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1/35 Panda Huey UH-1H

by Simon Alder

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The ubiquitous Bell UH-1 Huey needs no introduction.  The work-horse of the US Army in the Vietnam War was used in its thousands.

Until recently, there was no 1/35 scale Huey available (although there has been a Revell 1/32 scale UH-1H on the market for the past 20 odd years).  This has all changed with the release of the UH-1D in 1/35 scale by Panda Models of Hong Kong.

The model has come in for some criticism.  It is essentially a scaled-up version of the Italeri 1/48 Huey and lacks some of the finesse of a completely new tooled 1/35 kit.  It is particularly heavy-handed in some areas, such as the size of the rivets which are way over-scale.  However, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it - being something of a Vietnam Helicopter enthusiast.  Panda have released two versions of the UH-1D - "1st
Cavalry" and "Wasp".  I have built the 1st Cav version  although in truth the only difference between the kits is the decals.

The kit is built OOB - I am something of a slow model builder and wanted to finish the kit as quickly as possible (errr.. it still took me about 6 months) without worrying about after-market detailing (plus there wasn't much around when I started the kit).  The kit is actually of a UH-1H rather than a UH-1D, the UH-1D has a nose-mounted pitot tube and different shaped blade antenna on the roof.  The kit also includes cable cutters and an
additional antenna which should be left off if you intend to build a Vietnam era Huey.

Click on images below to see larger images

I painted my Huey using Tamiya acrylics.  I wanted to show a fair amount of weathering as I enjoy this stage of modelling the most.  Weathering consisted of pre-shading followed by air brushing olive drab thinned from the jar.  The olive drab was then lightened with some white and this was airbrushed in the centre of all panels.  Klear (UK version of Future) was applied to the model and after a week or so, a dark green oil wash applied.  I found the decals to be terrible; they were very thick and required a lot of setting solution for them to bed down.  I didn't apply the crossed sabres to the front of the Huey as I am intending to use it on another Vietnam-era helo (probably a Loach).

Once finished I noticed that the model doesn't sit properly and probably could have done with some weight at the front.  Apart from that, I am happy with it, and not too worried about the lack of finesse/rivets etc.  It looks like a Huey to me and it is in the right scale - 1/35!!  I realised after taking the photos that I forgot to add the FM antenna on the tail (oops!!). 

I've another 1/35 UH-1D(H) on the shelf (the Wasp version) and have the Panda UH-1N on order.  I have also bought the
Cobra Company detail set for the UH-1D/H (well worth getting - it is superb) for my next attempt at a UH-1D - this time it will be super-detailed (and probably take me about 6 years!!!).

I've included a photo of the Huey next to my OH-6A Loach (a bit dusty from being displayed for the last couple of years!!).  It is interesting to note the difference in the olive drab colour between the Huey (Tamiya) and Loach (Gunze Sanyo Aqueous Hobby Color). 

Simon

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Photos and text by Simon Alder

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