by: Adie Roberts [ ]
Originally published on:
The Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk is a four-blade, twin-engine, medium-lift utility helicopter manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft. Sikorsky submitted the S-70 design for the United States Army's Utility Tactical Transport Aircraft System (UTTAS) competition in 1972. The Army designated the prototype as the YUH-60A and selected the Black Hawk as the winner of the program in 1976, after a fly-off competition with the Boeing Vertol YUH-61.
Named after the Native American chief Black Hawk, the UH-60A entered service with the U.S. Army in 1979, to replace the Bell UH-1 Iroquois as the Army's tactical transport helicopter. This was followed by the fielding of electronic warfare and special operations variants of the Black Hawk. Improved UH-60L and UH-60M utility variants have also been developed. Modified versions have also been developed for the U.S. Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. In addition to U.S. Army use, the UH-60 family has been exported to several nations. Black Hawks have served in combat during conflicts in Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan, and other areas in the Middle East.
In the late 1960s, the United States Army began forming requirements for a helicopter to replace the UH-1 Iroquois and designated the program as the Utility Tactical Transport Aircraft System (UTTAS). The Army also initiated the development of a new, common turbine engine for its helicopters that would become the General Electric T700. Based on experience in Vietnam, the Army required significant performance, survivability and reliability improvements from both UTTAS and the new power plant. The Army released its UTTAS request for proposals (RFP) in January 1972. The RFP also included air transport requirements. Transport within the C-130 limited the UTTAS cabin height and length.
The UTTAS requirements for improved reliability, survivability and lower life-cycle costs resulted in features such as dual-engines with improved hot and high altitude performance, and a modular design (reduced maintenance footprint); run-dry gearboxes; ballistic tolerant, redundant subsystems (hydraulic, electrical and flight controls); crashworthy crew (armoured) and troop seats; dual-stage oleo main landing gear; ballistic tolerant, crashworthy main structure; quieter, more robust main and tail rotor systems; and a ballistic tolerant, crashworthy fuel system.
Four prototypes were constructed, with the first YUH-60A flying on 17 October 1974. Prior to delivery of the prototypes to the US Army, a preliminary evaluation was conducted in November 1975 to ensure the aircraft could be operated safely during all testing. Three of the prototypes were delivered to the Army in March 1976, for evaluation against the rival Boeing-Vertol design, the YUH-61A, and one was kept by Sikorsky for internal research. The Army selected the UH-60 for production in December 1976. Deliveries of the UH-60A to the Army began in October 1978 and the helicopter entered service in June 1979.
The box is the normal type of carton with lift of lid, the artwork on the lid is very impressive in my opinion as it depicts a Black Hawk flying over what looks like Mogadishu (I have watched the Black Hawk Down movie so many times and it has to be one of my favourite movies and one of my favourite helicopters) but it could be anywhere else in the World.
In a light grey plastic
1. Two halves of the actual helicopter bodies.
2. Six sealed plastic bags containing eight light grey large mouldings.
3. One box with all the clear cockpit glazing including windows for both side doors.
4. Two sealed clear plastic cartons each with three resin figures in each including weapons. Please note that on the box lid it clearly states the crew are not included.
5. One A-4 sheet giving instructions for the build of the figures
6. One sealed bag small, containing the two photo-etch sheets, two decal sheets and one large rope.
On first look at the contents of the box I am jumping it all looks incredible and I just feel I want to build it right now. The two halves of the helicopter are large as you would expect at 1/35th scale panel lines that are in place are subtle but there, rivet detail is looking good and in the right areas, the access panels look really good.
As far as the two halves of the main helicopter fuselages go that is about all I can say, I was so impressed with the look I decided to do a dry fit the two halves of the fuselage see what it looked like, I never expected it to be a perfect fit, however, I was somewhat upset with what I saw when trying to do a dry fit, first of it actually took me quite some time to align the tabs and the pins some of which were way too big to fit in the holes. When I finally got it lined up there were a big differences from the front of the helicopter to the tail with a clear gap with visible where alignment could not be achieved and vice a versa if the tail boom was aligned the front there was a clear and present gap. I have contacted Kitty Hawk to find out if this is a real issue or perhaps one of twisting in the box which is slightly smaller than the full length of the two body halves. I will hopefully have more details to let you know before publishing.
Going back to the review and I am looking at the build and it is starting with the build of the internal parts that go to make up the cockpit which appears to build up in parts which then go to make the entire cockpit within its own housing that then sits inside the main body.
Starting out with the ceiling of the internal cockpit and cabin space I was surprised to see so much detail which was really refreshing, especially right above the pilot and co-pilots head with levers and switches well replicated there is a locker which I think is likely to be a service hatch to either electrics for the engine or engine.
The floor plan of the cockpit is by far one of the best I have ever seen for moulded detail with plenty of lock down points each of these large or small hold very good detail on them. Further detail in the cabin compartment displays a non-slip design which again is moulded detail and easy to define from the normal metal skin. We then end up at the business end of the cabin, the cockpit and now the detail really goes up a couple of levels the centre consul that sits between the pilot and co-pilot is very satisfying and once painted plus all the switches and screens it will look amazing, even unpainted it truly looks the part.
The main parts of the cockpit especially the control panels, dials, screens and levers are just quite sensational especially as moulded parts, again in the right hands and being painted too high standard with maybe a little scratch building possibly some wires also some small LED bulbs running from a small battery will truly bring the cockpit to life. So we now start looking at the rest of the cabin space the seats in real life would be quite basic obviously limiting the weight And space used kitty hawk have done a very good job with this new tool In bringing out the details of the chairs with creased lining of the material looking very crisp. If at this stage, you were thinking of doing the air medivac (ambulance MH60) you would be required to drill a few holes to fit the stretcher frame in the back part of the cabin instructions show you exactly where to place these holes making this a relatively easy job to complete.
Just prior to operation Prime chance in 1987 the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment or SOAR for short, also known as the “Night Stalkers” replaced the M-60D machine guns with the M-134 mini guns. These mini guns have been faithfully recreated in this new tool of the MH-60L by Kitty Hawk. The detail of the many guns is particularly good and comprising of several parts to make 1 gun gives them an accurate build this is the same for both port and starboard guns.
Whilst looking over the rear of the cabin and the patterning for the GAU 21 machine gun assembly I noticed that the gun on the sprue was held in a bent position which is likely to be difficult to straighten without breaking it however, the detail on the gun is very good.
Another impressive aspect of this model kit is the amount of parts for the engine and the detail of them it is quite amazing when you look at the parts and instructions to see the way it builds up into an impressive accurate looking engine with parts that I personally have not seen before on helicopter kits that I have built or owned. Like the exhaust cooling air fan infrared suppression, include the rotor control swash plate, the rotor head fairing leaving just some wires to be put into place making electrical cables, oil and hydraulic pipes to make the engine complete.
Some of the details that I left out when examining the body of the helicopter due to the issues observed, I have now gone back to relook at it again, Sliding fairing guide rails to move the fairing away and exposing the engine for inspection maintenance and for checking the engine before flight is a really nice touch, once the rotors are complete will sit perfectly into the engine. The tail rotor with all the parts to make it complete look quite sensational as does the tail plane with its moulded ribbing.
The instruction book is well presented and looks easy to follow. It is 40 pages in total and this does however; include the paint guides for the four different versions offered by Kitty Hawk in the box. These include MH-60L, 91-26288 Razors Edge, On the 3rd of October 1993 while on special operations in Mogadishu Somalia was hit by an RPG, it made it back to base.
Super 68 Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CSAR) Grounded Razors Edge. As off the 10th 2013 It is now preserved on display at Army aviation museum Fort Rucker.
MH 60L 89-26188 This Black Hawk was written off on the 3rd of October 1993 being shot down by RPG At Mogadishu Somalia, three killed one captured the 160th SOAR.
MH-60L 91-26363, Whilst on special operations in Mogadishu Somalia, On the 3rd of October 1993 was hit by small arms fire to the transmission during resupply to special operations troops made it back to base and was not flown again that day. Call Sign followed, fit crew to another Black Hawk MH60A 85-24395 and MH-60L 91-26324 Thunderstruck On the 3rd of October 1993 whilst on special operations in Mogadishu Somalia was written off after being shot down by RPG three killed the 160th special operations air regiment.
The figures that have been supplied with my Kitty Hawk Black Hawk MH-60L are some of the best resin figures that I have ever seen and look to fit together without any issues. Seven figures in total are included with this kit which include 2 pilots 2 figures for the two mini guns one load master two 160th special ops with scooped rifles
The instruction book is laid out over 40 pages, this also includes the four painting schemes of the black hawk helicopter The starting point for this kit is the seats for the cabin it's very straight forward and easy to follow, it continues on with building part of the cockpit there are one or two minor mistakes within the whole of the instructions but I think it will be easy to be able to work around. One of the things that surprise me about this kit and in totally a good way is the fact that the cabin and cockpit area all have its own enclosed parts that fit inside the two halves of the fuselage as I have said before the fuselage halves have a slight twist where I believe now it is caused by the box being completely jam packed with plastic and I believe that to be the cause of the twist.
The photo-etch accompanying this kit which includes one large sheet and one smaller sheet both containing a lot of detail Which include mini gun ammunition belts, Seat belts for all of the cabin seats pilot harness's and various other parts like grills ETC for the helicopter itself. The decals do not appear to have any issues, though they may not be the best decals I've ever seen they are more than adequate for the job The instrument and control panel decal sheets are colourful and look okay but I'm pretty sure by now there will be some aftermarket alternatives.
I have still not heard back from kitty hawk, at this moment in time, regarding the twisted body of the helicopter, so I'm going to put this down to the fact the I am just very unlucky and the amount of plastic in the box has twisted the rear ends of the two halves of the main body of the helicopter.
On the box the helicopter it does say clearly but there is no crew included however I do know that my own doing each of the new tooled kits I do think the price for the kit plus the crew will be higher than the standard price of just the kit. Kittyhawk have done well by producing this new tooled version as it has lent itself to further versions being made these include The HH-60G Pave Hawk, SH-60F Ocean Hawk, SH-60B, MH-60R Sea Hawk, MH 60 S Knight hawk Which looks an impressive version.
There is so much that I really like in this new tooled kit from Kitty Hawk Black Hawk. It is for in my opinion the best representation in model form of this particular helicopter to date and this scale. There is a lot of plastic inside the box which if tackled slowly could make an amazing kit. Coupled with the AH-6J/MH-6J Little bird Night stalker’s or the AH-6M/MH-6M this Could build into a fantastic diorama of the Black Hawk Down when the Americans and the UN went into Mogadishu Somalia to help stop the war between two factions that caused famine, serious health complications and many people to be displaced from their homes.