Airfix 1/72 Sikorsky SH-3D Sea King: Part 1

Airfix 1/72 Sea King boxtopThis one is pure nostalgia. There are much better Sea King kits around, but this is the one I built as an Apollo-obsessed child.

It’s about 40 years old—a chance find on eBay. The instruction sheet really did get that yellow, inside a sealed box. A sticker on the lid gives its original price as 59p. The parts fit is going to be poor, the detail is not great, and the interior is so terrible I’m going to paint it matt black and keep the side door shut.

But it’s “Old 66”! The Apollo recovery helicopter!

Airfix 1/72 Sea King kit
Click to enlarge

What do you reckon to those 40-year-old decals, though? Me neither. I don’t trust them an inch. Although I’m in the habit of scanning old decals so that I can, if necessary, print up a new set, it seemed like there had to be a better solution.

Old 66 Decals Apollo 13 RecoveryEnter Old 66 Decals, a company that seems to have done nothing but produce decals for this particular helicopter. I had originally wanted to  model the Apollo 11 recovery, but those decals are out of print. What is available is the Apollo 13 set—Sea King 66 had a livery change just before that final recovery mission, necessitating a separate decal set.

The only problem with that is those overhead windows, which were tinted green in the early missions, but for some reason were swapped for blue just before Apollo 13. While the nice people at Humbrol do a really nice transparent green enamel, specifically for tinted windows, they don’t do blue.

DecoArt Glass StainAfter much searching around, I find that there are people who do glass painting as a hobby. (Who knew? Probably everyone but me.) Unfortunately, this seems to involve drawing thick “leading” on to the glass, and then forming little pools of pigment inside the leaded rim, using a squeeze bottle. Not really ideal for my purposes.

But with a bit of experimentation I find that I can take the rather gelatinous stuff in the picture, manufactured by DecoArt, brush it on really quickly, and get an even result.

So we’re set. Apollo 13 recovery Sea King it is.

4 thoughts on “Airfix 1/72 Sikorsky SH-3D Sea King: Part 1”

  1. What a great kit. I never would haven thought of using that sort of glass paint.

    One of these days I really need to haul out the pile of model kits I have gathering dust in the cupboard. Of course, I was never very good at building them, and I’ve nowhere to put them, but I live in hope.

  2. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to learn another bit of trivia about the _Apollo_ program 🙂

    1. Plenty more Apollo trivia in these parts. Take a look at the “Spaceflight” and “Saturn V” tags at left.

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