Amodel 1/144 HU-16C/D Albatross
KIT #: 1423
PRICE: $15.95  from
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Treat it as a short run kit.


The majority of Albatrosses were used by the U.S. Air Force, primarily by the Air Rescue Service, and initially designated as SA-16. The USAF utilized the SA-16 extensively in Korea for combat rescue, where it gained a reputation as a rugged and seaworthy craft. Later, the redesignated HU-16B (long-wing variant) Albatross was used by the U.S. Air Force's Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service and saw extensive combat service during the Vietnam conflict. In addition a small number of Air National Guard Air Commando Groups were equipped with HU-16s for covert infiltration and extration of special forces from 1956 to 1971.

The U.S. Navy also employed the HU-16D Albatross as a Search and rescue (SAR) aircraft from coastal naval air stations, both stateside and overseas. It was also employed as an operational support aircraft worldwide and for "skunk runs" from the former NAS Agana, Guam during the Vietnam War. Goodwill flights were also common to the surrounding Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in the early 1970s. (Your editor recalls seeing this or a similar aircraft on the fire dump at NAS Agana in 1974 or so) Open water landings and water takeoff training using JATO was also frequently conducted frequently by U.S. Navy HU-16s from locations such as NAS Agana, Guam; Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii; and NAS Pensacola, Florida, among other locations.

The HU-16 was also operated by the U.S. Coast Guard as both a coastal and long-range open ocean SAR aircraft for many years until it was supplanted by the HU-25 Guardian and HC-130 Hercules. The final Navy HU-16 flight was made 13 August 1976 when an Albatross was delivered to the Naval Aviation Museum at NAS Pensacola.


 Molded in Amodel's usual light grey plastic, the kit is typical of their other kits. The detailing is very good, though due to the low pressure molding, not quite as crisp as with standard injected kits. There is a bit of flash on many of the parts, but I was pleased to note that there were no sink areas or other major molding glitches.

A couple of things to note. The kit has a nicely done cockpit and cabin, complete with seats, control wheels, bulkhead and some rear items. However, this is somewhat tempered by the rather thick and somewhat distorted clear bits. Each of the cabin windows is separate and this is a case where one might was to install them with super glue and then sand them down flush with the exterior. The wheel wells are separate items and while no nose weight is suggested, you will need quite a bit to keep this one from tail sitting.

The kit has nicely done engines and one-piece nacelles. The landing gear is more than adequate for this scale. The main gear legs look to be rather thin, but once properly braced should be quite sturdy. There doesn't seem to be any gear up option, but making it so should be rather straight forward. For things under wings, aside from the requisite floats, there are two drop tanks and pylons, though these were not always carried.

Markings are for two similar aircraft in White over Engine Grey (the instructions call for Dark Sea Grey as all paint references are Humbrol). Actually just about everything but the fuselage from the centerline up is in the grey so painting should be pretty easy. There are two markings options. One is the Greek Attache plane as shown on the box art. The other is from Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Decals are nicely printed and quite matte with somewhat large clear carrier. The sheet includes wing walk, prop arc and an anti-glare panel.  Those wanting other markings options can look to FCM that provides some South American schemes.


There are not many HU-16 kits around in injected plastic and none at all in this scale. Thanks to Amodel, you can now build one that won't take over the display shelf!


July 2010

Thanks to for the preview kit. Get yours at the link and at a discount.

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