1/48 UH-60L Black Hawk Helicopter

For my next build I am building the 1/48 Italeri UH-60/MH-60 Black Hawk. I will be building this on commission as a UH-60L of the Illinois Army Air National Guard. A few years ago my company used to have a picnic lunch around the 4th of July in our parking lot during work. At these picnics we typically had government officials and military personnel give recognition for the work we do. The military personnel would arrive in a UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter and land in the parking lot. I have quite a few reference photos of these from over the years. Anyhow, one of the Back Hawk pilots (who landed in our parking lot a couple of times) after completing his service now works at my company and wants a model built of the particular Black Hawk he piloted. The kit will be detailed using Eduard interior and exterior photo etch sets and custom decals for the scheme.

I started with the crew cabin. The seats in the kit are basic looking. Since the seats are removable on the real helicopter they are mounted using cables and turnbuckles. The cables are mounted under the seats. To replicate these I used 30awg wire and made decals for the canvas flags. The seats were then detailed with photo etch seat belts and buckles. Once the crew seats were completed the cockpit was next. The instrument panel for the kit lacked details and the decal for the panels was basic. The photo etch requires the top of the instrument panel to be trimmed off. The panel modified and the photo etch pieces were applied. The pilot and co-pilot seats were then detailed with photo etch pieces. While reviewing reference photos I noticed the back of the pilot/co-pilot seats was a first aid pack. Using the photos I created a small 3-D file and 3-D printed the packs. These were then painted and mounted on the backs of the seats. I am now working on the crew cabin roof, engine, and tail rotor assemblies so I can assemble the fuselage.

This week’s update on the Black Hawk covers the assembly and detailing of the fuselage. The rotor transfer case was assembled and detailed with photo etch then painted. The cabin/cockpit roof was then detailed with photo etch and some styrene rods. The tail rotor and main wheels were detailed. The fuselage was then assembled. The fit was average. It required some putty around the nose and the top just behind the main rotor. I dry fit the kit windshield and top section above the cockpit. This fit was very poor. The windows above the cockpit were too small to fit into the section and the windshield did not line up very well to the nose and doors. I instead used the canopy section from the1/48 Minicraft UH-60 kit. This is a one piece clear section. Remarkably it lined up very well. I polished it, taped off the window sections with kapton tape, and installed it.

Next came the numerous photo etch detail parts for the fuselage. The vents and screens molded on the kit were cut out and the photo etch parts were formed and placed. The photo etch adds the correct formation lights, landing light, various cable cutters, antenna’s, and panels. There is even photo etch details that go in the main wheels.  Last night I made the specific decals to match the reference photos of the actual Black Hawk. I am currently working on the fuselage getting it ready for base coat of paint.

This week I am near completion of the Black Hawk. The base coat was painted an overall olive drab. I made my own decals for the specific aircraft and used the kit decals for the general decals. The kit decals worked well. Once the decals were applied I added weathering with pastel chalk using dark olive, dark brown and black overall and some dark gray and light gray for the engine exhaust. I then did a top coat of matte clear to seal the decals and weathering.

For the light on top of the tail, tail navigation light, and the bottom of the boom I cut off the body colored plastic and replaced them with clear styrene versions taken from my extra tree bin. The lens’ for the top of the tail and under boom were then painted with clear red. The photo etch included the mount for the tail whip antenna and I used 30awg wire for the actual antenna.  I then added the small antennas to the top of the canopy and the photo etch wipers. The Minicraft one piece canopy looks so much better than the kit parts that had a poor fit. I am working on the main rotor now and will be adding photo etch details. I have the display base ready for finishing but am waiting for the brass etched nameplate to arrive.

The Black Hawk is now finished and ready for display. After detailing and painting the main rotor it was mounted on to the helicopter. I ordered a brass nameplate etched with the information the client wanted and added the Army National Guard logo to a wood plaque that was painted with a desert tan surface and Army green trim. The main wheels of the helicopter were then pinned. I drilled two holes for the pins and glued it down. On the bottom side I added four felt pads so it can be displayed on any surface. While the kit itself had some issues the overall display looks great. This will be delivered to the pilot who flew this next week. Thank you for following along with the build!

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