Kitty Hawk Models 1/48 SH-2F Seasprite Kit First Look
|Date of Review||January 2014||Manufacturer||Kitty Hawk Models|
|Kit Number||80122||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||New-tool kit of this subject||Cons||A few minor glitches (see text)|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$49.95|
The Kaman SH-2F was the platform selected by the US Navy to meet the Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) requirement which essentially gave non-aviation ships with helidecks a rotary-winged utility aircraft that could conduct anti-submarine warfare (ASW) duties as well. While the US Navy was investing in the new Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk as its next ASW asset, they also had to develop the LAMPS as the Seahawk was too large to operate from the smaller helidecks aboard destroyers, frigates, etc., until modifications could be made.
The SH-2F entered service in 1973 and the type remained on active duty until 1993 when the Knox-class frigates were also retired, these being the last of the ships that couldn't be modified to support the Seahawk. The SH-2F saw combat in several actions including Operation Desert Storm where it conducted littoral surface warfare actions along with S-3 Vikings where there was no submarine threats to prosecute. The SH-2F was armed with two torpedoes or a variety of guided missiles like the AGM-65 Maverick for surface warfare.
Until now, the only option for a 1/48 scale SH-2 Seasprite was the old Matchbox kit that has periodically been reissued by Revell AG. Here we have a new-tool SH-2F and out of the box, it looks nice. There are a few bugs here, but nothing that a little work won't solve.
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on six parts trees plus two fuselage halves, one tree of clear parts, and one fret of photo-etched parts.
Among the features and options in this kit:
- Nicely detailed flight deck
- Positionable cockpit and main cabin doors
- Detailed airframe exterior with attention paid to antennas, and photo-etched grilles
- Choice of small or large capacity external tanks, or torpedoes
- Detailed rotor head
- Signature Kaman rotor blade design nicely captured
Markings are provided for three subjects:
- SH-2F, 151309, HSL-31, TD/01
- SH-2F, 151314, HSL-37, TH/52
- SH-2F, 149750, NATC Pax River, flight test aircraft
A couple of minor glitches in this kit:
- The kit provides torpedoes and the dipping sonar for ASW duties, but the main cabin lacks an operator's station. There is just a bench seat provided rather than crew seating. You can see some of the main cabin details here in the virtual cockpit tour in our Modeler's Online Reference (link below).
- Transmission cover above and behind the cockpit, between the engines) is for the SH-2G. The cover for the the SH-2F sits further aft and doesn't have the details molded into the kit parts. This should be a simple modification for an experienced modeler.
- The kit provides Mavericks but no mention of them in this release. I'm sure we'll see these pop up in an SH-2G release in the future.
- All three color profiles in the instructions have you paint the aircraft midnight blue. Please don't. If there was a special paint scheme with WWII overall blue, that's fine, but all three examples provided in the kit are wearing FS 16081 Navy/Engine Gray overall and we have the paint charts and US Navy paint instructions in our Modeler's Online Reference along with the approved tactical paint scheme applied later in the aircraft's service life.
Overall this is a nice kit and a vast improvement over the Matchbox kit. It is a shame that an ASW operator's station wasn't included but I'm sure that someone in the aftermarket world will get one out in resin soon enough. You have the parts in the box to portray the aircraft in combat service during Operation Desert Storm and you can certainly make this model look awesome.
My sincere thanks to Kitty Hawk Models for this review sample!