Kit: Alouette II ‘Attack’ & Nord SS-11 missiles Scale: 1:32
Kit type: Injection moulded Decal options: (six) all German army UK price: £13.99 Website: www. revell. de
Although a re-release, this kit now appears from Revell in a slightly different format, as an attack helicopter armed with four Nord ASH missiles. The variant to be modelled has to be decided at an early stage of assembly. If the aircraft chosen featured the day-glo patches of the machine shown on the box art, then one may find it easier to paint the square fuel tank situated aft of cockpit at an early stage. There are other small variations too, for example the fins attached to the stabilisers are not carried by all the aircraft depicted.
The kit contains many parts for a fully detailed interior, an equally detailed engine and rotor hub, and an appreciable amount of details for other fuselage parts, the tail rotor, missile pylons and the framing around the clear plastic parts. On the less positive side I found that this is not a straightforward kit to build, thanks to its many parts, the manner of joining them together and the patience needed to paint some very tiny parts during construction. Taking the kit a step at a time with several dry runs will improve matters.
With the exception of the day glo mentioned above, all the schemes supplied are for overall army green helicopters, the only variation being in the title ‘HEER’ on the sides of the fuselage, which is in black or white. Serial numbers are also either in black numerals outlined in white, or in white. These all come from German bases circa 1962-63.
The kit’s 20-page instruction book includes a page devoted to colour codes. I suggest that you make a copy of this page and highlight the language that you are following, because I lost count of the number of times I had to go back to this page to decode the colour references on so many parts. The instruction sequence is divided into 67 stages with the last three of them devoted to colouring and decal placement. The first 11 stages are devoted to the assembly of the cockpit interior as well as detail painting. I continued to follow up to stage 18, after which I went on to stages 22-33, which deal with the assembly of the main fuselage structure, fuel tank, skids, stabilisers and all the parts that go with them. I made the jump because the intermediate stages deal with the clear plastic parts. These offer an assembly challenge in themselves, especially with the possibility of spoiling the crystal clear plastic.
One construction stage requires that three ‘L’-shaped vertical control links be fitted at the rear of the cabin and adjacent to the forward side of the square fuel tank. The horizontal part of these links is intended to fit below the cabin floor. I trimmed the forward ends of these, since at an earlier stage I had added a flat piece of metal ballast below the floor. Upon completing stage 51, I returned to the cockpit transparencies. Five clear parts must be combined into a single assembly. The foremost clear panel was fitted first, then the other panels were brought gently into position after first applying tiny drops of Kristal Klear to their edges. This was done as a preliminary fit test before applying liquid cement when the Kristal Klear had set. I thus avoided any risk of spoiling the clear parts with excess glue, while the panels were held firmly in place. The next step was to put the side doors in position. This was not a straightforward job since these are slightly oversize and required the removal of just over He in from their rear edges to make them fit. The excess plastic was removed by scraping with a sharp blade. Sanding along the edge with wet and dry then allowed a perfect fit. Once more, Kristal Kleer held the parts securely in place, followed by an application of liquid cement. The clear roof part was then gently glued on top of the assembled parts.
I made a number of other observations during construction: Part No. 41, which is a zig zag-shaped frame piece, has its first slanting channel missing and I added this from a piece of stretched sprue. Part No. 50, which is a ‘V’-shaped tail support, needed to be closed a little at its open end in order to attach to the rear frame ends. The channels along the long, thin, frame parts show imperfections along their length. These were easily removed by very careful scraping with a sharp modelling knife.
The Alouette II has two pointed antennae under its lower fuselage, but my kit only had one aft. I added the forward antenna from plastic card. This was the same shape as the rear aerial, but slightly shorter. These two antennae were joined with a cable made from thin metal wire. The main rotor bracket with its integrally cast shaft, part 54, was at 45 to the vertical. Apparently this was bent when the plastic component was still hot and being ejected from the metal mould. I carefully cut this with a fine saw and repositioned it vertically. The disc-shaped engine part, No. 84, needs to have the front part of its shaft filed down or it will not fit inside the engine assembly.
Furthermore, the two nose antennae had their support brackets thinned down to a more acceptable diameter, while two vertical antennae were carefully cut and tiny holes drilled with a 0.4-mm diameter bit to take two thin steel-wire antennae. These were cut to the same length as the kit items they replaced. The ‘webbing’ between the spokes of the two wheels fitted to the skids was drilled through at five places and carefully shaped with a small file. Additional details added to the model were a vertical hydraulic pipe added to the starboard side, and another to the lower engine exhaust. Finally, a wire was connected from the forward small antenna located under the fuselage. As for the colouring instructions at the end of the instruction book, these could be a little confusing. For instance, if one desires to build Alouette II ‘7588’, the colour chart shows its tailplanes in orange, while the box art has them in yellow. Also, the box art does not show the word ‘HEER’ under the nose, although it is indicated on the instruction views. As for painting, I used Tamiya XF-62 Olive Drab mixed with a few drops of Flat Yellow XF-3 in order to get close to the type of green used by the German army and which Revell refers to as ‘yellow olive’. The decal sheet is very comprehensive and highly detailed. Some of the tiny decals were not included on the instruction sheet and I used my discretion in placing them on the model.
In spite of being not as straightforward to build as many kits, I enjoyed making this Alouette. Adding the extra weight under the cabin floor really helped produce the characteristic sit of the real Alouette II helicopter.
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