Kitty Hawk 1/48 SH-2G Super Seasprite

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Kitty Hawk 1/48 SH-2G Super Seasprite

Postby TonyP » Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:30 pm

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With the announcement of Royal Australian Navy Seasprite decals by Ronin Graphics and the arrival of the 1/48 kit by Kitty Hawk, I thought I would put together a small review angled towards the Australian version.
The prototype of the Seasprite first flew in 1959 and the type, through various upgrades, served with the US Navy until retired in 2001 and continues to serve in New Zealand, Poland, Peru and Egypt. Australia required a midsized helicopter to operate off the ANZAC class frigates and signed a contract with Kaman to supply 11 upgraded Super Seasprites in 1997. Designated SH-2G(A) these were to be based on old SH-2Fs from the US Navy. The first was delivered to the RAN in 2003 with the 10th delivered in early 2007. The upgrade was plagued with problems, it could not be flown in bad weather, the cockpit was too small for some crewmen and the advanced computerised combat system never worked properly. The flight control system made unpredictable movements of flight controls which occurred four times in 1600 flying hours. The crash worthiness was also below standards. In 2008 the Government of the time cancelled the project. The 10 aircraft were returned to Kaman and sold to New Zealand with the last delivered in 2016. At the same time Australia ordered the Seasprite, so did New Zealand. Five SH-2G(NZ) were delivered by 2003 and served until 2016 before being replaced by the Australian Seasprites that are re-designated SH-2G(I). The retired aircraft were sold to Peru.
The kit by Kitty Hawk comes in a top opening box. There are six sprues of parts in grey injected plastic. The fuselage halves are separate pieces with sprue gates protecting the front cockpit window. There is little to no flash and the panel lines are subtle and suitable to scale. The surface detail on the fuselage is some of the finest I have seen. Care will be needed not to sand this off! The instructions booklet is 20 pages and has colour representations for the schemes included.
There is the usual clear sprue for windows and lights. A fret of Photo etch for seatbelts, grills, windscreen wipers and various panels. There are two sheets of decals. The smaller one deals with the colourful markings of the Polish & US examples and instrument panels. The other is for the national markings and stencils. Schemes included are 1) US Navy from HSL-94 Willow; 2) Royal New Zealand Navy; 3) Polish Navy; and 4) Egyptian Navy. They appear to be nicely printed and are of the silk screen printed variety.
There are lots of parts but first impressions are that it should make a great representation of a SH-2G Super Seasprite. For an Australian version you could get away with just using the instructions to make a NZ version. The most noticeable difference is that the Australian examples had a modern instrument panel layout. This could be solved by sanding off the steam gauges and replacing with an Eduard coloured PE panel from say the AH-1Z or UH-1Y set and butcher as required. I assume the sensor operator station would also be different behind the cockpit but I have not seen any interior pictures of them to comment.
As for the exterior the AU examples had plenty of different sensors. So this is a case of no major surgery required, just adding extra lumps and bumps. The weapons pylons are also slightly different. Hopefully someone will come along with a conversion. Although if you just want something that looks like a RAN Seasprite with limited fuss, just build as a NZ example.

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Nice detail:
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This could be used:
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Re: Kitty Hawk 1/48 SH-2G Super Seasprite

Postby DesTROYer » Thu Jan 26, 2017 5:03 pm

Thanks for the review. I have the kit in the stash ready to go.
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Re: Kitty Hawk 1/48 SH-2G Super Seasprite

Postby Biggles81 » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:01 pm

The SH-2G(A), as part of the RANs desire to create a lightweight multi-role warfare helicopter, was designed from the outset for two crew operations with Pilot and Observer up front. Thus no sensor station in the rear cabin. Can't remember what exactly was placed in there but IIRC there was a secondary utility role so perhaps mere seating and a naval aircrewman station for the retractable winch operation, door gunnery etc.

The model itself is not too bad, but will need some close scrutiny of the antennas and other options as I already see a couple missing in the instructions that also do not appear to be on the sprues.
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