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Mh-60k blackhawk

24 May

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Revell’s latest foray into rotary wings is in fact a re-boxing of an Italeri offering – indeed all the parts remain on the sprues to make an MH-60K (albeit this is not mentioned on the packaging nor in the instructions – the parts are simply listed as ‘not for use’)

As such it carries most of the mods applicable to the fully upgraded ‘L’ variant – the most prominent omission being the sat-comm ‘hump’ aft of the rotor – you have however sufficient parts to enable a model anywhere between the full ‘L’ and the interim ‘Velcro Hawks’. To be fair to Revell not all the features are necessarily flown at any one time; you can for instance see Ls without the refuelling probe or the stub wings, and antennae fit varies widely. The kit features the standard down-turned ‘wings’ (ESSS) associated with the ’60 and provides four very nice drop tanks. (As two are more routinely flown, you thus retain a spare pair – ideal for an Apache!). Again provided but not mentioned, are the upturned stubs typical of the MH-60K or the US Air Force’s HH-60 Pave Hawks.
Armament is restricted to two cabin-mounted M-60s, which all my references indicate are
not typical, (Ks and Ls are more commonly seen with the more effective mini-guns or even.50s).
Markings are provided for two machines of the 160th SOAR and include extensive stencilling of which more later. Finally, and possibly uniquely, the kit provides for blade folding, (which is used when packing the aircraft into a C-5), sadly whilst the correct ‘folding’ style horizontal stabiliser is also provided, you would have to do your own surgery to fully replicate a ‘folded’ machine.
The main blades have subtle ‘droop’ moulded-in which is a nice touch – albeit you may have to reverse it if you fold the blades!!
The kit is typical Italeri, cleanly moulded in dark olive plastic, it appears quite good on the sprue; assembly however is another matter. The extensive use of add-on parts mirthat whoever had drawn the instructions had (a) not seen the production sprues and (b) never checked if building the thing was actually possible! Lots of dry runs and frequent referral to references then!
Assembly, as you would expect, commences with the cabin interior. A full set of seats is provided although I left off the rearmost row, which appears to be a common practice. Pilot seats and a full set of controls are also provided along with instrument panels that have decals to represent the main panel and centre console. There is no representation of the overhead console.
The detailing on all these items is adequate with a bit of cleaning up and careful painting, but those building for competition would want to turn to the brass or resin folks for a more accurate job on what is a very busy interior if modelled in its entirety.
The two fuselage shells have to be prepared next. There are various holes to be opened up, (not all of them marked – so plan ahead), and some filled, (the VOR ‘towel rails’ are not used on the L as far as I can tell), plus of course the undercarriage legs have to be ‘insinuated’ and fixed inside the cabin.
A change to the instruction sequence I chose to make, was not fitting the tail rotor as this would ease both painting and transport/storage. Conversely, on reflection, I also think it might have been better to fit the overhead glazing, (which appears not to be tinted on these aircraft), and the lower glass panels in the nose at this stage. This would have enabled easier alignment and the improvement of what turned out to be a rather approximate fit.
rors the original, but their loce tion on the airframe is no marked in any way and th< whole process becomes some what hit-and-miss. This is no aided by instructions that gai ble some of the part number; and have drawings that onl vaguely resemble the item: they represent. In fact I was lei with the distinct impressioi
Finally there are some decals for the insides of the doors, which I chose to ignore.
Bringing the fuselage together around the interior requires some care to get everything lined up correctly, as again there is no really positive keying of components. Once assembled however the basic
carcass is quite strong and you can think about adding the cockpit glazing. This is not a good fit and some fettling is called for to line the various bits up.
I then tackled the exhaust suppressers. This required a number of dry runs as the instructions appear to have reversed some of the part numbers – a problem further compounded by ambiguous drawings. Once together and sanded I added a support stay using brass wire. You have to look for this on photographs as it is often ‘lost’ in the shadows, but it is quite prominent and as in the prototype helps steady a potentially fragile assembly.
The stub wings come next. Again fit is very vague, a locating pin has no corresponding hole and parts, (which need to be handed), are not easily differentiated. The twin supporting struts – which locate into the inboard stores pylon – have no corresponding location points on the fuselage and also appear to have their part numbers reversed.
Furthermore if you weren’t paying attention earlier in the instructions you will have fitted the covers, (only used when ESSS is not fitted), over said unmarked location points! (No, I hadn’t, but only because I didn’t follow the instructions!).
With the model substantially complete fitting all the ‘warts and protrusions’ can commence. This is a long and tortuous process due to the aforementioned lack of location guidance. The kit provides everything appropriate – nose radar, FLIR ball, RWR antennae, etc., with the exception of the previously mentioned ‘hump’ associated with sat-comm. I can only counsel great care and attention to references throughout this part of the construction.
Painting as ever with US Army aircraft is not as straightforward as it would appear. Some references suggest that these particular aircraft are overall matt black; a possibility reinforced by the provision of light sand/yellow titles in the decals rather than the standard black.
References are not conclusive however as the standard Helo Drab colour is meant to change colour in different lights! Photography is therefore ambiguous, showing a colour range from olive drab to almost black depending on the time of day.
The actual colour is a dark greyish green, Xtracolor do a good version, or you can use Humbrol 66 Matt Olive Drab – either makes a good starting point. I used Humbrol followed by a couple of coats of Kleer to prep it for the decals.
A comprehensive set is provided with masses of stencilling as well as the primary titling and serials etc. They went on extremely well and settled down nicely with a touch of Micro Sol.
As the final finish needs to be
very matt indeed, a coat of Xtracolor matt varnish was used to seal everything in. This left the yellow decals looking a little bright so for the final coat I added some Olive Drab to the varnish and misted it on, effectively toning down the colour. Adding some black to this mix then allowed me to also suggest exhaust staining on the aft fuselage and fin.
Whilst the model was drying I got on with the rotors. As earlier stated they are designed to fold and as the feature doesn’t detract from the appearance I left it in. Providing the retaining pieces are clamped firmly whilst they set, operation is quite positive with no flopping about when the blades are spread. I added some minor plumbing to the top of the rotor head, and changed the kits’ rather thick pitch links for brass rod, but otherwise built it ‘as kit’.
The tail rotor was made removable by inserting some tube in to the fin to give a decent ‘push fit’ whilst still retaining the angle required.
The finished model certainly looks like a ‘Hawk, but it is a shame that just a little more attention wasn’t paid to the mods and how to get them on the airframe. The decals are superb on the other hand, albeit they include a number of items the location of which remains a mystery to me!
The kit nevertheless has the benefit of accurate outline, and includes most of the essentials so it does represent good value for money. Those of you wishing to go further and involve the resin and brass aftermarket, will find they have an excellent basis from which to work.
Best references are
‘International Air Power Review’ Vol 4 (which covers the 160th SOAR in detail). ‘World Air Power Journal’ Vols 12 and 13, and of course the Squadron ‘In Action’ on the MH-60.

Connected themes: aircraft models plastic, scale radio control aircraft, skymarks models, Mh-60k blackhawk, large scale model aircraft kits, build model airplane, model helicopter.

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