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HH-43B Kit

Testors 1/32 HH-43B Huskie Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review February 2009 Manufacturer Testors
Subject HH-43B Huskie Scale 1/32
Kit Number 7206 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Only kit of this subject in this scale (Hawk and Testors) Cons  
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look

HH-43B Kit
HH-43B Kit
HH-43B Kit
HH-43B Kit
HH-43B Kit
HH-43B Kit
HH-43B Kit
HH-43B Kit
HH-43B Kit

The Huskie was an innovative helicopter design from Kaman Aircraft developed shortly after World War 2. Where the majority of helicopter designers were focusing on tandem rotor or main rotor/tail rotor based designs, Kaman developed the meshed rotor which provides a unique way of providing lift, directional, and attitude control all without a tail rotor or trailing lift rotor.

First flown in 1947, the US Navy and Marine Corps put the aircraft into service as the HOK-1 (later re-designated as HH-43A. The A-model was powered by 600 horsepower radial (piston) engine.

The USAF adopted the type not long afterwards, but the Air Force opted to power these aircraft, designated as HH-43B, with an 860 shp turbine engine. These aircraft were put to work in the air rescue and airbase firefighting missions. The HH-43F was a later variant of the USAF Huskie that was powered by an 825 shp engine turning smaller diameter rotors. Many HH-43B airframes were updated to the F-configuration as well as the 42 new airframes procured.

Many decades ago, Hawk released this interesting kit of the USAF's premiere rescue helicopter, the HH-43 Huskie. The kit was advanced for its time, featuring sliding crew doors, hinged rear clamshell doors, and a set of geared intermeshing rotors. The kit disappeared off the market after Hawk closed its doors and as with any old kit, the only way you could acquire one was to pay collectors' prices.

About one decade (10 years) ago, Testors Corporation acquired the tooling for this kit and did a Hobby Shop Only release of this model and at a killer price - $9.00 USD! Pity the modelers who were paying full collector's price (around $100+ when you could find one) when the news of this re-release and MSRP hit the streets.

Testors kept these kits on the market for more than a year until hobbyists had their fill of the kit, and this edition disappeared as well. Thanks to Testors though, these kits are still relatively easy to find. Now that the new Hawk is up and running, I wonder when we might see this tooling back on store shelves again?

The Testors re-release is molded in light gray styrene and presented on nine parts trees, plus a single tree of clear parts. If I recall correctly, the Hawk issue of this kit was molded in silver styrene, but it has been WAY too long since the last time I build one of these.

As with the original release, Testors retained all of the features of the original kit in this box except for the decals. The working features are all still there.

The exterior surface of the kit has raised rivet detail which is quite a coincidence, so did the full-scale aircraft. You can look at our online walk around of the aircraft and see that these rivets are right at home.

The interior detailing of the kit is Spartan. There is a basic interior, but with those numerous large windows in the airframe, you can't help but notice the bare minimum of interiors.

HH-43B Kit

Markings are provided for one aircraft:

  • HH-43B, 59-1548, USAF

Interesting that paint diagrams were included for a Southeast Asian veteran and a firefighter in the instructions, though no decals were provided for those examples.

If you're looking for a nice large-scale subject to build that won't take up much shelf room, have a look at this kit. Chances are that you might have at least one of these stashed away somewhere or know someone who does. With the Cobra Company detail set still available, this is indeed an interesting project to build.

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