The “New” Build

Actually, it may be a new series of builds, if things keep going the way they’re going… And yes, my new build is my first in what could be at least five 1:72 Huey helicopters. For right now, I’ve just got two planned. This particular one is the 1:72 UH-1H variant, made by Hasegawa. And, based on the amount of flash present on the kit, it must be a pretty old molding of it. My goal is to eventually make a near-perfect replica of a particular Vietnam era Huey "slick", as flown by the 335th Assault Helicopter Company. I haven’t decided if this kit is going to be the replica, or if I’m just going to use this one as a practice run towards doing the specific Huey. Regardless, I want to build this thing close as possible to that specific bird. And in order to do this, the kit is going to need some modifications. First off, did you know that the UH-1H technically had six doors? I never really thought about it, but there it is. There were the two main cockpit doors, the two (smaller) front cargo doors, and then the two (larger) rear cargo doors. Well, the cockpit doors and the front (smaller) cargo doors were molded directly to the body of the helicopter on this kit, as opposed to the very nice 1:72 Italeri UH-1D, where at least you could position the cockpit doors open. Unfortunately, I’m told that–on the helicopter I’m building–both cargo doors were removed on both sides. This meant doing some minor surgery on the kit pieces. All it worked out to was a pin vise and an Xacto knife, but I did manage to put a pretty deep gouge in one side that will need to be taken out later.
Another area that is going to require modification is the seats in the cockpit. In all the pictures I’ve found of Hueys in service in Vietnam, there were armor plates around the pilots’ seats, but they are absent on this kit. So… More modifications. I may end up scratch-building two new seats entirely. Of course, in the back, there’s the matter of scratch-building the bench seats and the gunner positions. In short, I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me on this kit. We’ll see how well I do.
One thing it looks like I won’t have to worry about is the decals. I found Fireball Modelworks recently, and not only do they specialize in helicopter decals, but they also have graciously agreed to do a smaller custom sheet to meet my anticipated needs for the specific build. The nose art is going to be done by my good friend, Phil. He’s (just as graciously) agreed to put his ALPS printer to use for just that purpose. And remember: "There are no problems. Only solutions." I think I’ll have to keep telling myself that over the coming months.

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