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UH-1D Iroquois 'Huey'

Building Bell's battlefield bus...

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Alan Bradbury14/03/2008 20:53:00
1176 forum posts
3 articles

As I've never done a proper blog on here, apart from my 'pseudo blog' in the diorama section, (which this chopper will be part of), I figured I'd cover this...

The obligatory box shot:


It's the Panda Models 1/35 scale Bell UH-1D 'Huey', now reboxed as a Dragon kit with PE detailing and four crew. Mine being the original non-fancy early version of the kit without those embellishments, means I'll have to scratch up the detailing and use the seperately available Dragon Vietnam chopper crew. A cautionary tale for kit hoarders - something better always comes along.

What you get in the Panda kit:

Along with three large grey sprues, plus a fourth clear plastic sprue for the glazing, you also get the instructions and decals to create a US Air Cavalry version, or an Australian Army version. Both decal options are unsuited to what you get in this kit however - both the Aussie and Air Cav versions of the Huey D were noted for being heavily armed, and unlike in the newer Dragon kit, you don't even get the gun mounts, let alone any guns or 2.75 inch rockets.

There are M-60 machine guns included with the Dragon Vietnam Helicopter Crew set, but that doesn't include fully accurate mounting stanchions to enable you to add the standard XM-23 (M-60) door guns seen on almost all Hueys. So get the Dragon one if you want to make a standard  troop hauler version. Fortunately for me, I'll be building an unarmed medevac version, armed only with Red Crosses.

Since most people on this site are more clued up about AFVs than choppers, here's a bit about the real thing:

First flown in 1955, Bell's prototype 'Huey' was one of twenty entrants to the US Army's competition for a 'state of the art helicopter with military characteristics, suitable for medical evacuation, instrument training and general utility missions.'

It won, and upon accepting the Huey for trials, the US Army designated it the Helicopter, Utility, One (HU1) which is where the nickname 'Huey' comes from. In service it became the UH-1A, but Huey stuck, so few people ever referred to it by its official US Army name - Iroquois - which followed the tradition of naming helicopters after North American Indian tribes. Subsequent versions had the word 'Huey' cast into the right tail rotor pedal. 

In 1960, the US Army decided they wanted a dedicated tactical troop transport helicopter to test their 'Airmobile' concept (which more or less spelled the end of paratroops). Consequently, the US Army asked Bell to upgrade the Huey to a suitably larger variant. This involved lengthening the cabin, uprating the engine, lengthening the tailboom and rotors, and re-seating the chopper on its skids a little, giving it a characteristic 'nose high' look when on the ground. This was the D model, which became symbolic of the war in Vietnam, with its tadpole shape and distinctive rotor sound.

Okay, panic over, you can get back to the tanks now!


Karol Jakubczyk14/03/2008 21:03:00
1309 forum posts
276 photos
18 articles

Wokka, wokka, wokka....

Andy Claesens14/03/2008 21:49:00
10986 forum posts
9945 photos
16 articles

Hi Al,

Strapping myself in for this one! Looking forward to Dust Off! Makes me want to dig out the two 1/35th Cobras I've got....


VB14/03/2008 22:02:00
8457 forum posts
10160 photos
773 articles
What is it?  Some kind of boat? 
Jeremy Wee14/03/2008 22:04:00
1722 forum posts
173 photos
26 articles
this is actually quite a nice change from armour. I definitely dont see alot of blogs on aircrafts around here. Hope to see some progress on this one.
Yngve14/03/2008 22:50:00
2851 forum posts
12 photos
4 articles
Oh yeah,count me in on this one. I think secretly we all love those choppers
Craig Hiscock14/03/2008 23:13:00
17650 forum posts
6533 photos
11 articles

Looking forward to watching this one Al. I do like a Huey


Spurty14/03/2008 23:30:00
1312 forum posts
308 photos
I,ve go the Dragon offering so I'll be interested to see how the panda one goes together, the only real difference I can see is the dragon one has a large etch sheet with it ans is more expensive.
Alan Bradbury15/03/2008 00:19:00
1176 forum posts
3 articles

Seem to have been relocated from the blog bit. Took me a while to find the thread! Not sure why you can't blog a troop transport in there when you can blog a push-bike, but never mind, at least we have a home 

So, the process of checking the accuracy begins. I bought this kit a long time ago (paid 15 quid for it I think from Model Zone in Manchester). Look how dusty it got waiting to be built:

I've also had to relocate from my normal building area since this is a big 'un - it measures just shy of 400mm long not including the rotor blades:

It's well laid out on the sprues, with clear numbering, and cleanly molded too, hardly any flash at all. It's not the most complex model in the world considering its size, in fact not much more complex than the old ESCI 1/72nd scale Huey I made tons of once for an insanely big dio, but at this scale that's a plus, since I don't have to waste time cleaning up molded on psuedo-detail and can get to detailing it straight away. On the other hand, there is some spurious 'rivet detail' you wouldn't find on the real thing, which will have to go:

The rivets around the window are not a feature of the real chopper's door. If there were rivets there, you wouldn't be able to wind the window down! Spurious rivet detail was one of the main criticisms of this kit  I vaguely recall, but it's a relatively easy thing to sort, more of a pain in the ass than a disaster. What is annoying though, is that in places on the real thing where there actually are prominent rivets, such as on the landing skid brackets, you don't find any. It's apparent that the model kit was intended to be built with no crew, as the seats have the harnesses molded onto them, but, the pilots will cover that up , so not a problem except where they go back through the seat armour.

Going to model the rotors turning - and that's a good thing because the laminations on the real rotors are not well duplicated, bad news if you wanted to model it static.

The diamond-patterned sound-deadening material in the cabin is well replicated, though often removed in 'Nam because it tended to mildew. The control console and radios are there, as is the main panel (with a decal - decals are bang on by the way, with good print registration). Controls, though not spot on, are close enough for what is seen when a pilot figure's hand is on them. More importantly, the sprue layout is done in such a way that sink marks (of which there are a few) are generally on the side of components which won't be seen -  I wish more kit makers would consider that!

The most important aspect, whether it actually looks like a Huey, is not a concern, it is very accurate and does look like one. This will no doubt be a blessed relief to anyone considering this kit who ever made the old Monogram Huey C, which probably would have stayed on the main blog bit, as that did look like a tank.

More soon.


Ian Shumsky15/03/2008 00:24:00
799 forum posts
168 photos
Bookmarked! I'm most certainly along for the ride on this one Cheers, Ian

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