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Revell 1/48 UH-34D Seahorse Quick Build Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review October 2012 Manufacturer Revell
Subject UH-34D Seahorse Scale 1/48
Kit Number 5323 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Back on the market after long absence Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $19.95


For a brief description of the subject and a look at this kit out of the box, look here.

The Build

Putting this kit on the bench, I fully expected this to be a quick and easy build. If you're read the original in-box review, I gave it a 'Simple Build' rating with a skill level of Basic. Now that I've had a chance to work with this reissue, I've dropped the Ease of Assembly and Molding scores to reflect the degree of flash on the kit parts and the amount of time and care needed to get this model together. Let's take a closer look:

H-34 H-34

Here's a look at the assembled interior. In the main cabin you can see the three sofas that are supposed to be sling seats. There is also no cabin ceiling so if you look up into the cabin through the open main cabin door, you'll see the nice cathedral ceiling inside the fuselage. In case you're wondering, this is not a good thing. The flight deck is also pretty spartan. Any resemblance the crew seats have to reality is strictly coincidental. The instrument panel is provided as a decal which will work fine here, but you can see the blank center console and there is no overhead console provided. You're also lacking rudder pedals and collectives. All of these things can (and have been) corrected by a skilled modeler with some good reference photos.

H-34 H-34

The interior and flight deck are installed inside the fuselage halves and the doghouse that covers the transmission is in place. There was a significant amount of flash that had to be removed from the fuselage halves and even cleaned up, you can start to see gaps in the doghouse doors. That cover over the top of the transmission where the main rotor mast protrudes is supposed to be a grille.

H-34 H-34

On the positive side, the windows and flight deck transparency fit nicely. The engine compartment clamshell doors didn't do as well with that gap below the windscreen. If you look at the textured surface on the top of the clamshell doors, those are all supposed to be open grilles. There is a slight grill texture on the parts but not strong enough to paint a dark color and then dry-brush the grille detail out so your only real option here is to use the decals provided for that purpose.

H-34 H-34

The aircraft does look better on its landing gear and this project is almost complete. You can see in the photo to the right the view into the cathedral ceiling inside the main cabin...

H-34 H-34

Up-close you can see where there will need to be filler used to deal with the gaps around the transmission doghouse doors as well as the engine clamshell doors.


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

In the end, this kit looks like an H-34 when built, but there are a few things to consider before you try to build one for anything more than a fun project. First, my recommendations from the in-box review stand as far as changes needed to bring the kit somewhat up-to-date:

  • Update the flight deck, especially those awful crew seats and add the missing details
  • Install a ceiling in the main cabin
  • Lose the sofas in the main cabin and replace with sling seating
  • Replace the decal grilles around the main rotor mast with open grilles and put a transmission down inside
  • Replace the decal grilles around the engine bay with photo-etched (or other) open grilles
  • Scribe the panel lines
  • Bow the main rotor blades

Second, take time to look over each part to identify what portion of the plastic is supposed to be the H-34 and what is the flash. If you don't get the flash out of the way, the gaps and problems will be worse than what you see above.

Third, be careful removing parts from the sprue trees. Some of the parts have the traditional extra bit molded between the tree and the part so it is easy to remove with a good set of sprue cutters. The problem is that some of the parts butt up against the sprue tree directly and you'll cut off part of the kit part thinking it is part of that 'extra bit'. Look closely before you cut as there isn't much consistency here.

We all know this kit can be built into a masterpiece as there are builds online to prove it. The question you should ask is whether it is worth the effort? Yes, this kit is inexpensive, but how much is your time worth? Not to mention the aftermarket stuff you'll either have to find or fabricate yourself to get the job done.

To put this into perspective, this quick-build of the Revell H-34 with no time painting or filling took longer to complete than the Italeri 1/48 Wessex HU.5

build that did get painted and tweaked. I presume that the Italeri 1/48 UH-34 will go together as nicely as its British cousin and it will have the changes listed above as part of that kit. As I also mentioned in the in-box review, I can hardly wait to see what Sherman Collings has done for the design of the Gallery Models UH-34 as that ought to be awesome. I'm looking forward to that one.