Heli-Kit News #188, 21-May-04

1. As promised in HKN #187, here's a look at the recent Sikorsky Hoverfly II (R-6A) from Kora, #7269. The 26 cream resin parts are: The vacform canopy is in three parts, the front & two sides. They are adequate (sides could be clearer and the framing is not very well defined). No spare is provided, so you need to get it right first time! The pouring stubs are very substantial, so initial removal and clean-up will be hard work. It's going to be a lot easier to fabricate the control sticks, tail undercarriage struts and rotor control rods from wire and rod stock than it is to remove the resin parts from their pouring stubs in one piece. The parts are all cleanly moulded, with fine (but somewhat wavy) engraved panel lines where appropriate. In this photo some parts have been removed from their stubs and partially cleaned up already.

The opening on the port side through which various mechanical components are normally visible has been moulded 'open' (whereas CMR made it 'closed' with an engraved mesh pattern). The assembly diagram shows a piece of mesh that fits over the opening, but this was not supplied in the reviewed kit.

Markings are provided for three alternatives: All three were painted olive drab over neutral grey, with a wavy demarcation between the colours.

The instructions comprise a single A5 sheet with black & white profile views of KN851 & 345327, and a rather inadequate 'exploded' assembly diagram. Accurate assembly will be impossible without good reference pictures showing the undercarriage and rotor control rod areas, for example.

The size and shape appear to exactly match the Aviation News drawings in profile, though the cross-section where the fuselage meets the tail-boom looks rather strange. However, it seems that these old plans are rather inaccurate in some areas, if we assume that the CMR parts (which were made from engineering drawings in the Sikorsky archives) are correct. The CMR tail-boom is a little longer and is inclined at distinctly less sharp angle to the fuselage, and the fuselage cross-sections are more flat-sided than the rather globular Kora ones.

These criticisms aside, the Kora kit will still build up into a good looking model, though on balance we prefer the CMR kit (reviewed in HKN #187) on the grounds of accuracy, ease of construction, decal choices, and of course those Pink Elephants !

2. A first look at Zvezda's new Ka-27PS (#7247) reveals the following:

The Ka-27PL bulges on the sides of the fuselage have been removed. Panel lines have been restored, but not the rivets.

One extra sprue has been added, with winch, external cargo compartment doors, various buoys, rear view mirrors, rather poor external fuel tanks, and an under-fuselage searchlight. The holes for the flotation fairings has been partially corrected, they've been moved forward, but still not quite far enough. Another 2mm should do it.

The decal sheet is very simple, with basic markings for two versions. At first glance you might think it is an extract from the Behemoth Helix decal sheet, but the 'blue 54' is a bit smaller than Behemoth's, and "17-yellow" is new.

3. Airfix have released three 1:72 helicopter kits in the last week; AH-64D, AH-1T, and the revised Puma.

The AH-1T #04046 has markings for the following:

It has always been said that this would be a re-box of the Italeri kit (as would the Apache), but advance pictures of the AH-1T sprues suggest that the parts breakdown is substantially different. This is a mystery which we will re-visit when we've seen the kit 'in the flesh'.

The boxart for the Puma suggests that we can now build a reasonably accurate RAF Puma from about 1983. However, although nose-mounted RWRs and RAF-style antennae are shown in the painting, we will be suprised to find them in the box along with the sand filters that were in the Heller issue. Decals for 33 or 230 Sqn. are included, so the decal sheet must be at least be partially new.

4. Sanger Engineering have released their 1:72 vac-form Mi-26 Halo. Note that it is now possible to buy Sanger products online via Paypal.

5. ExtraTECH are currently working on a 1:72 Sikorsky VS-300. We wonder if it could possibly also appear in 1:48, in the same way that their excellent Djinn did.

6. The latest from Cobra Company is #48031, an MH-60L conversion for the Academy / Minicraft UH-60L kit. This grey resin set gives you a complete new cockpit including: For the cabin interior: And external parts:

As if that wasn't enough to keep 1:48 Blackhawk fans quiet for a while, an MH-60L DAP Weapons set has been released as well, #48034.

The MH-60L DAP was developed for the 160th SOAR and is used for night close air support of Special Forces. It can be armed with a variety of weapon systems including Hellfire missiles, M-134 miniguns, rockets, and the M-230 automatic cannon (as used on the Apache).

The Cobra Co. DAP Weapons set gives you:

All resin parts are cleanly moulded (just one small air bubble detected in each set!), with good fine detail. Pouring stubs are mostly pretty substantial, with some large areas of attachment, so preparation and clean-up will take some time. The flexible rubber ammo guides are an interesting innovation that appears to work well; it is essential to use a new blade for trimming them.

All in all these are two very comprehensive sets with the potential to produce outstanding conversions, and both excellent value for the money.

The forthcoming SH-34J / HSS-1N Seabat conversion #72019 will be an upgrade of the existing Cobra Co. H-34D/G set #72002, with the addition of ASW gear, different antennae, landing gear correction, door correction, and exterior details.

7. Now that we've got to grips with Thai script, and with invaluable assistance from Lennart Lundh, here's an update on the markings on the Siam Scale H-34 / S-58T sheet reviewed in HKN #187: Furthermore, HKN can exclusively reveal that if things go according to plan, a 1:72 resin S-58T nose conversion will be generally available from a reliable source within the next two months.

The Siam Scale Royal Thai Army Chinook sheet #72013 has markings for the following aircraft:

And the RTAF H-43B Huskie sheet #32001:

8. New sheets 48041 and 72064 from Dutch Decal include markings for an S-51, no further details available yet, but we suspect that the 1:72 ones may be a selection from a previous sheets that had markings for the Dutch Navy S-51 'Jezebel'.

9. Linden Hill's 'Bush War Hinds Part 1', already available in 1:72 and 1:48, will be issued in 1:35 scale in July, along with the new 'Part 2' in all three scales.

10. As well as the USMC H-46's, Twobobs are still working on markings for Operation Iraqi Freedom Apaches.

Thanks to Yevgeny Borissov, Chris Miller (Cobra Company), Petr Buchar (Czechmaster Resins), Petr Zaoral, and Lennart Lundh (S-58 Guru).

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!