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H-34

Gallery Models 1/48 CH-34 US Army Rescue Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review January 2014 Manufacturer Gallery Models
Subject CH-34 US Army Rescue Scale 1/48
Kit Number 64103 Primary Media Styrene / Photo-Etch
Pros Nicely detailed kit Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $55.98

First Look

H-34
H-34
H-34
H-34
H-34
H-34
H-34
H-34

The H-34 series was one of Sikorsky's most popular helicopters ever produced (next to the Blackhawk). The aircraft first flew in March 1954 and entered service with the US Army as the CH-34 Choctaw, the US Navy as the HSS-1 Seabat (anti-submarine version) and the HUS-1 Seahorse (utility version which was also flown by the US Marine Corps). After the Secretary of Defense McNamara's standardization of military aircraft designations in 1962, the H-34 remained CH-34 for the Army while the Choctaw became the SH-34 and the Seahorse became the UH-34.

The aircraft was typically powered by a Wright R1820 radial engine of 1,525 horsepower. The aircraft was employed in a wide range of missions from passenger service, troop transport, medevac, supply, and for a short time as a gunship in Vietnam. The aircraft was rugged, versatile and adaptable for duty in a wide range of environmental and operational conditions.

A little over a year ago, Gallery Models released the best H-34 kits in any scale with two 1/48 scale kits to choose from. Both kits shared the same attribute though, they were based on the V-legged main gear that was part of the mid and late production models of the aircraft. There still wasn't a kit of the early 'bent-legged' H-34 available - until now.

Here is Gallery Models' 1/48 CH-34 kit and it builds on the first releases plus adding new-tooled parts for the bent-legged landing gear plus the corresponding exhaust ring and cowling for the different exhaust stack location. The kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on ten parts trees plus three trees of clear parts and two frets of photo-etched details.

Among the features and options in this kit:

  • Very detailed flight deck
  • Pilots' seats have photo-etched restraints
  • Positionable flight deck windows
  • Choice of web seats, canvas seats, or stretchers in main cabin
  • Seats in main cabin have photo-etched seat belts
  • Nose doors are positionable to reveal engine bay
  • Positionable main cabin door
  • VERY detailed R1820 with cooling shrouds and exhaust
  • Photo-etched grilles around engine comparment
  • Main cabin detailing is very nice with cabin sidewalls molded separately from fuselage halves
  • Rear of main cabin open into detailed rear fuselage
  • Vented rear of doghouse is incredibly molded with see-through venting
  • Tail can be posed folded or flight-ready
  • Main rotors molded with gravity sag
  • New bent-legged landing gear

This kit has markings for two different aircraft:

  • H-34A, 54465, MEDIVAC, US Army
  • H-34A, 71743, utility aircraft, US Army

This kit has the same beautiful details found in the previous releases plus the addition of the new landing gear and the new sprues for setting up the seating/stretcher options inthe main cabin. With the exception of the landing gear, the rest of the parts from the previous releases are here including the drop tank which means you can also replicate other early H-34 aircraft in different services with this kit (and your own decals).

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!

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