|Kit Number: 4616|
|Reviewed by John King, IPMS# 46812|
Dragon Models has continued to provide for the 1/144th modelers. A few years ago, Dragon produced the some 1/144th Blackhawk kits, and they've expanded on the Blackhawk to produce Pavehawks, Oceanhawks, and Seahawks. This is Dragon's MH-60S Seahawk with markings for HSC-23 "Wild Cards" and HSC-21 "Black Jacks." This is Dragon's second boxing of the MH-60S.
Upon opening the box, the modeler is greeted with two sprues of light grey plastic, two sprues of clear plastic containing the nose section and doors, a small and nice decal sheet, and a single fold instruction sheet. The instruction sheet lists only four steps with Gunze and Model Master color callouts. If you want to build a current Seahawk, you should check your references, as there are some lumps and bumps that the instructions make no mention of but are included in the plastic.
This is Dragon's eighth boxing of the little Sikorsky helo, and the kit is beginning to show that. There is a small amount of flash, but nothing a few swipes with the Xacto won't take care of. Also, my fuselage was warped, but this was easily fixed by slowing gluing the two sides of the fuselage together.
Construction is straight forward, starting with the cockpit and cabin. The cockpit and cabin have seats and is very acceptable for this small scale. The control sticks are rather bland and are just straight pieces of plastic. You could spend a few minutes making more realistic ones, but once the clear cockpit piece is on and painted, you really can't even see them anyways. I chose not to modify the control sticks and did not spend too much time in the cockpit and cabin area. In order to get a good fit of the fuselage halves, the modeler needs to shave a little bit off of the sides of the cockpit/cabin floor. If this is not done, the fuselage halves will not properly fit together, resulting in a large gap on top and bottom.
After I glued the fuselage halves together, I decided to perform a small (no pun intended) modification to the transmission/engine housing, part #A4. The way everything is molded, the rotor hub sits on top. The easy correction, and a way to add some realism, is to take a ¼" drill bit and drill out the attachment point. Then, add part #A24 to the top of the fuselage half. This way, you can place the rotor hub assembly on the model and it will be removable should you need to transport the model. You'll also have to cut down the bottom of the shaft of the rotor hub a small amount. I also ran the rotor blades under some warm water and put a small bend in them to represent the flex that is in the real rotor blades.
Following the construction of the fuselage halves and transmission/engine housing, I then glued the cockpit glazing on (after it had dried from a bath in Future, of course). The cockpit glazing is the same one that's in Dragon's Blackhawk kits. This means that it has the handrails molded on the sides. These large handrails are not present on Seahawks, so I cut them off. Also, the diameter of the cockpit glazing is a tad bit bigger than the diameter of the fuselage. My suggestion is to line up the top of the fuselage with the top of the cockpit glazing. This will leave a small step on the bottom of the fuselage, but this will be easier to fill and sand than if you had to fill and sand the top. I would also suggest you do all of this before placing the landing gear on, as this will make sanding much easier. Speaking of filling and sanding, the kit requires some filling/sanding around the engine intakes and the seam between part #A4 and the fuselage.
I chose to leave all small parts like the antennas off until after all sanding was completed. Unfortunately, I placed the top antennas on backwards (part #A25). I painted my models with Model Master acrylics. After a few coats of Future, I applied the decals. The decals are well printed except for the high-vis national insignia. The high-vis national insignia has the middle stripe a little bit off center. The low-vis national insignia were just fine. The decals went on well and snuggled down well with a light application of decal solvent. I weathered my model with a chalk pastel wash to bring out some of the detail.
These MH-60S Seahawks were my 5th and 6th Dragon 1/144th Sikorsky kits, so I kind of knew what I was getting into. I spent about 9 hours building the two kits. I highly recommend building both kits at the same time; it saves on paint and in reality, it doesn't take much longer to build two kits together as it does when you build one at a time. These are kits that I would recommend to anyone wanting to add some 1/144th Seahawks to their collection. These kits are not difficult to build no matter your skill level. The small amount of filling and sanding should not be difficult to accomplish. Overall, another nice addition for the 1/144th modelers!
A huge thanks goes out to Dragon Models Ltd. and IPMS for the opportunity to review these models!