Cyber-hobby 1/72 S-61A Sea King

KIT #: 5111
PRICE: $47.00 SRP
DECALS: Three near identical options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Antarctic Observation boxing (2013)

HISTORY

The Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King (company designation S-61) is an American twin-engined anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter designed and built by Sikorsky Aircraft. It was a landmark design, being the first ASW helicopter to take advantage of turboshaft engines, as well as being the first amphibious helicopter in the world.

Introduced in 1961, it served as the United States Navy as a key ASW and utility asset for several decades before being replaced by the non-amphibious Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk in the 1990s. The type also proved popular in civil service and with foreign military customers, as of 2014 many remain in service in number of nations around the world. The Sea King has been built under license by Agusta in Italy, Mitsubishi in Japan, and by Westland in the United Kingdom. The major civil versions are the S-61L and S-61N.

This kit depicts the license-built version of the S-61A (also known as the HSS-1) as Search-and-Rescue and Utility helicopters for the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force. 18 built.

THE KIT

This is, by my count, at least the fifth Sea King kit that Cyber-hobby has done and there are many others that will undoubtedly be coming down the pike in the years to come. Like other kits, this one is very nicely done with a complete cockpit that includes all the appropriate control sticks/pedals. The cabin area has two rows of jump seats, which would be quite appropriate for the non ASW version.

There are quite a few holes to open in the fuselage sections, much of this to incorporate all the updates necessary for this Japanese version. The kit includes four brand new mirrors installed on the front of the cabin to aid the pilotís view. The two halves of the fuselage have also been updated to include appropriate new side windows. Another special Japanese addition is a searchlight mounted on the side of the body. 

The large sliding door on the right side of the fuselage is included as is a boarding step and the rescue hoist. On the other side of the body, the smaller cabin door is also included and, like the sliding door, can be posed open if one so wishes. Two sets of rotor blades are provided, one bent up to portray the aircraft in flight and one with the standard droop as seen on the ground. The blades can also be built folded back. The proper five blade tail rotor is included with the kit as is the proper short horizontal stabilizer piece. Thanks to the way kits are done nowadays, there are quite a few spare parts.  

Kit instructions are well done with the usual Gunze and Model Master paint references. There are three options that differ only by the last digit of the serial number. All were with the Shirase Flight Division, Yokosuka District, HS-101 at Tateyama AB. They are overall engine grey FS 16081 with da-glo nose and boom stripe. The instructions say this area is International Orange, but I believe that the da-glo would be more accurate. Decals are nicely printed and in my experience, the whites are opaque enough to prevent underlying colors from showing through.

CONCLUSIONS

Now we have yet another very nicely done Sea King kit. For those who have a large aftermarket stash of decals for the early Sea King, this could be built as a standard SH-3A/D, though you'd have to keep the cabin doors closed as there would be no ASW gear. Besides, the JMSDF version is quite colorful and that would be the reason to purchase this boxing. For an idea of what the finished kit would look like, here is an image of the Sweet 1/144 version in those markings, which is one number prior to the three offered on the kit sheet. 

REFERENCES

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikorsky_SH-3_Sea_King

March 2014

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