The UH-60 Blackhawk is the primary transport helicopter for the United States Army and Air Force. The UH-60 fills almost every need for transport, search and rescue, re-supply and even armed combat. The UH-60L is the National Guard version of this machine.
Minicraft Models has had a niche market in helicopter models. I have built the 1/48 CH 46 Bull Frog and I was very impressed. When I received the Blackhawk kit I tore into it right away. The first thing I noticed was a date embossed in each tail boom of 1985. Well that dates it for me.
There is, of course, a bit of flash around the small parts but they are not insurmountable.
Construction, of course, begins with the interior, the cockpit, and cargo/passenger area. There are twelve passenger seats, three crew seats, and pilot and co-pilot seats. I studied photos of the UH 60 on www.airliners.net for interior detail and found that the cockpit area was basically black with grey seats while the back area was a light grey and the model was so painted and set aside to dry. Decals are provided for the instrument console and instrument panels.
While the interior was drying I began to put the clear parts in place and found that almost all of the windows were just a little too small for the openings. Most models with clear parts such as windows are designed so that the clear part will lie in a recessed area so that they can be glued in place. Not so with this kit. I put a fine layer of good old tube glue around two edges of each opening and held the clear part in place with my fingers for a few minutes. It’s not too pretty but it works. Future Floor Wax was later brushed on the clear parts to cover any finger smudges. One point of interest concerns the clear parts. The instructions call for the upper windows of the windshield to be tinted green. I masked the inside lower window panels and airbrushed some Tamiya Clear Green, normally used for navigation lights, over the area of the windows. It was a nice touch.
After all of the clear parts were masked with Frisket Film the interior was trapped between the fuselage halves. Despite my anxiety the fit of the two halves was pretty decent.
The Rotor Head
The rotor head proved to be the most difficult assembly of the model. My instruction sheet was a little blurred so it was not easy to determine the correct parts or procedure to use. I used Evergreen Styrene for the four lifter rods that would tilt the rotor blades. The kit parts were just too fragile. However the four blades are very well molded.
Paint and Decaling
I painted the body in two stages, the front by holding on to the tail boom and later the tail while holding the fuselage. There is a black deicing boot on the vertical fin so it was painted black first. The body of the helicopter was painted an Olive Drab using Model Master #2924, US Army Helo Drab, FS 34031, and then gloss coated with Testors Gloss Coat.
I chose to decal it with the markings for the California National Guard. You can see that the colors give this helicopter a completely new face. The decals are printed by Cartograf of Italy and are in perfect registry. Most impressive were the three decal pieces that cover the top of the cockpit area. The fit was perfect the first time.
Although I did find a few problems with this kit the end result justifies the grief. I can honestly recommend this kit to the experienced model builder. This will make a nice addition to your display area.
Thank you to Minicraft Models and also to IPMS/USA for supplying this kit for me to review!