Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |  Search

Westland Wessex HAS.3
Royal Navy Anti-Submarine Helicopter


Italeri, 1/72 scale
 

S u m m a r y

Item No. Italeri No 1258 Wessex HAS. 3
Contents and Media: 92 light-grey plastic parts on two sprues, 5 clear plastic parts on one sprue, decals for three aircraft plus a 5 page fold-out instruction sheet with history, parts plan, 10 build diagrams and 3 pages of paint/ decal drawings.
Scale 1/72
Price: around 6.50 (available online from Hannants)
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Very important subject, highly detailed and excellent decals.
Disadvantages: No cyclic controls in the cockpit, no detail in the rear compartment and some nose detail missing to build earlier HAS.1
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 

Reviewed by Glen Porter


Italeri's 1/72 scale Wessex HAS.3 will be available online from Squadron.com

 

FirstLook

 

In the mid 1960s, I had the opportunity to fly in the co-pilot's seat of an RAN Wessex Mk 31 B while serving as a naval photographer on one of six trips to Vietnam on HMAS Sydney. Some ride!

This kit from Italeri is therefore particularly interesting to me.

The Westland Wessex HAS.3 was an up-dated version of the original HAS.1. It had improved avionics, radar, sonar and engine power. The importance of the Wessex to the Royal Navy was that it could not only find an enemy submarine, but sink it as well.

This is not a new kit but a re-issue by Italeri. First released by them some time ago, it was then taken up by Revell, moulded in dark-blue plastic and now back to Italeri in light-grey. However, it's such a good kit that I'm not surprised it's been re-issued.

We've come to expect a certain level of detail from Italeri in their helicopter kits and this is no exception. Some of the parts are shared by the UH-34J Sea Horse Kit No 1066, reviewed earlier by me here on Hyperscale, so many of the comments for that review will apply. The surface detail is engraved or raised as appropriate and the rotor blades have the characteristic droop seen on these choppers when on the ground.

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:


As good as this kit is, there are still some areas to criticize. The cockpit is quite well detailed but Italeri have missed the two cyclic controls to the left of both pilot's seats. These are the levers pointing forward which when lifted increase the amount of lift from the rotor with a twist grip at the front some-what like a motorcycle throttle. The radar/sonar compartment is devoid of any detail at all. The floor and bulkheads come straight from the Sea Horse kit which had rows of canvas seats. The mount holes are there but no seats or any thing else is supplied. One of the options of this kit is to have the access door open, as are the two pilot's hatches, but if your not prepared to scratch-build an interior it may be better to leave it closed. The old but reasonable Matchbox kit of the Wessex gave you the option of folding the tail. It's a pity Italeri didn't do the same although that's probably too much of an ask and it would not be hard to scratch-build.

Lastly, the later HAS.3s, and this kit, had a cover over the air intakes just above the nose. By leaving this cover off plus the spine mounted radar dome, several other marks can be built, including the HAS.1 and Australian Mk 31 and 31B. Unfortunately, this air intake under the cover has no interior detail. You could still build these earlier marks and perhaps just paint the intakes black. Don't be put off by these criticisms, it's really just me being a pain in the neck, I think it's an excellent kit.

The decals by Cartograf are very nice and cover three aircraft.

 

 

A is a Royal Navy HAS.3 in the standard dark-blue and yellow. B is an RAF rescue version called an Har.2 in over-all insignia yellow and C is the now famous Humphrey, HMS Antrim from the Falklands War which is now preserved in the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Yeovilton, in RAF Dark Sea Grey. The decals include a section of stencils and walk-ways for all three aircraft plus instrument decals if you wish to use them.

 

 

Conclusion

 

It's really good to see this kit back on the market again and don't be put off by my little whinges. This one is definitely a keeper.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks to Italeri for the review sample


Review Copyright 2006 by Glen Porter
This Page Created on 22 May, 2006
Last updated 21 May, 2006

Back to HyperScale Main Page

Back to Reviews Page