First Look Review
UH-34A Choctaw
  • HB_Choctaw_Boxtop

by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Despite it's being one of the most important and long-serving helicopters, no-one could accuse the Sikorsky S.58 of being over-covered by model companies. Known as the Seabat and Seahorse in the Navy, the S.58 was designated as the H-34 Choctaw in the Army. The type was widely exported and, of course, formed the basis of the UK's equally long-serving Wessex. Hobby Boss have released a new kit of the UH-34A, which arrives in a sturdy little conventional box and consists of:

40 x grey styrene parts
6 x clear styrene parts
Decals for 2 x colour schemes

The kit is a new tooling so, not surprisingly, there's almost no flash evident and the moulding is very crisp throughout. Surface detail is a mixture of engraved panel lines and raised details for vents and fasteners etc. The engraving is arguably a bit heavy for 1/72 scale, but this is countered by the overall crisp detailing and it should lend itself well to washes.

Construction looks pretty straightforward, with the fuselage split into halves as you'd expect - but with a separate belly panel. This might sound odd, but it's actually quite clever, as it allows for some good detail on the bottom of the fuselage and avoids an unsightly seam across the engine-grill under the nose.

The interior is nicely done for this scale, with the cockpit comprising 9 parts including a well-detailed instrument panel and seats with shoulder harnesses moulded on. The cabin forms a kind of "open box" made up of a floor and bulkheads plus webbing seats each side. This can be seen on the finished model courtesy of a separate side door, and there's also a pair of door guns (what I presume is an M60 and .50 calibre Browning - but the latter does look pretty large for 1/72 scale ).

Turning to the exterior, the main rotor head is very crisply moulded and the blades are designed with a built-in droop. The undercarriage look pretty good with some nice detail on the wheel hubs and there are further details such as winch gear and various hand-holds and a separate hollowed-out exhaust .

The clear parts are crystal clear with well-defined framing for the canopy. The side panels of the main canopy are moulded slightly bulged as per the original - and inevitably in this scale, the thickness of the plastic means a degree of optical distortion.

The assembly isn't broken down into stages, but the instructions are nicely drawn and quite simple to follow - the only area which might confuse younger or less experienced modellers is that sub-assemblies aren't indicated very clearly.

Painting and decals
Hobby Boss don't include any colour details for the interior, but Gunze Sangyo matches are given for the exterior. Decals are included for 2 interesting schemes:

1. UH34-A "OT-ZKH" of the Belgian Airforce
2. UH34-A "177-F" of the French Aeronavale

Both machines are finished in overall blue, with the French version featuring yellow top-decking and the Belgian has areas painted day-glo orange. The colour guides show both versions with the door guns fitted, but it's best to check references to see if they're appropriate.

The decals are thin and glossy with a very full set of stencils included and the registration is very good on the review sample. The red used for national insignia and warning symbols is rather "washed out" - but you could argue it's probably correct for "scale effect".

Hobby Boss's Choctaw seems a very neat kit of an important subject. The construction looks simple enough to make it ideal for beginners, but equally offers enough detail to appeal to more experienced modellers

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Hobby Boss have released a neat new kit of the venerable Sikorsky S.58 - known in the US Army as the UH-34 Choctaw.
  Scale: 1:72
  Mfg. ID: 87215
  Suggested Retail: 8.99
  PUBLISHED: May 13, 2007
  NATIONALITY: United States

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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright 2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


The Hobby Boss H-34 kits are slightly re-organised copies of the Italeri kit. CJ Heli-Kit News LINK
MAY 17, 2007 - 08:53 PM

Click image to enlarge
  • HB_Choctaw_1
  • HB_Choctaw_2
  • HB_Choctaw_Clear
  • HB_Choctaw_Decals
  • HB_Choctaw_Colour_1
  • HB_Choctaw_Colour_2