Italeri 1/48 SH-60B Seahawk
KIT #: 2620
PRICE: Around €30 in 2005
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Spiros Pendedekas


The Sikorsky Seahawk is a twin turboshaft engine, multi-mission United States Navy helicopter. It emerged during the mid-70s as the selected platform that would carry the latest and bulkiest Mark III Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) for maritime warfare, a suite that the already in service smaller Kaman Seasprite would not be able to carry.

The resulting Seahawk was essentially an extensively modified Blackhawk, in order to carry out its projected maritime tasks. Main changes were corrosion protection, more powerful T700 engines, single-stage oleo main landing gear, removal of the left side door, addition of two weapon pylons and modification of the tail landing gear (strengthened, utilizing twin wheels and shifted 13 ft forward in order to reduce the footprint for shipboard landing).

Other changes included larger fuel cells, an electric blade folding system, folding horizontal stabilators and addition of a 25-tube pneumatic sonobuoy launcher on the left side. An emergency flotation system was originally installed in the main landing gear stub wing fairings, but was subsequently removed, as it was found to be impractical and possibly impeding emergency egress. First flight occurred at the end of 1979, but it was not before 1984 that the type entered operational service.

Deployed primarily aboard frigates, destroyers, and cruisers, the Seahawk’s primary missions are surface and anti-submarine warfare. Its ψομπρεηενσιωε equipment includes, among others, a towed Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD), air-launched sonobuoys, the APS-124 search radar, the ALQ-142 ESM system and optional nose-mounted forward looking infrared (FLIR) turret. Munitions carried include the Mk 46, Mk 50, or Mark 54 Lightweight Torpedo, AGM-114 Hellfire missile, and a single cabin-door-mounted M60D/M240 7.62 mm (0.30 in) or GAU-16 .50 in (12.7 mm) machine gun.

Standard crew  is one pilot, one ATO/copilot (Airborne Tactical Officer) and an enlisted Aviation Warfare Systems Operator (Sensor Operator). Apart from the United States, variants are in service with another 14 countries. With 938 units built so far and effectively upgraded, this very successful helicopter is to remain in service well into the 2030s.

Established on 25 September 1987 at NAS North Island, the “Saberhawks” of HSL-47 Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light FOUR SEVEN employed the Seahawk. From then on they have been at the forefront of helicopter operations in the Pacific Fleet, having established an outstanding reputation.

In 2009 HSL-47 transitioned to Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron SEVEN SEVEN. They were attached to CVW-2 and the Abraham Lincoln Strike Group and deployed for the first time with the upgraded MH-60R. Since 2015 the squadron has operated aboard USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group as a member of Carrier Air Wing 5 (CVW-5) in support of Forward Deployed Naval Forces, Japan.


When Italeri came in 2001 with the very good new tool quarter scale MH-60G Pave Hawk (which was reboxed by Revell with some extra parts as MH-60L Blackhawk the following year), the arrival of the Seahawk kit in 2003 came as a pleasant and, to a certain degree, expected addition to Italeri’s “Blackhawk” family. From then on, these comprehensive kits have been reboxed another 10 times, not only by Italeri and Revell, but also from Skunkmodels, Wolfpack and even Academy (who had their own elderly mold Blackhawk), with the occasional addition of extra parts, in order to account for a wide range of the Blackhawk and Seahawk versions.

My kit was the 2003 initial Seahawk release, bought at the normal price of €30 in 2005. Italeri has somehow developed a reputation when it comes to helicopters and this kit’s looks in the box do not disappoint. For an in-depth survey of this very nice kit’s contents, you may read Dr Frank Spahr’s thorough preview  

This kit had been quietly residing in my Shelf of Doom, until a Seahawk Flight Engineer, now (as of 2022) a Navy Commander and good friend, announced that he was soon to retire, so what better gift than a model of his beloved helicopter type? Off the kit went from my Shelf of Doom then and onto my workbench!  


Following the instructions, I started with the interior by adding its various elements onto the cockpit floor. Those included the instrument panel, pilot/co-pilot seats, sticks, collectives, rudder pedals, the two piece radar operator’s office, the three piece dual and single seats and finally the 4-piece sonobuoy launcher. The rear bulkhead was then attached, followed by the roof. Basic interior color was  gull gray, with sticks, collective grips, boots and instrument panel shade painted black. Seat cushions were painted khaki and their molded-on seat belts linen. The nice looking kit decals were used to represent the instrument panel, as well as the central, top and radar operator’s console faces. Finally white and red “knobs” were painted on the stick and collective grips.

The 4-piece transmission was assembled and attached on top of the cabin roof. It was painted gunmetal, then heavily dry brushed with silver. After opening a few holes mentioned in the instructions and affixing the port window transparency from the insides, I went on joining the two fuselage halves, with the completed cockpit trapped in between. Fit was quite good.

The sensitive rear wheel strut, the underside beacon and a couple of tiny antennas, which were molded together with the port fuselage half, were carefully cut off, so I could handle and fill/sand the model without damaging them, with the plan to attach them at later stages.

A side note, if you want a rotating tail rotor, you should secure it from the insides before joining the fuselage halves. In my case, I prefered to sacrifice the rotating future by leaving the delicate tail rotor off, since it would have no chance surviving my less than delicate handling during the build.

The top front fuselage part (basically it is the top windows framing) was attached, followed by the pilot's entrance door, which I elected to attach “closed”. As fit was not totally positive there, I decided to attach both parts at the same time and align them effectively as a whole before glue cured.

The top transmission cover was then attached, followed by the two piece engine inlets and the rear cover that contains the upper parts of the exhausts (the lower parts are molded with the fuselage halves, meaning horizontal seams that have to be addressed). Fit was good but not perfect (especially at the engine inlets), with all seams needing a degree of attention: this included treatment with liquefied styrene and coarse sanding, followed by “normal” filler and fine sanding.

Taking a break from main construction, I went on boosting my morale by doing some subassemblies. Those included the 12-piece and 2-piece main and rear rotors respectively, the 2-piece vertical stabilizer, the pair of 2-piece torpedo pylons, the 4-piece towable MAD pylon, the 3-piece hoist mechanism and the 2-piece main wheels.

Having a basic frame complete and sanded smooth, I went on adding the gazillion exterior “add-ons” (some more delicate than others) that modern helicopters carry. Those included the underside radar dome and VU antenna, the MLG attaching point fairings, the torpedo and towable MAD pylons, various ESM antennas, front temperature sensors and so on. 

The distinctive top cover sliding rails should not be attached as stated at the instructions: rather, their rear end should fit into the respective cover cutouts (the cover is supposed to slide onto them), something that required some judicious sanding. A number of delicate items, like the MLG struts themselves and various small antennas, were left off, to be attached at later stages. After a final filling and sanding sesion, I stuffed the interior with wet tissue and the Seahawk headed to the paint shop!


I first applied a coat of Hu196 light gray at the undersides and masked it off. I then applied Hu123 dark gray on the top flat area between the engines, then masked its borders with strings of tak (patafix), in order to obtain a neither hard nor too soft demarcation line. A generous spray of Hu127 ghost gray followed as the “sides'' color, the same shade being used for the main and rear rotors, landing gear parts and wheel rims. 

Some serious overspray had taken place on top (where, lazily, I had only applied tak strings at the borders and had not masked the complete area). Again, using tak strings, I at this time affixed them slightly outside the dark gray top area and carefully sprayed Hu126 (a lighter shade than the previously used Hu123) which dried to a more “correct” gray shade. A coat of Future prepared the bird for decaling.

I used the kit decals, in order to represent an HSL-47 “Saberhawks” machine. While the decals looked superbly printed, they refused to detach from their backing paper despite being soaked in hot water for many minutes, as if there was not sufficient (if any) decal glue between the decals and the backing paper.

What I did was, after soaking each decal in hot water for several minutes, carefully lifting its edge with my hobby knife, then, using utmost care and with fingers crossed, lifting the whole decal from the paper with my tweezers and positioning it onto the model, where a drop of future had beforehand been applied, to replace the missing decal glue. 

Suffice to say the above process was hair raising, but, interestingly, all finally went well, with the base decal material proving strong enough to withstand the above torture. It has to be mentioned that this has been the only time I ever had an issue with the otherwise typically excellent Italeri decals, so I consider it an isolated case. A coat of Future sealed the decals.


I attached the landing gear legs, followed by the wheels, which had beforehand been filed to look “weighted”. Tires were black, whereas the oleos were highlighted with a fine tip silver pen. The horizontal stabilizer, the hoist, the tiny foot pegs as well as a number of antennas and other “small stuff” were attached in position, all of them painted fuselage color, as pic evidence indicated. The pylons' sway braces were also attached, painted gunmetal. Finally, some “meshed” molded fuselage areas were highlighted with gun metal, whereas the exhausts, together with the shallow innards of a couple of air exits behind the engines were painted black. The main and rear blades black areas were masked and painted at that time, as well.

It was then time for some weathering: no matter how tempting might be to leave the model clean, like it has just been delivered and, despite the personnel’s serious efforts to keep the machines pristine, truth is that Seahawks look more “right” with an amount of weathering on them, showing the effects of not only the harsh environment they operate, but also of the significant exhaust staining that quickly shows onto the light ghost gray sides. I thus went on and applied a black wash all over (hefty at grim-candidate areas), followed by application of dark brown and black dry pastels to simulate general “dirtying” and, especially, the exhaust staining that I tried to give a pattern like it is observed in reality (towards the downwash airflow). An almost matt coat gave the bird its final finish.

The tedious job of adding the transparencies was next: Fit was so-so, leaving the occasional mini gaps and/or mismatch, those discrepancies taken care of white glue carefully applied and “faired” with a wet cotton bud. The top windows were tinted with Humbrol clear green.

The windscreen wipers, the front pitots and the ultra-delicate mirrors were carefully attached. Wiper blades were black, pitot fronts were gunmetal, whereas the mirror’s area was highlighted with my fine tip silver pen. The main rotor was attached, followed by the rear one that was simply affixed in position, in order to be positionable. The various lights (anti-collision beacons and port tip) were painted with Humbrol clear red, whereas the starboard tip light with clear green, before calling this very imposing and beautiful in its own distinctive manner helicopter done!


Italeri has developed a justified reputation with helicopters and this kit is no exception: it has a correct general shape, sufficient detailing all around and generally good fit. Transparencies are clear but might possess some challenges in attaching them, with, possibly, the best approach being to attach them beforehand, blend them and mask them (something Yours Truly steadily refrains from, due to laziness and “not changing the habits of a lifetime” attitude…). Decals refused to detach from their backing paper (an isolated case with Italeri decals), but they were otherwise very good.

It being a modern helicopter, means a gazillion of “add-ons” will be found all around a Seahawk frame, some more delicate than others, deeming handling of the model not an always easy process, especially at final stages (and you can be sure that you will most probably snap-off a number of such bits a few times before finishing!). Combined with the fact that construction does present a degree of complexity, this is not a kit for the absolute beginner, but for at least the average modeler with some experience.

Out of the box a very acceptable nodel can emerge. Should you wish to go superdetailing, improving or even modifying, you will by no means be disappointed, as a long list of beautiful aftermarket stuff is available.

Per the Italeri tradition, the kit is (and will most probably be) reboxed from time to time with different schemes. As of 2022, it can be found at not too unsensible prices. If you are not a beginner and have one, or come across one, by all means grab it and build it! Some graphic language might commence each time you (re)snap that tiny antenna off or when the downward view oval transparency will not fit, but in the end an imposing Seahawk will emerge, proudly deserving a distinguished place in your showcase.

Happy Modeling!

Spiros Pendedekas

19 January 2023

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