Price: £16.00 (Mar 2012)
Review by: Geoff Coughlin
Our thanks to Revell for supplying our review sample.
Something to get you in the mood…!
An American-built Sikorsky HSS-1 was shipped to Westland in 1956 to act as a pattern aircraft. It was re-engined with a Napier Gazelle turbo shaft engine, and first flew in that configuration on 17 May 1957.
The first Westland-built Wessex XL727, designated a Wessex HAS.1, first flew on 20 June 1958, and they entered anti-submarine duties in 1961 with the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm. The Royal Navy’s anti-submarine examples (HAS.1, HAS.3) also used the Gazelle engine.
The design was adapted in the early 1960s for the RAF, and later Royal Marines, to become a general-purpose helicopter capable of troop-carrying, air ambulance and ground support roles.
In contrast with the HAS.1, it used twin Rolls-Royce Gnome engines. These marks (HC.2, HCC.4, HU.5) had a single large exhaust on each side of the nose, the Gazelle-powered examples having a pair of smaller exhausts on either side.
HAS Mk.3 – RN anti-submarine version with improved avionics with a radome on the rear fuselage, 3 new-build development aircraft and 43 converted from HAS.1
Don’t forget, if you plan on building the Wessex, there’s an excellent internal and external walkaround set in your SMN Photo Reference Library!
Boy, was I pleased to see this one reappear from Revell! It’s not a new tool, in fact the kit dates back to 1989, but we’re unlikely to be spoilt for choice when it comes to Westland Wessex kits and this one has been unavailable for ages, so it’s very welcome back.
Ok, of course the kit isn’t perfect by any means, but it scales out well and looks pretty right when compared to the images I have of the type.
Revell are proving prolific these days with plenty of new-tool kits being released in 1:72 scale, as well as many larger aircraft types.
So, we now have the Westland Wessex back with new decals – timely as one option is for an aircraft dating back to the Falklands War in 1982.
This continues the theme with several ‘new’ kits that are in fact older kits repackaged with new, high quality decals. And, if you like helos and charismatic ones like the Wessex, then you should take a good look at this one, even though it is a re-release of a much older kit.
Box and Contents
The box artwork is evocative, with this boxing showing a Wessex thundering over stormy seas – in its element! Let’s go inside…
The light grey plastic sprues are packaged in the usual poly bag and no damage is apparent, although the eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed just 3 rotor blades in the images above; there are of course 4 supplied but one had sheared off in the box, though no damage was apparent.
Taking the main components first, they are quite well tooled, feeling quite hard and brittle-like. No distortion was apparent and a dry fit of the fuselage halves suggests a decent fit and overall shape looks pretty good too.
The components feature quite heavy recessed panel lines which may not impress all of you. Detail, as you’d expect with an older moulding, is not as fine as, say, the newer kits from this manufacturer.
The type is certainly impressive as you can see from the video at the start of this review, so this project is all going to be about fine preparation and that finished paint job.
Check out the manufacturer’s images of the completed model in the gallery grid below and you’ll see the model does make up well.
It’s a little odd, but the rotor blades have superb, fine recessed panel line detail, so I don’t know if they have been re-tooled at some point. It’s a shame they haven’t been applied across the whole kit.
The moulds are wearing and so some sink marks are present, but nothing a bit of filler can’t resolve. Little excess flash is present and most parts will clean up easily to ensure a decent enough fit.
Cockpit detail is fair and the inclusion of decals for the two main instrument panels is a quick fix for lack of moulded detail in the original kit offering. I’m not sure of any aftermarket sets that were/are available for this model, but I would certainly take a look.
This kit is pretty fairly priced at around £16.00 and will make up into an impressive model that has size and charisma and, in the yellow/blue scheme supplied, will look stunning.
The clear parts look ok, although showing their age somewhat. They are clear enough though and should polish up to an even better clarity using plastic polish or, better still, Future (Johnson’s Klear). See your Techniques Bank for more on these.
Instructions and Decals
The Revell instructions follow their usual exploded stages format. Location of parts is clear but colour paint coding is for Revell mixes of their paints only. However, the colour names are provided and this will help you to match your own choice of paints.
This is a basic model and so should present little difficulty in working out where all the parts are located, even for inexperienced modellers.
The decals seem good, very good in fact, being new and manufactured in Italy. Certainly colour saturation and register is good and all markings are accurate and sharp in their detail. This is one of the best elements of the package; good quality decals will make a world of difference to your completed model.
Basically, if you are into helicopter scale modelling, then this kit is worth a look; no, better to buy it while it’s available!
There will never be a huge choice of Westland Wessex models in any guise and offerings like this for the money will rightly prove popular. Using different markings (if you can get them – try Model Alliance) could open up all sort of possibilities.
If you’re prepared to spend some time being patient with your prep and spray work you can get good results from these older-tooled kits.
|STAR RATING (out of five)
|Quality of moulding
Recommended for all scale modellers, whatever your experience.