HH-34J USAF Combat Rescue

Published on
May 23, 2014
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: Gallery Models - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: MRC - Website: Visit Site
Box Art

MRC-Academy's latest release from Gallery Models is the 1/48 scale HH-34J USAF Combat Rescue version of the H-34. Previous versions have included the USMC H-34 Chocktaw and the H-34 US Navy Rescue. This is the unarmed recue version and comes with markings for a USAF version as well as German SAR version. Both markings are primarily silver. The kit is primarily styrene but there are two nice photoetch frets for screens and smaller parts.

The build starts with the interior and the interior is complete and full length. Starting from the front, there is a full front engine compartment, a well done cockpit and full crew area. Behind this is the tail of the helicopter and it is ribbed and has its bulkheads. The engine is 40 parts alone and looks great when done. Watch alignment on this carefully- the engine exhaust protrudes through the side and if alignment is off a little, it will not line up with the doors.

The main compartment/crew area is next and Gallery gives you three choices- stretchers, and two different style of seats. I mixed and matched for variety with stretchers on one side and seats on the other. Assembly is straightforward; you will need to drill holes in the main floor and the holes are dependent o the arrangement you choose. Once painted, you can add some grime and chipping. The interior is almost all one color. There are photoetch seat belts for each seat and they add an excellent touch to the interior.

The cockpit is next and goes together well. There are small photoetch humps that need added behind the control sticks and smaller bits for the rudder peals. The remainder is styrene and fit is good including sidewalls. There is also a decal for the instruments.

Lastly, the interior part of the main rotor is built and painted and we are ready to assemble the interior. The sidewalls are added to the main cabin. The rear and front bulkheads were added at the same time to get everything in alignment. Once set, the rotor compartment is added to the top and the back portion of the roof. I found it best to add the parts while sitting inside the fuselage to make sure things were square and tack them with glue. Once set, more glue was added to permanently glue the piece. The cockpit is added net and then the engine compartment. Things should fit very well and tightly which will allow the fuselage to close.

Before adding the interior...add the windows to the fuselage. I masked them first and them glued them in for ease. I added the interior next and worked on closing the fuselage. it was tight and I had to cut a few areas I misaligned but in 15 minutes, it was closed and glued tight. The bottom panel was added and then the nose doors. I had a problem getting these aligned properly. If you are leaving one or both open, no problem but closing them took several putty and sand sessions for a good look. The tail was built and added and does have provision for folding it for storage but I wanted it ready for flight. The landing gear were next and they are left and right handed so watch the numbers and they go right into place.

The canopy was added and fit well- just a little putty at the front and top. Part K20, the are behind the rotors is phenomenal. The slats are perfect and the fit is great giving it a shutter-like look.

Last but certainly not least, Gallery gives you photoetched screens (19 in all) that are added to the engine compartment, the tail rotor and the top of the area near the rotor. These are very fine and well done but fragile so take your time. The ones covering the sides and engine compartment are excellent and give a nice see through look. Same for the tail rotor. I added some remaining small part on both sides of the fuselage and we were ready to paint.

Choosing the USAF version, I used Tamiya Gloss silver decanted from a rattle can and sprayed up the kit. This paint is amazing- it dried rock hard in an hour or two. After round 1, I found a few flaws and fixed them and reshot. The helicopter is one color so I went back and highlighted all of the photoetch grills black and dusted them with silver pencil for highlights. The decals went on with no issues and settled nicely with only a couple needing the Microset.

I went for minimal weathering with an oil wash in the panels lines and around vents and grating. I used Mr. Color Smoke to further highlight the panels lines. The kits was then shot with two light coats of flat to even the colors and glosses.

I built and added the wheels and pulled the masks. The very last things, I built the main and tail rotors and painted them, highlighted with a silver pencil and was done. The rotors were added and clear lenses added on the tail, landing gear and sides.

This kit was a lot of fun. If I build another version, I would definitely open the engine compartment as it is almost too nice to close. Highly recommended with one caveat- photoetch experience is needed due to the small and numerous parts. If you have added photoetch to a couple kits, then you should be good.

My thanks to the excellent people at MRC-Academy, Gallery Models and IPMS/USa for the chance to review this kit.


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