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UH-34D Kit

Italeri 1/72 MH-53E Sea Dragon Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2006 Manufacturer Italeri
Subject MH-53E Sea Dragon Scale 1/72
Kit Number 1065 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice looking kit, HUGE decal sheet Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $22.00

First Look

UH-34D Kit
UH-34D Kit
UH-34D Kit
UH-34D Kit

The Sikorsky H-53 was designed as a heavy assault transport helicopter that entered service with the US Navy as the CH-53A, the USAF as the CH-53B/C, and the USMC as the CH-53D. The US Navy adopted their Sea Stallion to serve as a mine sweeper, towing a hydrofoil sled through the water to search for and clear mines left to disrupt maritime traffic. This first version was the RH-53D.

Sikorsky must have taken note of actor Tim Allen's approach to engineering - "more power" when it came time to improve the H-53. They took their twin-engine workhorse and crammed a third engine behind the rotor mast. To translate that additional power to lift, Sikorsky altered the main rotor head from a six-bladed arrangement to seven blades. Another innovation was the tilting of the vertical stabilizer to port to optimize the tail rotor authority against the increased torque from the higher-power engine/main rotor combination.

Italeri has re-released their nice 1/72 MH-53E kit. This is one of the great series of Sikorsky airlifters that also included the MH-53J Pave Low, CH-53 Super Stallion, and the HH-53C Super Jolly Green Giant. Molded in light gray styrene, the kit is presented on three parts trees plus an additional tree of clear parts. As you can see in the images, the kit is not at all a complex build.

The kit has a reasonably detailed flight deck where that detail would be visible through the greenhouse canopy. The cargo compartment has a floor, very little side wall detailing and no ceiling. While the rear ramp and door can be positioned open, you'll want to keep these closed so the casual observer won't be able to see up into the transmission plate and engine exhaust duct inserts inside the top of the fuselage.

The fuselage itself consists of two halves and two bottom sections. The main bottom extends from the nose to the rear ramp, while the other bottom section runs from the edge of the rear door to the underside of the tail.

The kit also provides the appropriate sponsons for this mine sweeper variant as these are quite large to provide extra fuel capacity. In addition to the large tanks, the kit also provides the option of the air refueling probe. The distinctive rear-view mirrors are also present.

This kit provides markings for two aircraft:

  • MH-53E, HC-4, HC/41, USN, Sigonella, Italy, 1995
  • MH-53E, 31 Kokutai, JMSDF, Japan

This is a nice kit that is nice to see back on the shelves again for the 1/72 modelers.

My sincere thanks to Testors for this review sample!