by: Joel Willstein [ ]
HistoryThe Sikorsky H34 was developed as a replacement for the Korean war UH-19 Chickasaw by lengthening it, and installing a more powerful engine. Rather then the previous 4 position landing wheels, the H34 was designed with a tri-gear arrangement with the tail on the ground. Powered by a single Wright R-1820-84 radial engine, rated @ 1,525 hp. flown with a standard crew of two. Top speeds of 123 mph were attained.
The aircraft first flew on March 8, 1954, and entered operational service with the US. Navy in Sept 1954. Designated HSS-1 Seabat ( antisubmarine configuration), and HUS-1 Seahorse (utility transport configuration). The U.S. Army and US. Marine Corps placed orders in 1955 and 1957 respectively.
Using the United States Army's aircraft designation system, it was thus designated H-34 with the name Choctaw. In 1962, using the new unified DoD aircraft designation system, the Seabat was redesignated SH-34, the Seahorse as the UH-34, and the Choctaw as the CH-34.
Various operation roles included general utility transport, anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, and transport. In it standard configuration transport versions it could carry 12 to 16 troops, or eight stretcher cases if used in the Med Evac role.
Besides serving in all four branches of the US military, it served in 27 countries including Canada, France, West Germany, Italy, Japan, & the Republic of China.
In the boxThere are a total 6 main sprues, there is one additional sprue of medic stretchers, & one sprue of seats, one sprue of finely molded parts, a clear
parts sprue, and the large front glass in a separate small box, as well as two PE sheets. One with mostly very fine grills, and the other is all various harnesses, seat belts, and stretcher belts.
A nicely done decal sheet done in opaque colours, in register, with a colour two sided full page of both helicopter markings, one US Air Force Rescue, and one for West Germany. Unfortunately neither the instructions nor anywhere on the box has any
indication of the actual units.
Colour references are called out for Mr.Hobby, Vallejo, Model Master, Tamiya, and Humbrol paints, which is a really nice touch to have all the main companies listed with the exception the new Italeri line.
First overall impressions is that the plastic is molded in a neutral gray colour, which will make painting that much easier. The plastic is neither shiny nor is it a rough matt texture, giving the paint a proper surface to adhere to. All the panel lines are finely recessed, as well as the rivet detail, which has a in scale look, rather then overly done.
Looking at the instructions and sprues, the cockpit looks just busy enough so that further detailing is an option, not a necessity. Same for the cargo bay that will contain stretchers or seats. The nose doors are positional so one can display the engine bay with what looks like a extremely well detailed WR1820 engine with cooling shrouds and exhaust ducts. The main cabin door is positional as well.
There are numerous PE grills that allows you to see inside the engine compartment even with those access doors closed. One feature that I really like is that the main rotor blades are molded with a sag due to their unsupported weight.
I've test fitted a few main pieces, and the fit is exceptional. I really don't see the need for much filler, if any at all.
ConclusionI've never built or for that matter bought a helicopter model, but I've wanted to build one for quite some time. And this kit looks like the perfect choice.
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