Clear Prop 1/72 UH-2A/B

KIT #: CP72002
PRICE: $30.00 or so
DECALS: Four options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2020 release. Photo etch


The Kaman SH-2 Seasprite is a ship-based helicopter originally developed and produced by American manufacturer Kaman Aircraft Corporation. It has been typically used as a compact and fast-moving rotorcraft for utility and anti-submarine warfare missions.

Development of the Seasprite had been initiated during the late 1950s in response to a request from the United States Navy, calling for a suitably fast and compact naval helicopter for utility missions. Kaman's submission, internally designated as the K-20, was favourably evaluated, leading to the issuing of a contract for the construction of four prototypes and an initial batch of 12 production helicopters, designated as the HU2K-1. Under the 1962 United States Tri-Service aircraft designation system, the HU2K was redesignated H-2, the HU2K-1 becoming the UH-2A. Beyond the U.S. Navy, the company had also made efforts to acquire other customers for export sales, in particular the Royal Canadian Navy; however, the initial interest of the Canadians was quelled as a result of Kaman's demand for price increases and the Seasprite performing below company projections during its sea trials. Due to its unsatisfactory performance, from 1968 onwards, the U.S. Navy's existing UH-2s were remanufactured from their originally-delivered single-engine arrangement to a more powerful twin-engine configuration.

Clear Prop is a fairly new short run kit out of Ukraine and it is nice to see the early Seasprite being produced. It seems to norm any more to get kits where the box top is very flimsy, but the kit box itself is a top opening type that is hinged.  Typical of current short run kits, there are a lot of sprue gates and the gates terminate on the gluing surface. For me, this only ensures that there will be gaps I need to fill as I always seem to oversand these while removing them. Surface detailing is excellent and the same can be said for detail molded to the inside.

Photoetch is used fairly extensively throughout the kit, which makes this one for experienced modelers. Much is for the interior including cockpit seat frames and harness, anti-glare shield, and cabin seat harnesses. There are decals for instrument panels and side consoles. The cockpit and cabin is an assembly that fits into the fuselage. This fuselage is four pieces; two sides, a top, and a bottom piece.

The rotor housing holds the engine face and exhaust. Landing gear come with doors and is nicely done. The rescue hoist has some p.e. involved. The tail section is separate, but it does not look like it can be folded without having to scratchbuild the bulkheads and folding mechanism. The main and tail rotor are nicely done with a goodly amount of the detail being on the photo etch fret. Transparencies are well done and while the instructions don't show the cabin door open, I see no reason you could not pose it in such a position.

Instructions are a full color booklet and you are provided with four markings options. Three of them are in overall goss engine grey. The box art plane is with HC-1 aboard the USS Oriskany in 1968. Next is an aircraft based at NAS Atsugi in 1967. Another Atsugi based aircraft from 1965 has an international orange nose and forward rotor/engine housing. Finally, an overall international orange plane from the USS Catskill (a mine countermeasures ship) in 1968. The decals are superbly done and you are provided a ton of stencils in both black and white as required. A full stencil placement guide is provided.

I've been looking forward to the early UH-2 for a long time. I was sort of hoping for something a bit less complex in terms of a kit, but you take what is provided. I'm not sure if Clear Prop is going to do other variants, but it would not be that difficult as they have the basis right here.


January 2021

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