Airfix 1/72 Gazelle

Kit Number: 1059

Price: $2.00

Media: Injected Plastic

Decals : If I remember it was one version, an HT.2 of 2 FTS in red and white.

Date of Review:  27 March, 1996

Comments:  Ah yes, an Airfix kit.  An old Airfix kit.  Whatever you may be thinking, there are many old Airfix kits that are really worth the effort of building.  The Gazelle is one of them.  This kit purports itself to be an HT.2 training version, yet it comes complete with the sight for TOW missiles built into one  of the roof transparencies.  As you might have guessed, no TOW missiles and no weapons pylons.  This really does not detract form the kit at all, it only means you will have to replace the offending transparency with one you have scrounged from another source.  In my case, I had a suitable piece of clear left over from a larger kit that I simply sanded to shape.  This was really the only difficult part of the kit.

     These 1xxx series kits are not built with a ton of detail, but the Gazelle gives one all that is really needed.  You get a relatively complete interior with seats, instrument panel, only one collective for the left seat and what appears to be a central cyclic for use by both front seaters in between the seats.  Maybe this is normal for Gazelles;  any enlightenment would be appreciated.  For some odd reason, many helicopter kits leave off the collective.  If the one you are building does, it is easily replaced with a properly bent piece of sprue or paper clip, but it is still strange that many leave it off.  Due to the large greenhouse, the more adventurous (and less lazy than I), will have a great opportunity to detail the interior to a very high and visible standard.  One word of caution when building, is that there is very little room under the floor for weight and you need to put in as much as possible as the Gazelle is a ready tailsitter.  I flattened a bunch of fishing weights and crammed them in.  It worked.

     The rest of the kit is very simple.  The Gazelle has a fennestron instead of a tail rotor so that is one less piece to have easily broken off.  The rivet detail is not at all bad, but it may be more than what you like so a light sanding of the fuselage may be called for.  The rotor head and main rotor are detailed enough to pass in this scale and price range.  There are a few antennas included, but a good bet is to look at a photo of your subject to assure proper placement and type.  

     I chose to model something other than what was offered in the kit.  Gazelle aftermarket decals are not that common.  Although Modeldecal does a couple, I chose to use Blue Rider decals for a Slovenian para-military version coded SL-HAA.  This is the first helicopter on the Slovenian registry and was also the first to be lost having suffered a permanent accident back in 1994.  The paint scheme is simple:  it is a medium tan overall (I used SEA tan slightly darkened) with medium green rotor blades and a silver fennestron.  The decals are simply two registrations, fuselage insignia, and tail insignia.

     The over all kit is actually quite small so will fit in any collection.  It is truly a weekend project.  For a quick build, pick one up.

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