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Italeri 1/48 Westland Wessex HAS Mk 1

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Finally confirmed that my entry for baby Boomers will be a Wessex HAS Mk 1 from Italeri in 1/48 to go with the 1/48 Wasp that I finally finished a couple of years ago and my old flight Lynx HAS 3 SGM, also in 1/48, converted from the Airfix HMA 8 that I finished with about 2 hrs to spare in the Here Comes the Fleet Air Arm GB last year.


Unlike the Wasp that I flew in as a passenger extensively in 1982 as a young officer in HMS HECLA and the Lynx in which I have just over 2,000 hours, I have never flown in a Wessex 1 so this will be an all new journey of discovery for me.  I have flown a few times in a Wessex 5, mainly on my Junior Officers' Air Acquaint Course of which my enduring memory was climbing up the steps to the Co-Pilot's seat during rotors running crew changes whilst desperately trying not to sear my face/overalls/other body parts in the jet efflux that exhausted just in front of the crew steps.  I don't remember much about the rest other than thinking I was sat a long way up!


Originally designed by Sikorsky and sold to the US Department of Defence as the H34 Choctaw, it was redesigned by Westland Helicopters in the late 1950s in which the major change was replacing the Wright Cyclone piston engine with a more powerful but lighter Napier Gazelle gas turbine.  Originally designed as an anti-submarine helicopter with Type 194 dipping sonar, it first flew in May 1957 and the first operational RN aircraft 3 years later.  When President Sukarno of Indonesia started threatening the British colony of Borneo in 1962, the Sultan asked for support from the UK and over the next 9 months British commitment to Borneo increased to 13 battalions of soldiers and Royal Marines, extending over 1,000 miles of jungle border, all supplied and supported by helicopters.  Some of these included Wessex 1s with their sonar gear stripped out and replaced with troop seats.  It was as a result of these jungle operations that the Royal Navy's Commando carrying helicopter squadrons gained the nickname, "Junglies", a name that persists today with the Merlin HC4/4As of the officially titled Commando Helicopter Force.  It will be one of these troop carrying aircraft that this build will portray.


Given my lack of first hand experience of the Wessex 1, I am indebted therefore to the advice given in the Chat forum in the run up to this GB by @heloman1 that the kit is basically sound and doesn't need a lot of fettling.  That said, from looking at the sprues, I don't see much in the way of an interior so that will need some scratch building.


Just to prove the kit is in my possession and had made its way downstairs from the stash:












Nice to see that there's a small PE fret with the kit - saves having to source aftermarket.  I'll almost certainly use the supplied decals rather than buying new, but watch this space.


The start of the build will have a short delay.  Firstly because I am still waiting for my copy of the Wessex Haynes Manual to be delivered (taken over a week so far) and secondly I still have a few other projects in their final stages and I prefer to clear the bench from one before I start the next.  So I have HMA 1 Mayfly to finish

- should have been yesterday but she slipped her moorings and fell over on the base.


The base for my Sea Fury to finalise - just got the chains to add between the chocks and that's done


And the base for the Lynx HAS 3 SGM to finish


Oh and the small matter of repairing a scratch built 1/192 model of HMS CAVENDISH for a fellow Britmodeller.  So it'll be a couple of weeks I guess before I really gets started.


Thanks for watching



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Welcome to the Group Build @Chewbacca

I agree with you about trying to get existing builds finished before starting a new one - unfortunately that's often easier said, than done!

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A very interesting build which I have considered since reading ' The Borneo boys', a few months ago.  A question I have not contemplated was any external difference between the Mk1 and 3. In his build @heloman1 says 

 The exhausts on the HAS 1 were different from the 3's, in that they were S shaped.

Can you please confirm whether the Italeri kit has the correct exhausts?  


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