January 2023

Sikorsky Whirlwind HAR.21

Westland Whirlwind HAR.3

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Sikorsky S-55 Whirlwind HAR.21

848 Naval Air Sqn, RNAS Sembawang, Singapore / RAF Kuala Lumpur, Malaya, 1953.

Airfix 1/72  with scratch decals.

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© www.gengriz.co.uk

The first British Whirlwinds were produced in the US by Sikorsky, and were almost identical to the US Marines HRS-2 troop carrier (the HAR.21) and the US Navy ASW variant HO4S-3 (the HAS.22).  Intended as a stop-gap whilst Westland developed a UK-specific version, the HAR.21 and HAS.22 powered by the 600hp P&W Wasp engine, were very badly underpowered and were thus quickly replaced by the more powerful Wright Cyclone powered HAR.3 once it became available .  

HAR.21s saw active service in the far east during the Malayan Emergency, transporting Malayan, British and Commonwealth troops into jungle combat areas..  Although successful, the hot humid conditions emphasised the need to increase the Whirlwind’s  meagre power reserve.

 Main References used during this build:  

Flashing Blades Over The Sea - Lt Cdr J M Milne. Maritime Books ISBN 0 9506323 2 5

British Naval Aircraft Since 1912 5th Edition - Owen Thetford. Putnam ISBN 0 370 30021 1

Building the Airfix Whirlwind Kit (see also Part 1):

Completing my set of early Whirlwinds, this one is in a set of scratch markings to represent an early HAR.21 of 848 Sqn.  Modifications are the same as my HAR.3 and purely intended to smarten up this 65 year old kit to make it a little more presentable.  There is a limit to what can be achieved here, without major modifications, but the finished model conveys the general idea!

Decals came from the spares box and also from the previous (2012) Airfix Whirlwind release (that included decals for a USMC machine), plus some from an Italeri H-19A.

This is a kit that you should only really build for nostalgic fun reasons or because you are desperate to have an early Whirlwind in your collection.  In comparison to the Italeri S.55 kit, I think its nose shape is perhaps a little better (Italeri’s seems very flat), but in all other respects it falls very far behind.  

A better set of wheels would probably go  long way to improving it (Spitfire/Hurricane wheels would be OK for the main undercarriage), but given its wider shortfalls, I’m not sure it is worth it - IMHO its better just to sit back , build as intended and enjoy it !

Link to many more early helicopter kit builds on my Helos pages

Part 2

Link to January 2023 Part 2 (Whirlwind HAR.3) >>

January 2023 - Part 1

The Real Thing!  Landing troops in a Malayan jungle clearing © IWM A 32671

From left:  HAR.21, HAS.22, HAR.1, HAR.3

The Real Thing!  Whirlwinds of 848 Sqn over the Malayan jungle © IWM A 33588

The Real Thing!  A Whirlwind of 848 Sqn picks up Royal Marines from a jungle clearing

© IWM A 32797