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VH-71

The Subject
The victor of the US101 consortium (composed of Lockheed-Martin, Agusta Westland and Bell Helicopter Textron) in the VXX contest, announced in January 2005 , was certainly fantastic. The fact that the US Marine Corps have selected a European product to replace their VH-3D in the role of "Marine One" , i.e. the helicopter that transports the President of the United States, is unprecedented. The initial operational capacity of this version of EH-101 was expected for the year 2009.
Introduction
A couple of months back a disabled senior citizen friend of mine picked up a kit at a flee market and asked if I would consider adding this to my lengthy build list. Being this is a cause I support (disabled seniors in wheel chairs) and loved the subject it went up many places on the list. At the same time, or there about, was contacted the hobby store that I buy my supplies from through their online shop. Angelo asked if they could sponsor some projects and Jim agreed. Having wanted to try Tamiya Lacquer Paint since they came out I requested some colors. Sunward Hobbies were gracious enough to send over the paint for this article and several others. I'll leave a link to their on-line store at the end of this build and encourage you to consider having a look and perhaps supporting a family run hobby shop. I've been buying my supplies from them for around three and do not shop anywhere else for my supplies. They ship quickly to both Canada and the US and the care taken in packaging is excellent. If you ever have an issue, which I've only had a few, they work to solve the problem really really fast!!! Their prices are competitive too. With that said, everything else for this build came out of my wallet.
The Kit
Based on their 1/72 EH-101 Merlin Italeri have reboxed this nine times with new parts in many different marking since 2002. From the Canadian SAR "Cormorant" to a staring role in the 2012 007 Bond film "Sky Fall" it shows how clever Italeri can be with marketing and get the most out of their molds. Overall, the kit isn't horrible, the retail price is great and you end up with a model that's over a foot long. Revell also licences the kit three times putting their own spin on it adding new parts.

The VH-71 "Marine One" kit was released in 2007. Obviously there was no way for Italeri to include in their subject overview how much of an appalling waist of tax payer dollars the Obama administration purposely dumped into the trash project bin. Deemed a $3.3 billion dollar failure, the fleet of 9 were sold to the Canadian's for spare parts at a bargain price of $165 million... by the way that included shipping, handling and technical support!

One small gripe about the kit is the lack of interior detail for "Marine One". I mean the key selling point is that it's the Presidential Ferry and since there is an interior for the EH-101 included, surely they could have crafted a few chairs and a Presidential seal to match the nice exterior. There are several examples of others who have scratch built this and lots of reference photos should you want to go that route. Also it's odd that no decal is present for the instrument panel yet included for the center console and roof, something that can easily seen through the glass... very strange. This lead me to buy the Eduard set. The PE set is nice but if that decal had have been printed I'd never have bought the upgrade since most of the Eduard set was not used... more spares, sigh.

As you can see in the photos there is plenty of good detail to work with and all the little build issues will be brought up as we progress.
The Build
Following the instructions the cockpit came first. Knowing the interior was not going to be seen I had to close off the open access way first. Next came the floor and side walls done in medium gray. Both the plastic and prepainted PE fit well and the dash was sprayed NATO black then dry brushed with dark iron metalizer. These colors also came from Sunward Hobbies and I mention them because when I asked Angelo to get me some supplies to complete the project they showed up so quick the cement had hardly cured on the back wall, HA HA I'm sorta kidding but you get the idea.
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About HG Barnes (HGBARNES)
FROM: ALBERTA, CANADA

H.G. Barnes is a former voice artist and sales/marketing executive. Currently ghost writing, he's recently published the first of many Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, and Adventure novels. He's been building model kits of every genre since memory to go along with his short stories, yet aircraft h...