|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Reboxed Gallery kit|
The Sikorsky H-34 (company designation S-58) is a piston-engined military helicopter originally designed by American aircraft manufacturer Sikorsky as an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft for the United States Navy. It has seen extended use when adapted to turbine power by the British licensee as the Westland Wessex and Sikorsky as the later S-58T.
H-34s served, mostly as medium transports, on every continent with the armed forces of 25 countries. It saw combat in Algeria, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and throughout Southeast Asia. Other uses included saving flood victims, recovering astronauts, fighting fires, and carrying presidents. It was the last piston-engined helicopter to be operated by the United States Marine Corps, having been replaced by turbine-powered types such as the UH-1 Huey and CH-46 Sea Knight. A total of 2,108 H-34s were manufactured between 1953 and 1970.
This is a reboxing of the Gallery kit from 2012. At the time it got a lot of good press and deserved it. The kit is nicely tooled to modern standards and does have quite a few parts. This includes a pair of photo etch frets for vents/grills as well as seat belts/harnesses and a few other small items.
The cockpit is quite complete though the designers of the kit forgot that helicopters also have a collective as that is not included. In the cabin are a considerable number of mesh seats for the troops. The kit also provides a full engine and you can display the engine bay doors open if you so wish. Those keeping the bay doors closed will still have to build much of the engine as you'll be able to see some of it through the etched grilles and through the underside along with something on which to attach the exhaust.
Cockpit, cabin and engine assembly are enclosed in a boxed assembly that includes the interior side walls and the support system for the main rotor. One then adds all the windows, p.e. mesh and other minor attachments to each fuselage half before trapping the interior between the halves. At this time, the rear floor and bulkheads are also trapped in the halves.
One then flips things over to attach the lower fuselage along with the engine bay doors. Righting things again, the cockpit transparencies and a few other bits are added. Back to the underside and the installation of the main landing gear, cabin doors and the tail gear. The tail rotor and rear fuselage is a separate assembly so that you can model it folded over if you so wish. All the tail rotor blades are separate. The last step is to attach the main rotor hub and blades.
Instructions are well done and provide some interior color information. There are three markings options, all from unknown units and all in overall khaki drab. There used to be a color called USMC drab and it was something like FS 14092 so perhaps that would be a viable option. Decals are nicely done and there are aftermarket options if you don't like what's provided.
I picked this one up at a 40% off sale over the holidays, otherwise I'd probably be satisfied building the much simpler, but older Revell kit. This one certainly has all the detail most would want (except for the missing cyclic) and is sure to make into a very nice model.
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