March 2023

Sikorsky SH-60B Sea Hawk Sikorsky UH-60A Black Hawk

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Sikorsky S-70 SH-60B Sea Hawk

HSL 141, 1956.


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The Sikorsky SH-60 Sea Hawk is a naval derivative of the S-70 Black Hawk.  Fitted with folding main rotor blades, radar and various anti-submarine systems, it entered service with the US Navy in 1984.  Unlike the Black hawk, it has only one main cabin door, plus  a shorter, but higher deck clearance undercarriage with a twin rear wheel placed under the mid cabin to simplify deck manoeuvring.  The SH-60B variant operated from smaller ships in the ASW and ASuW roles, replacing the SH-2 Seasprite in the LAMPS  (Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System) role.  

SH-60Bs were replaced by the more capable SH-60R from 2006.

The SH-60F was similar but with a dipping sonar and a more limited range of capabilities, operating from the US Carriers  as a replacement for the ASW Sea King.

Building the Hasegawa SH-60B Kit:

Hasegawa's Seahawk kit is surprisingly long in the tooth, having first gone on sale nearly 35 years ago in 1985.  Notwithstanding this age, it is a nice kit, well engineered, albeit with the simplifications typical of Hasegawa, including a very bare interior.  Scratch building some bits to enable you to leave the cabin door open is not difficult though, with plenty of pictures on the web.  Many of the missing bits also remain available as aftermarket parts.  I moved one of the seats to the back starboard bulkhead and some ex-Fujimi Sea King bits in mine to give a tactical console and the sonobouy launcher, all trimmed to fit and joined by some sprue and other spare "boxes" where needed.  It's not hugely accurate, but good enough for a peek in the door.  The lack of a cabin roof is a little disappointing.  It's not hugely obvious unless you look inside, but light does show through the gap where the rotor hub attaches!  The kit also provides 3 crew, who can be placed in the pilot and co-pilot seat as well as the tactical officer's position. These figures are nicely sculpted, and best of all, all 3 have slightly different poses, but they do sit a little too high in the cockpit, something that will be very obvious if you choose the option to leave the side door open.

Assembly is logical and works well. I was a little disappointed by the joint between the two fuselages, which click together nicely but leave a bit of a lip on the seam, possibly due to mould wear. This was addressed with some Tippex fluid used as filler/leveller.  Surface detail on the fuselage is very nicely represented by delicately engraved lines, with crisp detail throughout.  The exhaust pipes are also mysteriously missing, something that definitely needs to be addressed and a strange fault that all of the Hasegawa S.70 kits share with the Fujimi ones.

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

Part 1

Link to March 2023 Part 2 (UH-60A Black Hawk) >>

March 2023 - Part 2

Hasegawa have designed the cabin windows to be assembled from the outside of the model. This has required a rather toy-like tab to be moulded in each window space, which is a little disappointing, but not a major issue as it should disappear when the window surrounds are painted.  The cockpit windscreen on the other hand is a pig to fit, for several reasons. Firstly it is very thin, which should be good, but also makes it very fragile.  Mine had some flash and at the leading lower edge, I couldn't really tell what was moulded detail and what should be removed. The top centre panel is moulded into the fuselage, but mine was too wide for the windscreen so needed both parts shaving back.  Its leading edge then needs to click over the windscreen, which is not an easy task, not helped by the aforementioned very high sitting aircrew figures.  At this point in the build I became very frustrated but eventually it clicked in and was a perfect fit, but this is not Hasegawa's best bit of buildable engineering and I have heard of many modellers breaking the fragile transparent part at this stage, which is a major setback. As is my norm, I used magic marker to tint the roof windows before fitting.

The provided weapons are two torpedoes that look like Mk.46, but are enrtiely passable for a more modern Mk.54 as well. The frangible nose cones are missing, but in any event these aren't always carried and can be added from some putty if needed.  Check colours for your specific build as Hasegawa suggest an overall light grey, which is something that I have never seen.  Live torpedoes should be some mixture of overall green (Mk.46) or an anodised light yellow after body and green main body (Mk.54), both with a yellow band indicating that they are live munitions or perhaps a reflective silver and red band with a blue band to indicate that they are drill. Recoverable droppable exercise variants will differ and range from overall yellow to bright red, to assist in spotting and recovering them.

The kit provides 2 decal options, on for the brightly marked white and grey original demonstrator aircraft, plus a toned down set of grey markings for a training aircraft of HSL-41 in 1984 at about the time of the aircraft's entry into service. Of course, I couldn't leave well alone and added a few scratch "updates" to my kit. Hasegawa provide the AN/ALQ-144 "Disco Ball" infrared countermeasures light on the clear sprue as it is fitted on their UH-60 kit.  SH-60Bs wore these at the time of the first Gulf War, so I added it to my kit. I also added some AN/AAR-47 missile approach sensors and some of the very prominent hydraulic pipes visible on the rotor head.

This was a very solid and mostly easy to build  kit, but it has its shortfalls and quirks, some of which are the result of it depicting a very early Seahawk.   I have a number of the Hobby Boss kits in the stash ready to build, and they do look to be a better and more modern option.  We shall see!