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Wessex Kit

Italeri 1/72 Wessex HAS.3 Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review April 2006 Manufacturer Italeri
Subject Wessex HAS.3 Scale 1/72
Kit Number 1258 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nice rendition of this aircraft Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $18.50

First Look

Wessex Kit
Wessex Kit
Wessex Kit
Wessex Kit

The H-34 was one of Sikorsky's most popular helicopters ever produced (next to the Blackhawk). The aircraft first flew in March 1954 and entered service with the US Army as the CH-34 Choctaw, the US Navy as the H-34 Seabat, the US Marines as the H-34 Sea Horse and even into the US Coast Guard.

The USAF acquired only a few H-34s to serve as an interim rescue aircraft well after Sikorsky production ended, and these were only retained a few years.

In addition to US military service, the H-34 was exported to numerous military branches around the world, and its civilian version, the S-58 saw global commercial service as well. By the time production ceased in early 1970, over 1,800 examples had been built.

Westland license-built the aircraft as the Wessex and improved the aircraft's performance by powering the aircraft with a turbine engine in place of the S-58/H-34's radial piston engine. Upgraded from the original HAS.1 version, the HAS.3 has improved avionics, including the distinctive radome on the upper rear fuselage. The aircraft would serve in the Royal Navy as an anti-submarine warfare aircraft from the early 1960s through the end of the Falklands War.

I confess that I don't know whether this is a new tool release or a re-release. The HAS.3 parts layout and design is very similar to their H-34 (look here) but this may also be the Revell/Germany tooling. In any case, this kit is a nice one!

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on two parts trees, plus a third containing the clear parts. The detailing of the kit is sharp and nicely done.

One thing you'll notice straight away is the detailed interior! The cockpit is nicely laid out, and the passenger/cargo compartment is also decked out with sling seating. Not bad at all.

Markings are included for three examples:

  • Wessex HAS.3, PO/53, 737 Sqn, FAA, HMS Antrim, Falklands, 1982
  • Wessex HAR.2, XT257, 1 Sqn, RAF, RAF Cosword, 1967
  • Wessex HAS.3, XP142, 737 Sqn, FAA, HMS Antrim, Falklands, 1982

This kit will make for a colorful addition to your rotary-winged collection. The detailing is nice straight from the box and should be an easy build for average modelers.

My sincere thanks to Testors for this review sample!