Special Hobby 1/72 CH-37B  Mojave

KIT: Special Hobby 1/72 CH-37B  Mojave
KIT #: 72075
DECALS:  Three options
REVIEWER: Wyll Jones
NOTES: Short run with photo etched and resin parts.

 In 1950 the Marines and Navy put a request for a heavy lift helicopter that could carry 26 fully-equipped troops.  Sikorsky answered the call with this, the S-56.  First flown in 1951, the USMC and the US Army both received deliveries in 1956.
After reading all there was to read about all of the designations given to this aircraft I decided that if you care enough to learn all about it you can.  It gave me a headache to read what little I did read.   By the time I gave up trying to learn the different types I found out that the army's version started out as CH-37As but were all later upgraded to CH-37Bs.   It appears that the Marines Mohave fleet eventually all became CH-37Cs.  What does all of that mean?  Heck if I know, or care.  All that matters is that this is one very cool looking helicopter.
When the CH-37 entered service it was the biggest helicopter in the west.  It held that title until the Chinook came around.  The CH-37 was powered by piston engines.  That fact had a hand in the relatively short service life of this line of helicopters.  In the late sixties they were starting to replace it with CH-54 Skycranes, which were powered by turboshaft engines.  The type was eventually completely out of service from even NG units by sometime in 1974.

This little beauty comes on three gray trees.  All of the parts look to be in good condition and only one part had even fallen off of it's tree by the time it got to my house.  There is very little flash to seen anywhere and the surface detail is about 95% recessed.  There are a few raised details but only where appropriate.  Not much seems over or under done with this kit. 

The clear parts come in their own bag and are crisp and clear.  The clamshell doors are molded in two parts so no cutting will be needed if one were to build it all opened up.  But since it doesn't have anything to go into the cargo bay only the scratch builders will be utilizing this feature I suppose.
The resin parts, big surprise, came in their own bag as well.  With as many as there are it would not have hurt my feelings if they would have came in two bags.  Past that the resin parts are very nicely done, a few look to be a tiny bit grainy but nothing terribly bad.  It even has resin rotor heads.  For a long time I have wanted to work with resin rotor heads, I'm kind of giddy about alone.
The photo-etched parts are in with the decals.  They seem to be well done.  I'm a bit intimidated by the fact that each seat has seven parts to each seatbelt.  The smallest being about as thick as an eyelash and maybe three millimeters long.  This will be a squinter for sure.  There is a piece of that film for the instrument panel and I hope this go down as one of many I remember only after the bird is almost done.
The decals look to be in register and well done, too bad I won't be using them.  I'm building this for one of guys I work with so he can give it to his uncle who used to fly these for the United States Marine Corps.  If I was using them I would have three options to choose from.  Well sort of.  The first two options are pretty much the same with only the 'eyes' being changed on the front of the engine pods.  The third option is quite a bit more colorful and if this wasn't being built for my friend I would go with the third one.

This is a beautiful kit of a unique looking helicopter that served our armed forces.  While I wouldn't recommend it for the beginners out there I will give it a resounding YES for everyone else.  The only real complaint I could give would be the lack of any cargo bay detail. 

If I am as impressed by the build as much as I am impressed by the pre-view I may just have to buy one for myself.  
Many thanks go out to my co-worker for giving me the chance to build such a unique subject, and to Special Hobby for creating such a wonderful model of a well overlooked helicopter.
Kit instructions,




Wyll Jones

February 2008

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