MRC 1/35 UH-I Huey

I was always fascinated by the Huey. It is the symbol of the US involvement in Vietnam, and of every horrible thing that came out of that conflict. Even the last event of the war -the fall of Saigon- is associated with the evacuation of the US Embassy using the Huey. The UH-1 was the first real combat helicopter, and it made insertion -and evacuation- of troops much faster; it made fire-support easier, and it lead to the development of the first dedicated combat helicopter, the AH-1. Its variants are still used widely all over the globe; all in all, it has proven to be a singularly successful design.

In other words: it’s a legendary vehicle in both the good and the bad meaning of the word.

I used to have an English teacher back home, who happened to be a Vietnam veteran; he was one of those guys who was dropped in jungles with these helicopters, carrying a radio and an M16. He did not really discuss his experiences in the war. He was (and is) a very good-humoured person; I think if you survive the horrors of war, you can either break, or be happy and grateful for every single day you get from life.

Anyhow, back to the model. MRC has issued a 1/35 version of this chopper with the engine added; I was very much excited to get my hands on one cheap (it was a second hand model). This was in my transition period between aircraft and armored fighting vehicles, mind you; about sixteen years ago. It’s also one of those models I got in Europe, brought to the USA to build, and then have it shipped back with the rest of my belongings…

The build, in general, went together quite well, although there was a gigantic fit issue with the fuselage; somehow the two halves just did not join up… A big problem, MRC. It took me a lot of time to fill up the gaps.

This is a retrospective post as well; I still have to find images of the completed model. (It’s in storage in my mother’s attic, along with all my builds from the US.)

 

The first steps of building the interior. So far, so good.

 

The rotor mast

 

The finished rotor looks really good; it is a very nice representation of the real thing.

The engine looks great; I’ve added some thin wiring for extra detail. Because the exhaust is corroded and darkened by the fumes, I started with a black base, and dry-brushed some brown on top.

jerswnu

 

Work on the engine compartment; because it looked a bit empty, I added some extra cables.

Thins are falling together. The straps for the seats were made from aluminium foil.

The instrument panel – base coat…

The painted instrument panel. I have to say, there’s a lot going on for pre-painted PE instrument panels.

Finished interior looks pretty good to me, even without PE or other aftermarket parts. The box of grenades stroke me as a strange addition to the model; I’d expect a wooden box laying around unsecured would end up sliding out into the big empty.

Finished engine bay. At this point I was seriously pleased with myself -until the next step, that is.

Nope. It does not fit. It does not fit at all.

 

Masking and painting. There was a serious case of filling everything up with two-part epoxy – the stress on the fuselage halves is so big, I needed to have the filler itself is acting as an adhesive. I don’t think plastic glue alone would have been sufficient. It made sanding around the windscreen pretty hazardous, though, and unfortunately some fine details (rivets, panel lines) fell victim of the process.

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The finished model -well, almost finished. Some details were needed to be painted (I don’t have any more photos left, unfortunately…) As soon as I find some, I’ll update the post.

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