Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

Academy 1/48 scale CH-53E Super Stallion

Kit: No. 12209
Scale: 1/48
Manufacturer: Academy from MRC, 732-225-2100,
Price: $89
Comments: Injection-molded, 297 parts, decals
Pros: Good fit, lots of detail, option to fold rotors and tail, open or closed cockpit windows
Cons: Some ejector-pin marks and sinkholes
Sikorsky's CH-53H Super Stallion is the biggest, fastest, and most powerful helicopter in the U.S. military inventory, and it can out turn a Huey Cobra! Scary.

Academy's brand new CH-53E Super Stallion comes molded in light gray and clear plastic, packaged in seven bags. Parts are flash free, with crisply molded detail and delicate engraved panel lines. To be honest, the real thing had raised rivets all over. The decal sheet includes markings for three machines in different paint schemes: The current tactical gray; the green, gray, and black from late 1980s to early '90s; and the classic Marine green from the '80s.

Construction started with the rotor head assembly. You have a choice here of building the rotors spread or folded. The folded position looks like it could be a little tricky, so study the instructions, go slowly, and make sure to keep track of all the little components, such as the fold hinges for each blade.

In step 3 you need to punch holes in the fuselage sides to accommodate the sponsons, ECM bumps, handholds, and so forth. Be careful here, as Academy gives you diagrams for flight and folded-rotor positions with a few more holes to accommodate the rotor blade sway braces.

The cockpit is nice, except there are no harnesses for the pilots' seats. There are some ejector-pin marks on the padding and rear framing, parts B2 and B3. However, once the fuselage sides are joined, you don't see much.

When joining the fuselage halves, the cabin roof (A3) had to be thinned where the padding ends and the rear framing begins in the ramp area. This needs to be done to pull the "outer" fuselage halves together properly. If you want the crewchief's and gunner's doors open, make sure they are glued in the proper position before the fuselage halves are joined or it's going to be difficult to get them in place.

The tail section can be assembled opened or folded, and the hinge detail is very good. The pilot's windows can be posed open or closed.

The rest of the construction went smoothly. However, I suggest leaving the fuel tanks, the engine pods, and some of the smaller antennas off until the end just for simplicity's sake. Plus it's easier to paint the sub-components ahead of time.

The decals went on almost too well; they stuck down too quickly. I suggest cutting the dotted-line decals that go around the pilots' windows in four separate pieces to keep them from getting tangled.

Slits molded into the insides of the fuselage halves suggest Academy will issue an MH-53E Sea Dragon version, the Navy's mine countermeasures version with the enlarged sponsons. Cool!

This was an enjoyable kit to build. It took me about 45 hours, only because of the number of parts involved. Builders with a few years' experience and a little patience will enjoy the project.

- Larry Schramm


Read and share your comments on this article

Want to leave a comment?

Only registered members of are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.


Get a FREE e-Guide exclusively from FineScale Modeler.