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Airfix Westland Sea King HC4

Airfix’s new Sea King HC4 is a real beauty! The 133 parts, molded in the now-familiar soft blue-gray plastic, show crisp, recessed panel lines and little flash. Optional parts allow for the aircraft to be built flight-ready or with the rotor and tail folded. The cabin doors can also be posed, and the instructions show the rotor can turn with help from a small motor available separately from Airfix. Cartograf decals give markings for two Sea Kings, one in an Arctic scheme and the other all green.

Each assembly step highlights parts added in the previous stage, aiding placement. I wish the color callouts were a little clearer, especially for smaller pieces.

Starting assembly in the cabin, I opened  a couple of clearly marked holes in the floor for the crew seating. The troop seats are only supported by the front legs, so I set the floor into the fuselage side to align them while the glue set.

A decal details the instrument panel and console. Everything fit, although I had to tweak the pedals and control sticks; the holes narrow too quickly, so the parts didn’t sit flush. For the same reason, I used a slightly larger bit than called for when drilling holes in the fuselage for upcoming parts. There was a small ridge around the window recesses that I scraped away so the windows fit flush.

Airfix provides a ceiling panel for the cabin, so there’s no risk of seeing the void of the engine bay through the doors. It fit perfectly, but I got mine a little high and it doesn’t line up with the fuselage.

The major parts fit nearly perfectly. I used just a little filler along the joint between the belly and the sides. There was a minor gap just ahead of the intakes, but that was covered by the sand filter.

The biggest issue was the main gear struts (parts F9 and F10). The mounting lugs were larger and longer than the recess. It was not a big deal to correct, but a little surprising given the engineering elsewhere in the kit.

The decals worked like a dream. I was concerned about the black exhaust panel on the left side fitting compound curves, but decal solvent and a little heat took care of the problem.

I spent about 35 enjoyable hours on the Sea King. I’m impressed with the quality and value of it and the other new kits from Airfix. I wholeheartedly recommend this one to anyone with a kit or two under their belt.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the November 2016 issue.


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