Friday 27 March 2015

1/35 bell UH-1 Iroquois ( Huey)


This one of those models that I have always fancied but never really found justification for the expense of the available models of this type (I'm very "cost efficient"). Just after Christmas 2014 and armed with a good amount of cash from relatives for my crimbo prezzies, I decided to have a good root around E-bay for something that may catch my eye. It was then that I saw the advert for this model. Its an older 1990 model and was a second hand kit, sold as seen. I decided to take a chance and bought it for a very reasonable £15. I offset the risk that all the parts may not be there by deciding on creating a crashed huey diorama to disguise any missing parts.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the model was in excellent condition despite its age and storage and even better, all of the parts were there! I quickly purchased a helicopter crew from academy as the kit ones were dire in their quality and put the kit onto the shelf until I had the time to start it.

The start

I still don't have a grand plan for this model so I am going to adopt a build and decide later approach to this kit. While all of the parts are present, there are quite a few that have been removed from the sprue and in some cases filling has been done using squadron green putty. I will start to add as much detail as I possibly can through scratch building, kit parts that I have lying around and possibly an etch kit if there is a similar kit version available. I have a feeling that this is going to be a long winded build so I will break down this page into the sections of the heli as I tackle them. There were a couple of parts that had already been assembled when I bought the kit, fortunately these were out together well:

The Engine and bay

The first job that I have decided to tackle is the bay and engine. The bay doors had quite a few sink marks on the inside of the panel and the mesh grills were not very well rendered. I filled the sink marks, removed the grills and replaced with some Airwaves brass mesh and then added some internal structure to doors. I will also add the various wiring and fire-wire to the internals of the doors as you would normally expect to find them:

The engine itself is a simplistic representation of the gas turbine used in this helicopter and I am not going to complain as the model is originally intended to be built with closed bays. I am actually grateful that while it is a basic shape, it actually looks correct and in proportion. To add more realism will take a good couple of hours of labor and a lot of scratch building and head scratching. Rather than describe the steps taken I will take progress photos along the way and show them below:

The Engine and Rotor Bay
The engine and rotor bay are again well represented but a little basic. I am torn with just how much detail to put into these areas as I am still not sure how much (if any) of the bay will be displayed on the finished model. I did decide to add some internal structure to the bulkheads for the engine mounts and some additional detail near the rotor base, I had the option to remove some of the rotor mount but decided against this as I am pretty confident that this area will not be shown once complete:

The Cabin interior
After some intensive searching on the internet I managed to find an Eduard interior set for £10 so that's been ordered to cut down my work load for detailing. When it arrives from Poland I will begin work on the front portion of the cabin and cockpit.

Some of the work that I have completed on the cabin prior to the etch set arriving is photographed below. It shows the rear wall of the cabin that has some terrible molded curtains on top of the padded rear wall. I ground off the moldings as there is a piece of etch set that will go in their place, There is however significant damage from the removal of the curtains that will need to be remedied. I decided to do this by manufacturing a more realistic curtain to replace them from some aluminium foil:

Well the etched set arrived and work has begun in earnest once again on the Huey. Almost from the start of putting the etch set together I realised that this would be problematic in certain areas of this model. The Eduard kit is designed for the Italeri or Academy kit so many of the parts will need to be modified or retrofitted to accept the etched pieces. The first of these was the exhaust of the engine. I was forced to cut the pipe off the engine and hone out the internal diameter to allow the etch part to fit. A pain to do but something that I feel was completely worth it once completed:

 Moving on to the interior of the cabin and work was not much easier there! The doors were easy enough to fit the etch pieces to, however the display was a much bigger problem. The kit part was quite a lot smaller than the etch set piece. In addition the kit part was bloody awful in terms of detail so really needed the lift from the etched part. I decided to make a complete new part that would house the etch set and provide the detail that I felt was needed for the "nerve centre" of this aircraft. I will also be adding some more scratch built details to the rear of this binnacle when I re-visit it for correct part placement before final assembly.

The pilot and co-pilot seats are also a major problem. They are again badly represented and quite a lot of work will be needed to get them looking like they should. To add insult to injury, they bear no resemblance to the etch parts provided for the seats. Again I decided to bin the kit parts completely and build from sheet plastic and etch parts. I still haven't decided on the final display for this kit so I have left the detail of the seat pads out for the moment, just in case I decide to place a pilot and co-pilot in the seats:

The other etch parts for the interior I had a little more luck with. The detail parts for the internal pillars between the doors fitted almost perfectly and the internal structure at the nose of the aircraft fitted as though it was intended for this particular make of kit. I did decide on building a new rear bench however. The kit supplied part was again badly represented and lacking in detail for me. This was sorted by some more stock plastic card and rod followed by the etch seat belts and harnesses supplied with the etch set.

work is still progressing with the interior however I didn't realise just how complex a build this was going to be with the retro fitting of the etch parts and the inevitable part fitment problems that is almost always associated with this age of kit. I also ran into a problem with the fitment of the crew figures into the seats. I should point out that this is entirely my error as the seats were scratch built items. I solved the problem with a dremmel and a lot of ground plastic on the workbench to clear up afterwards!

I have also finally began putting paint to plastic as well as starting the assembly process.The progress shots are shown below.

I have temporarily put this project on hold while I finish some of my other smaller projects. Work will resume on it later on this year

1 comment:

  1. Hello Craig Thomas!
    The helicopter is really nice and the description is useful.
    I turn to you because I have such a model but unfortunately there is no assembly description for it. I searched the internet for weeks but couldn’t find it anywhere.
    I would like to ask if you have a description could you help me send it to me by photocopying or photographing so that I can put together this beautiful model.
    I look forward to your reply, thank you in advance
    Robert Balogh