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Bristol Sycamore HC.14/HR.14/Mk.51/Mk.52


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Bristol Sycamore HC.14/HR.14/Mk.51/Mk.52

CMR / Mark I 1:72


Design of the Sycamore started way back in 1944 with the first flight in 1947. Early development focused on making mechanical components durable such was the early evolution of rotary aircraft. The civilian version was known as the Bristol 171, the military versions using the more commonly known name Sycamore. The HR 14 entered service with the RAF in 1953 following a series of evaluation aircraft. As well as it's role as a Rescue aircraft, it got it's 'hands dirty' in the Malayan Emergency where it was used to get troop patrols in and out of the jungle. During it's time, the Sycamore flew with the British, German, Belgian and Australian forces.

The kit

If you're familiar with CMR kits, you will know that these kits some jammed packed with detail and this one follows that format. The box is a sturdy top opening design to protect the delicate contents. Within the kit you will find:

  • Resin fuselage and main detail - packed into a bag with sectioned compartments to further protect the parts from each other
  • 3 etch frets of which one is pre-coloured for the interior
  • 2 x vac formed canopies in case you make a mistake....and I did, phew !!
  • Paint masks for the windows
  • Decals for no less than 5 aircraft
  • Instructions & several pages of pictures showing good close up references to help with the build











Building the kit starts with the cockpit interior. Care needs to be taken removing the cockpit from the base and a razor saw is vital for this task. Getting the cockpit resin parts together was quite straight forwards. Once the resin parts were assembled, the next task is to fit the etch rear seats. These were fitted minus the coloured seatbelts then the assembly was primed and painted. I used dark grey for this. Once the base colour was on, the rear seatbelts were painted reddy-brown and the seatbelts fitted to the seats. This is a delicate operation and a good set of tweezers will be a godsend. With the detail on, a wash of black was used to enhance the detail



More on the next post...

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To take a break from the interior, I next did the rotor. The blades are very flexible and as such, much stronger and less prone to breaking than they might appear. The hub is made up of several resin and etch parts.



With the cockpit completed, next step was to fit it into the fuselage. The angle of the rear bulkhead on the interior didn't quite align correctly, however gluing it into the fuselage corrected this to a large degree. As the kit has no locating pins, the fuselage was masked together using thin strips of masking tape, then super glued to hold it together. This left some large joins that needed to be filled, in part probably by my preparation of the mating surfaces when I cleaned them up. Some rescribing had to be done after filling the gaps to restore the panel lines that are beautifully moulded in.



After filling the joins:


With the fuselage together, the front doors were fitted followed by the vac canopy over the top. This was the most challenging part of the build as everything had to line up. Some bending of the doors and lots of dry fitting was necessary before I went to work with the glue. You can't rush this part even if you try. I found in the end that I had to fill, sand and polish the edges of the vac canopy to improve the joins, so micromesh was a Saviour at this point as well as some foam sanding sticks to do the initial sanding



With several days of prepping and fitting, the holes were masked up, the undercarriage fitted and it was primed. Fitting the undercarriage is fairly straight forwards with good alignment, however these parts are delicate, so go easy if you have sausage fingers !





Some of the larger etch details were fitted during the priming stage, the foot steps being quite prominent and adding lots of character to the profile. With the priming done, next up was the colour. I'd decided to do it in the Rescue scheme, so Xtracrylic Trainer Yellow was used. The engine intake was masked prior to painting as this was to be black. A nice etch grill is provided to fit over the intake, the ribs being twisted through 90 degrees prior to fitting. A bit of scratch plasticard was used to fill the edges around the etch at the base to hide the gap, then filled and delicately sanded before touching up with some yellow



Decals next, one of my favourite bits ! On the whole, these went on OK, however for some reason the tail rotor warning decals fought me, folding over in the application, so I used a scalpel to eventually rescue them, winning in the end.



Whilst I decided to do the scheme in the RAF Rescue Scheme, there are also four other schemes that may take your fancy:

  • XG548 - Joint Helicopter Unit, HMS Ocean, Suez Crisis 1956
  • XG544 - 118 Sqn, RAF Aldergrove, Northern Ireland 1962
  • XN448 - 852 Sqn HMAS Melbourne, Royal Australian Navy 1964/5
  • LB+105 - 2 Luftrettungs - und Verbindungsstaffel, 2nd SAR Unit, Luftwaffe, West Germany 1962

Masks removed. There was some further work required to tidy up the mask lines and a further application of Kleer was applied after giving the windows a wash with Windscreen washer fluid and a cotton wool bud.



On the final straight, the rotor and tail rotor was completed and various aerials fitted. The rotor wanted to sit at an angle, so I overcome this by gluing a rod to the shaft that reached to the bottom of the inside fuselage. This then used friction to hold the rotor level.







I hope you agree that this is a beautiful little kit. The only competition is the old Glencoe kit from years back, and it shows its age in comparison. This isn't a kit for beginners, far from it. Fitting the canopy was challenging, mainly because you also have to fit the doors as well. To get round this issue, having the front doors open is an option, particularly as the hinges are etch parts that would give genuine fixing points to locate them. With so much juicy detail inside, having the front doors open is a pretty good option to consider. The quality of the kit is excellent, the research that has gone into it is demonstrated in the detail and options. It's great to see these rarer but historically important aircraft not only being modelled, but being modelled in such exquisite detail

Review sample courtesy of


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Mate !!!!

that is stunning

great build of a wonderful subject

really well done

I dream of one in 1/48 or 1/32 Ahhhhhhhhhhh



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That looks very good one of the neglected helicopters, which deserved to have been treated better. Now we have what will probably be the last and best Sycamore kit. I flew in one of the Aldergrove aircraft whilst on summer camp with the ATC. If memory serves me they were airframe silver with self adhesive dayglo patches.

Colin on the Africa Station

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  • 2 weeks later...

Great build.

I have two but going to build in the the red/white and white grey BEA liveries.


Now they will look pretty cool, hope to see some pictures Marty :)

Great model and build, i too didn't realise how small it was until I saw the 2p piece next to it.

That's a 1p !


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Absolutely superbe!!!!!!!!!

 This is one of the building I dreaming in 32!!!

Very congrats for fine building!


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  • 4 months later...
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Good modelling, nice kit, lovely result.


I can only remember seeing one Sycamore up close. That is A91-1 that arrived at the Australian Aircraft Restoration Group sometime in the mid 60s, where it is preserved to this day. The Sycamore must have been one of those choppers that you had to duck under the rotating rotor blades when approaching or departing, as I was told that A91-1 had decapitated a policeman up on the Murray River. As an impressionable 13-year-old volunteer, I was profoundly unimpressed and have never liked helicopters nor approached one without ducking, ever since.

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Recently completed AMPs Sycamore in 1/48 and I hate to think how fiddly a 1/72 version would be.


Both kits seem to share the common challenge, that of building up the clear parts which form the cockpit, not helped in AMPs case with overscale thick transparencies.

It helps to be as digitally gifted as @Martian to wrangle each piece to its companion while all the others flip 'n' flop about.


This is a gorgeous model @woody37 and the more so for being built in a scale that I can only just decypher ! Kudos in Spades  !!


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  • 1 year later...

Nice build Woody.  


I recall them clattering around the island of Gan during V-Force deployments there - many - many decades ago - yellow painted.  I seem to recall that Lindberg ? produced one in the days of my youth in siliver plastic.  Somewhere in the stash I have one, not sure of the scale and quite fragile.


Last saw a couple in RAF Air Support Command markings of 32Sqdn at Biggin Hill in 69.


Memories !!



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  • 7 months later...

What a beautiful little build. The yellow scheme suits it perfectly and really shows off the detailing. Those back seats look amazing.


I have what I think is a Lincoln version sat here, and the two are as different as night and day when compared to your build.

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