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Rotary Wing
Discuss helicopters and other rotary wing aircraft from any era.
MH-60A "Super 65" Gothic Serpent, Somalia '93
HeavyArty
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Florida, United States
Joined: May 16, 2002
KitMaker: 17,690 posts
AeroScale: 1,728 posts
Posted: Saturday, August 08, 2020 - 01:23 PM UTC
My latest build is of one of the aircraft that participated in Operation Gothic Serpent (OGS, Somalia, 3-4 OCT '93), the true story that inspired the book and movie Black Hawk Down. Super 65 was an MH-60A DAP-capable aircraft (though not outfitted as a DAP for OGS), tail #83-23887 with "Heavy Metal" on its engine cowls in an OD Green color. 65 was the bird that inserted Ranger chalk #2 into the target area.

This is how she looked at the time. Being an A model Black Hawk, she did not have the nose-mounted weather radar, no hoist nor mount for it, but she did have a FLIR turret under the nose.


She looked the same in '95.


I have been lucky enough to be in contact with both the pilot at the time, CW3(R) Gerry Izzo (now a commercial airline pilot), and one of the Crew Chiefs, MSG(R) Pat Powers to get details on how it was laid out and how it looked.



Finally, as I was looking for some more pics of it, I came across a website for Unical Defense. Unical rebuilds surplus aircraft and resells them on the civilian market. Interesting enough, they have refurbished and have Super 65 for sale. It was restored to its former glory as Heavy Metal, minus the FLIR turret.


I am starting with the Kitty Hawk 1/35 MH-60L kit, which represents a more modern 160th SOAR (Special Ops Aviation Regiment) helo. It will take some minor changes to backdate it to an OP Gothic Serpent helo. So far, I have sanded the transmission access panel off the right rear fuselage and removed the stiffening plates on both sides of the tailboom as these were not present on the aircraft in '93. I replaced the missing recessed rivet details by pressing into the plastic with a dental pick.



Original kit part with transmission access panel and a couple of the raised stiffening plates visible behind it.


I completed most of the interior as well. I used some parts from an upcoming Werner's Wings MH-60 Op Gothic Serpent backdate set as well. This will include a new center console w/out the newer upper rear panel, backdated instrument panel, junction boxes for the M134s, parts for the gunners' seats, 20mm-sized ammo cans with feed motors, armored floor and side wall plates, and a few other parts. The set should be available soon.

Here is the interior. I cut up the kit IP decals to fit the modified IP and center console. I also added parts to the cut outs under the seats by cutting up the parts for the nose electronics compartment that I was not going to show opened up. I also used some of the electronic boxes on the cut outs in the ceiling.



I failed to take any more interior pics before closing it up. I did add the wiring for the M134s and their drive motors, first aid kits on the pilots' seat backs, survival kits forward of the crew chief seats, and a few smaller items. I also added Eduard seat belts to the pilots' and crew chiefs' seats.










More to come later as I continue with it.
Littorio
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England - South East, United Kingdom
Joined: September 15, 2004
KitMaker: 4,728 posts
AeroScale: 1,351 posts
Posted: Saturday, August 08, 2020 - 02:13 PM UTC
Gino, as always great work and you have one along for the ride. Nice to know Werner's Wings are doing a back date set, looks like not being able to get to the bench for a while has worked out for me. Mind you still not much chance at the moment of much time at the bench.
HeavyArty
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Florida, United States
Joined: May 16, 2002
KitMaker: 17,690 posts
AeroScale: 1,728 posts
Posted: Sunday, August 09, 2020 - 01:34 AM UTC
Hi Luciano. It will be a fun ride. Glad to have you along.
HeavyArty
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Florida, United States
Joined: May 16, 2002
KitMaker: 17,690 posts
AeroScale: 1,728 posts
Posted: Sunday, August 09, 2020 - 04:53 AM UTC
Here are a few more pics that show the interior details a bit more.




HeavyArty
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Florida, United States
Joined: May 16, 2002
KitMaker: 17,690 posts
AeroScale: 1,728 posts
Posted: Thursday, August 13, 2020 - 02:37 AM UTC


As I continue the build, I wanted to share some info on the kit. It is a really nice kit and is light years ahead of the Academy Black Hawks. It does have a couple of issues that have come to light though.

The main one is that if you follow the instructions, you will build a much later MH-60L than was used in Somalia in '93. You have to know what to change and what to leave off to build an OGS MH-60A/L. All the specific aircraft mods are listed in this thread on Op Gothic Serpent MH-60s.

Another (bigger) issue that has been found is with the markings. The stenciling and common markings should be in OD green, but they are in black on the decal sheet. The issue is that the aircraft are also black, meaning the decals will disappear on the black fuselage. For proper, OD, markings, get the Werner's Wings "Irene!" decal sheet.



Review of them.

Lastly, the initial isues of the kit did not contain the ESSS covers that are needed for an OGS helicopter, as opposed to the longer ESSS wings to hold weapons on a later DAP model. Kitty Hawk rectified this by sending the ESSS covers out of their HH-60G kit (came w/two different types) to those who bought the original issue boxings. Subsequent boxings should include the ESSS covers (mine did), however, they are still not shown on the instructions.

Needed ESSS covers. If you are missing them, contact Kitty Hawk for these parts.


Below is a list of changes to the Kitty Hawk 1/35 MH-60L made by Floyd Werner when he was building Super 61 that applies to all OGS Black Hawks.

Summary of changes for OPERATION GOTHIC SERPENT MH-60L

1- Install H-bar support (Wernerís Wings) on ceiling for side facing crewchief seats
2- Modify two seats in Step 1 (A-A) slightly with the legs pointed aft.
3- Reposition Fire Extinguisher (E33) in step C-C to the copilot seat frame right next to the center console
4- Substitute cargo hook with four ring tiedowns (Wernerís Wings part)
5- Cut copilot (left side) collective and rotate the control head 90 degrees.
6- DO NOT ADD the rear part of the center console. Or use Wernerís Wings part.
7- Use smaller ammo cans (Wernerís Wings part)
8- Remove rivet detail from B28 and B-29. To be totally accurate these should be uncovered and show the hydraulic and electrical lines, as well as, the sheet metal detail.
9- Donít make holes in part B27
10- Skip Step 6 ammo boxes, both types
11- Donít add the X antenna, or E37 antenna
12- Donít open the holes for the right-side chaff dispenser.
13- Donít open the holes for the left side forward chaff dispenser. Note that these aircraft only had one Flare/Chaff Bucket on the left side.
14- Donít forget to open up the two holes for the aft lower part of the tailboom. Not indicated in the instructions
15- Donít make holes on the left side for the antenna behind the cockpit.
16- Fill hole where D25 fuel drain goes, don't use D25.
17- Fill and sand transmission access panel just in front of D25 fuel drain
18- Either cut G9/G15 to a point or use Wernerís Wings part
19- No pilot or copilot doors
20- Donít install the right-side chaff dispenser.
21- Donít install the left side forward chaff dispenser.
22- Check aircraft for FLIR and/or weather radar nose cone.
23- Use Chaff dispenser (G20, F47)
24- Cut part G35 and G36 Strut covering so the bottom part is removed
25- Add the ESSS covers (left and right) provided separately (not shown in the instruction). If not included in your kit, contact Kitty Hawk.

DO NOT ADD THE FOLLOWING ITEMS. Mark your instructions before beginning construction.

Step 1-Seats ((B-B))
Step 2-B5, D8, PE44, PE45
Step 3-D28, B22, PE24, B23
Step 4-F30, F38, F50
Step 6-D13, D14, D15, D16, F8, PE 37, F30, F50, F387
Step 9-D7, G32, G52, E3
Step 11- Recommend not adding C42
Step 13- D66, D25, G24 PE33
Step 14- D63, GP24, GP25, Pilot and Copilot doors (GP11, GP6, GP7, GP14, B13, B10)
Step 15- Chaff dispenser (G25, G19, E29, F47)
Step 16- Chaff dispenser (G26, G19, E29, F47), antenna F34
Step 17 & 18- Donít use the wings or supports (entire top of page, except for part G35 and G36 (see note above)
Step 24-27 and final unnumbered page- Omit entire page
HeavyArty
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Florida, United States
Joined: May 16, 2002
KitMaker: 17,690 posts
AeroScale: 1,728 posts
Posted: Friday, August 21, 2020 - 04:24 AM UTC
I have been working on this quite a bit recently. I pretty much have it ready for paint. I just need to add all the glass and it will be off to the paint booth.

Here is the overall helo so far.



I made a few corrections along the way to make it more accurate for a Somalia '93 SOAR helo.



The DAP-capable aircraft (Super 61 and Super 65) had laser sight mounts on the nose. Werner's Wing (WW) will offer these in an upcoming set.



Super 65 had only the FLIR turret on it. Only L models had the FLIR and nose-mounted weather radar.


The Radar Warning Receivers (RWRs) were not used yet in '93 as well. These are the two tubular protrusions on the nose and the box on the tail above the stabilator. I left them off the nose and used another forthcoming piece from Werner's Wings that replicates a standard tail. This piece could also be used, along with an Academy pointy stabilator, to make a UH-60A or L model from the kit.


A few more coming WW parts are also on it.

The batwing antenna on the top.


Narrow, A model step sponson covers (dark grey). The kit comes with the wider L model covers.


I also chucked the kit wheels into a Dremel on a nail and cut tread into them by touching the spinning wheel to a razor saw. They came out pretty good; not prefect, but better than a smooth wheel (in my opinion). You can see how they turned out above and below.


I added the towel bar antenna from an Academy MH-60G kit. Curiously enough, the antenna is not included in the kit, but the fuselage has plates where the antenna would go and they match the Academy part almost exactly. I only had to shorten the front section slightly to get it to fit perfectly.


I built the M134 miniguns as per the kit instructions, sort of. I left off the kit individual barrels and added barrels from an Academy MH-60G, with the PE flash suppressors from the kit. I did it this way since I didn't like how the 6 individual barrels w/PE rings on them looked when done. They were a real PIA to get straight and keep from breaking as I sanded the connection points, line up the PE rings, etc. They looked horrible to me when done. This way looks pretty good, I think. I did them the same way on my HH-60G as well. Another option is Real-Model's M134 barrels. They are really nice as well. I also cut off the shell ejection tubes as they were not used in Somalia. I added pieces of styrene tubing to represent the part the flexible tubes attach to.


I also added the tubing to the main and tail rotors.



Lastly, I added a coiled up FASTROPE in the cabin.


That's it for now. I hope to add the glass and get it painted soon.
HeavyArty
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Florida, United States
Joined: May 16, 2002
KitMaker: 17,690 posts
AeroScale: 1,728 posts
Posted: Saturday, August 22, 2020 - 08:05 AM UTC
After touching base with the Crew Chief of Super 65, MSG(R) Pat Powers, he informed me that the placement of the laser sight mounts on the nose was off. They were actually on top of the vent screen, using the screen's screws to mount them. I have corrected their placement.

HeavyArty
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Florida, United States
Joined: May 16, 2002
KitMaker: 17,690 posts
AeroScale: 1,728 posts
Posted: Wednesday, September 02, 2020 - 01:31 AM UTC
Super 65 "Heavy Metal" is done.

I painted it using a spray can of flat black. It came out smooth and dead flat.

For decals, I used aftermarket since the kit decals are pretty useless. The issue is that all the common stenciling/markings are printed in black on the kit decals. These will disappear on the black fuselage. So I used a set of Cobra Company 160th SOAR subdued OD Green markings for all the common markings and stenciling. I used Werner's Wings Irene! decals for the "Heavy Metal" markings, 65 window markings, and the tail number; and a few of the kit decals such as the data placards above the wheels. All the decals went on without issue and snugged down with a bit of decal set.

Once the decals had dried, I sealed them with a couple coats of dullcoat. Next, I washed it with a couple coats of acrylic Hunter Green to give it a bit of a green hue to the black. Then I gave it a wash of an acrylic sand color. Lastly, I added the lights and picked out a few details and she was ready.

Here she is all done.






Some closer/detail pics.











This build was very rewarding for me, esp. since I have been in contact with the crew from Op Gothic Serpent. I appreciate their approval and critical eyes to get this one right.
metooshelah
#011
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Jerusalem, Israel
Joined: February 06, 2009
KitMaker: 1,507 posts
AeroScale: 3 posts
Posted: Wednesday, September 02, 2020 - 07:05 AM UTC
Truly inspiring! Iím will be using your build to assist me with my MH60
sardoc
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Florida, United States
Joined: March 02, 2012
KitMaker: 30 posts
AeroScale: 21 posts
Posted: Wednesday, September 02, 2020 - 09:36 AM UTC
Gino,

Do the kevlar floor mats come with the kit? If not, what did you use?
HeavyArty
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Florida, United States
Joined: May 16, 2002
KitMaker: 17,690 posts
AeroScale: 1,728 posts
Posted: Wednesday, September 02, 2020 - 10:32 AM UTC
Thanks for the support guys. I am glad it is an inspiration for more builds.

No, the Kevlar mats are not in the kit. They are part of an upcoming Werner's Wings MH-60L update/backdate set.