Revell 1/48 UH-1B

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  • Built: 2010
  • Aftermarket Used: Hamilton Hobbies UH-1B conversion
  • Decals: Custom made
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The short bodied Hueys have been woefully represented in 48 scale, with still no decent kit available.  The best of a bad bunch being the Monogram boxing, in its various boxings, which is the basis of this model.  As a young Air Training Corps cadet, this helicopter gave me my first ride in a military aircraft, and what a ride it was.  Based at RAAF Base Pearce as part of their SAR flight, in the mid seventies they were crewed by pilots and crewmen who had seen service in the recently ended Vietnam war, and boy, did they give us rides to remember.  I loved every minute of it and it started a love affair with helicopters, even though I don’t model a lot of them.
Out of the box, the monogram (although it is now boxed by revell) Huey C is a mix of B and C features, which need correcting.  As I was not building this as a gunship, I started off by cutting off the integrally moulded ammo box from the floor and filling the gap with plastic card.  The rear bulkhead is detailed with a curtain, that also got shaved off before the sound proof quilting was restored with embossed tin foil.  New scratchbuilt unarmoured pilot seats replaced the armoured kit seats.
Sealing the fuselage halves up –  not a great fit-  attention turned to the roof. where a bit of rectangular stock was used for the hoist arm.  The motor housing came from Hamilton Hobbies. A local producer of home made resin conversions for ADF aircraft. Although a bit rudimentary at times they were a godsend for modellers of ADF aircraft. The roof also had the airvents repositioned to their proper locations.  The kit pylons were used to hang the Kellett tanks from.  Ryan Hamilton again doing the hard work for me by providing the tanks in his detail set. Copper wire was used for the fuel lines that run from the tanks to the airframe
 The rotor head and blades came ftom an ESCI Huey 1D, the blades having been cut down to the shorter B length.  This assembly replacing the kits C type rotor head and wide chord blades, which were not used on the B model.  Finally, the model could be painted using Xtracolour olive drab and white with yellow trim on the tanks.  Speaking of yellow, I must have bought every sheet of yellow lettering available trying to source correct font and size for the RESCUE titles, without success, same with the AIR FORCE titles on the boom.  There was no other option, but to get custom decals made.  These cost me a small fortune, thanks to the manufacturer not using paypal or CC, so I had to transfer the money using Western Union.  This aside the finished items semed to match my photos of the real machine exactly, however they were translucent when applied, probably having been ALPS printed.  The Air Force titles have been built up with two layers to produce opaque lettering which still looks light grey rather than white.  White underlays were supplied for the tanks yellow titles, but for some strange reason, were differently sized from the yellow lettering.  In the end Ryan Hamilton came to my rescue (pun intended) with some decent yellow RESCUE titles.  All that was left to do was add the rear aerial from brass wire and EZ line and she was done.  Looking at the photos, you can make out it is well below my best work, but I just cannot bring myself to retire it yet.  Perhaps because of the memories it brings back to me.  It is definitely a model I will revisit once someone releases a decent B model in 35th scale.  Ronin Decals of Australia hopefully will release his long promised Huey history sheet in 35 scale as well EDIT, still has not been released as of 2021.

Bell UH-1B SAR Flight 2 Flying Training School. Royal Australian Air Force. Pearce. West Australia 1977

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