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H-19 Rescue Helicopter

Revell 1/48 H-19 Rescue Helicopter Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2017 Manufacturer Revell
Subject H-19 Rescue Helicopter Scale 1/48
Kit Number 5331 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Unique subject Cons See text
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $22.95

First Look

H-19 Rescue Helicopter
H-19 Rescue Helicopter
H-19 Rescue Helicopter

In the late 1940s, Sikorsky developed the model S-55 as a multi-role helicopter initially as a private venture to develop a competitive solution to other manufacturers' aircraft. The US Air Force was the first to order a prototype for evaluation in 1949 and soon every US military service operated the type. The H-19 provided the US Army with the first real transport helicopter which would shape the future of Army aviation well into the future. The design was built under license by Westland for the UK military as the Whirlwind, and in addition to a wide variety of allied nations adopting the H-19, the S-55 was also well received in the commercial world. The H-19 was eventually replaced by its bigger brother, the Sikorsky H-34.

If you'd like to go back in time to see a true classic kit, lets go back to the mid-1950s to see one of Revell's early aircraft kits, the Sikorsky S-55 as kit H214 first issued in 1954. The kit really scales to 1/49 but it is close enough to 1/48 for government work. This early kit set the bar for detailing as it had a cockpit interior and positionable nose clamshell doors to reveal an engine inside. While it fortunately lacked the molded-on marking positions found on other kits of that era, it did have raised rivet details. The kit was reissued the following year with newly tooled parts to render the H-19 Rescue Helicopter as kit H227 and it is that kit which is reissued in this box, complete with original box art. The text on the original box art stated All Plastic (true) - Quick, Easy-To-Build (somewhat true) - No Cutting, No Sanding (not true). This current reissue doesn't make those same claims.

So why are we examining 60-year-old tooling? Believe it or not, no one has produced a kit of this historic aircraft in 1/48 scale (or larger). For the quarter scale modeler, this is your only option for the H-19. Thanks to Gallery Models' outstanding 1/48 H-34 kit, we have some resources which can be used to bring this gem up to date. Before we get started, let's see the features and options available out of the box:

  • Basic cockpit
  • Nicely detailed rotor head
  • Positionable clamshell nose doors
  • Radial engine, shrouds and ducts in the engine bay
  • Choice of landing gear or floats
  • Optional in-flight display stand
  • Positionable hoist with optional figure being rescued

You'll see in the parts images that there will be mold flash to clean up before you can proceed. The flash isn't bad considering the age of the molds and isn't widespread.

One could build this kit essentially out of the box and have an H-19 to add to their scale flightline. I would consider removing all of those raised rivets as there won't be enough Solvaset in all of Christendom to make the kit decals settle over that 'textured' surface. On the other hand, with a little bit of work, one could build a suitable companion to the H-34. Some points to ponder:

  • The flight deck out of the Gallery H-34 or Italeri Wessex could be adapted to work in this kit
  • The windscreen and side windows are clear but thick. One could vacuform replacements using the kit parts as masters
  • Vacuformed side windows would allow for easy separation of the cockpit access doors so they can be positioned as desired
  • The main cabin door is molded closed and there is no cabin interior provided. This can be rectified by adapting parts out of the Gallery or Italeri kits to create a cabin and have a separate door
  • The engine bay is a bit crude by today's standards but it may be possible to adapt parts out of the Gallery kit to update this area
  • The air intake vents on the sides of the nose can be enhanced with aftermarket photo-etch screen stock that is cut to fit
  • While the box art and instructions show intake vents that exist between the windscreen and clamshell doors, the plastic fuselage halves have no such feature. This will take a bit of scratch-building and more photo-etch screen stock to replicate that feature
  • Note that this kit has the early inverted V fins under the tail. Check your references as some aircraft did not have those fins installed while others retained that feature

I know that when I follow the steps listed above and near completion of a modernized H-19 kit, somebody will announce a new-tool kit at long last. Nevertheless, it won't be that difficult to tackle this overlooked subject and have a little fun with some core modeling skills to make it look good sitting next to my Gallery H-34.