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UH-1D

DML 1/35 UH-1D 'Huey' Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review June 2007 Manufacturer DML
Subject UH-1D 'Huey' Scale 1/35
Kit Number 3538 Primary Media Styrene/Photo-Etch
Pros New crew figures, color photo-etch, nice decals Cons Panda UH-1 kit, color photo-etch printing out of register
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $41.50

First Look

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When Bell developed the first production turbine-powered helicopter, the US Army initially designated the aircraft as HU-1 (hence the name Huey). The aircraft was quickly given its baptism of fire in operations in Vietnam, but it was a huge success in proving out the air mobility concept as well as heliborne close air support, medivac, and search and rescue (SAR) missions.

The UH-1D was the first version of the Bell Model 205 airframe which was stretched from the Model 204 that served in the Army as the HU-1A, HU-1B/UH-1B and UH-1C. This was one of the major workhorses of Army Aviation in Vietnam, working principally as a troop transport and Medevac, but also serving as command ship, fire suppression, etc.

The UH-1D would later get the improved engine that also powered the UH-1C, this more powerful Model 205 was designated UH-1H.

When DML announced the UH-1D in 1/35 scale, I'm sure I wasn't alone in visioning a super-detailed masterpiece of this very famous and popular subject. While we've had some nice renderings of the UH-1B and UH-1C in 1/35 from Academy, the only choices for the UH-1D/H was either the 1/32 Revell or the 1/35 Panda kits. So of course a DML masterpiece would be most welcome!

Well, a new masterpiece would still be welcome, but it isn't in this boxing. DML opted for a quick and easy release by taking the Panda kit, adding a set of Eduard color photo-etched parts along with the brass fret, adding some nice crew figures and some colorful decals and called it a day.

Don't get me wrong, the Panda kit builds up into a reasonably nice UH-1D or H model with its main detractors being the large rivets and the wide/deep panel lines. Both can be toned down a bit with a little prep work. Cobra Company released a detail set to dress up the cockpit of this kit and provide separate pilots' doors.

DML did include a sizable fret of color photo-etch details for this kit including a new instrument panel, seatbelts, shoulder harnesses, and other details. While it was a nice touch to add the color photo-etch set to this kit, my example had a problem with the color printing being a little out of register.

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The crew figures set comes with pilot and copilot as well as a seated and crouched door gunners. Both gunners are armed with the M60 machine gun.

The kit does offer four nice subjects on this sheet:

  • 'Soc Trang Tigers' 121st AHC, Soc Trang, Vietnam, 1969
  • 118th AHC, Vietnam, 1968
  • '21 World Records', Paris Air Show, 1962
  • 'Outlaws' 175th AHC, Vietnam, 1967

I would still like to see a 1/35th scale masterpiece of this very widely used aircraft. Trumpeter has tackled the Mi-4, Mi-8/17, Mi-24, CH-47A, CH-47D all in 1/35 scale. Academy of course has contributed the H-13, UH-1B, UH-1C, AH-1W, AH-60P, UH-60L, MH-60G, AH-6, OH-6, and OH-58D in this scale. Panda stepped up with this kit and the UH-1N Twin Huey, but both of these kits need a few tweaks to get them looking right.

This kit will make some Huey fans happy but we'd all love to see a series of Hueys with the same level of detail we find in many of these armor releases from DML, Academy, and Trumpeter. How about it guys?

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