IMC 1/32 Bell jet Ranger
KIT: IMC 1/32 Bell jet Ranger
KIT #: 402
PRICE: $38.00
DECALS: Three options
NOTES: Recently reissued by Revell


The Bell 206 series has GOT to be the most recognised helicopter on the planet – besides her stablemate, the utilitarian UH-1 Huey. The five-place, single turbine helicopter originated in the Light Observation Helicopter contest, a contract eventually awarded to the Hughes HO-6. Bell refined their YHO-4 design into the Type 206 JetRanger for the civilian market, and a legend was born.

Slight mods made to the basic 206 saw the type finally gain US Army acceptance as the OH-58A Kiowa, destined for long service in Vietnam and with other national defence forces.

Reliable, economical and as popular as ever, the number of JetRangers still serving with civilian operators – as well as the Kiowa and its derivatives – must surely number in the thousands. Agriculture, firefighting, executive taxi, cameraship, military trainer, the JetRanger series is quite possibly all things to all men.


I’m not sure exactly how vintage this kit is, but it’s packed full of interesting features undreamed of with “modern” kits. All four cabin doors – as well as the engine cowls and baggage compartment – come with the option to be opened. Oversize hinges are included on the cabin doors for this.

The detail is fair, with a nice interior complete with cyclic and collective controls, as well as two-part (poseable?) rudder pedals. A fair representation of instruments is provided on the panel, this raised detail seeming very accurate.

As with many kits, the tail rotor and main are intended to be freewheeling. The kit comes with a representation of the Allison 250 turboshaft, thoughtfully chrome plated! The transmission and rotor mast components are also chrome. Five figures are also included: the requisite pilot and four Green Berets in various “combat poses”! These would be great if you followed the Kiowa path and made a diorama.

In my issue the clear parts are very nicely done, fairly thick but crystal clear with little to no distortion. To ease masking and things, the windscreen is two part with the central beam part of the fuselage halves. Nice!

Exterior detail is limited to raised rivets around the doors, and raised lines to help in painting the trim colours for the two civil variants. A pitot is moulded onto one fuselage half, and a whip antenna is also included. As this is an early 206, low skids are included. The majority of JetRangers fly today with different, high skids, so to make one of these machines you likely will need to scratchbuild your own from rod stock.

So onto markings then! Three options are included, but I’ve no idea how accurate they are. They consist of:

-         “Military” (an olive drab machine serialled 03611 with star-and-bar as well as ARMY titles)

-         “Police” (white with dark/metallic blue and black trim, serialled 115161)

-         “Executive” (white with light blue, rego NB560F)

Due to the age of my kit the decals are all VERY yellow, but possibly salvageable if you were so inclined. I have the feeling very very few aftermarket sheets would be available for this kit, so it’s likely out with the printer and Photoshop!


From what I gather the recent Revell JetRanger release is a slight retool of this kit, but still fairly similar. As someone who grew up around the type I’m comfortable to say that with some scratchbuilding work in the cockpit and engine – if you wish to show this off – you’ll have a superb replica of one of the most popular light choppers of the 20th century. Out of the box is will make a still nice representation. I’d imagine that the Revell boxing will be much easier to come by, though.

Review kit courtesy of a fellow modeller’s stash.

Zac Yates

August 2008

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