Vietnam War can not be imagined without helicopters. Army combat units were not deployed to Vietnam until May 1965, but helicopter units were deployed to support Vietnamese Army in 1961 before United States officially declared war, they were also among the last units to leave in 1973.
They served in many ways like transporting troops and supplies, reconnaissance, fire support, artillery spotting, medical evacuation and more.
All helicopter crew members looked the same in appereance to other soldiers. They were guys in dark green suits and gauntleted gloves, straped into seats, wearing dome helmets with eyes hidden by visors or sunglasses. They were very brave, trustable and self-sacrifing and were liked a lot by ground units for taking them countless times out of trouble as said in a Vietnam War poem.
” I never saw his face, I never knew his name, but I'll never forget the day the Huey Pilot came.”
B6-35073 U.S. Helicopter Crew – Nam
includes two sitting figures depicting helicopter pilots to be used in Vietnam War Hueys and also other helicopters like AH-1 Cobra,OH-6 Cayuse,etc.
Inside BRAVO-6 cardboard box, two body parts and blocks with small parts like heads, arms and weapons are inserted into seperate transparent zip-lock bags and PE parts are secured in a fourth one. Backside is labeled with a humorous photo of Nixon wearing a helicopter pilot helmet explaining how to make photoetched microphones.
Casting quality is high standard as usual. No mistakes or air bubbles on review samples. There are a few seamlines to clean on the backside of Figure-B,back of helmets and under the legs, but can be easily removed by a quick sanding.
Pilot figures are sculpted in 1/35 scale and cast in gray resin. Both of the them are posed to sit on pilot’s seat with their feet on anti-torque pedals. Each figure comes in 6 pieces.
Head : Figure-A has a moustache and a more experienced look to sit on the right seat as PIC(Pilot in Command), Figure-B looks younger as co-pilot on the left seat. Facial details and helmets are well defined. They wear AFH-1 - Aircrew Crash Ballistic Protective Flying Helmets. In 1965, AFH-1 was adopted and replaced the similar APH-5 known as Brain Bucket, in response to the need for a helmet that offered greater ballistic protection. It had a laminated ballistic nylon fabric shell that provided increased fragmentation protection. The shell was also lined with an expanded polystyrene plastic, which in combination with the ballistic nylon produced significantly improved crash protection. The helmet was equipped with a retractable shatter resistant clear visor, communications equipment was changed to M-87/AIC mics from M-33 on APH-5 and could accommodate an oxygen mask if required.
Besides crash impact protection, AFH-1 offered a degree of ballistic protection from small-arms fire and fragments and also provided some relief from the intense aircraft noise. Besides sun and glare protection, slide-down, heavily tinted visor gave the eyes some relief from small fragments and splintered windshield plexiglas.
AFH-1 began to arrive in Vietnam for Aircrew in 1967. First, it was only produced in small and medium sizes, but 7000 large sized helmets were produced and shipped to Vietnam in August 1968. In 1969 more improved SPH-4 flyer's helmet was adopted, but they would not fully replace the earlier helmets until 1972.
APH-5 was normally white, but in Vietnam they were painted olive drab; AFH-1 was issued in olive drab. Aircrewmen often painted their names, slogans, unit insignia, home state flags, and humorous pictures on their helmets.
Body : Posed to sit on pilot’s seat with his feet on anti-torque pedals, they wear two-piece Nomex Flight Suit consisting of Hip Length Shirt and Trousers. The uniform was made of flame resistant Nomex nylon in Olive Green Army Shade 106 color. Shirt has long sleeves, fold down collar, zip fastened fly front, two breast pockets with concealed button flap closure and cuffs with velcro adjustable fastening pads. These pockets were designed to allow easy access when sitting down and when encumbered with body armour and straps. A small pocket with a vertical zipper slotted for pens is sewn on the upper left arm. Trousers has zipper fly, front and back button flap pockets, two large Velcro secured pockets with vertical openings on the front of the thighs for large maps and smaller pockets on the sides of the calves. Trousers are designed to be worn with high combat boots and trotters are closed with Velcro tabs. Uniform details and cloth folds are well defined.
Over the uniform, they wear Body Armor, Fragmentation, Small Arms Protective,Aircrewman known as Chicken Plate or Bullet Bouncer. It was a two-part cloth carrier with large external front and back pockets containing rigid ceramic plates. Quick release snap-fasteners with non-slip buckles on both shoulders, wrap-around velcro waist flaps and big front pocket for maps are well defined on figures. Seat belt and shoulder harness are cast on the figure with crisp buckle details.
They have combat boots as for the footgear. Boxart shows one painted as leather-canvas combined boots and other as 1st type leather direct-molded sole combat boots. Helicopter pilots tended to wear full leather boots because of fears about the nylon boot melting in a fire, also the lack of heavy lugs on the boot soles prevented aircrew from getting hung up on things such as rudder pedals.
Arms : They come with upfolded sleeves and wear GS/FRP-1 Flight Gloves made of olive drab Nomex offering a high degree of flame protection. Palms and inside fingers were faced with light gray leather to aid sweat resistance and manual dexterity. Cloth folds and upper arm pocket on the left side are well defined. Right arms are posed to hold Cyclic Stick between legs and left arms are posed to hold the hold Collective Lever.
Kit includes 2 blocks with weapons, one for each pilot. Note that if your Huey model has armored pilot seats, do not assembly weapons for the fit of pilot to his seat.
Pistol : They carry Smith&Wesson Model 10 in leather holster on the right side.
Knife : They carry Air Force Survival Knife in leather scabbard on the left side. The knife had a 5-in. blade with serrations on the top edge to cut through an aircraft's aluminum skin and scabbard had a whetstone pocket.
PE Parts : Three photoetched boom mics are given as a small sheet.
Shortage of good quality 1/35 scale helicopter pilots always been a problem for Vietnam Era modelers. It seems this kit will fill the gap. Poses are good, sculpt is well detailed and crisp, cast is flawless. This is really a nice kit to use when building a Huey and good to know Door Gunners will be released soon.