MiniWing 1/144 Sikorsky S-58
|PRICE:||$25.00 from www.nostalgicplastic.com|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Resin kit with vacuformed canopy|
The Sikorsky H-34 Choctaw (Company designation S-58) was a military helicopter originally designed by American aircraft manufacturer Sikorsky for the United States Navy for service in the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) role.
Sikorsky H-34s have since served mostly as medium transports on every continent with the armed forces of twenty-five countries - from combat in Algeria, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and throughout Southeast Asia, to saving flood victims, recovering astronauts, fighting fires, and carrying presidents. As one of the last piston-powered helicopter designs before its replacement by turbine-powered types such as the UH-1 Huey and CH-46 Sea Knight, it would see a remarkably long run of 2,108 H-34s produced between 1953 and 1970. It would see extended use when adapted to turbine power as the Westland Wessex and the later S-58T. The British did not retire the Wessex until 2003 as the main transport helicopter; it was replaced by the Aérospatiale Puma.
Looking somewhat lost in a rather oversized box, the kit is molded in a nice tan resin. Engraved panel lines are nicely done, and as on most 1/144 kits are oversize. The parts themselves are free from any casting glitches and two vacuformed canopies are provided.
There is a one-piece cockpit and no cabin detail. Cabin windows are to be made from an enclosed section of thick, transparent acetate, which should enhance installation. The pour stub attachment points for the fuselage halves are very large and will require care in removal. The rear rotor blades and the main blades are cast flat on a resin wafer. Again, these are a somewhat thick so need care in removal. With fewer than 20 parts, the kit is not at all complex, but will require methodical construction and frequent test fitting.
There are two small triangles that I could not determine where they fit. The instructions are basically a small sheet with an exploded view and placement of some parts is vague. The builder will have to make rescue hoist attachment braces from plastic rod or wire. There is no rescue hook, probably due to the small size.
There are three markings options. A USMC version from 1962 in Vietnam in overall field green, a French version from 1975 in overall insignia blue and a Japanese plane from 1963-73 in light grey with orange sections. The decal sheet is fairly well done. It is ALPS or similar printed with a single carrier over all the sheet. The rear fuselage walk area decal is pixilated so you may wish to paint that. I'm not sure how opaque these are, but judging from previous experience with some ALPS decals, the whites are probably a tad transparent. Only use will tell for sure.
All in all, a nice kit of this important helicopter. Thanks to it being 1/144, it won't take over your display shelf like larger scales. Something that all small scale modelers should seek out.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikorsky_S-58 July 2010
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