Hasegawa 1/48 SH-3H Sea King (Apollo Recovery SH-3D Conversion): Part 2

In my last post, I still had a few bits and pieces of scratch building to do—a stills camera tucked behind the starboard sponson, facing backwards, and some weapons mount points.

I haven’t been able to find any good views of the stills camera beyond a couple of glimpses in Todd Douglas Miller’s Apollo 11 documentary:

Detail showing forward stills camera, "Old 66" Apollo 11 recovery (1)
Screen capture from Apollo 11


Detail showing forward stills camera, "Old 66" Apollo 11 recovery (2)
Screen capture from Apollo 11

What does seem to be the case is that (in contrast to the rear pairs) the paired forward mount points weren’t in use beyond the single camera mount. So I put together an “artist’s impression” of a stills camera on a mount, swathed in the ubiquitous yellow tape, and I cannibalized the kit’s forward weapon mounts to build the necessary rear mounts, looking something like what I can see in photographs. It’s all a little unsatisfactory, but it’s the best I could come up with.

Hasegawa 1/48 SH-3H Sea King, scratch built camera mount and adapted weapon mounts
Click to enlarge

I also spent a little time getting the Belcher Bits resin sponsons mated to the kit parts. These are very nicely moulded, and just need the locating holes for the upper sponson struts to be drilled a little deeper, and bit of chiselling and filling around the lower supports. Here they are, taped in place while waiting for the epoxy to dry:

Hasegawa 1/48 SH-3H Sea King, position Belcher Bits replacement sponsons
Click to enlarge

I have a suspicion the final alignment may make the undercarriage a little “in-toed” but I can cross that bridge when I come to it.

And here they are, filled and primed:

Hasegawa 1/48 SH-3H Sea King with Belcher Bits replacement sponsons
Click to enlarge

I’m going to paint them separately and only attach them late in the build process.

The Hasegawa SH-3D instruction sheet I downloaded from Scalemates wants me to attach something to the back underside of the starboard sponson—it’s made of two pieces from sprues that don’t come with the SH-3H kit.

Hasegawa 1/48 SH-3D Sea King instructions for starboard sponson

But a look at images of the real helicopter show no external feature in this location:

Detail showing starboard sponson, "Old 66" Apollo 11 recovery
Screen capture from Apollo 11

The good people over at Britmodeller tell me that this is, in fact, a recessed spotlight in a square well. I doubt if I can create such a thing successfully by burrowing into a solid resin part, so I’ll try to suggest its presence with paint instead.

Another object that isn’t included in the SH-3H kit but which was present in the real helicopter is a fin of some kind on the underside, which I scratch-built for styrene card. While I was at it, I scratch built another little fin for the underside. This one was include in the kit, but departed from my tweezers towards parts unknown almost as soon as I freed it from the sprue. Here’s the underside with fins added, the blanked sonar well in place, and all the various bumps and ridges detailed in my last post removed:

Hasegawa 1/48 SH-3H Sea King underside
Click to enlarge

Another little challenge on the underside of the model are three small light fittings, for which there are no paint masks on the Montex sheet. I’m not very good at cutting tiny discs out of masking tape, and after a bit of thought I put a strip of Tamiya tape on to an offcut of styrene sheet, and punched out some suitable sized holes with a leather punch. After a few attempts, I ended up with some neat masking discs I could peel off the punched-out styrene and put in place:

Masking discs for underside of Hasegawa 1/48 SH-3H kit
Click to enlarge

Now I just need to remember to remove them once the model is completed.

As well as removing lumps and bumps from the port fuselage I had to get rid of the window just aft of the door. I glued the transparent part in place and then filled and sanded the outside. If I was doing it again I’d sand off the window frame (moulded into the transparent part) before putting the window in place—that would have made filling and sanding easier. The final result looks OK after a light coat of grey primer:

Hasegawa 1/48 SH-3H Sea King port side window removed
Click to enlarge

On the starboard side, more lumps and bumps were removed, and I added the two runs of cable that will eventually connect to my two scratch-built camera mounts:

Hasegawa 1/48 SH-3H Sea King starboard side cable runs
Click to enlarge

That’s it for now. It seems like a lot of work for little progress, but next time things should actually start looking like a helicopter.

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