Monday, August 28

Andy's Build Guide Pt III: Kittyhawk's 1/48 UH-1D/H Huey sealed up...

Andrew Perren has already given us an In-box review of the kit, and today his build of Kittyhawk's new "Huey" has literally taken off. See how he has handled his kit, also the parts that he has added to further enhance the model in his build guide...

Build Guide Pt III: Kittyhawk's 1/48 UH-1D/H  Huey
Kit Number - KH80154
Part 3. Construction continues
Build by Andrew Perren.
Product Link on the Kittyhawk Website
Price: $49.55 USD / €42.08 EUR / £38.44 GBP at Hobbylink Japan

Pt I: In-Box Review
Pt II: Build Guide
Pt IV: Painting, Decals & Finished Gallery

Today - Pt III: Construction & internal painting continues...  
Since our last update, the internals of the Huey has consumed a fair bit of time and effort.  This is such an important area on helicopters because there is usually a lot of glass and/or doors that can be opened to show off your work. 
The interior surfaces are all painted a light grey, this was before the era of night vision equipment. The official colour seems to be agreed as FS36231 Dark Gull Grey.  I used a grey primer and was satisfied with the colour.  The pilot’s armoured seats are FS34087 Olive Drab and the cushions were done with Vallejo 70924 FS34127. The cabin seats are painted in Scalecolor SC-45 Ardennes Green.
The instrument panel decal provided in the kit has a black background, but Vietnam war Hueys had a grey panel so I spent some time with my micro punch set and punched out individual dials and applied them to the raised detail areas on the panel.  

The kit includes almost a full set of seat belts with the pilot’s shoulder harnesses being comically long.  They also left out the lap belts for the pilot seats.  A combination of the shortened shoulder harnesses and the spare belts from the un-used seats made things a little more convincing up front.
The walls are covered in quilted soundproofing material which often took on a greenish or blueish shade. I used a dirty green wash to pick out the recesses.
Trying to arrange the belts in as random way hopefully, makes it look a little less like a model.  
The scratch-built rescue hoist was also painted up but will not be fitted until final construction as it will be deployed out the starboard side doorway and will get in the way for painting. 
Some initial weathering was done on the floor while access was good with a dirty wash.
The ceiling area and details got the same treatment as the back walls.
The extra detailing that was added to the overhead panel paid off with a result that I’m happy with, and the overhead windows were given their characteristic green tint with some Tamiya Clear Green enamel thinned with turps and applied by brush to the inside.
While I was painting the interior surfaces, it made sense to do the doors at the same time. The clear parts have been added to their recesses.  There is a head scratch moment with the main rectangular windows, each one has one corner not rounded off??  Somebody made a boo-boo there but it’s nothing that can’t be addressed with a few swipes of the sanding stick to round off the square corner.  As this is a new kit there are no mask sets available so I took the chance to draw around the window recesses onto some Tamiya tape to create some masks for myself to use inside and outside.
The port side pilot door was already fitted in the closed position so it was painted there.  The yellow exit markings add some colour to the bland grey.  Below I have already removed the interior front window masks prior to closing the fuselage up.
I love this bit when you get too close the fuselage up around the interior sub-assembly and you really start to get a feel for how it will look on display.  One thing I did not stop to photograph was the extra weights that I added between the floor and the lower fuselage.  This kit is not really a tail sitter, however, I like my skidded helicopters to have a sense of weight on skids.  This also helps to ensure that you don’t get a skid magically floating off the ground at one end should there be any twist in the parts.  There is a surprising amount of room under the floor forward of the cargo hook which puts it right over the centre of the skids.  I just used some small flattened lead sinkers fixed in place with some CA glue. 

 There are also a few bits of lead poked into the front of the centre console to be sure.
The kit on her skids has that characteristic tail down stance common in pics of Huey’s on the ground.
The areas where the roof, engine bay doors and tail boom all come together quite well requiring only a hint of filler here and there.  For gaps like this, I use Milliput white epoxy and clean up with water.  The only part of the engine on display now is the exhaust which was painted in AK484 Burnt metal prior to assembly.
Even though the fit is great throughout I’m glad I trimmed these corners of the glareshield. 
The fit on the undersides is equally good albeit with a small gap on the centre line just in front of the cargo hook.  Some thick CA took care of that one in short order. Again, only a tiny amount of filling to be done.
There are some missing pieces needed on the underside to satisfy me.  There is a forward airflow strake which is shown on the parts in the instructions, but it is not present on the parts themselves.  A piece of styrene stock was shaped and glued into place. Another missing detail is what looks like a blade aerial on the centre line, it was also made up from some scrap styrene.
The one-piece windscreen and upper windows sit into a nicely positive locating recess along the roofline, and more importantly fits well to the upper nose.
From front on it is quite impressive how well all the separate assemblies come together around the nose section.  I don’t think there will be much filling to do here either,
The undersides received a few smaller details, there are 4 etch brackets in the kit that go over the skid mounts – I chose to use some styrene scraps instead.  The clear landing light pieces were also added and I ground out recesses into them for some little lenses to represent the lights.
The elevators are mounted into a positive slot on the tailboom as well as the stinger and towel rail aerials.
The mounting gearbox for the tail rotor is supposed to have holes already in it but you will have to drill your own on both sides. One for the mount and to fit the rotor axle into later.
The main rotor assembly is extraordinary and by far the most detailed of any kit to date.  But be warned there are quite a few parts in here so it’s not going to be the easiest part of the build.  The blades are separate but I opted to glue them in place to make this area as strong as it could be.
The blades are accurately shaped for this model Huey and they include the tie down point on the tips.  I just had to drill out the holes for the rotor tie downs.
One of the main highlights of this kit is the provision for the first time in styrene of the M23 armament system consisting of a pair of door mounted M60D 7.62mm machine guns and mounting pylons.  The mounts as provided in the kit are very accurate and include the standard small size ammo cans which are normally mounted onto the central barrel of the pylon and remains in the one place as the gun swivels on its pintle mount.  
The Aussies however quickly modified their gun mounts and placed the ammo can in a cage mounted to the outside of the vertical gun mount which then swivelled with the gun.
There are some tiny brass etch pieces in the kit to dress up the M60’s including bipod legs folded up under the gun barrels and gun sights.  There are no ammo chutes provided unfortunately so I stole these from a spare set of Eduard etch for the UN-1N.  I think these will look the part hanging off my chopper.
Well – there’s only a bit of masking to take care of now and she’ll be heading for the paint shop.  There will be some more pictures and ramblings coming soon, I hope to see you then.

Andrew Perren.

Thanks to Kittyhawk for sending this Huey to Andy to build and review - Andy already has the helicopter nearly at painting stage which will be his next story to follow in the coming weeks. Stay tuned...