Pavla 1/72 Robinson R-22 Beta II
|KIT:||Pavla 1/72 Robinson R-22 Beta II|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Resin with photo etch and vacuformed parts|
The Robinson R22 has undisputedly been the world's most popular light helicopter since its introduction in the late 1970s.
The R22 was designed by the founder of the Robinson Helicopter Company, Frank Robinson. The R22 was conceived to be an efficient, cheap to acquire (with a purchase cost comparable to two/four seat light aircraft), reliable and economical to operate multi purpose two seat light helicopter.
Design work on the R22 began in the 1970s, and an 85kW (115hp) Lycoming O235 powered prototype flew for the first time on August 28 1975. Certification of the R22 was delayed somewhat to March 1979 however by the loss of the prototype. Despite this setback though the R22 was an overnight success, and several hundred had been ordered by the time the first were delivered from October 1979.
A number of variants and developments of the R22 have been offered. These include the improved R22 Alpha introduced in 1983, and the more powerful R22 Beta from 1985. The R22 Mariner is equipped with floats, the R22 Police version is fitted with special communications gear, a searchlight, siren and loudspeaker, the R22 Agricultural is fitted with tanks and booms for agricultural spraying, while the R22 IFR is fitted with IFR instrumentation for helicopter IFR flight training.
The latest R22 model is the R22 Beta II, powered by a 120kW (160hp) O360 derated to 98kW (131hp) for takeoff for improved hot and high performance (as takeoff power can be maintained up to 7500ft). The Beta II was introduced into production in 1995 and certificated in early 1996.
R22 uses are varied and include helicopter pilot training, cattle mustering, traffic reporting and police work.
Apparently this kit is quite popular as Pavla has reissued it. This time, there is a major upgrade. The earlier boxing from about 5 years ago, had a lot of injected plastic pieces. However, those pieces were low pressure molding and so lacked crispness and detail. So this time, the entire kit save the clear bits and photo etch pieces is in resin. Do not let the small number of parts fool you. These kits will take some skill to build, especially as one will need to fit two vacuformed canopy parts together. Fortunately, Pavla has had the foresight to produce these parts from relatively thick vacuformed plastic and has given us a second set for the inevitable goofs!
The cockpit section is built up from the resin and photo etch parts that are included. Same with the engine. All the resin bits are very well molded as you might expect from Pavla. This kit includes the one-piece tail boom and propeller. These parts have some very minor flash that will need to be cleaned and care should also be taken when removing the fine detail parts from the pour stub, but most of these should be able to be cut away using little more than a sharp scalpel blade.
Pavla provides four markings options for this kit. Two of them are shown on the box art; the Mexican Navy training school and camouflaged version of the Dominican Republic Air Force. Two civil markings are also provided, one in white with a blue cheat line as flown by the FLY FOR FUN flying school in the Czech Republic and another Czech civil plane of NISA AIR in grey tone tiger stripes. The decal sheet is very well printed and should cause no problems as long as you remember that these are quite thin. The well printed instructions offer color references for Humbrol and Agama paints.
I think this is a very neat kit, especially for the helo fan. Probably the biggest difficulty will be finding a place for nose weight, but I would think that most will cement this one to a base to prevent any tail sitting if that is the case. Judging by its popularity, it would be prudent to get yours as soon as you can.
Review copy courtesy of the fine folks atPavla Models. Visit them at theirwebsite.
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