Italeri 1/72 CH-146 Griffon






Three aircraft


Scott Van Aken




The Bell model 412 has taken over from the older Huey models of helicopters as those airframes have grown more and more tired from years of hard use. As Bell utility helicopters have grown, there has been more of a evolution of the design than anything really revolutionary. Looking at these helos, you can still see its beginnings in the overall shape of things. The 412 is very reminiscent of the earlier 212 (UH-1N) in that it is a twin engined design. However the biggest differences other than upgraded engines are the four bladed main rotor and the all glass cockpit.

The CH-146 is Canada's largest helicopter buy. The 146 is part of the armed forces attempts to keep down costs by retiring a large number of different types and replacing them all with one  helo. That helo is the Bell 412. It will be used as Canada's main light helo for everything from troop hauling to gun-ship to rescue work. It currently is the equipment of at least four CAF squadrons and though I'm not sure what the total buy will be, I'd not be surprised if 200 examples will eventually be bought.

The model 412 is also being built by license by Agusta in Italy and is in use with Italian forces as well as those of many countries around the world.


Italeri is probably the most prolific 1/72 helicopter kit maker around. Over the recent years they have produced kits of a wide varitey of whirlybirds (when was the last time you heard that term used?), much to the delight of rotor heads everywhere. It is typical of modern models in that it has the required engraved panel lines and is designed to be boxed in multiple variants (as you can see from the empty spaces on the sprues.

I must confess to not having ever built any of these helo kits, but I'm sure they are much more fun to build than the Fujimi ones I've done in the past. This particular kit has a very nicely molded rotor head and other detail work. Options are somewhat limited to rocket pods, rescue hoists, and various antennas depending on which version you are building. The cabin doors can be posed open or closed as well.

The instructions are superb as with all Italeri kits and there are three decal options. I'd love to show you the sheet, but I bought this kit at a swap meet and naturally, when I got it home, I discovered one of the reasons it was such a good decals! The markings are for the box art CH-146 as well as a green/grey and silver Italian Army version and a very colorful yellow and red SAR bird from the Dutch Rescue Service.

Probably the only hassle will be finding a place to put the nose weight as my experience with helos is that if you don't put some in, they tend to lean back on the skids and may even tail-sit. Overall it looks like a cool helo. Fortunately, I have some decals I can use with it so all is not totally lost!

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

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