Fujimi 1/72 Sea King Mk.41
|$12.50 when new
|Scott Van Aken
The Westland WS-61 Sea King is a British licence-built version of the American Sikorsky S-61 helicopter of the same name, built by Westland Helicopters. The aircraft differs considerably from the American version, with Rolls-Royce Gnome engines (derived from the US General Electric T58), British-made anti-submarine warfare systems and a fully computerised flight control system. The Sea King was primarily designed for performing anti-submarine warfare (ASW) missions. A Sea King variant was adapted by Westland as troop transport known as the Commando.
In British service, the Westland Sea King provided a wide range of services in both the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. As well as wartime roles in the Falklands War, the Gulf War, the Balkans conflict, the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War, the Sea King is perhaps most well known in its capacity as a Royal Navy Search and Rescue (red and grey livery) and RAF Search and Rescue Force (yellow livery) helicopter. The Sea King was also adapted to meet the Royal Navy's requirement for a ship-based airborne early warning platform.
On 26 September 2018, the last remaining Sea King variant in Royal Navy service was retired. Most operators have replaced, or are planning to replace, the Sea King with more modern helicopters, such as the NHIndustries NH90 and the AgustaWestland AW101. HeliOperations continue to operate two Mk 5 Sea Kings, based at RNAS Portland, training Federal German Navy pilots.
The Mk.41 was the search and rescue version of the Sea King HAS.1 for the German Navy, with longer cabin; 23 built, delivered between 1973 and 1975. A total of 20 were upgraded from 1986 onwards with additional Ferranti Seaspray radar in nose and capability to carry four Sea Skua Anti-ship missiles. The other option in this kit is the Mk.48 which is like the Mk.41, but based on the HAS.2.
Since this is a 70s kit, it has raised panel lines and some very nice rivet detail. That's OK as real Sea Kings have rivets and they don't have engraved panel lines. Like most 1/72 kits of the day and today as well, this one relies on decals for detail on the instrument panel. Fujimi has molded the fuselage halves to do a number of variants using the same base kit. So the first thing you need to do is open windows and holes for antennas. This means you need to determine the variant you will be doing right from the start.
Next they have you building up the sponsons and the braces before moving on to the interior. The cockpit has foot pedals as well as cyclic and collective. Seats are pretty generic, but if you want to spif this up, I'm sure there are p.e. sets for the kit. Since this is a SAR bird, you have seats in the cabin along the wall.
Then you move on to installing the cabin windows along with the interior and tail rotor shaft before closing the halves. Then attach the tailplane, cabin door, landing gear, and rescue hoist. Leave the torpedoes on the sprue. Next the rotor hub is built up along with the blades. This is followed by the radome, engine intake, spray guard (if needed), windscreen and a myriad of antennas. Finally, the tail rotor of choice is installed. You get a five blade version for the German plane and a six blade option for the Belgian.
Instructions are mostly in Japanes but there is English information provided. The German aircraft is in a dark grey with da-glo bands. The Belgian option is in grey, sand, and green, also with da-glo bands, though later in service these were changed to international orange.
In the ensuing years, Sea Kings have been released by Cyber-Hobby and Airfix and I don't doubt that most will gravitate towards the newer toolings. However, don't short change the Fujimi kit. It is not difficult to find, makes into a very nice model and is less expensive than the others.
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