The US Army has been conducting Medical Evacuation (MedEvac) operations using helicopters since the Korean War when a couple of boards were strapped onto the skids of an H-13 Sioux, better known as the Bell 47. This helicopter was brought into every ones living room with the hit show M*A*S*H. Once the concept of MedEvac was proven, purpose-built conversion kits were developed to transform standard helicopters into flying ambulances. Through the Vietnam War, the main MedEvac helicopter was the ubiquitous UH-1 Huey. Daring MedEvac pilots flew their bird in some of the most dangerous areas to get the wounded back to medical care quickly. Here, they earned their motto, “When I have your wounded…,” meaning they would not give up until they had all the wounded aboard. The latest incarnation of the air ambulance is the UH-60 Blackhawk. The Blackhawk replaced the Huey in the early ‘80s. The Blackhawk MedEvac has a central litter carousel that can rotate 360 degrees to make patient care and loading/unloading easier. It can carry 4 litter patients, 4 ambulatory patients in seats along the back wall, plus a crew of 2 pilots and 2 crew chiefs/medics. It also has integrated oxygen bottles and IV holders on the carousel. The UH-60 MedEvac saves lives everyday in Iraq, Afghanistan, and stateside.
Werner’s Wings has released a great conversion kit to convert Academy’s 1/35 UH-60 kit into a UH-60 MedEvac helicopter. This has been a long sought after conversion. A couple modelers have done the conversion from scratch and found it is a big job. This set was mastered by Joseph Szczygielski and he has done a fine job on it. The set makes it relatively easy to make the uh-60 MedEvac. There is no cutting or modifying the basic helicopter, just the addition of the litter carousel and a few other parts and you have a great-looking Blackhawk MedEvac.
The sturdy paper card box contains 23 parts cast in light gray resin. The parts are bagged to keep them from being damaged during shipping. Also included is a nicely done sheet of instructions with descriptions and clear pictures to assist in assembly. The whole thing is packed with foam peanuts to keep it from banging around in the box during transit.
The instructions are clearly written and have good illustrations for parts placement location. The assembly steps follow a logical sequence and also include pictures of actual UH-60 MedEvac Hawks as references. For further reference, check out my UH-60 MedEvac walkaround at PrimePortal.net: http://www.primeportal.net/hangar/gino_quintiliani/uh-60a_med_walk.htm
The individual parts are sharply cast and have a thin layer of flash between most of the parts. The flash is not an issue though, as it can easily be trimmed. The parts look awesome. The finest detail of rivets on the carousel and the fine folds of the litters are exquisite. There are no real downfalls to the set. It has all the major pieces of the litter carousel, litter trays, litters, and O2 bottle. It has extra parts that are common on these helicopters as well such as medical bags, a back board, a fire gel blanket, and neck/head stabilizers. It also includes a couple extras that can be used on any UH-60. These are the gunner’s wall bulkheads and a fire extinguisher.
The assembly is pretty simple with just attaching the litter trays to the carousel in either the down or folded position. There is also the transmission drip pan with the mounting bracket for the carousel on it. This piece is pretty nice. It does have one imperfection though. The raised round disks should actually be recesses and have latches on them. This is how the drip pan is attached. It is a pretty easy fix though by drilling out the raised disks and adding the latch detail inside them. Other than that, the only other modifications are the option of drilling out the O2 cylinder hole on the carousel or not, and there should be holes on the ends of the litter racks centered on the triangular support arms, again, an easy fix.
I highly recommend this kit. Overall the kit looks very nice. The interior parts are nicely detailed, finely cast, and relatively free of flash. Assembly is straight-forward and with no noted problem areas. The MedEvac interior is a great addition to any Blackhawk kit. I see no major flaws in the kit, its dimensions, or details. Another winner for Werner’s Wing! Bravo!!
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