Italeri 1/48 AB-212/UH-1N Iroquois Kit First Look
|Date of Review||June 2010||Manufacturer||Italeri|
|Kit Number||2692||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Pros||Nice kit of the Twin Huey||Cons||Price|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$37.00|
The Bell UH-1N Twin Huey was a stretched version of the UH-1H that was developed for the Canadian and US armed forces. In addition to a fifteen person capacity (one pilot, 14 passengers), the UH-1N differed from previous versions of this Bell series by having two engines. First flown in 1968, the Twin Huey finally offered twin-engine reliability - if an engine quits, there's still another one that can keep you aloft.
The Navy and Marine Corps are the principal users of the type within the US armed forces because twin-engine redundancy over water is a good thing. For the same reasons, a LARGE number of countries operate this version of the aircraft (or the commercial Bell Model 212). The aircraft is also license-built in Italy by Augusta-Bell.
This aircraft has seen (and continues to see) a wide range of missions including liaison aircraft, transport, air ambulance/medevac, command platform, attack aircraft, observation aircraft, anti-submarine warfare aircraft, search and rescue aircraft, VIP aircraft, and more. The US Marines have opted away from the UH-60 Blackhawk family choosing instead to upgrade their UH-1Ns with a four-bladed rotor, new engines and transmission, new avionics, and much of this in common with the AH-1W upgrades, which will render the UH-1Y Venom.
Italeri has reissued their UH-1N kit in 1/48 scale and it remains a really nice kit option for the Twin Huey in this scale. While there are some minor differences between the US-built UH-1N, US-built Bell Model 212, and the Augusta-Bell AB-212, the differences are minor and most folks wouldn't even notice the differences. The service-configured Twin Hueys are a different story and this kit appears to be tweaked to address some of those differences.
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on two parts trees, plus a clear tree containing the windscreen and windows. The detailing is nice and the parts are well engineered to go together easily.
The cockpit is nicely laid out and features some nice detailing. I'll leave it to the Italian modelers to address how accurate these details are to the AB-212. The main cabin has the typical sling seat arrangement at the rear with side-facing seating behind them all around the transmission bulkhead. No additional seating is provided between the flight deck and rear seats (but you can scratch-build these if you wish). The instrument panel is a bit bland and a nice set of Eduard color photo-etch would really dress up this interior.
The upper portion of the transmission and rotor mast mount to the upper side of the main cabin ceiling. The completed interior subassembly then fits inside the fuselage halves. The main cabin roof is molded separately and this will need to be fitted while the glue is drying from fuselage assembly to allow for any fine tuning of the fit.
The twin engine dog house mounts atop the main cabin roof and the skids to the bottom side. The rest of the basic airframe goes together like any other Huey kit.
As you're assembling this kit, you'll need to know which of the four aircraft options you're building as there are a number of distinct details in this box that are unique to one or two of the portrayed variants. For example, the Italian Air Force AB-212 is set up for combat operations in Afganistan, so it has an HF towelrack antenna under the tail boom, guns mounted in the doors, and chaff/flare launchers on the sides of the tail boom.
The aircraft configuration for the Marine Corps configuration is for a rescue HH-1N rather than the armed UH-1N. If you want a UH-1N, you can get an aftermarket resin set from Cobra Company to get the right details. The aircraft in this box will also do a USAF UH-1N without much fuss as well. The other examples are also rather distinctive in their colors and markings as described below.
The kit provides marking options for four aircraft:
- AB-212, MM 81164,9 Stormo/20 Gruppo, Italian AF, Afghanistan, 2008
- HH-1N, 158557, 5Y/05, MCAS Yuma, 2009
- AB-212, MM 81119, 403, 30 Groupo, Italian Army, 1984
- UH-1N, D-HAND, Bundesgrenzschutz, Bad Bramsted, North Germany, 2003
It's nice to see this kit back on the market as it is still the nicest Twin Huey kit in 1/48 scale to date. This aircraft comes in so many colors and markings in its military, public safety, and civilian configurations that you could easily order several cases of this kit and not run out of distinctive subjects. The only real down side to this kit is the nearly $40 USD suggested retail price.
My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!