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Wessex HAS.3

Italeri 1/48 Wessex HAS.3 Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2013 Manufacturer Italeri
Subject Wessex HAS.3 Scale 1/48
Kit Number 2732 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Another new-tooled variant of the Wessex series Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $58.95

First Look

Wessex HAS.3
Wessex HAS.3
Wessex HAS.3
Wessex HAS.3
Wessex HAS.3
Wessex HAS.3

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 UH.5 was the turbine-powered version configured for utility and transport roles and saw combat during the Falklands/Malvinas War.

Last year, we had the opportunity to look at the first release from Italeri, the HU.5 ( look here) which we couldn't wait to build ( look here). The kit goes together nicely and almost flawlessly. Just for fun I did a quick build of the newly rediscovered Revell 1/48 H-34 kit and it doesn't hold a candle to these new Wessex kits from Italeri nor the H-34 kits from Gallery Models.

Here's the new HAS.3 variant of the Wessex which is an air rescue aircraft for the Royal Air Force and an anti-submarine warfare aircraft for the Royal Navy. While a number of parts are common to the previous HU.5 release, you can see there are also some new parts to capture the unique nose and dorsal radome of this variant.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on two parts trees, plus two trees molded in dark gray styrene, 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 ceiling (not in Revell kit)
  • Positionable main cabin door
  • Detailed transmission
  • Main rotor blades have droop molded into parts
  • Plastic net provided for engine intake screen
  • Different exhaust ducts in the nose
  • New cable and plumbing conduits on the fuselage exterior
  • New intake nose shield
  • Dorsal radome and fairing behind main rotor mast

The kit provides marking options for four aircraft:

  • HAS.3, XP143, 737 Sqn, HMS Antrim, Royal Navy, Falklands, 1982
  • HAS.3, XM870, 737 Sqn, PO/652, HMS Antrim, Royal Navy, 1982
  • HAS.3, XM328, 737 Sqn, PO/653, HMS Antrim, Royal Navy, 1982
  • HAS.3, XT257, 1 Sqn (TT), RAF Cosworth, RAF, UK, 1967

This is another nice release from Italeri and it should go together as nicely as the HU.5. At long last, between these Italeri Wessex kits and the two Gallery Models UH-34 kits (plus two more coming before Christmas), it is a good time to be an H-34 modeler. You can put away the old Revell kit and build something really nice.

My sincere thanks to MRC for this review sample!