KittyHawk 1/35 MH-60S 'Knighthawk'
|PRICE:||around $100.00 or so|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The multi-mission Sikorsky MH-60S Knighthawk helicopter entered service in February 2002. The US Navy uses the MH-60S helicopters to carry out missions such as vertical replenishment, combat search and rescue, special warfare support and airborne mine countermeasures.
The helicopter began full-rate production in August 2002. The first deployment of the new helicopter took place on board USS Essex, Wasp Class amphibious assault ship, in January 2003 and a number of MH-60S helicopters were deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The helicopter was originally designated CH-60S as a replacement for the US Navy’s Boeing CH-46D Sea Knight heavy-lift helicopters in the vertical replenishment role.
The helicopter was re-designated MH-60S as a result of an expansion in mission requirements to include a range of additional combat support capabilities. Retirement of the US Navy Sea Knights concluded in September 2004. The US Navy operates 275 MH-60S helicopters.
KittyHawk is continuing with their superbly done large scale helicopters with the Knighthawk. It comes in a huge box, packed with sprues. I recommend not taking all the sprues out until you are ready to build it as you'll never get them all back in and still be able to close the box.
The kit builds on their other H-60 offerings and provides a highly detailed cockpit and cabin. Apparently they were originally going to include crew members, but that section of the instructions is blanked over. The cabin area can either take seats or additional fuel cells. Unlike some other H-60 offerings, this one does not include seat harnesses.
Moving up, you have full engines to place in the upper housings. Even if you decide not to display the engine doors open, it is a good idea to at least install the core of the engine so the intake and exhaust area won't look into a blank space. The rotor head is very nicely done, however, you are provided TWO different assembly sequences, one early and one later in the instructions using different part numbers for the head assembly. I'd go with the later assembly.
One thing about modern helos like this is that there are a LOT of antennas for the multiple systems scabbed onto the airframe. Be sure to open all the appropriate holes for them as the build goes along. One system that is shown as optional is a chin mounted FLIR pod so ensure that your build uses this. There is also an extended FLIR pod assembly as shown on the box art. Just to add to the confusion, the instructions show the USAF type radar and long air refueling probe being installed.
You are also shown stub pylons and these would be used. Also added is a forward firing M 197 gatling gun. This is provided as a separate resin construct. You do get a photo etch fret that is used for screens, the M 197 and some other smaller items around the airframe.
Instructions are well drawn, but can be very confusing. It is imperative that the builder read these over several times to determine exactly what he wants to use when building the kit. I'd X out those items not needed. The decal sheet provides markings for four aircraft. However, the instructions only provide placement information for two of them. One the the box art aircraft from HCS-6. The other is a very flamboyant set of markings from HSC-21 Both are FS 36320 over what they say is gloss white, but this is not correct. Current helo TPS is FS 36375 over 36495. The other two options are for a TPS aircraft from HCS-7 and what appears to be an Engine Grey aircraft from HS-3. One of the two decal sheets is huge and too long for my scanner. Markings are superbly printed and will prove to be quite thin. For some of the schemes, the color backgrounds will need to be painted.
This is another incredible helicopter kit from the folks at Kitty Hawk. For whatever reason, Kitty Hawk simply cannot seem to get their instructions right and that is a pain. It is also unconscionable that they left off instructions for two of the four markings options. Experienced modelers will be able to wade through and produce an excellent model, but they sure make you work for it. This is not a weekend build.
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Thanks to Glen Coleman and Kitty Hawk for the preview kit. You can find this on-line or at your favorite shop.
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