Kitty Hawk Models 1/35 SH-60B Seahawk Kit First Look
|Date of Review||September 2020||Manufacturer||Kitty Hawk Models|
|Kit Number||50009||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Best Seahawk kit in any scale (to date)||Cons||See text|
|Skill Level||Experienced||MSRP (USD)||$139.95|
During the 1970s, the US Navy employed the Kaman SH-2 Seasprite in the LAMPS (Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System) role which combines anti-submarine, anti-ship, and search and rescue role into one airframe. As the Navy adopted larger and more capable LAMPS systems, they needed a larger aircraft to carry the LAMPS III (and later) systems. At the time, the US Army was developing a new utility helicopter under the UTTAS program and when the Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk was adopted, the Navy put forward its requirements for a Naval variant of the Blackhawk. Among the more significant differences between the Army and Navy variants include: folding main rotor blades; folding tail; engine and powertrain tailored for extended exposure to the ocean environment; single sliding entry door on the starboard side; and a relocated tailwheel moved toward the front of the tail cone. The relocated tailwheel allows the Seahawk to deploy onto smaller flight decks as found on frigates, destroyers and cruisers.
Kitty Hawk Models has released three naval Seahawk variants all at once. Of the three kits, this one is great right out of the box. The kit is molded in the usual light gray styrene and presented on 12 parts trees plus two trees of clear parts, and one fret of photo-etched parts. Among the features and options in this kit:
- Nicely detailed flight deck
- Great main cabin details
- Nice T700 engines w/detailed IR suppressor exhaust shrouds and intake air filters
- Positionable engine access doors
- Nicely detailed rotor head and swash plate
- Main rotor blades are positionable - flight or folded
- Tail boom is positionable - flight or folded
- Optional racks included for folded main rotor blades
- Accurate horizontal stabilator with handholds and folding points
- Dipping sonar buoy system
- Positionable flight deck doors
- Positionable main cabin door
- Positionable side window(s)
- ASW operator's console in main cabin
- Sonobuoy rack in main cabin
- Avionics bay in nose with positionable cover
The kit provides the following external stores (see notes):
- 2 x external fuel tanks
- 2 x Mk.46 torpedoes
Markings are included for five options:
- SH-60B, 162329, HSL-41, TS/00, USN
- SH-60B, 162339, HSL-43, TT/20, USN
- SH-60B, 161554, HSL-45, TZ/45, USN
- SH-60B, 161564, HSL-51, TZ/45, USN
- SH-60B, 01-1004, Spanish Navy
At least one of the markings options is the colorful tiger scheme painted by Shayne Mede.
The Spanish Navy example has been updated with a similar sensor suite to the MH-60R including the FLIR on the nose. While this is accurately depicted in the color profile, there is no mention of the details needed to render this variant in the instructions.
Aside from the instructions, this is another outstanding release from Kitty Hawk and is easily the best SH-60B kit available in any scale (less than 1:1).
Update: There is a bit of an issue with the instructions and parts regarding the blades-folded rotor head assembly that affects all three Seahawk kits. If you're not folding the rotor blades, please disregard. First, in step 9, prepare two HD34, then a miracle occurs and the rotor head is ready. There is only one HD34 in the kit, the other is HD33 and they are opposites. The instructions don't clearly show this, but the HD34 pairs with HD21 while HD33 pairs with HD28. Now that we have the blade holders HD33 and HD34 paired correctly, the actual blade holders on the ends of these parts are molded backwards! You'll have to carefully remove the blade holder ends and swap them between HD33 and HD34 to get them to completely align with HD28 and HD21 respectively. When I was alerted to this, I did some serious dry-fitting to try figure out this design bug. It is relatively minor once you see and fix it, but if you're going in cold turkey, you'll need an adult beverage. Here's a clearer diagram for the folded-blade rotor head assembly out of the MH-60S kit which uses the same parts.
My sincere thanks to Kitty Hawk Models for this review sample!