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Sikorsky S-55/H-19 Chicksaw/Westland Whirlwind


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Sikorsky S-55/H-19 Chicksaw/Westland Whirlwind
Warpaint Series No.106
Guideline Publications


Sikorsky were the pioneers of helicopters or rotary-winged aircraft in the Western world, and licensed their products extensively to British company Westland, where they became well-loved and almost household names. The Chicksaw was the first practical helicopter from Sikorsky, capable of carrying a substantial load due to the Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine that was initially fitted. Later replaced by a turbojet engine by Westland, this gave the aircraft a longer nose, better serviceability, and greater range that broadened its appeal and made for a long career both in the military as well as the private sector.


The book is the latest in the Warpaint series, and is supplied in a soft card binding with sixty pages in between, all of which is printed on glossy stock with colour on almost every page. In between the informative text regarding the development and use of the aircraft are a host of interesting photos of it in its various guises, a great many of which are in colour due to the increasing use of colour film during its service. Roughly the first half of the book is devoted to the Sikorsky built variants, and there were a substantial number of those. There are a great many interesting schemes shown in profile, including the highly colourful and more than a little creepy clown faces of the Square Dance Team, which also wore "skirts" of material around their landing gear to carry on the theme for the displays they put on.


The rest of the book details the development and use of the license build Whirlwind, an aircraft that saw extensive service with the British military, explainingis why it still has a special place in many people's hearts along with the Wessex, which was another license built Sikorsky product. Westland's licensing still carries on today with the much improved Westland Apache that has substantially more powerful engines than the original design. Again there are a large number of profiles to whet your appetite, and both the Westland and Sikorsky productions have scale drawings aplenty for their respective variants all in 1:72 scale as befits the main scale that you'll be able to find a kit in. Speaking of kits, the text often mentions the modeller, and there is even a kit, aftermarket and decal listing toward the end that shows just how badly a new Whirlwind is needed in 1:48, as most of it is in 1:72. As a 1:48 builder, than makes me sad, as there is only an ancient Revell tooling that dates from the same era as the Chicksaw itself.

At the very back of the book are a number of reference photos of parts of the airframe that aren't usually seen from by the casual observer, which will be of assistance to anyone looking to detail their model inside or out.

A good read, plenty of pictures that are of excellent quality, as well as a large number of plans that will be very helpful if you are planning on building an accurate model. Now, who is going to provide us with a new tooling of the Whirlwind/Chicksaw in 1:48?


Review sample courtesy of

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Nice review Mike and those Square Dance faces are rather creepy! Laughed when the noses were revealed to be painted issue helmets though...

Christian, fondling his copy in the sun/cloud/sun...

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It's an ideal subject for modelling, given a wide range of different colour schemes and users with very little outward change in appearance. It would however help if the hoped-for kit came with folding rotors - just think how many more you could get on a shelf.

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