Tuesday, February 18

“Stylish Seasprite” François Laloux builds the new Kittyhawk Kaman SH-2F in 48th scale

Stop sniffing in boxes at garage-sales or dusty attics for that old 1/48 scale Matchbox Kaman Seasprite – Kitty Hawk produced a new one and it sure is a nice one! The Seasprite was the last helicopter that Kaman produced in numbers and although only 184 of the early SH-2 were built, it was for almost 40 years in service with the US Navy.

Kaman SH-2F Seasprite
1/48th scale
Kit N°: KH80122
Kit type: injection Moulded multimedia
Sprues: 4 styrene + 1 clear + 1 photo etched
Part count: 255
Decals for 3 different markings of the US Navy.

Kitty Hawk has produced some pretty cool kits since it went into the model business. The Gripen and the Jaguar are nice and that T-6 in 1/32 sure went together pretty good! So, when the Seasprite arrived, we were ready to give it a go. François Laloux got started on it right away.

Now, what’s in the box – nice boxart, by the way!
There are a lot of parts for a rather small helicopter kit; 255 parts, and that’s without the photo etched parts! The instructions are not bad – and contrary to those of the T-6, without any mistakes  – and show plans for 3 different dark blue markings. The separately moulded fuselage halves are very well detailed and as it turned out, all other parts do too. The clear parts have quite a bit of flash, a little odd for a brand new kit ... but who’s afraid of a little trimming?    

Cockpit Instrument panel and console on the left..
Plenty of crystal clear transparencies as well
The cockpit of the Seasprite is very visible and in this area Kitty Hawk did a good job. François built the kit out of box and with some careful painting, drybrushing and washing, the end result is quite impressive. The front bulkhead is a very nicely detailed part too, it’s just a shame that you won’t be able to see it once the kit is finished... For those brave enough to open up the nose and scratch build all the internal details it will pay off on the finished product.

You can get a glimpse inside - how much time do you have to detail it though?
The instrument panel looks great painted and detailed up - especially with the side doors open
The cargo bay is almost empty, except for a few seats – I guess some A.M. companies will offer sets for it pretty soon!
With the cockpit painted, the fuselage construction began. It’s a matter of not messing up all the nice details on the fuselage. The fuselage goes together without any problem, but care has to be taken with the engine compartment – a little putty was needed to get everything fit the way it should.

Painting the Seasprite was a real joy. Gunze paint was used to get the colours right. The dark blue fuselage got a wash of light grey to get the details and the rivets out. After painting the fuselage and placing the decals on it – did I mention how good they apply? – all the separately painted details went on the model. These bits really bring this kit to life. The hardest parts are the windscreen wipers. Ooowww, they are small! But what a great result when they are on! The injection molded rear-view mirrors were extremely fiddly to get from the sprues, so these were replaced by scratched ones.

Here are some shots of the finished kit:
So, what’s the verdict on this new Kitty Hawk kit? It is a little jem! The engineers thought it through and it builds into a very convincing model. 
This new release is a very nice one, but unfortunately, there is some bad news too...Besides the SH-2F, Kaman also produced the SH-2G Super Seasprite; a very similar helicopter, equipped with more powerful engines; it also had a larger faring on top of the fuselage. The front end of the housing in this Kitty Hawk kit is the larger one, like for the SH-2G – not for the SH-2F. The drawing on the box is correct, but the parts inside the box aren’t. These photos show you the difference in length: Hopefully this is a kit in process? That would sooth the pain :-)
I have to say, I didn't notice the problem with the shape of the top part until the kit was done and I would've built it anyway; it is a great kit. When a follow-up kit comes – probably the SH-2G – I’ll get one for sure. If I could make a suggestion for a future release: some struts for the folded rotor blades would be a cool addition.

François Laloux

Many thanks to Kitty Hawk for providing this kit for this build !