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1/72 Aerospatiale/Westland SA330E Puma

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Hopefully I will have time for a second entry in this group build - and it's a kit I picked up for all of £2.50 in the RAF Museum at Cosford's shop last year. For that money I wasn't even expecting it to be complete, but it was, so with my notional savings I splashed out on the Rotor Craft composite rotors for it, and I'll be adding those for this build. I also have some spare Merlin HC3 photoetch, which will probably contribute at least the cockpit seatbelts, and some left-over Sea King HC4 bits (if I decide to do an HC2 the armoured seats might be right? need to check that).  I will be building either a late HC1 or an HC2 - I really want to do it in the Dark Green/Lichen Green colour scheme, and it looks like all the in-service HC2s are in overall dark green which isn't as interesting.  So, for now, the box and bits:


Next steps:  clean up the resin rotor blades and start assembly - with the interior, and main rotor gearbox/rotor head, including seeing which rods need replacing with brass or nickel wire, and where any additional pipes are obvious...



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  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/24/2018 at 3:44 PM, Lawzer said:

a steal at £2.50!


From the pic it doesn't look too bad a kit - looks pretty flash free?

Absolute bargain, I felt a bit guilty about it when I got it home and saw how good it was.  Still, the two RAF museums have done alright from me money-wise over the years, even with free entrance... And yep, pretty flash-free, only real flaws are sunken holes in the cabin windows (something my Kamov Ka-25 also suffered from, and now I check, my Heller boxing of the Puma too, so that must have been a common fault in the 80s.

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Catching up from the last couple of weeks, have had enough spare time to work on the kit but never quite enough each evening to do any updates here, so here goes:

A comparison of the wider-chord composite blades with the metal original - unlike the Sea King, you can't easily convert between one and the other!



Initial painting of the cabin seats - I used Humbrol 230 with a dash of 52 to give a metallic-y effect to try to replicate the nylon(?) originals:



assembly and painting of the cabin and cockpit floors, the bulkhead between, assembly (including substitution of brass rod for various plastic bits) of the rotor-head, and assembly and painting of the main gearbox (may have the colour slightly wrong?) engines and cabin roof:



more follows in the next post!

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This will be good.


I’m really surprised no one has done an update (I don’t count the Bobcat snap tite kit). 


Can I be the first to say “C’mon Airfix, new tool in 1/72 AND 1/48 please.....”



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... so, onto the cabin interior.  I sanded down the outside of the cabin windows, to eliminate the sunken hole, then polished them back to a shiny surface, and went round the edges with a Sharpie before fitting them into the fuselage.  To represent the cabin insulation, I first stuck some plastic mesh to a flat surface (an old CD) to make a mould for it.  Then, I just painted on some acrylic craft paint, waited for it to dry, peeled it off, and had an imprint of the mesh pattern in the still-pliable paint.  This I could then cut into strips and shapes, and use to form the cabin insulation: (photo below also shows a piece of the dried acrylic paint ready to be cut to shape for the other side).



If I'd thought ahead I'd have mixed some grey and silver acrylic paint and had a ready-coloured surface, but as it was I painted it with Humbrol 53, which doesn't look much like gun-metal to me but does look like a silvery-grey nylon-ish insulation material:


and then assembled the cabin seats, cockpit (including using a spare decal from a Super Puma sheet for the central console) and cabin/cockpit floor:



Next steps - fitting the interior parts to the fuselage side and gluing the fuselage halves together!


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I used to work for an offshore helicopter operator and wondered how big a job a modification to an as332l would be other than  the "dog house" and the plug in the fuselage.....


Oh, and the radome and sponsons....maybe not 🙄

Edited by Lawzer
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  • 4 weeks later...

Lots of catching up to do here!  Thought I'd posted at least one update after I assembled the fuselage, but apparently not.  So, here goes:

Fuselage assembled, HF aerials added on port side (borrowed from a Matchbox Wessex), and the 'handle' type aerials replaced with brass wire (but before I realised these were in the right position for a French Puma, or an HC2, but too far back for an HC1...):



Then various late-HC1 'lumps and bumps' (to use the technical term) added, the glazing masked and added, and everything in Halfords grey primer:



Then Xtracolor Lichen Green and Dark Green airbrushed:


and then (as of last night, which I would have posted then if Photobucket hadn't been down)



So today I have sprayed Humbrol Matt Varnish over the above (after I painted the centre of the roundels on the door - I printed those and the 'Danger' tail markings on clear decal paper, but the red obviously wasn't dense enough so I put a dob of Humbrol 153 on both doors which roughly matched the roundel on the tail - which was taken from a Revell Tornado), which should give me tomorrow to finish off, assemble the rotorhead and hopefully hit the 7th of October deadline!





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Phew!  finished in the nick of time.  The matt varnish did its job and was dry and ready for working on this morning.  I finished spraying the rotor blades with Humbrol 163, and once that was dried, fitted them to the rotorhead (to which I'd added a few pipes from reference photos:)



painted the inside of the tail position light with Tamiya translucent red (as reference photos showed it was a red bulb not a red light), put a dash of Molotow Chrome on the tail where that and the rear-most clear light were to be fitted, and mounted those:



masked and painted the black area behind the exhausts, painted the port and starboard position lights with Molotow Chrome before adding the relevant shade of Tamiya Translucent paint:


painted the various aerials and the windscreen-wipers Satin Black, added the wheels, and a left-over light from the Airfix Sea King HC.4:



And finally, posing with the Scorpion in the background (and a couple of the WW2 ruined buildings for scale perspective)



All-in-all, a very enjoyable build - Airfix could easily have re-released it with a new sprue with composite rotors and the various bits to bring it up to late-HC1 or HC2 standard, a la the Lynx HMA8 upgrade, but I don't suppose they will now - I'd happily build another one, which is just as well as I have a Heller boxing of it which I had to rob a couple of aerials from for this build.  You could argue that the rivets are over-done, and the opening doors are a bit toy-like, but I don't mind that at all!


Complete photogallery here




(hmmm, I tried to post this last night but it disappeared!  it has now reappeared in my browser so hopefully it will post this time...)






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Glad you managed to resurrect this final post Tim. I say, the clear photography shows up both the kits nice details and your expert craftsmanship. You’ve played this GB well my friend, it was great having you aboard. 


Cheers and well modelled..Dave 

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