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H-13 Sioux 'MASH' Kit

MRC/Academy 1/35 H-13 Sioux 'MASH' Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review December 2016 Manufacturer MRC/Academy
Subject H-13 Sioux 'MASH' Scale 1/35
Kit Number 2194 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Distinctive versions of the H-13 Cons OOP
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) OOP

First Look

H-13 Sioux 'MASH' Kit
H-13 Sioux 'MASH' Kit
H-13 Sioux 'MASH' Kit

The Bell Model 47 was a light helicopter that was developed during late WWII and first flown in December, 1945. The type was produced between 1946 and 1974 with over 5600 examples built. Used in a variety of roles from transport to crop duster and from traffic observation to trainer, the Bell 47 is a versatile aircraft still flying today. The US Army adopted the type as the H-13 Sioux and was also used in a variety of missions, the most recognizable being the MEDEVAC helicopter used to shuttle injured soldiers from front-line aid stations to Army hospitals during the Korean War and a regular part of the TV series MASH.

If you believe some of the online kit references, the Revell and MRC/Academy H-13 Sioux kits come from the same tooling. I can put that rumor to rest - they are distinctly different kits. The Academy kit (sold in the US market under the MRC/Academy brand) first appeared in the early 1990s and was the first kit of this subject in this scale. Revell first introduced their H-13 in 1996, and both kits have been periodically reissued. The only major change came from Academy when they reissued this kit in 2002 as the HTL-4 USCG version with floats, but otherwise was the same as their original H-13 kit.

The kit is molded in gray styrene and presented on four parts trees plus one tree of clear parts. The kit offers the following features and options:

  • Nicely detailed cockpit
  • Crew lap belts are molded in the seats
  • Optional pilot figure
  • One-piece bubble canopy
  • Optional clear doors
  • Nicely detailed engine
  • Nice multi-part tail boom
  • Choice of mission configurations:
    • Gunship

Markings are provided for the following aircraft:

  • OH-13E, MASH, US Army, Korean War
  • HTL-4, HMX-1, USMC, MCAS Quanitco
  • OH-13C, Gunship, US Army

So how is this kit different than the Revell kit? First, the tailboom is a multipart affair that will take some care to assemble. For that reason, the skill level of this kit is listed as Intermediate. The Revell tailboom is molded as one integral unit with one insert after the engine is installed. This kit has the early single fuel cell atop the frame behind the rotor mast, the Revell kit has the distinctive twin tanks mounted on either side of the rotor mast. The Revell kit has positionable repositioning wheels, this kit does not. This kit has different shaped entry openings than the Revell kit. In short, this kit represents the earlier H-13C/E while the Revell kit represents the H-13H.

While the aftermarket community has largely ignored the Revell and MRC/Academy kits in this scale, there are sufficient generic sets that can assist such as the generic crew restraints from Eduard and instrument faces by Airscale. There are numerous good photo references online though the hardcore Bell 47 fan will want a copy of The Bell 47 Helicopter Story which is the best reference of this subject available in print.

Which kit is better? Actually both are very well done and represent different versions of the Bell 47. It is a shame that in all of these years that we haven't seen any other versions of this notable aircraft and there were quite a few. Nevertheless, it is nice to have these two options available and hopefully we'll see MRC/Academy reissue this gem in our near future.