Italeri 1/48 UH-1N “Twin Huey”

Italeri 1/48 UH-1N “Twin Huey”

by Anthony "Pappy" Papadis



I have always liked the camouflage worn by the 20th SOS Squadron birds so when I stumbled across the Italeri  1/48 kit going cheap ($2!!) last year I couldn’t help myself. I had previously bought the Cobra Company armour seats and UH-1N mini-gun weapons sets at a swap meet so now there was no excuse delay the build.

The kit

As per the instructions, construction began with the cockpit. Due to the large windshield and all the windows, the cockpit/cabin would be very visible. With that in mind I decided to add extra detail in this area. The kit cockpit seats were relegated to the spares box and the Cobra Company armour seats were trial fitted. I also added some seat belts to these with some left over seat belts from some Photo-etch spares.

My references indicated that when fitted, the narrow doors immediately behind the cockpit (88/86A) had their windows painted over. I installed the clear windows and used a bead of Mr Surfacer 500 to eliminate any gaps. These were then put aside. The kit ammunition magazine (14B) and the mini-gun electronic control units (15B) were replaced with the resin items supplied in the Cobra Company set. The control boxes were carefully sliced away from their base (15B) and the resin items attached.

I turned my attention to the mini-guns themselves. I used the Cobra Company breach assemblies, mounting cradles in conjunction with the Italeri  pintle mounts as the Cobra Company mounts were designed for the US Navy/Marines. The Italeri gun mounts also feature moulded piping to represent the tubing used to catch all the spent brass and spit it out underneath the chopper. I decided I would keep them, but I drilled out the ends to give the impression they were hollow and then glued thin armature wire around the tube to represent the ribbed appearance of the real thing.  Once all the gun assemblies were painted I added some wire to represent the electrical wiring that is around the breaches. The final touch was the aiming rings, (For which I must thank Rene DeKoning!!) The Cobra Company set also includes two lengths of ‘flexible’ ammo feed chutes. These would be cut and bent to fit after all the basic painting was done.


Whilst I was working on the guns, I also worked on the unguided rocket tubes. I didn’t like the kit mounting racks so I decided to make new ones from plastic sheet. I wanted these to be quite worn so I painted them silver initially then gave then a coat of Future. When dry, a thin coat of acrylic olive drab followed. Once touch dry, I used cheap masking tape to pull off the paint in chips, applying  the tape repeatedly until the desires level of ‘wear’ was achieved.

The weapons and ordnance was now put aside and attention returned to the cabin.  I added a fire extinguisher and some first aid pouches to the cabin area. I also made the crew-chief and loadmaster seats using fuse wire and masking tape.

I also wanted to add the pilot’s reflector gunsight, so this was scratchbuilt from photo’s using plastic sheet, copper foil and acetate sheet. This was then attached to the cabin roof after the upper windows were attached.


The fuselage was now assembled and the engine housing subassembly was ready to be attached. I found that some filler was required towards the rear of the engine assembly. The intake mesh at the front of the engine cowling is represented by some poor moulding. I cut out the ‘mesh’ area and cut some fine brass mesh to suit and this was installed. I also boxed in the area around the rotor base as I did not want the ‘see-through’ effect.

The main rotor now came in for some attention. I wanted to articulate the rotor mast head so the swash plate actuator rods and rotor hubs were cut apart and re-positioned so that the rotor blades would be in a more normal pose such as when they are tied to the aircraft. The mast counter balance (92A) also had the inner linkage on one side re-positioned.

The kit was now masked and ready for painting. I applied a basic coat of Gunze FS36375, over which the disruptive pattern of FS34092 (Euro I green), FS34087 (olive drab) and FS30219 (dark tan). A coat of Future was applied prior to decalling and the decals were applied. Another shot of Future sealed everything.

I applied a light panel wash with some minor chipping, mainly around the skids and access/step hatches. I also sprayed several light coats of  Tamiya Smoke to represent the engine exhaust soot over the tail boom.

It was now time to attach all the sticky-outy bits. The mini-guns and rockets were first followed by all the aerials and tie down rings.  The spotlight and cargo hook were now added.

It was at this point that I tried to attach the flexible ammo feed chutes. I had previously tack glued the mini-guns in place whilst I bent and curled the white metal feed chutes to shape. The chutes required care to bend for although they were ‘flexible’ too much bending and they would crack. This proved to be the most difficult part of the build.


The second most difficult part was attaching them!!

Once all this was done, some simple bungs made from shaped plastic stock were added and the “Remove Before Flight” streamers were made from lead foil.

Anthony "Pappy" Papadis

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