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Bell Helicopters HTL-4 (MRC) & H-13H (Revell) 2 for 1 By Egilman, 1/35th scale...

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This is going to be a quick build, two of the most recognizable helicopters in the world.....


First...   The kits


The first is the MRC/Academy HTL-4, my kit is the 1997 edition of the kit which depicts an HTL-4 (navy designation of the H-13D) on floats and decaled as a US Coast Guard S/R bird, no other options offered...

The second is the venerable Revell 4077th Mash H-13H kit first released in 1994 and shown decaled for the TV show version of the helicopter... (but it also depicts a red painted Arctic Search -n- Rescue bird as well)



They both build into reasonable models with the MRC/Academy being the most accurate and versatile of the two kits, The Revell is the more well known kit though obviously given the licensed connection to the TV show M.A.S.H.


This will be an actual side by side build predominantly out of the box, The MRC/Academy kit has the extra part options to build an actual US Army Medevac D/E version or an original "Cobra" version (two underslung .30 calibre M1919A4 machine guns which served as a test aircraft and never saw combat) The MRC instructions only show the USCG version on floats, so I have downloaded the Fujimi instructions which show all the versions the kit is capable of being built into without the floats...... If you want to build an accurate Korean War Medevac version of an H-13 get the Academy version of the kit, it will be accurate...


On the other hand, if your interested in the Vietnam version of the H-13, (G thru S models) buy the Revell kit... Although inaccurate for a Korean War medevac version, the kit will build into a very good representation of an OH-13H or with a little work, an "S" model with a few aftermarket accessories and some plastruct you can build any post Korea/Vietnam War version of the H-13 Sioux....

Me? I'm going to build mine into an OH-13G, straight up army brass taxi, probably late '50 Europe configuration...... (part of the '50's old boys club, you really didn't realize you were a brand new, freshly minted general until they assigned you your very ownest own personal helicopter) The one I have in mind is a Major General's bird from USAEUR.....


Any way, a quick little project to get my hand back into hacking and gluing.... Then we move on to the baddest of the bad.....




Edited by Egilman
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You had to build the Revell kit soon, the box was about to fall apart!:blink:


You missed my favorite childhood version, The first season of The Whirlybirds! Having looked at an episode on YouTube or somewhere recently I have no idea why I loved the show back when I was seven or eight, but like Sea Hunt and a few other programs of the time I loved it. I was even able to send away and get the sanctioned Bell 47G model from the show. Spent a lot of back yard time with that! May have even been the reason I jumped at the job of door gunner when the opportunity presented itself years later.

  The Whirlybirds - Helicopters - Modeling Subjects | Scale models, Model  airplanes, Bell helicopter

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2 hours ago, Canute said:

Go back and look at reruns of the Lone Ranger

I think I have!:ph34r: They may have been a step or two above The Whirlybirds. Makes me worry a little about my emotional development when I was young, I LOVED all of those programs! I guess I have to blame my parents for letting me watch them.:unsure: 

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I'm in EG,  good to see you back on the horse!!

M.A.S.H my dad's favourite show when I was a kid, I also used to watch 'Whirlybirds' Lou, for it's  time it was ok!

Don't know if you would have got 'The Flashing Blade'  an overdubbed euro series, I can't believe I used to sit thru it🙄 there's bits on YouTube, I'll warn you it's terrible 😂

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35 minutes ago, Edwardkenway said:

I can't believe I used to sit thru it🙄

I have never heard of it. From what I saw on YouTube that may have been a good thing. Some parts of it kind of remind me of a poor mans version of our TV series of Zorro with Guy Williams. The three main people in that series are Don Diego de la Vega/Zorro, his servant Bernardo, and the sometimes scene stealer Sergeant Garcia. I think even as an adult watching episodes these days it still holds up OK. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYdDqi1EsFQ

I also still like the theme song and I always thought Guy Williams sword work was above average. 


Airwolf.......... Now there was one I forgot all about. Loved the helicopter, like Kit on Night Rider it was the true hero of the show.

Edited by lmagna
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33 minutes ago, lmagna said:

I also still like the theme song and I always thought Guy Williams sword work was above average.

Better than when he was Lost in Space, but back then you didn't care that he was the only sane one on the show, (at least he was out of tights) Some of those shows you see today and wonder how they ever made it on TV....


SkyKing, Batman, The Green Hornet, Highway Patrol....  Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea..... Although Gunsmoke, Route 66, Adam 12 and The Rifleman hold up well, (better than most crap on TV today, well all of those are better than todays TV, at least they had a point)

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3 hours ago, lmagna said:

Airwolf.......... Now there was one I forgot all about. Loved the helicopter, like Kit on Night Rider it was the true hero of the show.

Oh yes, Airwolf was good, and The Hoff as Knightrider with that clever car👍👍 

Very underrated actor, the Hoff, saw him in pantomime as Captain Hook in Peterpan with the grandchildren,  hammed it up spectacularly 

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1 hour ago, Edwardkenway said:

Oh yes, Airwolf was good, and The Hoff as Knightrider with that clever car👍👍 

Very underrated actor, the Hoff, saw him in pantomime as Captain Hook in Peterpan with the grandchildren,  hammed it up spectacularly 

Yep that Bell 222A  was a superb piece of kit  and created a few good look alike RC  heli's.



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Well a little history is in order....


While the helicopter received some attention, (and use) during World War II ( Kolibri FL282, Sikorsky H-4, H-5 & H-6), it was not until the Korean War that its practical battlefield value was put to the test. One of the most famous designs to emerge was the utilitarian Bell Model 47, (though in its military H-13 Sioux form)  The Model 47 proved the consummate workhorse used in a myriad of military roles including medical transport and observation. From 1946 to 1974, some 5,600 were produced. The Model 47 can still be found in air spaces of today.

The H-13 Sioux helicopter was acquired by the Army in 1946. It was the first Army aircraft named for an Indian tribe, a tradition that is still in use today. The H-13 was the primary Army helicopter used during the Korean War for all tasks (e.g. wire laying, liaison, reconnaissance and training), but most famously for Medical Evacuation (MedEvac) as portrayed in the Movie/TV series MASH.

In the early 1960s at the beginning of the Vietnam War, the Army had 861 H-13's in its inventory. Although more advanced helicopters were the primary platforms in Vietnam, the H-13G thru S models proved useful as an observation helicopter and flying gun platform for the cavalry, infantry and air assault divisions. It was replaced with the OH-6A Cayuse and the OH-58 Kiowa in 1968/69


The Bell Model 47/H-13 Sioux sprung from the mind of Arthur M. Young. After graduation from Princeton University in 1927, Young searched for a suitable invention to develop. In 1928 he returned to his father's farm in Radnor, Pennsylvania, to begin twelve solitary years of efforts to develop the helicopter into a useful device. Young's private experiments with helicopter design had mostly involved small scale models. After twelve years on his own using the models, in early 1941, he took his results and models to the Bell Aircraft Company in Buffalo, New York, and the company agreed to build full-scale prototypes. With Bell behind him, he was issued the key patent, the rotor stabilizer bar (also known as a flybar) assigned it to Bell, and moved to Buffalo to work with them. In June 1942 he moved his five-person team to Gardenville, New York, a hamlet on the north border of West Seneca, New York, where they could work in relative secrecy. The first test flight of his prototype Bell Model 30 occurred in July 1943.



Design and refinement continued and on March 8, 1946, the company received Helicopter Type Certificate H-1 for the world's first commercial helicopter, the Bell Model 47. 



The Model 47 improved on several facets of the original. Seating was increased to two and power was derived from either a Franklin- or Lycoming-branded engine, now increased in output power to as much as 300 horsepower. Bell sold the United States Army on the design and the type was adopted for service in 1946, too late to see operational service in World War II which officially ended in September of the previous year. The US Army designated the military version as the H-13 "Sioux" (in the US Navy as the HTL 1 thru 5 series)


Video below is an HTL-5....



The type was featured heavily in the Korean War. (1950-1953) The Model 47 was also a civilian marketplace stalwart where it's simple construction and contained flight characteristics ensured it a lengthy reach as a multi-role utility mount. The Model 47 was even attributed with several helicopter flight records including a 1949 claim of reaching 18,550 feet for a helicopter, a 1950 feat seeing a Model 47 pass over the Alps and a 1952 world distance record of 1,217 miles from Hurst, Texas to Buffalo, New York. During the Korean War the Model 47/H-13 gained its classic appearance, including the bubble canopy and skeletal tail section. The type was used in the MEDEVAC role and as an airborne observation platform. It was the Model 47D that introduced the classic bubble canopy design. The Model 47D-1 appeared in 1949 It supported seating for three. The Model 47E introduced a Franklin powerplant with 200 horsepower output. Then came the Model 47F and the Model 47G which utilized a three-seating arrangement and "saddle bag" fuel tanks. 

Bell was granted foreign license production with the governments of Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom. Agusta produced the aircraft in Italy while Japanese manufacture was through Kawasaki Heavy Industries (as the KH-4). British mounts were produced by Westland Aircraft.


Most Model 47s are no longer in direct military service but survive through various civilian endeavors - primarily in Agriculture, Tourism and the Museum industries. Nevertheless, they remain a classic, highly recognizable design that is almost universally recognized as the first "Whirlybird"


The Bell Model 47 has been used/produced worldwide with many on public display as showpieces. 


Next up the models....

Edited by Egilman
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Ok, the Models....


First up the 1994 Revell #4334 Mash 4077th Bell H-13H Helicopter....


It's an oldie and looks to have had some fairly rough treatment in various stashes over the years....


The Sprues....


Three sprues and a bare frame, two sprues and the frame are in hard olive green plastic and one sprue of clear.....

Not too many parts, 70 in all...









The kit obviously models a fairy tale aircraft, no US military aircraft ever carried the word "MASH" on it's side.... As well as the helicopters used during Korea and even on the TV show were not H-13H's which is what the model depics.... The H-13H was first acquired by the Army in 1955, (it was a follow-on design to the H-13G which was first acquired by the Army in 1953) way too late to see service in Korea... It's main features (over the "G" model) were a 250hp up-rated Lycoming engine and upgraded landing skids.... You can tell the Lycoming engine by the valve covers, they are smooth with the Lycoming name embossed on the surface..... (exactly what the kit has)


So that decidedly places this model in the post Korea/Vietnam era.... Avionics are all over the place for this thing from next to none to everything you could find in communications... Upgrade kits (for the real bird) are numerous as well from various armament packages to full on cabin heating systems the opportunities for scratch detailing are great.... The Kit has some deficiencies which I will get into during the build portion of this thread)


Outside of the MASH lettering and Caduceus, the decals allow you to represent an H-13G or H model from almost any period after the Korean war... (as long as your not modeling a specific aircraft) 


Overall it looks to be a decent kit...


The Kit offers two different schemes

Mash Medevac..


And a high vis red & white scheme...


Personally I'm now leaning towards something Ft Rucker.... (a nice red or red & green instrument training bird would be nice as well)



Next up, the MRC HTL-4





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Next up the 1997 MRC #BA109 Bell HTL-4 United States Coast Guard Helicopter....



This kit is a re-release of the MRC Bell 47D MASH Helicopter #BA102 from 1993 with the addition of two extra sprues consisting of the floats other than that it is a complete BA102....


The Sprues



112 parts, many of them optional depending on which Bell 47D version you are building....


The Instructions...

633847286_InstructionsMPCHTL-4-1.jpg.00459ab339a9d5c49c9bdcce14130842.jpg1715336501_InstructionsMPCHTL-4-2.jpg.9feff4dcfabf23e304b282816d6d607a.jpg1815325504_InstructionsMPCHTL-4-3.jpg.8a933770df24263a80a6215fd6c06190.jpg685489361_InstructionsMPCHTL-4-4.jpg.3b0bd43948d9521505631e34b61bad4c.jpgInstructions MPC HTL-4-5.jpg1175839120_InstructionsMPCHTL-4-6.jpg.96e888f70bc0ce7fb2e5605b87dba0c8.jpg1891177752_InstructionsMPCHTL-4-7.jpg.a9f1ed14dfb43b9d8bb19d47ce7a4b67.jpg1960443158_InstructionsMPCHTL-4-8.jpg.8d9dbc7830ec1a1c759f3c190a44a893.jpg

As you can see there is only one version in the kit a Coast Guard HTL-4 from 1952... The Decals...


Pretty basic but we do have stars and warning tags & rotor blade markings.... pretty much nothing else... so I will have to dip into my stash of old decals....

The Kit as you can plainly see from the sprues has the extra parts to build an accurate H-13D or E model air ambulance or a machine gun mounted scout chopper... But I need the instructions.... Searching the internet I found the instructions for the Fujimi version of the kit...... (the mash version of the kit was re-released by Academy #02194 in 1998, re-released again in 2004, and this HTL-4 version as well, at some point Fujimi also released the mash version but I don't have a date)


Fujimi Instructions.....



I guess it's still available in Japan.... https://www.suruga-ya.jp/kaitori_detail/603064410 1500 yen.... As you can see, with this set of instructions, you can use the optional parts to build the original Army ambulance/medevac version of the kit as well as the early gunship and Navy versions..... (will have to make due on decals though)


So, what is it we can actually build.... I'm aiming for a Korean war air ambulance version....  So what were the actual versions used... 



That a screen cap of one of the two H-13E's used in making the mash movie and TV series.... Of course it is not accurate for a 1950's H-13D or E model Bell 47D-1... Actually we are in luck today, one of the Helicopters used in the series is actually for sale today.... And the owner bought it from the Navy had it restored to the exact configuration Bell Helicopter assembled it into for the US Navy, an HTL-4.....



The story on this bird runs like this....


This Bell 47-D1 s/n 263 was built in July 1951 at the Bell Aircraft Assembly plant in Niagara, New York.  It was delegated to the U.S. Navy and was used as a helicopter trainer until 1958 when it was surplussed out of the Navy.   In 1972 it was purchased by Adrian Grieve, owner and operator of Pathfinder Helicopters in Riverside, CA. It was completely rebuilt to Bell Helicopter specifications and received a Standard Airworthiness Certificate in 1973.  S/n 263 was used in various action movies. Its most notable role was starring in the hit television show M.A.S.H.  In the opening scene where two helicopters are flying formation, 263 is closest to the camera, In the second scene, 263 is the second helicopter on approach to the landing pads. During the ten years that M.A.S.H. was filmed, 263 was utilized many times both as set dressing and in flying scenes.  263 was utilized in the final departure scene of the final episode, one of the most watched TV episodes of all time.  When filming ended in 1981, 263 was sold to a rancher who used it for crop-dusting and counting cattle.  Several years ago it was sold to the current owner who restored it back to its original MASH TV show configuration.  Located: Reno, Nevada and for sale....

Not exactly what I'm looking to build but close.....


So what is an HTL-4 and how does it equate to an H-13D or E? WE have to go back to the initial mass purchase by the Army of bell Helicopters to figure this out...


The Bell Helicopters the army initially purchased were Bell Model 47A's classified by the army as; the YR-13, YR-13A and by the Navy as the HTL-1....


The initial production version, the "Model 47A", was a two-seat helicopter with an enclosed airframe, four-wheel undercarriage, and a 175-HP Franklin O-335-1 engine. The US Army bought 18 Bell 47As, for evaluation, 13 of them being given the designation of "YR-13", with three kitted up for Arctic trials under the designation of "YR-13A". Some sources hint that the YR-13s were later given the updated designation of "YH-13". The US Navy obtained another ten for evaluation, under the designation of "HTL-1". The Navy would always be a minority user of the Model 47, using the type largely for training, instead of utility use.


Model 47B series


The Bell 47A was followed by the "Model 47B-1", with a fully-enclosed fuselage and an automobile-style cockpit, powered by a 178-HP Franklin 6V4-178-B3 engine. Young the designer didn't like the idea, and it didn't sell; Bell had been banking on a boom market for private helicopters in the postwar period, but it didn't materialize. However, there was a commercial market, leading to the Model 47B-2 and Model 47B-3 -- optimized for agricultural use, the Model 47B-2 being for crop spraying, the other, (Model 47B-3) for crop dusting. They were identical except for the agricultural equipment; they reverted to the bubble cockpit and open airframe, and were powered by a 178-HP Franklin 6V4-178-B3 engine. No military purchases though but commercial sales proved very good.


Next up was the Model 47D series, (there was never a Model 47C)


Bell went on to an improved commercial version, the Bell Model 47D which received FAA type certification in late 1947. The Model 47D featured an improved two-piece bubble canopy with a removeable top and an enclosed airframe using fabric covering. The fabric covering was at the insistence of Larry Bell, who was basically a salesman and felt an open airframe would make the machine look unfinished. Young again, didn't like the covering, since all it did was add weight and make the machine more sensitive to crosswinds.


The Model 47D was powered by a 178-HP Franklin 6V4-178-B32 engine. It was available in a float version, the "Model 47D-S". However, rival helicopter designer Stanley Hiller had introduced his "Model 360" helicopter, in the same class with the Model 47, but with three seats and other improvements. Bell had to respond, coming up with a major re-design, the "Model 47D-1", also with three seats. The third seat was accommodated by reducing weight, (reverting to the open frame, adopting skid landing gear, and using a single-piece bubble cockpit) as well as by uprating to a Franklin O-335-5 engine, providing 200 HP.


Model 47D-1 became the first mass purchased helicopter of the US Military, they became the H-13B, the H-13C Army modified Air Ambulances and the Navy version HTL-2


The US Army bought 65 Model 47D-1's with dual controls under the designation "H-13B" (calling it the "Sioux", the Army liking names of American native tribes for their flying machines) 

The US Navy bought 12 Model 47D-1's as the "HTL-2". 

The Army converted 16 of their H-13B's (Model 47D-1's) to the "H-13C" air ambulance configuration, with an external stretcher on each side of the cabin.


Bell continued development of the Model 47D-1 for the military with their requested modifications....


Model 47D-1 Modified became the  H-13D, the Navy Version the HTL-4;

The Army obtained 87 "H-13D's", which were new Bell Helicopter built H-13C's with Bell engineered litter carriers on each side of the cabin. 

The Navy bought 46 H-13D's with dual controls as the "HTL-4" (air ambulances for the Marines)


Further modification and purchases.....


The Model 47D-1 further modified became the H-13E, the Navy version the HTL-5

This Army version came with dual controls and a third middle seat, obtaining 490 of this variant as the "H-13E".

The Navy bought 36 Bell 47D-1's as the "HTL-5"


As a US Army bird, it can be an H-13C, D, or E, or a US Navy HTL 4 or 5.... They were all the same, the only difference being who built the thing, which Franklin engine it had, and how the military modified it for whatever use they decided to put it to...


An H-13E in Korea at a mash unit......



Nothing fancy here, basic H-13D-E with dual controls and stretchers...... Most of these helicopters are no longer flying as they cannot be type certified for flight status without major upgrades so we have to look for them in museums or collections...

Like this one....


Or these....


And this last one has been updated to current standards so the electronics package isn't period.... but the basic airframe should be good....


So overall I'll be building a basic 1951 air ambulance as used by the US army in Korea....



I would recommend anyone wishing to build an accurate Korean War air ambulance get the HTL kits, they usually sell for half the price of the Mash designated kits and they are the same kit with an extra set of sprues....



Edited by Egilman
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5 hours ago, Landlubber Mike said:

Very cool!  How are the clear cockpits on these kits?  Being such a focal point, they'd have to be well done and blemish free.

Completely clear bubbles my friend, the Revell one wasn't in a bag but I see no scratches on it and the MRC one was so it was protected at least a little.... No matter, a dip in Future will take care of any clarity/smoothness issues....

Edited by Egilman
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2 hours ago, Canute said:

I'm sure you do. Sly like a fox! ;)


Was the Army flying these for what we in the AF would term Undergraduate helicopter Pilot training in the late 60s/early 70s?

Yeah they were along with Hiller H-23 Ravens's and Hughes H-55 Osages's as well as H-13 Sioux's out of Ft Wolters, that was the primary helicopter flight school for all military helicopter pilots in the late 50's to early 70's.....

I have a video of what it took in '67 to become a military helicopter pilot.....



Shows Primary at Ft Wolters and Advanced at Ft Rucker.... At one time, the three largest heliports in the world were 1. An Khe, Vietnam, 2. Ft Rucker, Alabama, and 3. Ft Wolters, Texas..... Over 15,000 Chopper pilots got their wings at Ft Wolters..... By the end of 1972 3/4ths of all helicopter pilots in the world came through Forts Wolters and Rucker...

Edited by Egilman
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1 hour ago, Egilman said:

Yeah they were along with Hiller H-23 Ravens's and Hughes H-55 Osages's as well as H-13 Sioux's out of Ft Wolters, that was the primary helicopter flight school for all military helicopter pilots in the late 50's to early 70's.....

I have a video of what it took in '67 to become a military helicopter pilot.....



Shows Primary at Ft Wolters and Advanced at Ft Rucker.... At one time, the three largest heliports in the world were 1. An Khe, Vietnam, 2. Ft Rucker, Alabama, and 3. Ft Wolters, Texas..... Over 15,000 Chopper pilots got their wings at Ft Wolters..... By the end of 1972 3/4ths of all helicopter pilots in the world came through Forts Wolters and Rucker...

Just down Lou and Marks  field ........."where are youuuuuuuuuu........."



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I'm here... just watching quietly.  I wasn't Army or Air Force but Marine.  My first squadron was a training unit for pilots.. CH-34's and then CH-53's.   So not much I can say and stay on topic....   


Marine/Navy primary chopper training in the Vietnam era was in Florida.   Our squadron (ours and another unit that did Ch-46's) were for advanced training on "type".   We had a good outfit in California.  Very close, very much "not your average Marine" views in many ways.  But air crews have their own formalities and ignore others once you're in the chopper.   Don't know if that's changed or not.

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6 minutes ago, mtaylor said:

But air crews have their own formalities and ignore others once you're in the chopper. 

Same in the Army. It was almost like we were a separate branch of the military. Even though there was a separation of both duties and ranks it was much more blurred  amongst the crews. We all literally depended on each other almost every day and eventually that trust even extended into our personal lives as well. There was many a night where the ranks of those people "hanging out" involved ranks ranging from Captain to Private, even though in actuality we didn't really have any Privates.   

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