|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
Notwithstanding the loss of the HRX competition, Sikorsky built an S-61R prototype as a private venture, with its first flight in 1963. During its development, the US Air Force placed an order for the aircraft, which was designated CH-3C. The Air Force used the CH-3C to recover downed pilots. The CH-3E variant with more powerful engines would follow in 1965.
The improved HH-3E variant would follow later, with eight built, and with all 50 CH-3Es converted to this standard. Known as the Jolly Green Giant, the HH-3E featured protective armor, self-sealing tanks, a retractable inflight refueling probe, jettisonable external tanks, a high-speed hoist, and other specialized equipment.
From what I've been able to research, this is the initial boxing of this kit from 1970. It is quite typical for its day with nice raised detail and a ton of rivets. You need to keep in mind that during this time, rivets equals accuracy in the same way we now look at engraved kits. This is not the only 1/72 HH-3E as it was also produced by Aurora (which may be this kit) and Lindberg.
Also typical of the day is the fairly Spartan interior provided. The cockpit has two seats, two crew members and an instrument panel. The foot pedals and console are molded into the floor. There is an aft bulkhead provided so you can see into the empty cargo area. The windows fit from the inside of the fuselage halves and there is a hinged rear ramp so you can pose it open and look into all that empty.
The nose gear well is a separate item that fits in place with the gear after the fuselage halves are glued together. The main gear need to be assembled and installed before you complete the sponsons or there will be no way to attach them. The tail rotor and stab attach to the rear and one then attaches the engine intakes and the cockpit transparency.
The last assembly details are the rotor head which is somewhat simplified. The blades have no droop. You are also given fuel tanks to hang from the side sponsons.
Instructions are a single sheet of paper with the decal placement included in the last step. You'll have to use the box art and photos to get a good idea of the camouflage. This boxing has it in the standard SEA scheme. A look at google images will be a real help. The small decal sheet, since it is fifty years old, is undoubtedly useless.
Despite its age, this does build up into a fairly nice model. Not a show winner, but the odds of seeing this kit produced to a more modern standard are not all that high. It would be nice, but I don't expect it anytime soon.
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