Dragon 1/144 UH-60L Blackhawk
KIT #: 4578
PRICE: $7.98 MSRP
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Mike Dudek
NOTES: Two complete kits in each box

BACKGROUND

See the preview for a look in the box and background on the UH-60.

CONSTRUCTION

Despite the small size, and low parts count, this kit presented me a few more challenges than I expected. I started with the cockpit/troop compartment assembly, and all was well there, and it positioned okay in the fuselage half. Joining the 2 halves of the fuselage was where I had my first problem. While the tail boom fit well, and the top of the cabin did too, there was a decent sized gap on the bottom of the fuselage. I guessed that the cabin floor was too wide, and sanded down the sides of it, and this problem pretty much went away. Another thing to note here Ė the cabin door/window pieces are best inserted before joining the fuselage halves. I didnít while working on the first kit, and they were tough to place later. One of the advantages of having a double kit like this is learning from your mistakes for the next one!

The IR suppression exhausts are 2 pieces on each engine; the contact point is small to the fuselage, and it helps to have photos of the real thing to get these parts placed properly. The next problem I had was in fitting the clear noses. While the piece fit well on the top and sides, the most visible areas on the finished model, there was a noticeable step produced on the bottom where the nose piece was too large. Some vigorous sanding and a bit of putty was necessary to blend this area in. Other than that, the remaining assembly was pretty straightforward. I was able to leave off several parts from my kits, as I was not using the ESSS pylons and fuel tanks. One ĎDonít do what I didí warning though Ė I mounted the cable cutter on top of the cabin backwards on both models, and didnít notice until I was done. The open angle of this piece should be facing the front.

COLORS & MARKINGS

The kits were so small, and the profusion of windows so great, that I decided to tackle the whole project with a paint brush over spraying the choppers with an airbrush, as masking the window areas would have been a serious problem. There are 9 distinct windows separated by framing on that little nose piece alone! FS34031 Army Helo Drab is the color needed; I had worried that it would look too dark on these 1/144 kits, but I think things came out okay. Testorís is the only one I know of that makes this color, Model Master #2024 as an enamel, and #4723 as an acrylic. I usually donít use enamels, but since my local shop only carries Model Master enamels, thatís what I had to go with. The paint is very thin; so thin, in fact, it required several coats to get good coverage. But it had the benefit of not having to worry much about brush marks, being so thin. I used various colors from my Tamiya and Vallejo collection for the detail painting. Painting the areas around the cockpit windows was tough, and Iím not entirely satisfied with my results. I cleaned the area around the windows as best I could with a sharpened toothpick. I guess I need to develop a steadier hand!

For my markings, I chose to do one of my machines in the box art markings of the US Army 101st Air Assault Division in Kosovo. I left off some of the minor stenciling provided, as it would be tough to see anyway. For the other, I chose the Israeli machine, as it was the most colorful of the remaining options. The decals went down fine with just a little setting solution.

CONCLUSIONS

Over all, these kits were fun to assemble, and things went pretty quickly. They look nice in a mostly airplane collection of 1/144 kits. Thereís nothing someone with a little model experience couldnít handle; the most difficult part of the kit is painting around the glass areas of the nose. I have obtained Dragonís 1/144 MH-60G Pave Hawk kit also; as you might expect, it is mostly similar to this kit. A few parts are omitted, and a refueling probe, radome, and rescue hoist are added. It has markings for 3 USAF Pave Hawks.

Mike Dudek

November 2005

REFERENCES

http://www.army-technology.com/projects/black_hawk/

http://www.sikorsky.com/details/1,,CLI1_DIV69_ETI254,00.html

http://www.faqs.org/docs/air/avs70.html

Squadron Aircraft in Action #133 H-60 Black Hawk

Squadron Walk Around #19 UH-60 Black Hawk

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