SH-3D Sea King

Published on
July 16, 2013
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: Cyber-Hobby - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Dragon Models USA - Website: Visit Site
Box Art


The Sikorsky Sea King first flew in 1959 and entered service in 1961. It served in many roles, including SAR, troop transport, and perhaps most memorably as the helos that recovered the Apollo missions after splashdown. These were not the missions the S-61 (company designation) was originally designed for. As the cold war developed after WWII, the US Navy was concerned about the expansion of the Soviet submarine fleet. They needed helicopters capable of pinpointing subs with a mobile sonar unit. This kit represents that version of this highly useful aircraft. Twin turbine engines gave the Sea King the ability to carry impressive payloads (including a sonar unit) over practical distances. Cyber-Hobby has graced us with no less than four versions of this great machine. Two are Westland-built versions used by the UK’s Royal Navy and Air Force. The other two, including this kit, are US Navy birds.

The Kit

This is the same set of molds used in the other versions of this kit. Since the Falklands AEW version was previously reviewed on this site, I won’t go into detail on the castings. Suffice to say, the casting quality of the parts is up to current standards. The instructions are a single sheet fold-out typical of this company. Color call outs are Creos, Mr. Color, and Model Master paints. The decal sheet is well printed and has markings for three versions:

  1. USS Forrestal 1976(box top art)
  2. USS Coral Sea 1970’s
  3. USS Dwight D Eisenhower 1984


Things went awry early in this build. There are no color call outs for any of the interior details, so I referred to the internet and discovered another problem. The anti submarine version of the Sea King has sonar operator stations behind the flight deck that are not represented by any kit parts. Instead, there are two rows of generic-looking jump seats that mount along the cabin walls. Since my policy on reviews is to build what’s in the box, I didn’t mount any cabin interior details and closed the large sliding door. The sonar housing is provided, and you have to open a hole in the cabin floor to use the cylinder that holds the sonar transducer. The cockpit is reasonably detailed for the scale. The instrument panels have raised details you’ll have to paint carefully to make look convincing (Eduard makes a nice pre-colored set that includes the instrument panels). Note: the collective for the left seat installs to the left of the seat, not the right as shown in the directions. All of this fits into the fuselage halves very well. A really nice touch is the one-piece hull bottom which eliminates fixing the seam along the bottom that most helo kits have. Make sure you drill the indicated holes before closing the fuselage or it will be difficult to mount antennas and grab bars in later steps. Also note that the exhaust pipes, parts C61 and C62, are reversed. The transmission cover behind the main rotor opening is not called out; it is part C19. The rest of the construction is very straightforward. The main rotors blades have droop molded in, and the option to pose them folded or extended.


Not much variety here, as all three versions have the same color scheme. I choose the example shown on the box top. The yellow tail band has to be painted since no decal is provided. I did that first with Tamiya TS-16 yellow. After masking the yellow, I then shot the overall model with Tamiya pure white TS-26. After masking the topside, I sprayed the bottom of the fuselage with Model Master Light Sea Grey FS36307. The main rotor blades also get this color. The tail rotor blades are black. The black areas behind the exhausts are an odd shape to hand-paint. I blew up the kit diagram to match the actual model and cut out the panel shape as a mask. The rotor hubs are Alclad Steel. Another nice feature of this kit is the windows that all mount from the outside so you don’t have to fight masking them through the whole process. They fit very tightly, so dry-fit before you get them near any glue. The windscreen framing is raised enough to mask easily. Don’t forget the green-tinted antiglare panels over the cockpit since it’s not called out in the instructions.

Decals and Details

The decals are printed in good register and settled over the curves very well. Be careful, though, as there is not a lot of carrier film on some and they will roll over on themselves. Decals are included for the rotor stripes. A full suite of stencils are also included. Decaling is made easier by the fact that these aircraft were finished in glossy paint. I elected to fold the rotors but I couldn’t find a good reference for the folding tail so I left it extended.


Judging by my comments about what’s missing, you might get the impression that I didn’t like the kit. To the contrary, I enjoyed this build very much. In fact, if not for the move I’m preparing for, I would have taken the time to outfit the interior. That area of this kit is ripe for an aftermarket addition. I’ve heard some gripes elsewhere about the accuracy of the shape, but it looks like a Sea King to my eye. As I said before, some color call outs for the interior would be helpful. On the plus side, the folding rotors and one-piece fuselage bottom are big plusses. I would rate this kit an 8 out of 10.

Thanks so much to Dragon Models USA for the kit sample. And, as always, thanks to the IPMS review team for allowing me the opportunity to build this sample kit.


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