Kitty Hawk 1/48 UH-1Y Venom

KIT #: KH 80124
PRICE: @ $45.00 SRP when released
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


In 1996, the United States Marine Corps launched the H-1 upgrade program by signing a contract with Bell Helicopter for upgrading 100 UH-1Ns into UH-1Ys and upgrading 180 AH-1Ws into AH-1Zs. The H-1 program created completely modernized attack and utility helicopters with considerable design commonality to reduce operating costs. The UH-1Y and AH-1Z share a common tail boom, engines, rotor system, drive train, avionics architecture, software, controls and displays for over 84% identical components. Originally the UH-1Y was to have been remanufactured from UH-1N airframes, but in April 2005 approval was granted to build them as new helicopters. The Marine Corps plans to eventually buy 160 of the Y-models to replace their inventory of N-models, with aircraft deliveries to be completed by 2016. The UH-1N was retired in 2014.


Earlier, Kitty Hawk released their excellent AH-1Z Viper. Since there is commonality between that and the UH-1Y, it is not surprising that there are a few sprues that are the same between the two kits. Specifically, the tail boom assembly and the rotor. They both also use the same large weapons sprue and while you won't be needing the Hellfires on this one, there are lots of other bits that you can use, such as rocket pods and a couple of different types of machine gun.

The kit also includes a nice photo etch fret, but rather than have it for a bunch of stuff more appropriately done in plastic, Kitty Hawk has chosen to use this medium for the various screens on the helo, the front seat harness, and a section that fits between the exhaust. Kitty Hawk has also boxed the clear bits in their own box to help keep them from being damaged during shipment, something I like to see. In addition to the usual windows and windscreen, the FLIR pod is also in clear plastic.

The cockpit is well appointed with multi-piece forward seats with armor additions, both a cyclic and collective as well as foot pedals. In the back, the area around the transmission has seven  two piece seats. Forward of that on the outer sides are two avionics racks and a seat is attached to each of those as well. Back in the cockpit we have a nice instrument panel, center console and overhead console. Decals are supplied should you wish to use them.

The kit offers a pair of rather complete engines and you can pose their access hatches open if you wish. It also appears that the cockpit doors can be posed open and I see no reason why you could not do the same to the cabin doors. One thing about modern military helos is that there are a ton of various sensors and antennas that need to be affixed to the airframe. Kitty Hawk would have you completely build the forward section, then the boom assembly and then attach them in the final step along with the rotor assembly. I don't see any reason why not, but I'd do so before affixing any external weapons. These helos do not normally carry weapons unless going in harm's way.

The instruction booklet is very nicely done with big construction diagrams. There are markings for four aircraft and large full color painting and marking guides in the center of the instructions. Speaking of painting, the instructions state that pretty much everything on the inside is matte black. I have always thought that modern US military planes were painted dark gull grey on the inside, but I'm willing to learn so if anyone has seen the inside of these planes, I'd like to know before I get too far along in my build.

Three of the options are in a two tone grey of what is listed as RAF Medium Sea Grey over FS 36495. This sounds a bit suspicious as the Marines don't use RAF paints. The grey UH-1Ns were in 35237 upper and 36375 undersides and this sounds more like it, but I'm willing to learn if that isn't the case. This scheme is used on the planes from HMLA-269 and HMLA-167 with the latter having a nice black and red tail. The box art plane has a black upper surface and while not identified, is HMLA-169. The fourth option has the grey upper but a green VIP lower scheme. The lower color is listed as FS 34102 but may well be 34097. The decals are very nicely printed and offer full stencils as well as other markings.


If you like modern helos, you cannot get much more modern than this. It adds to a long list of UH-1 variants and one does wonder what will happen if they ever do another! I have seen this kit built and it is a real beauty.


May 2015 

Thanks to Glen Coleman and Kitty Hawk Models for the preview kit. This will be on your shelves soon.

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