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1/72 AgustaWestland Merlin HAR.5


Ragtag
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With the decision to phase out the Sea King HAR.3 during 2017, a replacement was needed. Rather than following a privatised model, the MoD opted instead to look at other potential helicopter resources. There were two obvious candidates to replace the HAR.3 - the Super Puma and the Merlin. Following trials with both aircraft, the Merlin was selected. Following the release of the RAF's Merlin HC3s to the Royal Navy's Commando Helicopter Force, and the upgrade of most Merlin HM1s to HM2 standard, the Navy was left with 10 surplus HM1 airframes. These ten aircraft were made available for refit to Search and Rescue specifications. The newly-designated HAR.5 would retain the HM1's Searchwater radar, as well as being fitted with a slimmed down version of the HM2's advanced avionics suite. Several changes were made to the internal layout. Seating was rearranged to accommodate the extensive SAR equipment. Additional bulbous observation ports similar to those found on the Sea King were added close to the centre of the fuselage to aid in visual searches.

Obligatory box shot:

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The sprues, showing the painting work completed last night:

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A test fit to check how observable the interior is and decide on a construction order. Posts elsewhere on the forum have suggested completing one side at a time and then joining the two. However, the fit seems clean enough so I'll probably just follow the order in the instructions:

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Edited by Ragtag
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Yesterday was mainly spent recoating various interior bits. In the HM2 the mission console aft of the cockpit can be split, and half removed to allow for more stretchers - so I sawed it in half and added some plasticard to neaten things up. Even with this modification though things are still fairly cramped - not sure where I'm going to put all the additions I wanted to make to the interior.

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Then it was sque​aky bum time as I decided to add the apertures for the new observation windows. The glazing I have requires a slightly larger than 6mm hole and the only chuck I have in the house that would hold a 6mm bit belongs to the hammer drill. So - with heart in mouth I hand-drilled a pilot hole on each side of the fuselage and crossed my fingers. Turned out ok, thankfully!

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That was Plan B but I decided it would take too long (the bit not being the newest). The drill has a throttle trigger so I just took it nice and slow :)

Edited by Ragtag
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It sure is!

I'm now looking at the HC.3 I borrowed some bits from and am pondering an HC.4 in Navy red/grey to complement it. Anyone know of a suitable source of twin-wheel landing gear?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Been cracking one with the cockpit and radar station detailing this week. Still a few bits here and there to tidy up that I've spotted in the cruel close-ups. Next step is to paint and fit the seats in the cabin and scratchbuild the rest of the cabin gear - liferaft canister, first aid kits, stretcher etc.

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Edited by Ragtag
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Wish I could take the credit but other than sawing the station in half I'm afraid the rest is just an Eduard PE set I've glued on. There'll be two open doors, one of which is quite sizable, so the rear cabin will be quite visible - scratchbuilding the rest of the cabin will be the challenge.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Progress at last!

So, I decided to have a bash at making a stretcher a little more akin to what's currently found aboard the Sea Kings. In hindsight, I think next time I'd probably use brass wire for the whole thing (I'd forgotten I had this until I'd already started. Had to dig it out of the railway stash). I then made some shelving out of styrene sheet and rod, along with a few bits to put on and under it including a liferaft canister. The cargo netting securing it all in-flight is from a pack of ASDA clementines - it's a little thick but I wanted to push on with the build and was the best I could find. Satisfied with the interior, I then closed up the fuselage and added the rear section plus a couple of other bits.

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It's beginning to look a lot like a Merlin...

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Well, having filled, filed and sanded back to what I thought was a good finish I gave the whirly a lick of yellow.

Turns out the fit of the front glazing was nowhere near as good as I thought... :owww:

I'm reluctant to use filler so close to the clear parts so I'll try to fill it with a combination of ClearFix & superglue.

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This is a cool idea and coming along nicely. Regards the gap; have you any white milliput? Some masking tape along the glazing and a wee sausage of the white stuff. It can be shaped with a wet finger and sands quite nicely. I used some on the doors of an allouette 3 to bulk them out a bit. these were clear parts and didn't have any issues.

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I do somewhere although I've just given it a second coat and I think the ClearFix has done the job - it was a very narrow gap but really showed up with the yellow paintwork. Thanks for the tip for the future though milktrip - I had a bad experience using Revell Plasto on a clear part once.

Meanwhile, I'm pondering​ the fine details of the scheme - a couple of rough ideas below. It's surprising how cluttered the Merlin's fuselage is, didn't realise until I came to add markings. I'm unsure whether to stick with the all-black frames on the cockpit glass or to go for yellow with a black anti-glare panel as per the Sea King HAR.3. Any thoughts on that one chaps?

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