Sea King HC.4 Falklands War
Cyber-Hobby has released a new helicopter, the Sea King HC.4 in 1/72 scale, that marks the 30th anniversary of its use by the English forces during the Falklands War (1982). The kit has 6 sprues for a part count of 151 pieces, of which 7 will not be used. In addition, a small photo-etch sheet of three parts is included, as well as a decal sheet printed by Cartograf that will allow six different ships to be depicted. The fuselage has delicate recessed panel lines and flush rivets molded in Dragon’s usual light gray styrene. Two types of rotor blades are also provided; one bending upward as in flight and one bending down as when on the ground. The kit also allows one to build the rotor blades in the stowed position; this is the option I chose to keep the shelf space down to the minimum. Back to the fuselage: it is made up of three parts, two halves and the fuselage’s bottom. This is a good idea as one does not have a joint to deal with on the bottom and the tight fit of the bottom to the fuselage sides resulted in no gaps on my build.
Let’s move along to the build. Step one starts with the seats – these are a three-piece affair with the seat harnesses molded in. This just didn’t look right, so I used some tape to overlay the kit harnesses. Step two is the cockpit. Note that parts B9 and B10 (pilot’s rudder pedals) are reversed. I also did not glue part B26 (bulkhead) in place just yet, as it would block painting of the instrument and center panels. Dragon makes no color paint callout in these two steps and I couldn’t find any cockpit photos during the Falklands War, so I went with a dark grey color scheme in the cockpit. After painting, I then glued on the bulkhead (B26).
Step three deals with the area just aft of the cockpit. One option of this kit is to have the left side crew door/steps displayed open or closed. I went with the closed option and used a light gray color scheme in this section. Dragon also provides two rows of canvas seats for the aft interior. Step four has one finish the interior and glue the fuselage halves together. Interior ribbing is provided, but again I could not find any information on the interior during the Falklands War; it could have had just the interior ribbing or it could have had quilted matting installed. Not knowing, I just painted the interior black (Next time I’ll just paint the backside of the windows black – just as effective and quicker). Dragon also provides a nice M2 (50 cal) MG, but I learned this was not used 30 years ago; rather, the FN MAG was used (M2 came in use in 2010). Several more things to note: parts C61 and C62 are reversed and two holes need to be drilled in the aft top tail section; there should be an indentation for that, Dragon doesn’t call for it, but in step 8 you’ll need those holes to mount two antennas. The last one is a doozy – Dragon shows part C10 being trapped between the fuselage and appears to allow the rotor blades to rotate if one so chooses. But the part C10 provided actually sits atop the main rotor hub and doesn’t look anything like the one shown in step four. (Step 9 shows where the provided C10 part is placed) I checked all six sprues multiple times but never found anything that matched this piece. Since I planned on having the blades in a stowed position it didn’t faze me. I just punched out a 3/8” circle of .060” plastic styrene, drilled a hole for the hub, and glued that in place.
Steps 5, 6 and 7 added external details. The hoist bracing (C46, 47 and 48) is tricky to get the parts aligned and on the hoist body. I ended up mounting them first on the fuselage, then attaching the body to the bracing. Part C28 (there are two of them) need to have the backside pins removed, as no holes are provided on the fuselage. I did find one source of information/pictures that was helpful: Britmodeller.com. Go to the forum section, then Military aircraft, then Modern era and type in Cyber-Hobby Sea King HC.4 to see several discussions on this topic. There is the opinion that the antennas C13, C15 and C23 were not on during the Falklands War but are a recent addition. I did put these on, as I had not come across this information in time. Parts B25 and B28 are reversed.
Step eight, landing gear, etc. The stub wings that hold the main landing gear need to be fitted thusly: C42 with C43 and C41 to C44. The way Dragon would have you put these pieces together just will not work. Step nine, rotor blades and hub: for the stowed blade configuration, parts C6 and C7 are reversed. Note that when you glue in parts C3 thru C7 that the flat (in the hole) is facing up; this will ensure that the blades (D2) will be bending downward. Step ten, final. I glued pieces C57 and C64 together and set aside. I only glued it on after painting, decaling, and the final flat clear coat was done. Don’t forget to paint the bottom black, as you can see it thru the canopy if you look up.
The one big disappointment I had was with the Dragon instruction painting callouts – or lack of it. Fourteen colors (fifteen, if you count H330 on the painting guide) are listed before Step One, yet no color callouts are made anywhere in the ten step building process. Only three colors are mentioned in the “Painting & Marking” section – Mr. Color H330 (British Dark Green) for the fuselage, flat black for a few areas on the fuselage, and clear green for the upper canopy glazing. No mention of what color the blades are, or many other parts.
Even with these few problems, the Cyber-Hobby kit does build into a very fine model. With a little research and extra detailing, the model can make an excellent Sea King HC.4. As the photos show, I used tissue and white glue to make what the Brits call “tip socks” for the ends of the blades, and used thread to tie down the blades as per photos of the real deal. I punched out some plastic discs and made the jet exhaust covers and used some British “remove before flight” tags on these and the pitot tube covers to make my model a little different. One area I think that would benefit this model is if Edward did a canopy mask set, as it took a lot of time to mask all the glass on this model.
I can recommend this model to anyone who wants to make a Sea King HC.4 model in 1/72 scale, and I want to thank IPMS/USA and Dragon Models/USA for the chance to review this model kit.