|KIT:||Italeri 1/72 UH-34J SeaHorse|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Originally developed for the US Navy as an anti-submarine helo, the H-34 was one of those designs of medium lift helo that eventually saw widespread use with the Marines and the Army. It was also widely exported to various nations. Powered by a Wright R-1820 radial engine, the type entered widespread service use in the mid 1950s and was the standard recovery helicopter for early manned space flights. It was used by the French in Algeria and the Marines in Vietnam for inserting troops into remote areas. So rugged was the airframe of the Sikorsky S-58, that it was later upgraded with turbine engines and many are still performing daily service. Westland also developed a turboshaft design it called the Wessex and this was used in both the Fleet Air Arm and the RAF until retired just a short time ago. A remarkable military life span for a helicopter.
This kit is relatively new as it is right up to specs with nicely engraved panel lines and very good overall detailing. The cockpit is nearly complete with raised detail on the instrument panel and center console. The seats are complete with belts and rudder pedals are molded into the floor. It has a cyclic control, but like a lot of helo models has not included the collective. A complete cabin is also provided with jump seats for the troops. A separate cabin door is provided so you can probably pose this open.
Two different nose pieces are provided, one being used for the two French helos with a different exhaust arrangement. A rescue winch is provided as are also door gun mounts. There are two options for the smaller guns if you should wish to use those. The clear parts are very well done and bagged separately to keep them from getting scratched while bouncing around in the box with the unbagged sprues. The rotor head is fairly well done and should keep most helo builders happy. The blades are molded with sag in them as they would appear at rest, a nice touch.
Instructions are Italeri's usual high standard with generic, FS 595, and Model Master references for the colors. Four sets of markings are included on a well printed and matte decal sheet. First isthe box art helo from HMM-362 as used in Vietnam during 1962. Next is a RAL 6003 painted German Army version. The final two are both French and painted in overall sea blue. Both are French Navy helos, one from 32F in Algeria during 1962 and the other from 33F in 1975.
Italeri are the helo kings and this is one of their nicest kits. It isn't so complex that a relatively new modeler will be frustrated and provided enough detail to please most everyone else.
Thanks to for the review kit. You can find Italeri kits at your favorite hobby shop or on-line at www.testors.com
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