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Julien

Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey - 1:72 Revell

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Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey
1:72 Revell


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The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey is unique in being the only tilt rotor aircraft in service in the world. The programme had an extremely long gestation period since it's inception in the early 1980's until the first production airframes were delivered in 1999.

The concept was conceived in the early 1980s as a result of the failed Iranian hostage rescue mission. The US DOD started the Joint-service Vertical take-off/landing Experimental (JVX) aircraft program, with the USMC taking the lead as it was more suited to their operations. Interest was shown but virtually all major defence contractors of the day, with Bell partnering with Boeing Vertol to propose a larger version of the Bell XV-15. This would be the only proposal the US DOD would receive and a contract was awarded in 1983. The first now re-designated V-22 Osprey would roll out to the press in 1988. The project has survived many problems over the years. US Defence Secretary Dick Cheney tried to withdraw funding but was overruled by The US Congress. The programme has seen significant cost increases which were not helped by requirements for folding rotors. The unit cost of a V-22 is roughly double that for a CH-53 which has a greater payload. Early squadron readiness was a big issue with at least one Squadron commander being relieved of duty for falsifying records.

The main user of the V-22 is the US Marine Corps, with the US Air Force Special Operations command using some aircraft for special forces operations, and for combat search & rescue. The Osprey is also being purchased by the US Navy for its COD requirement. So far the only overseas sale has been to Japan. Interest has been shown by Israel, South Korea, India, and the UAE.

The Kit
Here Revell have re-boxed the Italeri kit which dates all the way back to 1989. Thus it is really a prototype airframe not a production one. The detail is generally raised. On opening the instructions it is evident that Revell have moved to 3D CAD type instructions like another well known manufacturer. These are now in full colour. Construction starts in the cockpit (where else!) with the two seats. The two seats are identical where I think they should be handed. They also do not seem to represent the ones I have seen on line. As the seats are crashworthy they don't mount to the floor but the rear cockpit bulkhead. The instrument panel and centre console are made, giving a fair representation of the all glass cockpit. Two basic control columns are added.

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Next the main cabin is built up. Each side has moulded in representations of the rear troop seating with 12 seats each side. These are moulded in the stowed position. The two internal sides are fixed to the floor and the rear bulkhead part. The windows then need to be added inside the main fuselage half's. The two part rear ramp is then constructed. This can be modelled in the open or shut positions, with rams being provided for the down position. Once the ramp is in place in the right fuselage half, the cockpit and rear compartment can be added, along with the front gear well. Once these are in the main fuselage can be closed up.

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Construction then moves to the wing and engines. The main wing is made up from a traditional one part top, with left & right lower parts. The engines like the real thing are a bot complex. The first order of business to make the two propeller hubs, these are then put to one side. The lower parts of the main engine pods are then constructed. These are designed to move on the ends of the wings so care is needed in their construction. Once done they can be attached to the end of the wings. The rotors are then built up and added to the hubs. These can then be attached tot he front part of the engine pods, again these are designed to turn. The front part of the engines with the props attached can then be joined to the rest of the engine on the end of the wing. Only now is the wing added to the fuselage (though I suspect many will do this earlier).

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The tail unit is then constructed and added to the main fuselage. The next and last major step is to make up the landing gear. This is fairly basic on the kit, and the wheel wells lack any real detail. Each pair of main wheels is constructed on a main leg with a retraction strut being added. The main gear doors are attached to the fuselage with three hinges each, which are separate parts and need attaching to the doors first. For the front wheels the gear door will need to be split if doing a wheels down model. There are two wheels for the nose gear which attach to the central leg. Next the FLIR turret, refuelling probe and cockpit glazing are added (the glazing looks a bit thick and there is very poor definition of the frame lines). Lastly the main rotors are added to the engines.

Decals

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Decals are provided for one option only. MV-22C 168300 belonging to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Sqn 264 VMM-264 "Black Knights"

The decals are printed in Portugal as opposed to the usual Italian decals. They look thicker than normal, not as sharp; and very matt.

Conclusion
This is an old mould now of a prototype airframe and does not really reflect an "in service" machine. The modeller will have to work if they intend to portray it as such.

Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit;

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