Italeri 1/72 H-19B Chickasaw
It is interesting that the first really successful helos in several categories were Sikorsky designs. Yet today, when one thinks of helicopters 'Bell' generally springs to mind. This is one of those really successful Sikorsky designs. The first truly capable transport helo. Despite being generally underpowered, the H-19 was able to carry a useful load, all safely held within the confines of a cabin, so you didn't have to be hanging in the breeze.
Designed in the late 1940s for the Army, it found a great deal of use with the USAF, Navy and Marines. It is probably the Air Force that most people relate with the H-19 as it was a common site as what is now call SAR, but was then just referred to has Rescue. These yellow banded helos were at most bases and used in a variety of missions.
In service in time to see action in Korea, the H-19 was a real workhorse in the years following the war. Relatively simple to maintain and rugged, it saw lots of action with forces of other countries and was still around when the Vietnam War started to heat up. To my knowledge, none are currently flying, but you can see them in museums around the world.
Typical of Italeri kits is is quite well molded with lots of detail and engraved panel lines. As mentioned in an earlier review, Italeri has really gone after the helicopter market in both 1/72 and 1/48 scale. This kit is an example of that. The only other mass produced 1/72 kit was the rather elderly Airfix version which really doesn't hold a candle to the Italeri kit.
This particular kit builds the H-19B. Now I'm not that much of a helo expert, but it seems to me that there was a version that had a relatively straight tail boom (this one is slightly canted down) and also one that had larger aft stabilizers that were canted downward. As you can see from where the clear bits are, there is a spot for these bits on the sprue.
What this kit really doesn't have is an inspiring decal sheet. There are markings for two helos. One is the box art helicopter and the other is very similar except in place of the rescue markings and yellow, the nose and a much wider tail band is in da-glo. Of course, you have to paint the da-glo bands just as you have to paint the yellow bits on the rescue chopper. I'm sure that most will go for the rescue version as it is just a cleaner scheme.
One thing that does look a bit odd to me is the style of letters and numbers on the sheet. Italeri generally does not do a very good job of getting the proper font for US aircraft markings and I really don't know why. The insignia also seem to have rather anemic boarders to the bars, but perhaps it is just me. To my knowledge there are no aftermarket decal sheets for this kit, though I'd be surprised if at least Eduard hasn't produced an etched brass set by now.
Overall it looks like a very nice model and one that I'm sure is much appreciated by the rotor-head crowd.
Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!
Here is a late piece of information from Tony Hodun;
“The H-19/S-55 helicopters fall into two visual families, with two different tail boom designs. The earliest design was the horizontal tail boom with two downward angled tail surfaces (the tail surfaces sometimes are absent). The later design has a downward swept tail boom with two smaller horizontal tail surfaces; the upswept tail rotor part of the boom is wider in chord. There is no definitive book on the H-19/S-55 (yet), so what follows is the current results of my research in references and on the internet (subject to future revision if more or better data surfaces!). The earlier tail boom appears to have been found on USAF H-19As, US Army H-19Cs, and all US Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard HO4S/HRS/H-19 airframes regardless of engine type. The later tail boom appears to have been found on USAF H-19Bs and US Army H-19Cs. H-19s/S-55s operated by other air forces of the world and by civil operators can be found with either type of tail boom (e.g., the French Air Force operated both styles). Some H-19/S-55s were later converted to the later style tail boom.
The good news is that Italeri did their homework and has provided us with kits to build either version. Use the Italeri H-19A Rescue or Revell Germany H-19A kits for the early tail boom, and the Italeri H-19B for the later tail boom. The Italeri H-19A also includes amphibious floats, and can be built with wheels only as well; those floats will fit the H-19B fine, too. In all cases, use your references, find a photo of the bird you are building if you can. If anyone has more information on these helos, please let me or Scott know!”
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