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CH-46E Kit

Academy/MRC 1/48 CH-46E Sea Knight Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2004 Manufacturer Academy/MRC
Subject CH-46E Sea Knight Scale 1/48
Kit Number 2226 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Interior and exterior fuselage are separate parts, excellent detailing Cons Ejector pin marks on cargo compartment walls
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $49.50

First Look

CH-46E Kit
CH-46E Kit
CH-46E Kit
CH-46E Kit
CH-46E Kit
CH-46E Kit

The CH-46 started life as Boeing Vertol Model 107. This was a twin-rotor, twin-engine design that first flew in April 1958. Production of all variants of this aircraft ended in the early 1970s. The Japanese operate a licensed version of this aircraft designated KV-107.

The first US military version was the CH-46A (initially designated HRB-1), which entered service and began operations in Vietnam in March 1966. The early Sea Knights were capable of carrying 17-25 troops or 4000 pounds of cargo over a combat radius of 115 miles.

The CH-46E is one of the current versions of the aircraft still in service and was the primary mode of airborne transportation for the Marines during Operation Iraqi Freedom. These aircraft had been scheduled to be replaced by the V-22 Osprey, but delays in development have forced the CH-46 to soldier on into the 21st Century.

The aircraft is also in service as the CH-113 with the Canadian Armed Forces and with the Swedish Navy and Air Force.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and features finely scribed details on the exterior. Supplied on five trees, plus a single tree carrying the windscreen and canopy, the kit is beautifully detailed. To facilitate molding detail into the interior and exterior fuselage with no visible ejector pin marks, the interior halves are molded separately from the exterior halves. Unfortunately, there are still some ejector pin marks on the cargo compartment interior halves that may be visible, though to what degree when viewing from outside the aircraft will remain to be seen after assembly. The first two parts tree photos are actually the same tree showing the internal and external details.

Construction begins with the rotor heads, and this kit provides the current configuration rotor heads for the updated CH-46E, so backdating the kit to an earlier Sea Knight will have to wait for an upcoming kit release with the appropriate parts. Unfortunately, options are not provided for positioning the rotors in the folded position, but perhaps an aftermarket conversion will come along.

By step 3, you'll need to have made up your mind as to which aircraft you'll want to build. The glossy USMC CH-46E represented as option 1 lacks much of the detailed sensors and self-protection gear that the combat veterans in options 2 and 3 carry. If you do choose a combat version, you'll have a number of flashed-over holes to drill out.

The interior cargo compartment is nicely done. You have choices to install troop seats, stretchers, or just leave it empty to haul cargo. A full set of stenciling is provided for the interior as well as the exterior to provide the requisite look of the aircraft. The designers did a nice job on this kit as there is a separate ceiling and floor for the cargo compartment, so you won't be seeing into the caverns of the rotor masts. Good show Academy!

Oh yes, after all of that detailing in the cargo compartment, there is also the cockpit which is also nicely represented, though the instrument panel as well as upper and lower center consoles are represented as decals. While you won't be able to make too much of any superdetailing in the cockpit through the windscreen and side windows, this solution will suit most builders.

Of course, after spending so much time in the cargo compartment, you're probably wondering if it will be seen after completion. The side crew entry door is positionable open or closed. The rear ramp and door are also independently positionable so you can portray the aircraft loading or unloading on the ground, open in flight, or all buttoned up.

Markings are provided for three aircraft:

  • CH-46E, 157681, Marine Helicopter Sqn 1, Quantico VA
  • CH-46E, 157713, HMM-162, YS/00, MCAS New River NC
  • CH-46E, 153369, HMM-261, EM/05, MCAS New River NC

This is the first time this aircraft has been rendered in 1/48 scale and is easily the nicest CH-46 in any scale. There are no challenging steps presented in the instructions, so I can recommend this kit to builders of all skill levels as long as this isn't one of the very first kits you've attempted.

Check out the build review of this kit elsewhere on Cybermodeler!

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!