This 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!
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.
Enter 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.
After 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.