Kitty Hawk 1/48 SA.365N Dauphin 2
|Scott Van Aken
The Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) AS365 Dauphin (Dolphin), also formerly known as the Aérospatiale SA 365 Dauphin 2, is a medium-weight multipurpose twin-engine helicopter produced by Airbus Helicopters. It was originally developed and manufactured by French firm Aérospatiale, which was merged into the multinational Eurocopter company during the 1990s. Since entering production in 1975, the type has been in continuous production for more than 40 years. The intended successor to the Dauphin is the Airbus Helicopters H160, which is yet to enter operational service as of March 2015.
The Dauphin 2 shares many similarities with the Aérospatiale SA 360, a commercially unsuccessful single-engine helicopter; however the twin-engine Dauphin 2 did meet with customer demand and has been operated by a wide variety of civil and military operators. Since the type's introduction in the 1970s, several major variations and specialised versions of the Dauphin 2 have been developed and entered production, including the military-oriented Eurocopter Panther, the air-sea rescue HH/MH-65 Dolphin, the Chinese-manufactured Harbin Z-9 and the modernised Eurocopter EC155.
This is another nicely done and well detailed Kitty Hawk helicopter kit. These kits require patience and some skills to construct because of all the detail that Kitty Hawk puts into it. This kit starts out by having you build up the main rotor assembly. Only then do you move to the interior and cabin. All the proper controls are provided and you have photo etch belts for the cockpit seats. Though the p.e. fret has three instrument panels, only one is shown being used and you are also provided decals if you so wish to use them.
In line with their other helo kits, you build up the complete interior as a module. In this case it also includes the landing gear. This is then placed in the lower fuselage. You will need weight to keep this from tail sitting though the instructions don't tell you how much. I'd use a lot.
From here one builds up the rest of the fuselage and most of the windows. This includes the boom. There are two tail options, but again, you have to do some research to see which one is appropriate. From what I can tell, only the Harbin built plane uses the different tail section. Next you build up the engines, their various panels and the horizontal stabilizers. There are also optional door slides for the main cabin doors. Check the markings options to see which is appropriate. Though two noses are provided, only one is shown being used.
The kit provides a goodly number of weapons as well as a roof mounted sight. You will have to determine if any of these are appropriate for the version you are building. There is an additional set of build steps at the back of the instructions that seem to be for the long nose HH-65 used by the USCG and Malaysia. One fairly glaring omission is the lack of the rescue hoist. No where in the instructions is one shown and I looked through them several times. There also does not seem to be the parts on the sprue.
The kit provides markings for seven aircraft, all in various types of livery. The box art plane is a special scheme plane from the French Navy. Also included are aircraft from China, the USCG, Netherlands, Malaysia, Japan, and Taiwan. Some of these will require some major masking. The decal sheet is nicely done and will prove to be quite thin. As you can see, it is fairly cluttered, but everything is there.
Once again, an excellent kit from Kitty Hawk and again with less than sterling instructions regarding optional parts. I'm not sure why KH hasn't caught on to the need to provide more info for the various options, but there it is. For this reason along with the complex paint schemes of some options and the large number of small parts, this one is only recommended for experienced modelers.
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Thanks to Glen Coleman and Kitty Hawk models for the preview kit. You can find this kit at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer.
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