ESCI 1/48 Bo.105

KIT #: 4058
PRICE: $3.00 on sale
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


The Bo 105A made its maiden flight on the 16th February 1967 at Ottobrunn in Germany with Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm's test pilot, Wilfried von Engelhardt, at the controls. The German Civil Aviation Authority certified the helicopter on 13 October 1970 and production for German civil and law enforcement organizations began shortly afterwards. Further safety certification by the FAA was granted in April 1972 with United States export orders following.

The Bo 105C was developed in 1972 and the German Ministry of Defence selected this model for its light observation helicopter program, purchasing 100 helicopters in 1977. A specialist anti-tank version armed with Euromissile HOT missiles and designated as the Bo 105PAH-1 was procured by the German Army around the same time, with a total of 212 eventually being delivered.

In 1976, the Bo 105CB was developed with more powerful Allison 250-C20B engines. This was further developed as the Bo 105CBS with the enlargement of the fuselage by 10 inches to meet American market demands for emergency medical service operations, with this version becoming known as the Bo 105 Twin Jet in the United States.

In 1984, the Bo 105LS was developed with the enlarged fuselage of the Bo 105CBS combined with more powerful Allison 250-C28C engines to increase the maximum take-off weight.

Production ended in 2001, due to the Bo 105 being superseded by the more modern Eurocopter EC 135, after 1,406 machines had been built. The last Bo 105-LS was delivered in 2009 to Dam Helicopters Inc. of Nelson, British Columbia, Canada.

Being the first light twin-engined helicopter in commercial service, it gained widespread use over rural areas (police and EMS / medevac) as well as offshore.

The generally similar MBB Bö 106 featured a widened cabin seating three abreast in the front row and four abreast in the rear of the cabin. The prototype, (D-HDCI), first flew on 25 September 1973, with hopes of new production as well conversion of Bo 105s, but nothing further came of the project.


This one was purchased on sale at the LHS and while the main rotor was assembled and most of the parts were off the sprues, the kit is complete. As it is the civil version, there are no weapons.

Molded in a silver plastic, the kit has engraved panel lines, a trend that was just getting underway in the early 1980s when this kit was produced. Since it is a simple aircraft, there are not all that many parts. The cockpit is complete with seats, rudder pedals, collective, cyclic and instrument panel. A decal is used for the instruments.

The cabin is pretty bare with but a floor, bulkhead and a bench seat for the back wall. The modeler can cut open the doors and the rear access panel if one wishes. Helicopters need decent clear bits and this one has them. Though a bit old fashioned, the horizontal stabilizer slots into the fuselage halves and is to be installed when the halves are assembled. The rotor head is adequate for most. There is no droop molded into the blades.

Instructions are well drawn with lots of information. ESCI produced one of the best instruction sheets of the time that, like this one, included photos of the actual aircraft. Humbrol, generic and FS 595 color references are provided where required. Markings are for two quasi-military helos. One is German and the other Spanish as shown on the box art. The Spanish one is silver with a green underside. The decal sheet provides the white cheatline. Now I am not sure how viable nearly 30 year old decals might be, so it would be prudent to look for aftermarket alternatives.


I built one of these kits back in the mid 1980s when in a Testors box. If I recall, that build (a German military version) went quite will with no real hassles. Finding room for the nose weight is a bit of an issue (yes, it will need it), but making the weight flat will help situate it under the cockpit floor. I am not sure if Italeri has reissued this kit or not, but if you like helos and can find one, go for it.


November 2011

Thanks to my keen shopping senses for this one.

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