by: Mario Krajinovic [ ]
Since the withdrawal of the ubiquitous UH-1 from the US Army inventory, the role of the modern utility tactical transport helicopter was taken by the UH-60 Blackhawk. On the asymmetric battlefield, it provides the commander the agility to get to the fight faster and is a force multiplier asset across the full spectrum of conflict.
The UH-60 features a four-blade main/ tail rotor and is powered by two GE T700 turbo-shaft engines. It has a long, low profile shape to meet the Army's requirement for transport aboard a C-130 Hercules. It can lift 2,600 lb (1,170 kg) of cargo internally or 9,000 lb (4,050 kg) of cargo (for UH-60L/M) externally by sling. The aircraft's critical components and systems are armored or redundant, like armor-protective seats for the flight crew and its airframe is designed to progressively crush on impact to protect the crew and passengers. The UH-60 can be adapted for many specialized roles that include lift/transport, C3, MedEvac, CSAR and Special Operations. With recent upgrades to the entire fleet, it will remain a dominant air factor in the years to come.
These figures by Nemrod/Historex come in a firm cardboard box with a nice photo showing the completed figures for box-art, however there is no indication of who the sculptor/painter is. The kit includes parts for building 4 figures, cast in gray resin. Upon further inspection the figures look really good, although I did notice several casting imperfections.
The aircrew represented in this kit are:
• Pilot in command
• Crew chief
• Para-rescue jumper
The contents of the bag are a surprisingly small amount of parts – only 13. There are 4 figures and 8 appropriate arms for each figure and a map-board for the pilot figure, all placed in a single zip-lock bag. No additional protection (such as bubble-wrap) is given in the box.
All figures show exceptional detailing and no air bubbles, but some flash is present on all figures. Several parts show molding lines, the most serious going along both legs of one of the figures; these could prove be difficult to clean up due to the natural creases on both the extended leg as well as the folded one and will need a bit of re-sculpting. All of the pouring stubs are small and well placed which will aid in the process of the cleanup. The poses of the pilots and the crew are natural and give a scent of action as the entire crew is depicted in flight/take-off/ landing procedure depending on the context of your model.
The first figure is the copilot depicted working the cyclic and the collective as based on the box-art picture, and is wearing a Nomex flight suit and gloves that is, in my opinion, based on the CWU-27/P flight suit worn by US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps pilots. The only omission/difference visible on the copilot figure is the chest pockets that are mirror opposite of the real suit. All surface details are crisp and well defined. The only prominent feature on the body of the figure is a kneeboard but nothing is provided to go on it, i.e. a map decal or something else, although this should be easy to add. The head is nicely sculpted with very nice facial details, and a Gentex SPH-4B helmet. Originally developed for the global demands of the U.S. Army, the SPH-4B Helicopter Flight Helmet provides protection and comfort. A strong, lightweight composite shell and polystyrene energy-absorbing liner effectively protect the head from impact. The helmet’s lightweight, dual visor system features a clear visor and a neutral gray (sunshade) visor with a mounting platform for the V-1 mount for ANVIS-6 Night Vision Goggles. Also included is the wire boom-mounted M-87A/AIC adjustable or flex boom microphone. A battery box and the wiring for the NVG system is also provided and nicely sculpted, although the NVG’s themselves are not included.
Pilot In Command (PIC):
A helicopter PIC occupies the right seat in the helicopter and according to the box-art photo this figure is depicted reading data from a hand held map board. The map board is a separate part that is very thin and due to the lack of protection in the zip-lock bag in my kit came a bit torn up. The posture of the figure is natural and the pilot wears the same suit with an older SRU-21/P Survival Vest - a lightweight vest for stowage of survival equipment for aircrew. Answer to the question why Nemrod decided to recreate one pilot with the survival vest and one without eludes me. Upon closer inspection I came to the biggest drawback of the kit. 3 out of 4 figures (all with the SPH-4B helmet) are molded with the same face. Once again, why Nemrod chose to mold 3 figures with the same head I don’t know, but what I do know it will take a lot of work to dremel out the face and replace it with a different head if you choose to go in this direction.
Crew Chief / Door Gunner:
The third figure is supposed to be a crew chief manning the miniguns or other weapon systems that is leaning out of the port window and observing the situation below. Although he has the same head as the previous 2 figures, his flight suit also sports a survival vest. The back of the figure is clearly modeled for the MOLLE II load bearing vest judging by the 2 vertical straps and the PALS position/count, but the front gives something to think about. It resembles the MOLLE II vest, but it looks more like the AirSave survival vest. The A.I.R.S.A.V.E. (Aircrew Integrated Recovery Survival Armor Vest and Equipment) is also more modern and still in use than the fore mentioned vest. Attached by PALS system is his sidearm and a couple of ammo pouches a few storage pockets. This figure is the one mentioned earlier that has a prominent pouring seam on both of the legs and arms that will require cleanup and/or re-sculpting of the folds and creases.
This figure is slightly different than the others. It is depicted wearing a BDU uniform, possibly the ABDU (if so, he’s missing the shoulder and ankle pockets), and a HGU-26/P helmet without the visor. The helmet also features a different type of microphone. The survival vest is modeled after AWS medical rescue vest, with a different pouch arrangement. This vest is often worn over PJ armor which this figure lacks. The webbing is very sharp and nicely depicted and with a light wash it should pop out and give a nice 3D effect to the vest. Accessories present on the uniform are a thigh secondary weapon holster and a large side pouch which could be a medi-kit pouch. The large amount of equipment and the liberty of gear customization for para-rescue personnel makes it hard to identify this figure as a standard loadout for a PJ but then again, there is almost nothing standard about special forces operators.
I had high hopes about this set, as helicopter models to me are second to none when done properly. In the world of plastic modeling, helo modelers are limited by the number of quality kits that are out there as well as figure kits. This kit is a mix of everything. It’s the most up to date resin figure set for the time period it depicts, but has faults everywhere you look. Three exactly same heads, some molding errors that are hard to correct, random not identifiable equipment and errors in some (like the pockets on the flight suit), no logic in portraying of un-evenly equipped flight crew and somewhat high price gives more lows for this set.
The up-side is great parts fit, (although some filling may be required), small parts number and the fact that there are no other figures for this time period in resin. For the modeler looking for nice figures this is it. I am not the one to nitpick about details, but this is something I looked forward to in obtaining these figures, and having done so my expectations outgrew the reality. It’s a nice set, but for those looking for accuracy and detail it is nothing more. If you need a Blackhawk crew for your model, look through the faults and give this set a chance.