Italeri 1/48 H-34G/UH-34J Kit First Look
by Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||August 2016||Manufacturer||Italeri|
|Kit Number||2712||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Nice new-tooled kit of the H-34||Cons||Nothing noted|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$39.99|
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.
What a great time to be a modeler! For decades, the only choice for an H-34 in 1/48 scale was the venerable Revell kit, and even that had disappeared after the molds were supposedly lost. A few years ago Gallery Models released their first H-34 kit which offered some very nice detail including a full engine under the nose cowling which can be posed open. At the same time, Italeri offered their first installment into the H-34 realm with the first of two Wessex versions (H-34 that is turbine-powered) and that too was nicely done though a simpler build than the Gallery kit. Oh yes, the Revell molds were found and even that kit came back onto the market (too little, too late).
After building the Wessex ( look here), it was clear that it wouldn't take much to render the piston-powered H-34 and now Italeri has done just that. The kit offers the same basic components as the Wessex but with the correct nose cowling doors and support parts. What's more, this kit with photo-etched parts is more than $20 less than the original Wessex releases and is quite reasonably priced for building a variety of Choctaw/Seabat variants.
The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on four parts trees (duplicate tree not shown), plus one tree of clear parts and one fret of photo-etched details. Among the features and options in this kit:
- Detailed flight deck
- Photo-etched seatbelts and shoulder harnesses on crew seats
- Cyclic and collective provided for both crew stations
- Photo-etched instrument panel with decal instruments
- Positionable flight deck windows
- Main cabin has passenger/troop web seating
- Main cabin has ceiling
- Positionable main cabin door
- Rescue winch
- Optional emergency flotation system
- Detailed transmission
- Nicely detailed rotor head
- Main rotor blades have droop molded into parts
- Photo-etched grilles for engine and transmission bays
The kit provides marking options for two aircraft:
- UH-34G.III, 81+07, Marinefliegergruppe 5, Kiel-Holtenau, 1973
- UH-34J, 149389, HT-8, 2E/141, NAS Eilyson Field, 1968
It is interesting that Italeri waited a few years to release this H-34 version but now that it is here, it provides a nice alternative to the beautiful Gallery Models H-34 but as a simpler build at a lower price. I was impressed with how nicely the Wessex version built-up so quick and easy, so this would almost be a weekend project for an experienced modeler while the AMS modeler might take a little longer to 'enhance' their models. As I said in the beginning, it is a great time to be a modeler and have choices like these!
My sincere thanks to Italeri USA for this review sample!