The AgustaWestland AW109 is a lightweight, twin-engine, eight-seat multi-purpose helicopter built by the Italian manufacturer Leonardo-Finmeccanica (formerly AgustaWestland, merged into the new Finmeccanica since 2016). The rotorcraft had the distinction of being the first all-Italian helicopter to be mass-produced.
Developed as the A109 by Agusta, it originally entered service in 1976 and has since been used in various roles, including light transport, medevac, search-and-rescue, and military roles. The AW109 has been in continuous production for 40 years.
(German: Schweizerische Re
ttungsflugwacht, French: G
érienne suisse de sauvetage, REGA) is a private, non-profit air rescue service that provides emergency medical assistance in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. REGA was established on 27 April 1952 by Dr Rudolf Bucher, who believed the Swiss rescue organization needed a specialized air sub-section. REGA mainly assists with mountain rescues, though it will also operate in other terrains when needed, most notably during life-threatening emergencies. REGA also provides a repatriation and medical advice service for members who experience a medical emergency while abroad and local treatment is not available.
Histories of the AW109
were swiped from the pages of Wikipedia.
This kit comes in a fairly small box, and the sprues fill it almost completely. The moulding is crisp and the details very fine. The only flash I could find is on one of the pilot seats.
The fuselage is offered in left and right halves, plus an insert for the bottom below the cabin. The interior is not large, but a nice set of details provides everything necessary to build the medevac equipment carried in these helicopters. The instrument panel is featureless, with all its details confined to the decal sheet. At this scale, when viewed through the tiny and very thick cockpit windows, that will be adequate. There are nice cyclics, but no anti-torque pedals beyond 4 tiny wedges moulded to the cabin floor. Nor are there any collectives, although there might be a bas-relief of one on the centre console between the seats. A little detailing will go a long way here. The extreme tip of the nose is separate, and has 2 small landing light transparencies to fit into it.
The main rotor is made from separate blades which assemble to its hub. There are some very fine plastic parts in the assembly, and it will look very good when painted. The tail rotor is one piece, which is to be expected at this scale.
The _K2 variant of the AW 109 has fixed landing gear, which is adequately addressed in the kit. REGA equips their helicopters with small “bear paw” showshoes, which are included on the sprues. The normal retractable landing gear is not an option, rendering building other variants a trifle difficult.
There is only one option provided, HB-XWB of REGA, in an attractive red and white scheme. Some tricky masking will be needed to produce the large areas of red on the upper fuselage. Painting should be done before final assembly to protect the many tiny fiddly bits with which helicopters are festooned. The decal sheet is tiny, but very well printed, and quite crammed with small stencils. Some of these are not called out on the instruction sheet, so their placement is a trifle ambiguous.
The Real ThingHB-XWD
about to land on Mount Pilatus.