S-58ET British Airways
(Whirlybits - Nr. WBA72108)
At the IPMS UK 2013 Nationals, Whirlybird came along with a range of serveral new products, including new conversion sets for Sikorsky H-34s and S-58ET.
This time we will have a closer look on the contents of the British Airways boxing. The instructions provide a brief glimpse into the service history of the aircraft:
"In January 1974, British Airways purchased two 18-seat S-58ETs for use in the North Sea to support oil and gas exploration. Both aircraft had begun life as H-34Gs with the West German Army (Heer), and following conversion to turbine power, they served in both the northern and southern North Sea gas and oil fields, operating from Sumburgh, Aberdenn and Beccles. S-58ET operations ceased in 1981, when both aircraft were sold."
The set comprises (of course) the new turbine nose, different aerials, weather radar dome, bifilar rotor damper, new shortened tailfin end and seperate tail rotor gear box. Additionally an auxilliary fuel tank with a rather complicated support strut structure is included as well as the V-leg landing gear struts most common for (ex-) German H-34s.
All this is supported by a fret of PE parts which supplies instument panels, grab and door handles, windscreen wipers, winch hook and cargo hook fittings.
Compares to other S-58 turbine noses already having been around for some time, this one looks certainly more convncing in shape and dimensions. It was told that the masters were done in accordance to the technical documentation of the original S-58ET conversion.
Nevertheless, the casting quality is not the best with the review sample. Some details on the nose like the cooling grills are washed out and need to be re-done. In this specific case, an etched grill panel would have been better. Some of the panel lines have to be rescribed, but all in all, it is nothing that pushed the experienced modeler to his limits. The external fuel tank installation may be a bit tricky, but feasible.
The small decal sheet offers markings for both aircraft inservice with the BA, printed in aneat qualitiy.
As with earlier Whirlybits releases, a particular praise to the instructions. The pictorial steps leave no question unanswered.
Well done, Roger (and team staff). Recommended for all fellow modelers who need some change from olive green, tan and grey.
The set is also available with decals for Bristow Helicopters as #WBA 72109 and KLM Nordzee Helikopers under item no. WBA 72118.
References: Lo Bao, P.:A History of BRITISH AIRWAYS HELICOPTERS and its Predecessors since 1974. In: Air Britain 1985.
Reviewed by Felix Troschier - 01. July 2014
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