by: Joe Szczygielski [ ]
This is Academy's 1/48th CH-46E and looking at the instructions, I noticed that you have the choice of building three different aircraft. I chose to build the HMM-261 EM/05 "Raging Bulls".
You start out by building the rotor head and blade assembly, and with blade span just over 14'' diameter, I thought to myself... "How am I going to shelve this?". So I decided to fold the blades back. I cut the U-joint off the rotor head and filed out the center. I replaced the filed-out shaft from the U-joint using a 3/32 rod from Evergreen, followed by drilling and pinning together.
Moving on to the fuselage in step 2, all the parts fit with no problem. The same goes through out the whole kit. In step 3, depending on which aircraft you're building, you have several holes to drill. There are 4 extra holes that needed to be drilled out, 2 in each half.
In step 4 you start to work on the cargo compartment interior. There are about a dozen ejector pin holes and they seem easy to fill and sand , but I chose not to, as you really won't see them once the seating and the fuselage halves are together.
You may want to fill the ones towards the ramp's opening. I added some detail in the rear of the cargo compartment using Evergreen plastic rods and strips along with some wire.
I painted the cargo interior Dark Gull Gray, then sprayed on 3 coats of Future floor wax. Once dry I weathered and decaled followed by dull coat. The decals are a bit tricky here, so you'll need to have some time.
Step 6-7 are the troop seat and litter assemblies. You have the choice for the seats in their
stowed or ready position; I did both. There are no molded-in seatbelts, so you'll have to add in your own. Remember the Sea Knight carried between 17-25 troops. The seat support legs seemed thick, so I replaced them using .025 rod.
In step 8 you're installing the side windows and the cargo interior panels. "Caution here" if you're planning on installing the .50 cal machine gun on the starboard side, you'll have to omit parts A21 and J4. Review step 10 in your instructions.
Step 9 is the cockpit assembly and again everything fits well. The pilots' seats lack
molded-in seat belts too. One thing I did notice; don't glue in the bulkhead until you have assembled the pilots seats first.
The cockpit panel has raised dial and gages but lack the inner detail. I used the kit supplied decal with some decal solvent to help it snug down around the raised detail. It came out pretty good, though you hardly see it. I painted the cockpit area and
interior, ramp floors Tamiya's NATO black.
With the window's installed, it was time to join the fuselage together in step 12 . You'll need to dry fit here so as understand how the front canopy fits in.
Steps 13-16 are just the rest of the construction, again no fit problems. I did replace the protective armor plating and the engine intake screens with Voyagers exterior update set.
Once this was assembled, it was time to paint. Using Model Master colors, the aircraft was painted Light Ghost Gray and Medium gray. Four coats of Future floor wax was applied and weathered with oils. A gray wash with just a touch of blue were used for the panel
lines. For the exhaust stains I mixed Tamiyas' smoke and flat brown together, about 10% paint to 90% thinner. Spraying on with a low pressure. When dry I added a drop of flat black to the mixture and sprayed in the center. Two more coats of Future floor wax was
applied and then decaled. The decals were no easy task; you're going to need 2 days and a lot of patience.
Hope you find this useful and you enjoy your build as much as I did.