by: Mario Krajinovic [ ]
IntroductionWhat the UH-1 Huey was to a prior generation, I can say that today the UH-60 Blackhawk is an icon as well. Born from the UTTAS (Utility Tactical Transport Aircraft System) program back in the 60’s of the last century to be a direct replacement for the Huey, the military saw its first prototype in 1972 and the entrance to first line service in 1972. What the Army got was a versatile helicopter that has enhanced the overall mobility of The Army, due to dramatic improvements in troop capacity and cargo lift capability. On the asymmetric battlefield, it provides the commander the agility to get to the fight quicker and to mass effects throughout the battle space across the full spectrum of conflict. All aircraft's critical components and systems are armored or redundant, and its airframe is designed to progressively crush on impact to protect the crew and passengers.
The service life of the Blackhawk saw few, but drastic changes. The original Alpha (A) model was replaced with the Lima (L) that featured more power and lifting capability with upgraded T700-GE-701C engines and a stronger gearbox. Its external lift capacity was increased by 1,000 lb (450 kg) to a total of 9,000 lb (4,100 kg). The UH-60L also incorporated the automatic flight control system (AFCS) from the SH-60 for better flight control due to handling issues with the more powerful engines.
Specifications for the Lima are as following:
• Contractor: Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation (airframe), General Electric Company (engines), IBM Corporation (avionics components)
• Length: 64 feet, 10 inches (19.6 meters)
• Height: Varies with the version; from 13 to 17 feet (3.9 to 5.1 meters)
• Rotor Diameter: 53 feet 8 inches (16.4 meters)
• Engines (2) T700-GE-701C Turboshaft 1,940 hp
• Weight empty 11,516 lbs.
• Mission gross weight 17,432 lbs.
• Maximum gross weight 22,000 lbs.
• Maximum gross weight (ferry) 24,500 lbs.
• Maximum Cruise Speed (MCP)
4000' 95°F 152 kts
2000' 70°F 159 kts
SLS 155 kts
VNE 193 kts
• Vertical rate of climb (95% MRP)
4000' 95°F 1,550 fpm
2000' 70°F 2,750 fpm
SLS 3,000 fpm
• Service ceiling (ISA day) 19,150 ft
• Hover ceiling (MRP-OGE) 95°F day 7,650 ft
70°F day 9,375 ft
Standard day 11,125 ft
• Armament: Unarmed MedEvac role, M134 Miniguns, Browning M2 .50 cal machine guns
• Crew: Usually three or four
The next step is the Mike version (M) that takes the Blackhawk to the next level. The UH-60M provides additional payload and range, advanced digital avionics, better handling qualities and situational awareness, active vibration control and improved survivability. The UH-60M's new down-swept composite spar wide-chord blade provides 227 kg (500 lb) more lift than the current UH-60L blade. The new General Electric T700-GE-701D engine adds more shaft horsepower, and allows additional lift during external lift (sling load) operations. The new cockpit includes multi-function displays; flight management systems; modern flight control computers with fully coupled autopilot; an integrated vehicle health management system with flight data and cockpit voice recorder; inertial navigation systems with embedded global positioning systems; improved data modem; and improved heads-up displays. The narrower cockpit instrument panel also significantly improves chin window visibility.
So far this warrior has taken troops to combat, helped carry the wounded out of it, delivered supplies, weapons and ammo where ever the need was, but also put out fires, rescued civilians and brought food for the hungry. The Blackhawk is an icon today and is recognized for it, where ever it goes.
ReviewThe model helo community is smaller than say WW2 guys or just about any other out there, but when those that feel at home over there pull together, they make stuff happen. The 35th scale Blackhawk is just right for the modern military builder. Almost everyone knows the story behind the term Blackhawk Down, and the veiled in mystery Blackhawk that brought the SF teams that took down world’s most wanted terrorist. The Academy kit in its number of boxings, as well as Italeri’s reboxing of the kit lacked one thing that has been addressed properly now. Kit decals were yellowish, not the proper register or the adequate service stencils provided. So what does it take? A retired Cobra pilot then turned Kiowa driver, now serving in Baltimore Police Department as a pilot of course, and a master modeler at that. With the help of another rotor head, master modeler that also has amazing graphic skills we finally have something to work with. I’m talking of course about Floyd S. Werner Jr. and Mason Doupnik, both well known all across the world for their scale model work.
The first decal sheet for the 35th scale Blackhawk is really something to see. It features 18 different helos of the MedEvac variety and full stencil option. The conversion to a fully dedicated dustoff bird is also provided by Werner’s Wings in the form of a resin update set that features stretcher holders, rotating litter carousel, backboards, stretchers, oxygen bottles and all kind of stuff you see in these birds. So now that there’s everything available let’s talk about the decals.
ContentsThe decals are packed in a standard zip-lock bag that includes decals and instruction sheets. The instructions are printed on a thick glossy paper and feature a serial number for the airframe, unit origin and operational time frame. The captions below the illustrations tell some interesting historical information for a particular helo and painting instructions for the modeler. Be sure to read this as it contains valuable information on the specifics of each bird. The color callouts on the instructions are given as Federal Standard numbers for the standard #34301 Helo Drab, or the #33722 Tan for the first two options. Other colors used are #12197 Orange used by Ft. Rucker’s flight school high visibility markings and #33538 Chrome Yellow for the recognition markings used in Korea.
The illustrations themselves are very nice done and tells the modeler of any changes involved with a specific aircraft such as exhaust type, ESSS pylons, antenna arrangement, FLIR installations etc. Where necessary, the illustrations also feature a head view to aid the modeler in placement of specific nose art or Red Cross markings. A nice touch of the design is that in the background of every illustration is a real image of the aircraft involved. Last of the illustrations is a complete 3 view drawing of the Blackhawk that show all the official placement positions and angles for the Red Cross markings. A nice touch that shows this sheet was made by modelers for modelers is the note about several options that don’t have proper ID, but were added as options on the sheet due to their historical importance. Additional tail numbers are provided for them should the proper information arise. The last page has a very useful top-down image of the latest antenna and the mounts arrangement that can consist of UHF antenna, SATCOM, Blue Force Tracker, GPS, transponders… Also noteworthy are the announcement of a dedicated 160th SOAR sheet, the fore mentioned resin upgrade set and a reference list. Since I’ve said this is a tight community that helps each other, you may recognize a few names on the credits list such as Gino P. Quintiliani, Erick Swanberg, Jon Bernstein, Ray Wilhite, Doug Welter and Mark Gallimore. All of them are involved with the Blackhawk or helicopters one way or the other and some of them (whom I know of) are avid modelers as well.
The stencil instructions provided are more than adequate and show clearly where each marking is supposed to be. Large numbers are appointed to each stencil on the sheet as well as the instructions so to avoid any confusion in the huge amount of tiny decals. The text clearly shows the two types of markings and gives account on proper placing. Also noted is specific markings for some options, so attention is necessary and reading everything on the instructions is important. More than 175 stencils are provided on an separate sheet that is clearly marked and different options have number call-outs on the sheet as well. Two style of UNITED STATES ARMY markings are present as well as black and white numbering. What I like in particular are the stencils for the fuel tanks, ESSS pylons and rotors. These may seem like small details but as everyone knows, the devil is in the small details and this will surely put your model above others with this small effort.
The decals are printed on 21,5x13,5 cm (18,5x13,5 cm for the stencils) sheet by Cartograf, the printing company from Italy that has become the benchmark in quality right up there with Microscale. The print is perfect, on minimum carrier film and the film itself is very thin. The register is flawless, and every detail is sharp and crisp. The Helo Drab finish is flat and when you place the decals some setting solution might be needed. I have used before on Cartograf decals, successfully Model Master, Gunze Sangyo, and Microscale solutions but to be sure try any of these first on a scrap piece with a Werner’s Wings logo or some other decal you don’t plan to use to avoid problems. All the markings on the main sheet are separated so you don’t need to cut out the entire sheet for a single option. Since reference photos can be somewhat hard to find, Werner’s Wings provided a “cheat-sheet” to download and use as reference. It features all markings photos that were used for design, and is available on the Werner’s Wings homepage. A very useful addition at no cost. The stencil sheet is also available separately if you want to do some other aircraft not depicted by these decals.
Markings• UH-60A – 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Desert Storm, 1991. 82-23699
• UH-60A – 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Desert Storm, 1991. 87-26000
• UH-60A – West Virginia National Guard, Bosnia, 2006. 87-24629
• HH-60L – West Virginia National Guard, 03-26987
• UH-60L – 25th Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Afghanistan, 2004. 96-26693
• UH-60A – 1-212th Aviation Battalion, Ft. Rucker, 1988. 84-23951
• UH-60L – 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, Afghanistan, 2010. 93-26535
• UH-60A – 57th Medical Detachment, Grenada, 1983. serial unknown
• UH-60L – 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, Iraq, 96-26272
• UH-60L – 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, Iraq, 2007. 96-26683
• UH-60A – 169th AVN, 79-23317
• UH-60A – 2nd Battalion, 3rd Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Iraq, 2008. 87-24618
• UH-60A – 68th MedEvac Co., Pilot CW3 Erick Swanberg, Afghanistan 2004-5., 87-24644
• UH-60L – 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, Iraq, 2007. 95-26643
• UH-60A – 377th Medical Company (Air Ambulance), South Korea, 2007. 84-23952
• UH-60L– 3rd Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Bosnia, 2000. 95-26672
• UH-60A – Rhode Island National Guard, Austria, 2007. 82-23675
• UH-60L– 227th Aviation Battalion, 1st Armored Division, Bosnia, 1996. serial unknown.
ConclusionThis is a great sheet that was really needed in the scale helo world. A good kit with lacking decals is something that was overlooked for a long time. Now there’s a decal sheet with a lot of marking options, well researched, with lots of details, no skimping on the stencil markings and a bright future for more releases in this series in all three scales (35th, 48th and 72nd). Along with a dedicated resin upgrade now you can finally build a MedEvac helicopter the right way. Perfect quality product and care for customers will surely bring people back to Werner’s Wings for helicopter modeling needs.
I would like to thank Floyd Werner and Mason Doupnik for the sample sheet as well as all the help provided with the reference images for this review.
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