Heli-Kit News #161, 13-Feb-03

1. Cobra Company's 1:35 AH-1W NTS (Night Targeting System) resin conversion #35009 for the Academy/MRC/Italeri kit has now been released.

For the interior you get:

And for the exterior:

The instructions give a good idea of where everything goes, with some monochrome photographs (by Randy Smith) added for clarification. There are so many publications with colour photos available for further reference that there should be no trouble getting everything exactly placed and painted.

I have a slight reservation about the shape of the oil cooler in comparison with the one shown in the photograph in the instructions, but there is a suggestion that there may be more than one pattern fitted to NTS modified aircraft. In any case the part can easily be given a more curved profile with careful sanding if you decide to alter it.

If you got your order in very early you might be missing a couple of parts. Cobra Company say: "Sorry folks, the first 22 sets have an omission on the page one instructions pertaining to the assembly of seats. There are only two of part #18 included in the kit, two extra must be cut from card stock". These are head-protection armour, and are indeed very easily duplicated from plastic card, so this is not a problem.

Overall the mouldings (a total of 45 separate parts) are impressive in both detail and quality (only one air bubble noticed in the entire set, on the tip of it’s nose!), and are highly recommended.

Note that the recent decal sheet #35001 from Twobobs Aviation Graphics includes markings appropriate for several different NTS modified Cobras.

2. One of our readers has bought Eduard's recently released AH-1W/T Super Cobra Armament set #32091 (see HKN #159). He comments: "It says 'Armament Set' but all that's included is photo-etch to detail (build) two tow missile lauchers (four missiles). It looks like they will be good looking launchers but that is all that's there - enough for one side and that's it. Plus it wouldn't take much effort to detail the MRC launchers with scratch bits."

3. It was in 1998 that HKN first started hearing rumours that the Canadian company Leading Edge Models were planning H-34 (and CH-135) decals, so it's very pleasing that they have now released their first helicopter markings, 'RCAF / CAF H-21 and H-34' #72.072.

The RCAF purchased six Piasecki H-21A (9610 to 9615) in 1954, and nine H-21B (9636 to 9644), these were re-designated CH-125 in 1968. They were used in support of the Mid-Canada radar line and with Rescue units such as 102 KU/424 Sqn. and 111 KU/440 Sqn. until they were retired in 1971/2.

There were also some Vertol H-44A variants (9591 to 9596), some of which had faired & spatted undercarriage as in Italeri #007 and Revell #4447, and at least one (6591) was photographed with external tanks as provided in Italeri #1203. There are no markings provided specifically for these H-44’s, although it appears that everything is there except the necessary serials, so they too could easily be built, if you can find the references.

The H-21A had on the port side a cabin door with a rounded top, and three round windows. The end plates were trapezoidal. The H-21B had on the port-side a cabin door with a square top and rounded corners, and four round windows. The end plates were parallelogram shaped. Both patterns of end-plate are included in all versions of the Italeri/Revell kit, but none have the rounded-top door – though this is easily modified.

On the Leading Edge decal sheet we have: All have RESCUE markings (but note that you can't make the last 'bi-lingual' option because there is no 'Sauvetage' decal included, no great loss unless you are ardently Québécois). The white bands and flashes are provided as decals, as is a spare Piasecki logo. There are enough decals in the set to make three separate models, one in each of the three basic colour schemes.

Canada was the second ‘foreign’ user of the H-34 (after France), operating six (9630-9635) between 1955 and 1972, making them almost exact contemporaries of the H-21’s. All six were H-34A variants with the original ‘bent-leg’ style of undercarriage (although Len Lundh in his excellent Schiffer Publications H-34 book (refer to this for RCAF H-34 operational history) states that 9632 was subsequently converted to ‘v-leg’ configuration.

Because of the undercarriage, Italeri #066 and #6803 and Tamiya #60736 are appropriate, whereas Revell #4424 is not, although they are all the same basic tooling. Leading Edge give us: As with the H-21, the various cheat-lines, bands and flashes are provided as decals. There are enough decals in the set to make two separate models, one with a white band and one with a flash. The decal printing appears to be of the finest quality, and perfectly colour aligned. The instruction sheets are clear and unambiguous, with suggested paint matches and rotor colour details.

Leading Edge have asked me to pass on their recommendation that all the larger decals and cheatlines are dipped in hot water, as this helps the decal itself to stretch along with the expansion of the wetted paper backing.

Later on in 2003 Leading Edge plan for us to "build a herd of Hueys". The contents of these sheets have not yet been finalised, but they will be available in both 1:72 and 1:48. The initial promotional artwork shows CH-135 (UH-1N / Bell 212) and/or CH-146 Griffon (Bell 412) types in the following schemes: 4. Begemot (that's 'Behemoth' in English) are a new Russian decal maker who have produced sheets in 1:72 for the 'Helix' and 'Hind'. The descriptions below are based on emailed scans, so no definite comment on quality can yet be offered, although they look good so far. There is evidence of slight colour mis-alignment on both sheets, but nothing serious. Information about availability should follow in a few weeks time.

Ka-27/28/29 Helix (8 options) As well as the individual markings, which include various insignia and badges as appropriate, an extensive selection of ‘technical service writing’ (stencils) is supplied, though only enough for one complete aircraft. Instrument panel decals are provided for one Ka-27/28 and one Ka-29. The instructions in Russian & English also include details of rotor colours plus a list of references.

1:72 Mi-24D/V/P/VM, Mi-25 Hind (11 options)

One very full set of stencils for airframe and for various weapons options is provided, along with one set of instrument panel decals. The instructions in Russian & English also include very full details of rotor, stores pylon, and weapons colours, plus a list of published references.

5. The Panda Models 2003 catalogue includes the following extraordinary 1:35 selection: 6. Zvezda have announced the following for release in 2003: 7. Italeri's 2003 releases will be: The first two are carried over from 2002, and there is nothing at all new in 1:72, for the first time in 10 years.

8. Academy's 1:35 MH-60L DAP #2217 is scheduled for release in late April or early May

9. Testors have released something called a "QuickBuilder AH-64 Apache". The scale is 1:32. It is not known whether this is related to the 1:32 Revell-Monogram Apache kit in any way.

10. Contrary to the information in HKN #160, Revell's 2003 catalogue does not include #4414, a 1:48 Bo-105, so we have to assume that the plans for this have been put on hold.

The following have been deleted from the Revell catalogue this year: Thanks to Dave Koss (Leading Edge Models), Chris Miller (Cobra Company), Philippe Dognon (Landing Zone), George Filyagin, Yevgeny Borissov, Randy Smith, Jan Goos and Scott Hemsley.

If you buy something direct from the maker as a result of reading about it in Heli-Kit News, please remember to tell them that you saw it here. This will encourage the flow of more news in the future, and maybe we'll even get the occasional review sample!