Italeri 1/72 H-21C 'Gunship'






Two aircraft


Scott Van Aken




The H-21 'Shawnee' was designed as a twin rotor cargo helicopterfor the US Army in the early 1950s. Twin rotors were a good way to prevent anyproblems from single rotor torque and to give it extra lifting capabilities(i.e. more 'wing' area). As in all twin rotor helos, the rotors turn in oppositedirections. This is what effectively counteracts the torque. Also like all twinrotor helos it needs to have rear stabilizing fins for good directionalstability. Though only powered by a single row reciprocating air-cooled engine,the H-21 was really the first reliable 'heavy-lift' helo. 

Such was its success that it was used by both the Army and USAFas well as a number of countries overseas. It was a good rescue helicopter aslong as there was room for it to get to the survivors. It's ability to liftheavy weights also made it a good one for moving artillery around. Laterversions were used by the US in the early years of the Vietnam war. It was alsoconverted into a gunship of sorts by the French for use in Algeria.


This particular boxing is inolive drab plastic, undoubtedly to assist in ease of painting! Detailing of theparts is quite good, as one would expect from current Italeri kits. The surfaceis slightly 'pebbly' but that will disappear under the first coat of paint. Ihave heard that the cockpit door tracks on the clear part don't line up with thetracks on the fuselage, but that shouldn't be a real problem. You are given fewoptions, those mostly having to do with which variant you are doing. You canattach either drop tanks or rocket pods on the fuselage. The gunship versionalso has a 20mm gun that goes into the cabin door behind the cockpit and whatappears to be twin machine guns that fit along side the nose gear. 

Apiece of mesh screening is supplied for the various grilles on the aft roof. Noengine is supplied though there is a blanking plate with exhaust for the largerear openings. What is not shown is if there is any need for nose weight. Thehelo does look tail heavy so I would be surprised if it didn't need it. Where toput it would be the biggest quandary. There is a bit of room under the cabinfloor. The cabin itself has two rows of jump seats on either side so that itdoes look properly busy. There are also a number of antennas that fit on theunderside.

Instructionsare quite good and show all the possible options and colors for the version thatyou are modeling. Color chart gives Model Master and FS numbers. There are threedecal options for this model. Two are French Army in Algeria circa 1957 and oneis for the USAF around 1959. The two French helos are nearly identical inmarking, both being very basic and only one of them having code letters. Theyare painted in overall olive drab. The USAF version is by far the more colorful.It is overall aluminum paint with a red roof and upper fins. The decals are wellprinted and should present no problems in application.

Overall,it looks like a really neat helo and one that most would like to have in theircollection.

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

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