Helos Index Early Helos Wessex Lynx Sea King Small Helos EH101 Chinook Puma Miscellaneous
#Cormorant #Merlin #Chinook #HC3a #Puma

Westland Agusta EH101/CH149 Cormorant, Canadian Forces 2005

442 Transport & Rescue Squadron, 19 Wing, Comox, British Columbia.

This is the Italeri kit, with added external details (bulged windows, CPI, searchlight) and scratch interior (seats, stretchers, lockers, stores, curtains etc).

Despite cancelling their order for Merlin ASW helicopters due to budget constraints, the Canadian Forces acquired the less complex Cormorant as a replacement for their Labrador (Boeing Vertol) rescue helicopters. Its long range, roomy cabin, excellent power margins and ability to operate safely in full icing conditions makes it ideal for operations in the frozen Canadian north.

Agusta Westland EH101 Merlin HAS.1, 700M Sqn Fleet Air Arm,


The early Italeri issue of this kit. Later issues are much better and include weapons pylons, weapons & much better decals. Revell have also issued the same kit in RN and RAF Utility versions.

The RN and Italian Navies have procured the advanced EH101 as a replacement for the ubiquitous Sea King. In UK service it is known as Merlin, with a highly integrated ASW mission suite from Lockheed Martin, Thales and IBM. Current Merlins are designed for ASW, but with their long range, load carrying capability and excellent surface radar, they have considerable future potential as anti-surface Maritime Patrol platforms. Stripped of their ASW equipment (it is designed to be removable within a few hours), Merlins are also able to carry a large load of troops and equipment.

EH101 Utility Variants are in service with the RAF, Italian Navy, Royal Danish AF and Portugese AF. Further EH101 variants have also been selected by the Tokyo Police and was originally selected (in US101 form) as the future personal transport of the President of the United States of America.

Did you know? The name "EH101" is actually a mistake. It began life as "EHI 01", for European Helicopter Industries 01,

but somewhere down the line, someone got muddled up!

Agusta Westland AW101 Merlin HM.1, 814 “Tiger” Sqn Fleet Air Arm,

HMS ILLUSTRIOUS / RNAS Yeovilton, 2012.

This is the Revell issue of the kit above, which provides updated parts and decals.

With the full merger of Westland and Agusta in 2000, the EH101 became the AW101, with the UK naval variant designated as Model 111.  

814 Naval Air Sqn, nicknamed “The Flying Tigers” have operated the Merlin since 2001.  At least one of their aircraft is decorated in grey “tiger stripes” and has been seen regularly at airshows around Europe.  In 2012, the squadron disembarked from HMS ILLUSTRIOUS and took up station at RNAS Yeovilton to provide support to HMS BULWARK, acting as security command post  for the Olympic Sailing at Weymouth.  

The squadron is normally based ashore at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall and having absorbed the aircraft of 829 Sqn when it disbanded in 2018, is currently the largest of the Fleet Air Arm Merlin Squadrons.

Leonardo AW101 Merlin HM.2 Crowsnest, 820 Sqn Fleet Air Arm,


This is my original HAS.1 kit seen above, but updated to an HM.2 and with a scratch built Crowsnest AEW/ASACs radome.

The HM.2 version of the Merlin has seen extensive upgrades of its mission suite, avionics and sensors that improve its operational performance and make it easier to fly. Thirty of the RN’s current HM.1s were upgraded in a programme that completed in 2016.  The RN’s Merlin fleet (which includes HC.3 and HC.4 troop carrying variants) is now expected to serve until 2040.

To provide the RN’s new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers with over the horizon radar capabilities, a team from Lockheed Martin UK, Thales UK and Agusta Westland have produced a role-fit AEW radar, based on the radar sets removed from the Sea King ASACs.7.   Although these are likely to be permanently fitted to a few aircraft on each deployment, in theory, ships staff can revert the aircraft to the ASW role at short notice.   Three pre-production sets have deployed with Carrier Strike Group 21, embarked in HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH.

Agusta Westland AW101 Merlin HC.3A, 846 Sqn Fleet Air Arm,

RNAS Yeovilton/Exercise Black Alligator, Mojave Desert, 2015.

This is the “James Bond Skyfall” Italeri issue of this kit, with extensive changes, including a scratch built replacement nose radome and sensors/ countermeasures, plus other changes, e.g window layout.

Starting in 2015, ex-RAF Merlin HC.3s have been transferred to the RN to replace the venerable Sea King HC.4. This has included a number of ex-Danish aircraft acquired to reinforce the UK support helicopter force during the Afghan conflict.   These aircraft have a very different configuration from the normal HC.3, including an extended nose with weather radar and space for an IR low level vision system.    

Boeing Vertol Chinook HC2, 18 Sqn RAF, Joint Helicopter Command,

HMS OCEAN, Northern Gulf, 2003

Italeri HC1 with my own changes to bring it up to date Link to Build Page

Since Vietnam, the Chinook has established itself as the invaluable workhorse of Western combat heavy-lift. The UK's Joint Helicopter Command is the 2nd largest operator of Chinooks (after the US Army). Amazingly agile, with an astonishing load carrying capability and proven battlefield damage resilience, Chinooks will continue to excel in this role for the forseeable future.

Chinooks are an essential element of NATO helicopter operations in Afghanistan. Although parented by the RAF, a number of Royal Navy personnel are now flying the Chinook in Afghanistan. These include Naval Pilots, Maj. Mark Hammond RM and Lt. Nick Benzie RN , who have both been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for their exemplary gallantry during combat operations. Lt Benzie was also previously Mentioned in Dispatches for his role as Operations Officer of the UK Chinook force in Helmand Province.

Westland Puma HC.1, 33 Sqn, Joint Helicopter Command,

RAF Benson, 2007.

The Puma is one of the hidden gems in the Airfix catalogue. So far as I am aware this is the only 1/72 kit of the RAF Puma available, although Italeri/Revell and Heller have both done 1/72 kits of the later Super Puma/Cougar, and Heller has also released the Airfix kit with additional French ALAT parts and markings. This is the current release, with some of the additional Heller parts included (principally the intake particle filters, which, incidentally, are the wrong type and need a few modifications!).

The kit provides decals for 2 grey/green/black aircraft from the 1980s. However, since the RAF Pumas have seen relatively few major external changes since then, I decided to update mine to the current configuration, with scratch built ESM antenna, decoys and jammers, and finish it in RAF NATO two tone green. Link to Build Page

on to Helos Part 7

Return to Helos Index

Links to Website Index: