1/72 Italeri MH-47E Chinook

by Albert Moore

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The MH-47E Chinook is a heavy assault helicopter operated by US Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), aka the 'Night Stalkers'. Tasked with the long range, all-weather/all conditions clandestine infil and exfil of Spec Ops forces, the MH-47E is aided in it's mission through the use of enlarged external and internal fuel tanks and a plethora of state-of-the-art navigational equipment. The MH-47E carries an extensive self-protection defensive suite against most heat-seeking and infrared guided missiles and also carries two M134 General Electric Miniguns for use against soft targets and personnel. Twenty three MH-47Es are in service from the original twenty six that the 160th SOAR started with (three losses to date-two accidents, one combat related). The MH-47E is slated to be joined by the new MH-47G, which features reduced vibration, improved avionics and more powerful engines. All E models will eventually be upgraded to G standards.

This is Italeri's 1/72 MH-47E Chinook Special Operations Aircraft. The kit is a modified reissue of their CH-47D/HC.1 kit, with most of the parts to convert it into an MH-47E. The first order of business was to remove the small fuselage tanks by following the guide lines on the inside of the fuselage. The cuts were cleaned up and the larger tanks installed. The rest of the build-up went together as prescribed in the instructions. Two areas to watch out for is the bottom of the fuselage and the clear nose/canopy piece. 

Both required copious amounts of sanding and tweaking to fit (sort of-the nose piece fit is still a little rough on my model, even after judicious sanding. At the risk of cracking the part, I just left it as is). After building the main fuselage assembly, time came for all the fiddly bits like the antennas, chaff/flare dispensers, hoist, landing gear struts, and external sensors. Two new set of dual chaff/flare dispensers were made from thick sheet styrene, with brass rod for the mounts. The in-flight refueling probe was replaced with a short length of 080" styrene rod with a brass wire inserted for strength. I also added some additional warts and antennas that were overlooked in the kit.

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Next I turned my attention to the rotors. They were mounted in a way which allows them to be removed for easier handling (and transport). The rotor blades themselves were modified to represent the carbon-fiber composite type used on modern Chinooks (removed the 90 degree cut out and reshaped into a 45 degree taper at the blade root). Last thing to do before painting commenced was to mask off all the windows () and the door openings (my masking agent of choice is Bare Metal Foil).

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Now comes my favorite part, painting! I chose the now common Night Stalker scheme of overall black with Olive Drab lettering. I used Tamiya NATO Black for the base coat, followed up by a light coat of Model Master Interior Black. A lighter shade of the Interior Black was used for post-shading some of the panels. Future was applied and left to dry. While the fuselage was drying, I painted the rotors and wheels. The rotor mounts were painted flat black, while the blades were painted Interior Black. the rotor-heads were drybushed to bring out the detail. The decals were added next. The OD US Army markings came from Cobra Co, while the rest of the markings (what little there are) came from the kit. There are some OD stencils on the real deal, but none were available on the kit decal sheet or Cobra Co decal set (the RoG boxing has an extensive sheet, but the stencils are black, meant for a Helo Drab Chinook). After all the markings dried, a heavily thinned coat of lightened Interior Black was sprayed over the entire model to subdue the paint and the markings. A few coats of Model Master Acryl Flat clear-coat dulled the whole works down. The widow masks were removed and the glass polished to a nice shine.

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Next up on the list was adding the final detail bits and touch-up/detail painting. The wheels were added to the struts (adhered with slow curing CA glue to allow for alignment), and the miniguns were installed in the doors. Navigation lights were added by shaping a couple of small drops of Microscale Krsytal Kleer, then painted their respective colors. The rotors were glued to their mounts then placed on the model. A final detail that was added were exhaust covers, which are made from aluminum foil, then painted olive drab. All in all an enjoyable build, even with the snaggles that I ran into. Now it just needs an MH-60L or K, and a couple of MH/AH-6J Little Birds to go along with it. NSDQ!
 
This model was built as tribute to men of 'Razor 1' an MH-47E (92-00475) which was lost in combat with seven US service men KIA, on 04 March 2002 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. For more on 'Razor 1' and the Battle of Roberts Ridge, see here;

 

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For more on the MH-47E Chinook SpecOps helicopter;

http://www.boeing.com/rotorcraft/military/mh47e/sitemap.html

http://www.chinook-helicopter.com/history/MH-47E_Model_History.html

http://www.specialoperations.com/Aviation/MH47/default.html

 

Albert

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Photos and text by Albert Moore