|KIT:||Italeri 1/72 Merlin HMA.1|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Jointly developed/built by Agusta and
Westland, the EH.101 is undoubtedly today’s most advanced medium
helicopter. Powered by three General Electric CT7-6 or Rolls-Royce
Turbomeca RTM322 turbines (each fueled by its own self-sealing tank), it
features a main 5-blade rotor made of composite material that, thanks to a
special anti-vibration system, ensures extremely silent running. Five
nations (United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Denmark and Portugal) have chosen
the EH.101 Collaboration with Lockheed-Martin has also led to the founding
of team US101, which has won the tender for the new US Presidential
helicopter 'Marine 1'. This marks the end of nearly 50 years of Sikorsky
helos as the prime presidential vertical ride.
Molded in light grey plastic, there are two large and two small sprues in the box. The only parts bagged are the transparencies and as a result, a number of parts were detached and floating free in the box. This is pretty standard with Italeri kits that are not reboxings of other kits. I guess it saves them money or something, but it sure does increase the chance of damage or loss of kit parts.
The level of detail is really super. There are nicely engraved sections and the rivet detail is very well done. The kit is also relatively free of glitches. I did find sink areas on one of the doors and on all five rotor blade caps. There is no flash and while there are ejector pin marks, all but a few will be easily removed.
There is a fairly well done cabin section with seats for the crew. The cockpit includes both the collective and cyclic control sticks. Instrument panels and seat belts are provided as decals. Though no indication of nose weight is shown, it is quite possible that the wheelbase is long enough where none is required. Finding a spot for it would be difficult at best. I know I'll put in some just to make sure!
The rotor head is well done and convincing in this scale. You can build this with the rotors folded back should you wish and for many this will be a real bonus in terms of shelf space. It is also possible to build it with the tail section folded as well. I don't see any optional folded horizontal stab so perhaps it fits under the fuselage when the tail is folded. The fuselage is actually three sections as I have to assume that the non-naval version has a different tail section; probably with a ramp that isn't on the naval version. Both sides of the main fuselage have large inserts, again, to take care of the different variants of this aircraft.
Weapons consist of four torpedoes, mounted to the sided of the fuselage. There is also an option to have the entry door open or closed.
Instructions are quite complete and well drawn. The colors provided are from the two Testors paint lines. The lone example (which I have to assume is a prototype or preproduction aircraft) is painted in overall Light Ghost Grey. Markings include the usual stencils and also the upper fuselage maintenance walk areas. Decals are well printed and should work without any problems.
Italeri has made a name for itself by its willingness to do helicopters, something that most other kit makers shun. The result has been some really fine kits and this one of the Merlin HMA.1 is one of them. Helo fans will really enjoy this one as it is quite detailed and should build into a fine model.
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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