Kitty Hawk Models 1/35 MH-60S Knight Hawk Kit First Look
|Date of Review||September 2020||Manufacturer||Kitty Hawk Models|
|Subject||MH-60S Knight Hawk||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||50015||Primary Media||Styrene, Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Nice details and options||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.
While the SH-60 series evolved as new technologies came online, the upcoming retirement of the CH-46 Seaknight left an urgent need for a helicopter that can cost-effectively fill that role. Sikorsky developed the MH-60S Seahawk (Knight Hawk) from the Army's UH-60L and transplanted the rotors, engines and drivetrain from the latest Seahawk. Since this aircraft was intended to operate from the same decks as the CH-46, the standard Army tailwheel was suitable for this role. The multi-role avionics and weapons adopted for the MH-60R Seahawk were also adopted for the MH-60S as well. When the company I worked for teamed with Lockheed in Owego NY for a potential new program, my team and I would travel to Owego and we'd frequently see the MH-60R and MH-60S airframes fly into the company helipad and get whisked into a hangar for avionics installations.
Kitty Hawk Models has released three naval Seahawk variants all at once. This is the variant I was most interested to see and on opening the box, the kit is molded in the usual light gray styrene and presented on 15 parts trees plus two trees of clear parts, one fret of photo-etched parts, and one small box containing the plastic and photo-etched parts of the M197 gun. 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 is fixed, you'll have to modify the kit to fold the tail
- Optional racks included for folded main rotor blades
- Choice of ESSS covers or ESSS wings
- Accurate horizontal stabilator with handholds and folding points
- Choice of RHAW antennas
- Positionable flight deck doors
- Positionable main cabin doors
- Avionics bay in nose with positionable cover
The kit provides the following external stores (see notes):
- 2 x M134 7.62mm miniguns
- 2 x GAU-21 .50 caliber machine guns
- 2 x M230A1 30mm chain guns
- 2 x M260 7-shot rocket pods
- 2 x M261 19-shot rocket pods
- 2 x twin-rail Hellfire launchers
- 4 x AGM-114 Hellfire missiles
- 1 x M197 20mm gatling gun
Markings are included for four options:
- MH-60S, 167877, HSC-6, NH/0. 'Screaming' Indians'
- MH-60S. 166315, HSC-21, 'Blackjacks'
- MH-60S, 166323. HSC-3, SA/07 (no color profile/decal placement instructions included)
- MH-60S, unknown, HSC-7, AC/610 (no color profile/decal placement instructions included)
Two of the markings options are the colorful schemes painted by Shayne Meder, one scheme for the US Naval Aviation Centennial, and one not-so-plain line aircraft.
You can see that there are a number of Blackhawk parts trees included as well as the newly tooled Seahawk parts. So while I was going through the parts trees, I was examining the instructions to see what options are included and/or used in this variant. Two-position air refueling boom, radar pod, resin pilots with NVGs, wait, what? Looking closer at the instructions, most of the diagrams in this book are out of the HH-60G Pave Hawk kit. There are a few diagrams toward the end that are unique to the MH60S, but by the time you get there, you've already built the HH-60G! I've talked with Kitty Hawk and they will be producing a new instruction book for this kit and will be available shortly in electronic form.
Aside from the wrong instructions, this is another outstanding release from Kitty Hawk and offers other potential opportunities for interesting subjects for the contest table or your display shelf.
Update 1: There is a bit of an issue with the blades-folded rotor head assembly that affects all three Seahawk kits. If you're not folding the rotor blades, please disregard. The blade holders on the ends of HD33 and HD34 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.
Update 2:The kit's instructions have a bit of a problem, most of the pages are out of the HH-60G kit. The factory has sent over the correct pages and you can download them in one PDF file here.
My sincere thanks to Kitty Hawk Models for this review sample!