Heli-Kit News #187, 04-May-04
1. Czech Master Resin's Sikorsky R-6 / Hoverfly II (#CMR 137) is now available. All the resin parts are finely moulded, have very little flash (and what there is is very thin), minimal attachment to the pouring stubs, and no air bubbles at all. This is a most remarkably complete production, and without my having actually attempted construction, appears to be among the very best resin helicopter kits. Hopefully we will be able to take a detailed look at the new Kora kit of the same machine in the next edition of HKN.
The parts provided (resin unless stated otherwise) are:
- TWO sets of vacform transparencies with detailed & sharply-defined canopy framing, each set comprising four pieces. As is usual with such extensive vacform glazing, cutting and assembly of these parts will be need to approached with great care and patience.
- fuselage / tail boom in two halves, split vertically, with fine engraved panel lines and detailed cooling grilles, etc.
- three main rotor blades with raised ribbing and three-bladed tail rotor
- detailed main rotor head, pitch link assembly, and three very delicate control rods
- detailed one-piece cockpit interior with instrument panel, instruments and three ?battery boxes on a rear shelf
- three rotor control levers and a fire extinguisher
- two separate seats with support frames and moulded harness
- main wheels and support arms, nose and tail wheels with integral struts
- ears, trunk, side boards and alternative undercarriage struts for the 'Pink Elephant' option
The instructions include:
The two-part decal sheet printed by MPD gives markings for:
- colour profile drawing of Hoverfly II P9-V / KN855
- two double-sided A4 sheets with 30 clear internal and external detail photos of the Fort Rucker R-6A 43-45473 taken by Don Hinton, IPMS USA.
- three sides of A4 with profile and other drawings by Stanislav Mach illustrating the placement of the decal options, with historical information about each one, and notes on the paint schemes.
- clear and comprehensive assembly diagrams in the form of exploded views on a single side of A4.
- USAAF R-6A 43-45322 (or 24, 28, 29, 30, 42, 45), all of which flew documented medevac and CSAR missions in Burma, China and the Luzon highlands of the Philippines during 1944/45.
- USAAF R-6A 43-45343 'Quick Match', 6 ARU(F), Luzon, Nov-45, with nude artwork.
- USAAF R-6A 43-45473 as preserved in the US Army Aviation Museum, Fort Rucker, Alabama.
- USAAF YR-6C 43-45327
- Sikorsky XR-6 prototype 43-28240
- RAF Hoverfly II TS-L / KN840, 657 (AOP) Sqn, Andover, Sep-47
- RAF Hoverfly II P-9V / KN855, 703 Sqn ASWDU (Naval Air-Sea Warfare Development Unit), 1947/48
- RAF Hoverfly II KN862 (or 841, 846), 'Pink Elephant Circus' airshow display, Farnborough, Jul-50
The colours are all in perfect register (most noticeable on the British roundels), the printing is sharp, and the decals themselves look thin, with minimal surrounding film.
2. The new 1:72 Vami Sycamore HR.14 kit is a copy of the old resin Maintrack HR.14 kit #72:12 (not to be confused with the Maintrack/Airways vacform HR.14 kit #14). It is clear that the Maintrack kit has been used as the master from which the Vami moulds have been made. The differences between the two productions are evident on the photo below (Maintrack on the left, Vami on the right). These are:
- Vami has additional clear-vacform glazing (Maintrack was cast in clear resin that theoretically did not need separate windows).
- Vami does not have any decals, though as the kit is made in Belgium, their boxart shows B1-ZKA (Maintrack had markings for two RAF options, with more on an additional sheet that was available separately).
- Vami has additional resin rotor blades (Maintrack instructions tell you to cut them from plasticard, which was not supplied).
- Vami have cast all the small parts in resin, then probably as an afterthought added the load-bearing undercarriage and rotor blade shafts in white metal as well (all the Maintrack small parts were white metal).
The bulkheads and instrument panels in both kits are intended to be cut from a piece of plasticard that is supplied. The patterns for these are provided on an A4 sheet that also has a 3-view and a few detail diagrams. The sheet in the Vami kit is a xerox copy of the one in the Maintrack kit, with credits and copyright notice removed. There are no assembly instructions.
The resin parts in the Vami kit look like they will clean up nicely and there will be no significant quality difference between the two. The white metal parts in the Maintrack kit are cleaner and sharper than the resin copies that have been made from them in the Vami kit, although these too should clean up to an acceptable finish. The white metal parts in the Vami kit are noticeably rougher than the originals, and will take some work to make them look nice - and they will probably never be as good as the Maintack ones.
Whirlybird, who recently took ownership of the Maintrack range, consider that the Maintrack resin Sycamore had size and dimension problems, which is why they have chosen to re-issue the vacform one instead. Comparing the resin parts with the 1:72 drawings and photos in F-40 #20, it appears that the length is good, the tailboom is good, but that the fuselage should be about 2.5mm deeper and the rotorhead and the housing around the main rotorshaft extend about 6 mm too far forward over the top of the cabin, making it all look a little odd. Turning to the vacform one, I can't see a great deal of difference; the same problems are still there, but are maybe a little less pronounced.
3. Amodel have released the Mil Mi-3 military ambulance variant (#72097) of their Mi-1 kit. The only significant difference between this and the Mi-1 ambulance (#72084) is that this has a four blade main rotor decals which have markings for a USSR 50 year anniversary aircraft.
4. Trumpeter's next 1:35 epic, the Mi-17 Hip, is scheduled for release in July.
5. The latest decal sheets from Whirlybird are both for the 1:72 Whirlwind HAR.10.
- WB72020 'Green & Grey Scorpion' has markings for XP329 / 'V' of RAF 84 Sqn, B Flt on detachment to the United Nations in Cyprus in 1981. This has dark sea grey and dark green camouflage over a black belly, and a broad blue band around the base of its tail.
- WB72021 'Central Flying School' has markings for XP332 / 'W-T' from the CFS at RAF Ternhill in the 1960s. This one is in the early training scheme of aluminium and dayglo red.
Another sheet (WB72022) to be released soon will be for the later CFS scheme of white, red, and light aircraft grey. Also close to completion is a set of resin flotation gear for the Whirlwind, the type that came with the original Airfix HAR.1, but the correct size & shape. Whirlybird products are available from Linden Hill in the USA and Heritage Aviation in the UK.
6. HKN has finally managed to get its hands on a couple of the decal sheets from Siam Scale (see HKN #178). These are:
#72005 S-55 / H-19A/B Chickasaw has six choices, of which you can build two with the decals provided.
- Royal Thai Air Force H-19A 6314, Wing 3, 63 Sqn, Don Muang AB., silver
- RTAF H-19A, no serial, silver with blue flash & yellow cheat lines
- RTAF H-19A 6313, RTAF Museum, Bangkok, silver with blue flash & yellow cheat lines
- RTAF Test Flight H-19A 'G' or '6' (both provided), silver, with floats
- RT Police Aviation H-19A, no serial, silver
- RT Army Aviation H-19C 51223, olive drab
Printing and registration look very good (except between red and black, but this is only really apparent on the two filler-cap decals)
#72002 CH-34C / UH-34D S-58T Choctaw, has four choices, all RTAF
- CH-34C 54-926 / 6336, 63 Sqn, Don Muang AB., olive drab
- UH-34D 54-3308 / 3145, 31 Sqn, Korat AB., olive drab
- S-58T 'early version' (serials in Thai script, 2 options), olive drab
- S-58T 'late version' (serials in Thai script, 2 options), green/green/brown camo over pale grey
Again printing looks good with no registration problems, and there's a lot of stencil detail, but they don't tell you where to find an S-58T nose in 1:72!
White decals are not visible in these images. Note that the colour numbers quoted on the instruction sheets refer to the Gunze-Sangyo Mr Color range, though it doesn't tell you that anywhere.
7. As we paitiently await the appearance of the new 1:48 Academy Sea Knight, Twobobs Aviation Graphics have announced that their next batch of decals will include a selection for the CH-46D, and the next Close-Up from Landing Zone Publications will cover the CH-46 in US Navy & Marines service.
Thanks to Petr Buchar (Czech Master Resins), Paul Inguanti, John Cameron, Roger Evans (Whirlybird), Christian Bouschon, and Erwin Stam (Luchtvaart).
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!