to go out in about one week's time. Decals are included.

6. HKN has learned of another locally released Italeri special edition. This one was their 1:72 Wessex HU.5 kit #082 with additional decals for the Wessex HC.2, marking the withdrawal of RAF 28 Sqn. from Hong Kong. It must have been released in Hong Kong in association with Dragon soon after the regular Italeri HU.5 kit first appeared in 1997.

On the back of the box there is a full sized photograph of XR522/A flying over Hong Kong instead of the usual HU.5 paint diagrams.

The instructions include an additional page of paint / decal instructions, and there is an additional decal sheet with the 28 Sqn. badge and markings for XR522/A and XT678/H (both of which were subsequently transferred to the Uruguay Navy).

7. Fujimi make a pack of 1:72 and 1:48 JSDF decals, #11061.

Included are crisp white and black kana/kanji scripts for JASDF, JGSDF and JMSDF, with an assortment of numbers and base ID codes, all of which are in black. Compared with the decals from the three Fujimi Japanese KV-107 kits, they show a slightly different typeface and size, but this would be un-noticeable unless you mixed the decals on the same side of a model.

There are enough scripts included to do at least two models from each service branch, and possibly more, so this could be a gift to the 'what-if' community........JMSDF Merlins or JGSDF NH-90's, anyone?

8. The Whirlybird Decals line has the following additions, intended for the Trumpeter Dauphin kits: And the Whirlybits range now includes these new resin conversion sets: In the USA these are available from Linden Hill Imports.

9. Following on from their AH-64A cockpit set, Aires will also release a 1:48 resin AH-64D Longbow cockpit, #4137.

10. Next in Landing Zone's series of diorama bases will be #48009, a Spruance class Destroyer landing deck with tie downs, RAST and chains.

11. Continuing the Merlin theme, Cooper Details will be releasing a resin Merlin HAS.1 update set which will include 'towel-rail' antenna, wing mirrors, cargo door winch, underside lifting gear, extra blade aerials, the fuselage RWR, and the radar under the tail boom.

13. The 'Exotic Helicopter Schemes' book ('Unusual' would be a better translation) mentioned in HKN #153 has 127 pages, and lots of black and white photos, all of which are sepia-toned. The text is only in Russian, including the photo captions.

The book concentrates on multi-rotor designs, the only exception being a short section on the Mil V-7 tip-jet. The first 36 pages cover Bratukhin designs, B-6, Omega, Omega-II through B-11. Then comes the V-7, a further 9 pages. This is followed by 30 pages on the Yak-24, all civilian & military variants. Next comes 4 pages on the H-21/Vertol 44 that was given to the Russians by President Eisenhower. The next section is 25 pages on the Ka-22, and the remainder of the book covers the Mi-12.

All of the sections have a smattering of photos, some common, some I have never seen before. There are 3-view drawings of most of the subjects, although they are of limited use given the small format of the book (10 x 17cm).

Highlights in terms of projects include models of the tandem-rotor alternative designs to the Mi-12, and a three-rotored, six-engined, AirHorse-style design using the nose of an Mi-26. An interesting addition to the library.

There are other books in the same series, covering the Lynx, S-61/Sea King, and AH-1, this time in colour. More details in the next issue of HKN.

Thanks to George Filyagin, Jennings Heilig, Jaroslav Spacek, Geoff Arnold, Tony Morgan, Terry Ashley, Colin Burgess, Chris Miller, Charles Leung and Roger Marriott.