1/32 Revell UH-1H Huey Gunship

by Darren McGuinness



Hello everybody,

this is a 1/35th Revell UH-1H Huey "slightly modified" by my good self!
I have always wanted to create a helicopter diorama and this is my first. It came about when I picked up the Revell kit at a model show last year. When I opened the box I was disappointed with the quality of the kit and wondered how I could improve it. As I'm not the greatest modeller in the world, I decided to keep things simple. I thought a diorama depicting troops being inserted to a forward area would make things more interesting.
This particular Huey was used for just that. She's the "Good widow Jones" flown by the Soc-Trang Tigers in 1971.

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Construction started with the cockpit and cargo areas, this is where I started scratch-building for the very first time! First task, was to fabricate the amour for the front seats using plasti-card. To get it right, I had to build the inside of the Huey OOB and build up the extra detail around it. Once the front armour was in, I needed a crew, for this I used the 1/35th Dragon Heli-crew set. The two scales are so close, the difference isn't obvious. I used both pilots and gunners. When I put the pilots in, the peddles were too far away from the crews feet, so I had to make an adjustment there, apart from that the figures fitted quite nicely. They were detailed with seat belts and radio mikes made from etched brass.
The rear of the cabin was a lot more fun! Both cargo doors were completely removed (usual practice on "slicks" in Vietnam) and troop seats were installed. The frame for the seats was made from 4mm plastic rod and the material for the seats was made out of kitchen foil cut to size. This also made the material easy to manipulate to shape. Once the cabin was finished it was fitted into the fuselage and doors windows were added.
This kit does not go together well and many hours of sanding were required-I wouldn't mind, but I'm still not happy with it! Anyway, it eventually went together and the whole thing was painted O/D Green. The decals went on after this stage and all I'll say about that is they were the worst I've ever had. They silvered not matter what I did.

Next, came the armament. Dragon only provides one M60 on a proper mount, so the other one had to be Scratched from my spares box, I think I did a reasonable job and promptly added gunners to the cabin with comms from headgear to radios the wire being fuse wire from my tool box. Once the airframe was complete, I had to put it suitable surroundings.

I used a large MDF display base and smothered it with foliage! A metal pipe from the base into the helicopters drive shaft keeps the model aloft for my make-shift slither of jungle. To further enhance the illusion of flight, I patted-down the foliage in rotor wash direction, and added some a scratch-built mix of special force figures to complete the scene. Hopefully it looks like these guys are being "jumped" into a hot LZ.
I had a lot of fun building this, I hope you enjoy it too.


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Photos and text by Darren McGuinness