|PRICE:||$5.00 on the sales table (missing the rocket pods)|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Based on the stretched fuselage Bell 205, the Bell 212 was originally developed for the Canadian Forces (CF) under the designation CUH-1N Twin Huey. Later the CF adopted a new designation system and the aircraft was re-designated as the CH-135 Twin Huey. The CF approved the development of the aircraft on 1 May 1968 and purchased 50 aircraft, with deliveries commencing in May 1971.
The US military came very close to not procuring the Twin Huey. The purchase of the aircraft for US military use was opposed by the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee at the time, L. Mendel Rivers. Rivers took this position because the aircraft powerplant, the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6T was produced in Canada. The Liberal Canadian government of the time had not supported US involvement in Vietnam and had opposed US policies in southeast Asia, as well as accepting US draft dodgers. Rivers was also concerned that procurement of the engines would result in a negative trade deficit situation with Canada. Congress only approved the purchase when it was assured that a US source would be found for the PT6T/T400 engines. As a result the United States military services ordered 294 Bell 212s under the designation UH-1N, with deliveries commencing in 1970.
Unlike in the Canadian Forces, in US service, the UH-1N retained the official name "Iroquois" from the single engined UH-1 variants, although US service personnel refer to the aircraft as a "Huey" or "Twin Huey".
The Bell 412 is a further development of the Bell 212, the major difference being the composite four-blade main rotor. The UH-1N has also been developed into the upgraded, four-blade UH-1Y.
Though ESCI also did UH-1s, I am pretty sure this is not a reboxed ESCI kit, though don't hesitate to let me know if this is not the case. The kit is very nicely molded and flash free. There are ejector pin marks, but most will be hidden when the model is complete. There are some on the inside of the doors that the modeler may wish to remove. Though it is boxed as a 'gunship', only one of the three markings fits this description.
The cockipit and cabin areas are well appointed with the pilots having all the proper control sticks included. Pedals are also separate. Seats have belt detail molded in place. Each seat is a three piece construct that will fit into slots in the floor. For the rear cabin area, you have options. If doing the gunship, a large ammunition container will go up against the bulkhead. Otherwise one can install the canvas seats in a standard Huey.
The design of the rotor assembly is well done and looks the part. Probably the biggest issue with this one will be finding room for weight to keep it from sitting back on its skids. The engine compartment area has optional pieces as the gunship version has very small cooling vents, unlike the standard aircraft. There are also optional bits to go on the sides of the booms. Same goes with the need to open various holes in the roof or floor for equipment attachments like the rescue hoist or the mini-guns. Speaking of which, there are two guns that will fit onto the cabin floor. Rocket pods and their extension rails are also an option for the armed version.
Markings are for three helos. The box art version is the gunship from the 20th SOS at Hurlburt Field in 1982. This is in an interesting speckled camouflage scheme of FS 36375 over which bits of FS 34079, 34097, and 30219 are placed. Next is an Italian version with the SAR unit at Linate in 1996. This version will have the rescue hoist. It is painted in grey/green/silver with large fluorescent red areas on the tail, underside of most of the fuselage and the lower nose. The third option is an all yellow Canadian version with a large red band over the rear of the fuselage. This has no rescue hoist or guns. The decal sheet is nicely done and should work well enough. I am sure there are aftermarket sheets for unembellished UH-1Ns, but I cannot think of any at the moment.
Those who like helicopters should seriously consider this one. The UH-1N is one of the most popular twin blade helos around and used in military arms world wide.
Thanks to me for spotting a bargain.
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