Revell 1/32 EC-145 'ADAC' Kit First Look
|Date of Review||February 2006||Manufacturer||Revell|
|Subject||Eurocopter EC-145 'ADAC'||Scale||1/32|
|Kit Number||4481||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||One of the nicest helicopter kits on the market!||Cons|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$30.50|
Eurocopter is a consortium of continental European companies that combined their skills and technologies to create a versatile family of rotary-winged products. Some of these companies include Aerospatiale and MBB. Eurocopter produces several outstanding helicopter types. The mainstay of their military and commercial sales has been the versatile (and former MBB cornerstone) Bo-105, many examples of which are in service around the world. In conjunction with Kawasaki, they also produce the BK-117 aircraft which has become the workhorse of the air ambulance industries in numerous countries. One of Eurocopters' latest creations is the EC-145.
The EC-145 is actually the BK-117 airframe with a serious technology update. In parts of Europe (especially in France), the aircraft is marketed as part of the Eurocopter series that also includes the EC-135. Co-producer Kawasaki markets the aircraft in Asia under a more recognizable designator - the BK-117C.
The aircraft is still the rugged and versatile BK-117 airframe that has received all-new avionics, updated rotor blades and rotor head, and a pair of Turbomeca Arriel 1E2 engines rated at 780 shp apiece. All of that power in a relatively small airframe translates into a helicopter that can carry a crew of two and up to 10 passengers, or the crew of two along with two stretchers and three flight medics. The clamshell doors in the rear make the loading and unloading of patients ideal while keeping the aircraft small enough to get into small clearings safely.
Revell has released many helicopter kits in 1/32, including the Bo-105, PAH-2, BK-117 and EC-135. While those were nice models, they are completely out-classed by this latest release. The EC-145/BK-117C kit is by far the most detailed kit released in this scale for this size of helicopter and rivals Trumpeter in terms of detail.
The kit is presented on twelve (12!) trees, two of which are molded in bright yellow, eight in light gray, and two in clear. The instructions show that a small percentage of these parts are not used in this project and of those that are used, there are a number that apply to only one of the two versions presented in this release. You'll definitely have to make up your mind which aircraft you're modeling right up front.
Your two subjects are the German ADAC air ambulance or the French 'Securitie Civile' aircraft that is multi-role and can carry passengers, ambulatory patients, as well as a hoist for rescue work and even bullhorns for crowd control/air-ground communications. While the flight deck is essentially the same between the two aircraft, the rear cabin and many of the external airframe details differ between the ADAC and Securitie Civile versions. Pick your versions as you'll have a number of holes to drill out in the main cabin floor.
Unlike previous helicopter kits from Revell, this one has a VERY nice interior for either version. The rear cabin has separate interior walls and a ceiling panel to provide a more realistic look. Whether you choose the ADAC air ambulance or the Securitie Civile rescue machine, the rear cabins are loaded with detailing. This kit is super-detailed straight out of the box!
The flight deck is as nicely done as the rear cabin. The new instrumentation cluster pod adopted out of the EC-135 features all-glass instruments which should make this the Playstation version of utility helicopters. One other nice touch - all of the interior seats have seatbelts and harnesses molded in place. There's even a traffic safety cone in the cabin.
No matter which version of the aircraft you select, you will have an ample supply of parts left over to equip the inside of another aircraft. This makes me think I can use these surplus parts to dress up the plain interior of Revell's earlier BK-117 kit.
You will have to pay close attention to the instructions. While some steps are strictly for the ADAC or Securitie Civile versions, other steps have some of the steps common to both aircraft hidden in the details.
One other nice feature of this kit is two different ways to mount the rotor mast to the aircraft. One is the traditional mounting to a rotatable base plate which makes carrying the helicopter by the rotor head practical. The other allows for the main rotor assembly to be removed safely for transport.
Once the interior is built-up and installed inside the fuselage, you have some other nice options to consider. First, the clamshell doors at the rear of the aircraft can be positioned open or closed. The sliding doors on the port and starboard sides of the aircraft are also positionable. Only the pilots' doors are molded shut (unfortunately).
Take a look at those decals. In addition to the distinctive Eurocopter black outlines around the windows, this set also provides the unique markings for three aircraft:
- EC-145, D-HLRG, ADAC, Universitat-Klinikum, Mainz, Germany, 2005
- EC-145, D-HWVS, ADAC, Universitat-Klinikum, Mainz, Germany, 2005
- EC-145, F-ZBPQ, Securitie Civile, Nancy-Ochey, France, 2005
If you look even closer, you'll see a wide array of maintenance and safety stencils in German and French for the interior and exterior of the kit.
This is the best helicopter that Revell has ever produced and as I said earlier, rivals Trumpeter in the level of detail. At the suggested retail price of $30.50 USD, this kit is as much a bargain as it is a work of art.