Academy 1/48 CH-46E Sea Knight




$54.95 MSRP


Three options


Tom Cleaver




     The Boeing (Vertol) CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter is now so old that I can remember when it was new, back the late Permian, and I saw one of the first to arrive on Okinawa flying over Buckner Bay where the rust bucket I was stationed on was anchored. 

     As the main medium-capacity assault helicopter for the U.S. Marines since 1964, the CH-46 in its various guises has served under fire throughout the period of Marine service in Vietnam, and in every conflict Marines have been involved in since.  It is now at the point where the aircraft is older than 95 percent of the Marines using it. It has so far outlasted three different proposals to replace it and will likely still be flying when someone finally gets the courage to drive a stake through the heart of the V-22 Osprey and finally kill off that flying abortion.  Why the Marines didn’t replace it with the Chinook 20 years ago is one of those mysteries mortals are obviously not meant to be a party to.

      While the official name is “Sea Knight”, the aircraft is known throughout the Corps as the “Frog,” due to the side sponsons and the nose-up attitude on the ground, which make it look like a frog ready to jump. The updated version that this kit represents, with its enlarged sponsons, is called the “Bull Frog.”



Given that the CH-46 is celebrating its 40th year of service this year, and its ubiquity in service during those four decades, it is surprising that it has never before been produced as a plastic kit in this scale. 

     Academy’s kit should be considered definitive for all those modelers who have wanted this model.  This first kit has parts to create the contemporary Bull Frog CH-46, with enlarged sponsons and fibreglass rotor blades.  It is obvious from the parts breakdown and the instructions that the earlier versions of this helicopter will see the light of day.

      The kit has an interesting method of construction, in that it has the fuselage in inner and outer halves, which insures that there are no mold marks on the interior where they would be difficult to get rid of.  The rear door comes in an open and closed option.  A modeler who wants to go to the effort of providing seat belts for all the troop seats can assemble the interior with the seats down, or can assemble them up and save the effort; the red bottoms of the seat will provide a dash of color to this grey-on-grey-on-grey machine.

      All the parts are crisply molded without flash, and the instructions are clear and easy to follow.  Decals are provided for three different aircraft: a VIP transport from HM-1 at Quantico, one from HMM-162 “Golden Eagles” and one from HMM-261 “Raging Bulls,” both based at MCAS New River.  So much small stenciling is supplied that the modeler who uses them all will likely go blind in the process.


     Looking the kit over, this appears to be a well-designed, well-engineered and well-produced model that doesn’t appear to have any obvious traps lying in wait for the modeler who commits the radical act of following the instructions.  The CH-46 is a significant milestone in the development of combat helicopters, and this kit fills in a large hole for those modelers who enjoy building helicopters.

 Thanks to Model Rectifier Corporation for the review kit.

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