by: Cristian [ ]
The box, which is Revell's typical side-open type contains the following:
- three styrene sprues
- one sprue with clear parts
- an extensive decal sheet
- an instruction sheet
The first sprue contains the fuselage halfs as well as a few more, small parts for the exterior and the operator seats along with the rear wheel. The level of details on the fuselage is great as one would expect from an initially Italeri kit. The engravings are fine and sharp, the rivets are visible and seem to be in the right size and place.
Given the fact that the kit parts are reused on several other variants, the instruction sheet calls out for several holes and cutouts to be done on the fuselage and the cabin floor. Although the plastic is nicely thinned on these areas to ease the cutting process, it would require some attention and a steady hand.
Speaking of holes in the cabin floor, the holes that are used to fix the operator seats and the sono buoy launcher are not exact. I made the mistake to drill them out as these were marked just to end up with some of them being too far apart so I had to slightly warp the parts to make 'em fit. We are talking about an offset of about 2 mm so not neglectable but also not a show stopper. Just keep this in mind when drilling your own.
On the same sprue there are some 3D parts that seem very fragile. I think the sprue attachments are excellently engineered on these as they are slightly raised and the 3D parts "hidden" along this raised section so they cannot break as easily. A very nice touch, me thinks.
The second sprue contains the cockpit and interior parts but also the blades and other rotor parts along with the stabilator components. Again, the amount of details is fine but the purists among us would want to add some additional wiring to the rotor. Not something you could usually avoid, no matter which kit.
It has to be mentioned here that although there is a basic interior supplied with the kit the level of details on this one is way behind the overall quality of the rest of the kit. Considering the large windows, improvement is kind of a must here. Eduard's interior upgrade set would come it handy here.
The operator's console on the other hand is very nicely done. It has mold-on forms for the monitors and controls and is covered by 9 (nine!!!) decals.
The third styrene sprue contains the external equipment and "consumables". Just like with the other parts, the details are crisply molded with an excellent appearance.
The sono buoy launcher detailing is also great. Again, those that are versed in the black art of scratching could consider replacing the mold-on wires with real ones. Still, the styrene parts are more than OK as they are.
The clear parts are crystal clear and have no seams that need covered. Once thing I especially like about the way these have been divided is that except for the front section, there is no detail masking necessary for the painting. The complete parts can be covered in masking tape and only the edges have to be trimmed in shape. Other kits feature complete front section molded in clear plastic which does not only causes additional masking work but one often has trouble getting the colors over the clear parts match the rest of the fuselage due to the fact that light is shining through the back of the clear parts. I'm happy not to have to deal with these problems on this particular kit!
DecalsIf there has to be one aspect to LOVE about this kit it would definitely be the decals sheet. With its 159 elements it is indeed HUGE! The sheet would allow for markings of two US Navy units: HSL-42 and HSL-49. The great part about these two units is that one (HSL-42) allows for a more conservative, all-gray color scheme while the other (HSL-49) has a beautiful red tail with two unit marking scorpions on it.
Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.