Thursday, September 14

Build Guide Pt IV: Andrew finishes Kittyhawk's 1/48 UH-1D/H Huey in brilliant style...

Andrew Perren has already given us an In-box review of the kit, a construction guide and painting guide of the inside of Kittyhawk's new "Huey" in 48th scale. Today, he presents his finished kit, with help from Werner's wings decals to make his Huey into an Aussie Vietnam era bird...

Build Guide Pt IV: Kittyhawk's 1/48 UH-1D/H  Huey
Kit Number - KH80154
Part 4. Paint job, Decals & Finished Gallery
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

Well, it has seemed like a little while since the last update on this build, (at least it has for me) but rest assured I have been toiling away at the bench to get this one finished.

It often surprises me how much research we end up doing to complete a build to your desired level of accuracy and detail. What feels like a never-ending cycle of looking at books and the internet and then interpreting what you are seeing and deciding whether you can incorporate these things into your model. Then repeating the exercise all over again for a different area of the build.
I started this project with a definite goal of producing an aircraft that served in Vietnam with the Royal Australian Air Force as faithfully as I can. The kit has provided an excellent starting point for that project, some decals which I will mention later made it more of a reality. Then the rest was up to me to put it all together. I mentioned the research earlier for a reason. The Huey is one of those subjects that has had a lot of evolution in its operational life. My approach to this issue of shifting “reality” is to pick a period and configuration and set that as your target. Even a seemingly benign question like “what was the colour of Huey Rotor blades?” can result in virtual fisticuffs on the internet forums.

I’ve chosen to model UH-1H A2-377 delivered to 9 Squadron RAAF (in Vietnam), Feb 1968. The aircraft initially operated in the “slick” configuration before being fitted for weapons carriage as part of the Bushranger modifications. As the kit does not include the weapons for a Bushranger I will model this one in an earlier utility role. The pic below shows 377 in her later and angrier persona.
After some masking of the clear parts and openings, we took a trip to the paint booth to apply the main colour scheme. My goal is to have the main cabin doors slid right back in the open position. What better to mask off the openings than the doors themselves, they are tacked in place with some white glue so I could pry them off later and touch up any areas on the door sills. The smaller jump doors are also tacked in place but will be discarded completely later as I didn’t want them fitted.
The front right cockpit door is to be opened so I had to make a mask for that opening. I chose to make a door shaped piece of plastic card to put into the hole and keep the paint out of my interior.

(Note that I didn’t stop painting to take photos so the clear gloss (Tamiya X-22 enamel) has been applied in all these shots).
The main colour is FS34087 Olive Drab in Model Master enamel. I did some mottling with a lightened shade to break up the monotone effect.
The nose anti-glare panel and the roof area of non-skid were given a coat of my scale black mix, which is a very dark grey with some brown added.
The underside gets a similar treatment. I picked out the colours on the cargo hook with some metallic shades.
The tail is also painted up. There is a funny story attached to those twin towel rail antennae behind the elevators. I was “sure” the these were fitted to RAAF aircraft until I started decaling and then after rechecking references they didn’t seem to be at all. But the mounting points are still visible in pics so I just snipped off the looping aerials leaving the small discs in place and touched up the paint.
The main Rotor blades. I have chosen to use the “standard” delivery colours of flat black under surfaces, Olive Drab upper surfaces and a yellow blade tip. The leading edges show some wear by lightly wet sanding through to the metallic layer I applied as a primer.
The tail rotors are a similar story to the main blades. The delivery scheme is an Olive Drab blade with yellow tips and again I have tried to replicate blades with some wear. The cockpit door and the door guns round out the minor sub-assemblies.
About those decals……………Floyd Werner from Werner’s Wings in the U.S.A. played a big part in the development of this kit. They have also been quick to respond with additional markings for the kit, initially concentrating on Vietnam era with sheet 48-14.
I was able to assist them during development with some RAAF options for the sheet and of course, I asked for A2-377 to be included as one of the 14 options. The remainder are U.S. Army options. There are also some resin updates coming for the kit, available from
So as soon as my decal sheet arrived I set to work. They are printed by Microscale and are crisp, well printed and in perfect register. After applying the chosen markings to the model, I can also attest to the sizing being spot on as well. Being a Microscale product, they responded well to the Micro Set/Sol solutions. As I was representing 377 before her Bushranger update I opted to leave off the optional nose art and did not paint the upper surface of the elevators Orange. This is one of the increased visibility directives adopted later in the war to avoid friendly threats from above.

The set includes a full set of stencils in either full colour or low vis black for one aircraft. A separate sheet 48-15 provides additional stencils should you want to do more than one option. RAAF aircraft used the black low vis stencils with no apparent turbine stripe used on the engine cowling at all. There are a lot of stencils and I will admit to giving up on the last 10% or so tiny ones as I was quickly losing the will to live.
Final construction was a little bit involved but the parts fit quite well where intended. I was particularly impressed with the fit of all the doors either open or closed.
The effort I went to with the masking seems to have paid off nicely around the glassed areas. The windscreen wipers and etch metal stoppers were also last-minute attachments. The rotating red beacon above the engine exhaust is a red plastic jewel which has a nice effect.
The main cabin doors sit perfectly against the folded etch metal stops in the door tracks.
The XM-23 pylons and M-60 door guns were perhaps the fiddliest part of the final construction. I did some restrained chipping on the tops of the skids and the edges of the cabin floor in ingress/egress areas. I was not trying for a beaten up old dump truck look so less is more for me on that score.
The hoist that I had finished earlier could now finally be added as well as the open cockpit door.
Two Little lenses products were added into the recessed area I created in the landing light housings.
The head on & side on views give a nice look at the characteristic Huey stance.
The main rotor is tied down in the stowed position thanks to a wire handle and some white EZY Line. I replaced the kits plastic whip aerial on the tip of the tail with more fine wire.
Wanting to showcase this build a little I re-purposed an old base and added a corrugated metal landing pad made from styrene stock, painted and weathered.
The final display sets off the build nicely.
My Kittyhawk 1/48 UH-1D/H is complete.
Final thoughts.
So, what did I think about the kit? – I loved it. Despite the kits curiosities and weak instructions, this is a great basis for a fine looking helicopter model. The effort that has gone into the details is obvious and to back it up it goes together well. This kit should not disappoint either the out of box builder or the super detail freaks out there. With the one caveat that you should do your research to overcome some of the ambiguities. I foresee quite a few more of these kits being on my bench in the future, especially as the aftermarket detail sets begin to hit the market.
Mmmm what’s next?

Andrew Perren.

Thanks to Kittyhawk for the opportunity to review & build the kit for you all...
...and to Floyd Werner of Werner's Wings for the decals to make this Aussie project a reality.