Sea King HAR. Mk 5 “Ark Royal”

Published on
July 14, 2013
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: Hasegawa - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Hobbico
Box Art

The usual sincere “thank you and appreciate your providing us cool stuff!!!!” goes out to Hobbico for their continued, unflinching support of IPMS USA. I also am more than pleased to send out appreciation to our team leading the Reviewer Corps – Steve and Dick, glad you stick with us!

A re-release of the venerable Sea King from the Hasegawa stable, this kit provides the additional details to make an HAR. Mk. 5 in the form of the radome on the aft fuselage spine, the ice/sand filter in front of the engine intakes, a six-bladed rotor, and several cast metal parts such as a water-rescue stand for the lower right side under the door, a metal rod next to it (probably a grab-bar for the spec-ops types to hold onto), and metal spike antennas under the lower front fuselage area. There are also flare dispensers included in plastic, along with different antenna arrays for this particular mark.

Having built the basic USN Sea King a while back, I know what to expect. The cockpit is well-appointed with molded-in seat harnesses, fine collective and cyclic control sticks, and tail rotor pedals. The different instrument panel and center console are also catered for on the Mk 5 sprue. Decals are provided for all, including the overhead electrical panel between the pilots.

Other internal detail is not provided, as the port side entry door and the aft starboard sliding door are molded shut; nothing can be seen, anyway. A floor and aft bulkhead were installed and provide structural rigidity to the kit, but no seats, dipping sonar well, etc., are included. This was a previous hue and cry moment when the original kit was released in the 1990s, particularly since it was considered pretty expensive at the time. The window arrangement on this kit is handled by flashed over spots where aft windows would be attached, and opaque inserts where other windows are not required. Recommendation is to install the windows after painting the hull interior dark gray, and mask them now. You won’t be able to when the outside sponsons are attached…unless you employ specialized elves.

Construction is simple and, if you have remembered to drill out the flashed-over holes for the external antennas, fairings, etc., you will not have difficulty with the kit. Use of liquid cement is my recommendation when installing the external hull; it is easy to misalign if you aren’t careful, and the external chine running around the perimeter can easily fill with dissolved cement and plastic residue. Take your time and clamp well.

The fit of the upper intake and exhaust assembly is very good. At this point, you will not want to install the sand/ice filter box, as there is a bit of interference when it comes time to mask and paint the canopy. I used Tamiya clear green for the upper eyebrow windows, and then installed the canopy. Again, careful effort is rewarded with an essentially seamless installation, including the side sliding pilot/co-pilot windows.

Sponsons are easy to assemble; take your time, as you CAN screw this up big time. Having done it before, I knew to install the upper sponson brace to the float before installing the actual sponson float assembly…do it while the cement is still a bit flexible, because you will want to do this right.

It was at this point I painted the bird, using Tamiya red spray for an undercoat under the red markings, then overcoating with a light mist of Tamiya Orange Spray to give it a bit of a “dayglo” look. I overdid the orange, but, oh well. Mask, and then spray light sea gray over the rest of the airframe. As I didn’t have that color, I fell back on my old “Sasebo Arsenal” Tamiya gray. In retrospect, this was a bit too dark, as when it came time in apply the engine exhaust and walkway decals, they almost disappeared. I hand-painted the areas over the decals with a mixture of flat black and gray, providing the contrast that would have occurred if I had used the correct gray color. Drat.

A coat of Mode Master Boyd’s gloss varnish (best stuff I have found yet for glosscoating), and then it was decals. I could not resist the Ace of Spades markings – distinctive, and the one yellow out of five blades captured my interest. These decals did not require setting solution, and the whites were actually white. Hasegawa has come a long way on their decals!

Time to install all the “sticky-outy” bits: antennas, rescue hoist, metal platform for the aforementioned water rescues, etc, and for once I tried to use the tail rotor red/white/red decals; they worked very well, settling down with a bit of Solvaset. Rearview mirrors and other miniscule details made the model come to life. And after you remove the masking on the canopy, you can install the sand/ice filter. It adds a lot of visual interest!

On to the main rotor – I followed the painting instructions up to a point, first spraying all the blades flat white, then masking the sling attachment point stripes with thin strips. I don’t like decals for these, because I find it easier to paint and mask. One blade received a coat of dark orange/yellow Tamiya spray on the upper surface, along with all the rotor tips. Once dry, masking off the yellow blade and all the tips, I used Duplicolor automotive lacquer to paint the remainder of the blades Hot Rod Primer, which provided a faded look that I was attempting to capture. Once that dried (overnight), I removed the masking, then employed a Testors marker pen in silver to run along the blade leading edges on both the tail rotor and main rotor blades. The main rotor hub was an easy assembly, but you HAVE to follow the instructions or you will mess up the sequence. Each blade hub is different; follow the instructions! The option of folded blades is there; I have never liked the hangared-deck look, so I had a space-eating rotor blade assembly to deal with.

All in all, once I finished, I was very pleased with the kit. I will do a bit of exhaust weathering later, but in the meantime the Mk 5 looks the part.

Final analysis: An excellent week-or-two-long project with potential for those wanting to scratchbuild a hull interior. Once again, we are very appreciative of our friends at Hobbico for providing for the needs of the modeling community. Well done!


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