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Kitty Hawk MH-60L Black Hawk

Review of the 1/35 scale helicopter kit
The MH-60L is a special-operations variant of the UH-60L Black Hawk that can be used as a gunship, known as the Direct-Action Penetrator or DAP, as well as a troop carrier. Used by the U.S. Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment in just about every American military action from the early 1990s, the helicopters may be best known for their role in the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu told in the book and movie Black Hawk Down.

Kitty Hawk’s 1/35 scale MH-60 will make a good diorama with matching vehicles, but you’ll need room as the rotors are 18-inches in diameter.

The 40-page instruction booklet is detailed, but there are a few minor mistakes to be aware of as it guides you through 27 steps. This is not a quick build; there are 646 parts plus 20 resin bits for the figures. Detail on the slightly soft gray plastic is finely molded and there is little flash present.

During the initial assembly steps for the flight deck and cargo area, you need to decide which version you plan to build. If you choose the gunship as I did, you’ll skip several seats to make room for ordnance and ammunition containers. I used three, attaching them to the rear bulkhead rather than the ceiling as shown in the instructions to make them sturdier. 

The instrument decals fit the raised detail molded on the plastic panels perfectly and looked great with a few applications of Microscale decal solutions.

Building the engines in Step 7, I dry-fitted many parts and several needed sanding to fit, most notably parts F57, which interfered with the fit of the engine covers in Step 9. When assembling the exhausts in Step 8, pay attention as some of the parts need to be switched to match alignment holes and pegs. No part number is given for the small piece (a probe?) fitted to the outside of the starboard intake. I had difficulty getting the intake lips (parts C14, C15) to fit over the gear housings (parts E1, E5); I filled the gap with a thin styrene strip.

The instructions have you attaching the tiny photo-etched metal (PE) static dischargers to the horizontal stabilizer in Step 12, but they are easily broken so I recommend attaching them immediately before painting.

Step 17 includes assembly of optional weapon pylons for the stub wings, but there is no indication of the purpose of the options. The MG-134s build nicely, but the flash suppressors (PE27) needs to be carefully formed into small cylinders.

The gun feed chutes are another story as trying to bend them to match the diagram was almost impossible, but I discovered they fit without as radical a curve.

The tail rotor lacks an axle to mount it on the stabilizer, so I made one from stretched sprue.

I used the M230A-1 chain gun on the starboard mount, but the instructions omit the number for the center part of the mechanism between parts F26 and F27; it is Part F49. I added an M260 Hydra 19-round rocket pod and a GAU-21 machine gun without problems.

For a weathered finish, I painted the body Testors Model Master gunship gray and the rotors flat black.

I had problems with the decals as the film’s flat finish contributed to a silvered appearance.

The seven figures were beautifully cast, but were oversized and would not fit into the seats, so I left out all but the GAU-21 gunner in the door.

I spent about 75 hours building Kitty Hawk’s MH-60. The finished model is impressive and could be a real showstopper with a little extra work, brass weapons, and better decals. It is definitely not for beginners because of the large parts count and sometimes fussy fits.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the December 2019 issue.


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