Hasegawa 1/48 SH-3H Sea King Kit First Look
|Date of Review||June 2015||Manufacturer||Hasegawa|
|Subject||SH-3H Sea King||Scale||1/48|
|Kit Number||07201||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo Etch|
|Pros||Best Sea King kit in 1/48 scale||Cons||Only Sea King kit in 1/48 scale|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$57.99|
The Sikorsky S-61 was designed in the late 1950s in response to the US Navy's requirement for an amphibious, turbine-powered, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter. Designated SH-3A Sea King by the US Navy, the type entered service in 1961 and newer variants were developed with more powerful engines and capabilities for search and rescue, transport, and mine sweeping in addition to ASW.
The S-61R featured a redesigned fuselage with the amphibious bottom replaced with a rear ramp and door into the main cabin and reconfigured landing gear. These became the HH-3E Jolly Green Giant for the US Air Force and HH-3F Pelican for the US Coast Guard.
One notable mission for the Sea King was recovery of spacecraft and crew after their return to Earth including SH-3D number 66 which was credited with five spacecraft recovered.
While Hasegawa adopted the business model of limited-edition kits (same plastic, different decals) with many of their kit subjects, they retained several catalog series as their continuously available kits. One such series is the PT line, the flagship of which is PT1, the 1/48 SH-3H Sea King. With the recent release of Starfighter Decals' 1/48 SH-3D 'Old 66' spacecraft recovery decal set, I thought it time to take a look at this kit. PT1 was released in 1992 and features the surface details and mold quality that has become Hasegawa's quality trademark.
Molded in light gray styrene, this kit is presented on five parts trees plus one tree of clear parts and one small fret of photo-etched steel details. Among the features and options in this box:
- Nicely detailed flight deck
- Main cabin floor and rear bulkead
- Main cabin door is molded closed
- Dipping sonar, sonobuoy launcher details on external fuselage
- Optional torpedoes on external mounts
- Photo-etched grilles
- Choice of engine intake FOD shields
- External winch
- Main rotor blades molded with 'sag'
- Main rotors can be positioned in flight-ready or folded/stowed position
Markings are provided for three examples:
- SH-3H, 149923, HS-12, NF/614, USS Midway
- SH-3H, 149899, HS-4, NL/610, USS Carl Vinson
- SH-3H, 149713, HS-8, NK/610, USS Midway
This kit will build into a nice rendition of the Sea King as we've seen on contest tables over the years. For modelers with some scratchbuilding skills, there are some nice opportunities to take this kit up to contemporary detail levels. First, the tail is separately molded at the fold point and while Hasegawa doesn't provide the internal bulkheads/detals to fold the tail, you could make that happen rather easily. Likewise the main cabin door is molded closed but that too can be removed and the door frame fabricated. You'll also need to add internal structural details to the main cabin walls, add a ceiling, and other details depending on if your aircraft is configured for ASW, SAR, or whatever. There are many walk arounds available online and if you're doing a cargo/shuttle version, you can adapt the web seating photo-etch that Eduard has produced for other 1/48 helicopters. You're only limited by your imagination and your skills (both of which can always grow).
This kit is still worthy of being Hasegawa's PT-series flagship and is currently the only Sea King in 1/48 scale. I wish Hasegawa would consider updating the tooling with an interior as well as developing tooling for the still-missing HH-3E/HH-3F airframes.