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Wessex HAS.1

Italeri 1/48 Wessex HAS.1 Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review May 2015 Manufacturer Italeri
Subject Wessex HAS.1 Scale 1/48
Kit Number 2744 Primary Media Styrene, Photo-Etch
Pros Another new-tooled variant of the Wessex series Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $47.95

First Look

Wessex HAS.1
Wessex HAS.1
Wessex HAS.1

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. 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. The first Westland version was the Wessex HAS.1 powered by a single Napier Gazelle engine. Later variants replaced the Gazelle with a pair of Rolls Royce Gnome engines with most of the HAS.1 aircraft upgraded into the HAS.1 configuration.

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). Italeri followed this with the HAS.3 ( look here) and now offers the beginning of the Wessex line with this HAS.1 kit.

The kit is molded in light gray styrene and presented on four parts trees, 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 for crew seats
  • Photo-etched instrument panel with decal instruments
  • Positionable flight deck windows
  • Main cabin has ceiling
  • Positionable main cabin door
  • Detailed transmission
  • Main rotor blades have droop molded into parts
  • New nose and exhaust ducts
  • Floatation system provided on landing gear

The kit provides marking options for four aircraft:

  • HAS.1, XS869, HMS Hermes, H/266, 1970
  • HAS.1, XS154, HMS Bulwark, B/V, 1962
  • HAS.1, XP177, HMS Victorious, V/273, 1961
  • HAS.1, XP104, 845 NAS, A/B, 1962

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 Gallery Models UH-34 kits, 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 Hobbico for this review sample!