The U.S. Navy started converting SH-3A and SH-3D Sea King Helicopters into the Utility version designated SH-3G, eventually converting 105 early airframes into this version. The conversion included removing all of the anti-submarine warfare (ASW) gear and provisions to install 175 gallon external fuel tanks on the lower sponson supports. The G model was also outfitted with an improved refueling system that would allow it to Hover In-flight. Using this system it could hover over a ship and using the rescue hoist cable, bring the refueling hose aboard and fuel. The Navy also strengthened the load area of the floor to handle heavier loads. All SH-3G models were fitted with smaller non-ASW sponsons since it was no longer being used in the ASW role. Some of the earlier conversions were fitted with a gun mount for an M60 machine gun or the 7.62 mm minigun. The main job of this helicopter was ferrying equipment and personnel from ship to shore and back.
This kit uses the same molds as the other versions of the Sea King previously done and also reviewed on this website. They are the Falklands AEW version and the SH-3D version. As was said on the previous reviews the molds are extremely crisp and detailed. The instruction sheets are a single sheet that folds out into eight pages. The color call outs are for Mr. Color and Model Master. The decal sheet comes with three sets of markings:
- HC-2, USS John F. Kennedy, 1970s
- HC-1, USS Hancock, 1970s
- VC-1, Hawaii 1970s
Construction of this kit is pretty straight forward and I noticed the same problems in the instructions as other reviews had. Note: parts C61 and C62 are reversed, Part C19, the transmission cover, is not called out and the collective for the left seat is on the wrong side. Since this is a utility version I was able to model it with the doors open. I liked the way the seats looked through the sliding door. The blades for the rotor comes molded either drooped down at rest our bowed up for flight. In the beginning I was worried, because after building the interior, I had to get everything to fit together. Shockingly, it all fit together well and the bottom fit great because of the one piece bottom hull. Usually, you get to do a lot of cutting down and puttying to get it to all fit well. The engineering of these molds is a great relief if you have ever built any of the older kits that use the two half bodies.
Painting of this kit really doesn’t have a difference in color choice. Most Sea kings have the traditional white over grey scheme. The only difference would be which decals you choose to use. I picked VC-1 out of Hawaii because of the large blue band on the side to add some color. For the bottom I used Model Master Flat Gull Grey and for the top Floquil Reefer White. I did this kit glossy at first but decided to dull it down because all of the Sea Kings I ever saw, while in the Navy, just didn’t seem that shiny. The rotors, rescue hoist and exhaust area were done in flat black. The only complaint I have was for the lack of color call outs. It seems like they only provide call outs for the main colors and none for the interior. I looked on the internet and found some photos but the best photographs I found were from the movie, "The Final Countdown". There are some great interior shots of the Sea King, especially of the cargo area.
I have very high praise for the decals. They were in register, didn’t roll over on themselves and settled down really well with Micro Set and Micro Sol. They look painted on and no silvering is evident anywhere. I wasn’t able to use the rotor decals because I’m just not that good at wrapping a decal all the way around a part and keep it straight. For this I just painted the stripes. Maybe I’ll be able to do it with more practice in the future.
Recommended, I’m really impressed with the amount of detail and the fit of the kit parts. I will definitely be building more of their kits in the future. Thanks, to Cyber-Hobby, Dragon Models USA for providing this kit and thanks to IPMS/USA for allowing me to build it.