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MD-500E

Special Hobby, 1/72 scale

S u m m a r y

Description and Catalogue Number: Special Hobby Kit No. SH72346 – MD-500E
Scale: 1/72
Contents and Media:

Forty-five grey and six clear styrene parts, one PE fret with fourteen 14 parts, five resin parts, and decals for three subjects:.

Price:

Available on-line from these stockists

Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: The better of the two 1/72 MD-500E kits available.
Disadvantages:

No alignment aids for cockpit/cabin interior, seat belts could (should?) have been included with the PE fret.

Conclusion:

Special Hobby’s re-boxing of the Profiline MD-500E kit is most welcome, and its use of PE and resin parts enhances the original; although failing to include seatbelts on the PE fret really is a missed opportunity.

I think that Special Hobby’s MD-500E kit is superior to the only other option from AZ Model, not by a wide margin, but enough to sway a purchase decision in its favour.

I look forward to more Profiline MD-500 re-issues by Special Hobby, as I definitely recommend this one..

 

Reviewed by Mark Davies


Airfix's 1/48 scale Spitfire Mk. Vb will be available online from Squadron.com

Introduction

 

Background

The Hughes 500 family of helicopters came about in response to a 1960 US Department of Defense’s (DoD) requirement for a new Light Observation Helicopter (LOH). The new LOH was to be turbine-powered and replaced the Bell and Hiller piston-engined designs then in use. Twelve companies responded to the DoD requirement. The selection was initially reduced to designs from just Bell and Hiller, these being the YHO-4 and YHO-5 respectively. However, the Hughes Helicopters Model 369 was given consideration due to its low price and designated the YHO-6.

Five YHO-6's were ordered for evaluation in 1961. In 1965 the Model 369 was declared winner of the LOH contract, and was accepted into service as the OH-6A Cayuse. 1,300 OH-6A’s were quickly ordered, and the first machines entered service in September 1966.

Hughes had already announced a civilian version of the OH-6A Cayuse prior its adoption by the military, called the Hughes 500. Both military and civilian versions proved to be very successful in a wide variety of roles and applications. 

The OH-6/500 series have gone through steady development over the years. McDonnell Douglas acquired Hughes Helicopters in 1984, which in turn merged with Boeing in 1997. Boeing then sold the former MD civilian helicopter lines to MD Helicopters in 1999. So the more recent versions are known as MD-500s.


 

Previous 1/72 scale OH-6 & Hughes/MD-500 kits

Probably the best known OH-6/500 kit in “The One True Scale” is Italeri’s 1992 release of the OH-6A. This has appeared in number of variations and has been re-boxed by Bilek and Tamiya. It is a nice kit that builds well, and features some delicate raised rivet detail. Less well known is Esoteric’s kit that uses resin and white metal for major airframe parts, PE for the rotors, and has vac-formed canopy (I think the kit was originally produced by Scale Cast). Also rare and best forgotten is a vac-form “kit” (I use the term lightly) by Airmodel that seems to be little more than two clear fuselage shells.

Of course none of the above is the later MD-500E variant, but I mention them because I suspect most readers interested in the MD-500E will also have an interest in other variants as well.

2010 saw the release of new tool kits from Czech companies AZ Model and a newcomer called Profiline that is associated with the CMK/MPM & Special Hobby group, (possibly just using them for tooling). Both issued a variety of boxings covering several early and late variants including the MD-500E (Profiline going so far to offer a MD-500D with floats and an MD-520N without tail rotor).

I have read that the AZ Model kit includes some good detail, but can be demanding to build because of fit issues and its true limited-run nature. The Profiline kit seems to be the better of the two, but building it is no walk in the park either, despite its better parts fit. I draw readers’ attention to an excellent side by side build comparison of the AZ Model and Profiline MD-500E kits by “auhlik” here on ARC.

Profiline’s market presence did not appear to last long, as a brand at least, but its MD-500 kits, including the MD-500E, briefly re-emerged under CMK branding. Just recently, the MD-500E has been reissued by Special Hobby with some new resin and PE parts, and is the subject of this “first look” article.

 

 

FirstLook

 

The Contents

The kit comes in a slightly flimsy side-opening box with attractive art-work on the front and colour profiles of the decal options on its rear. Both the single and clear sprues are in a re-sealable polythene bag, with the resin parts, and decals plus PE fret further enclosed in their own bags. A note on the box front lists the contents and acknowledges that the plastic parts are by Profiline (I think other brands that re-box should do the same and advise the kit’s origin).

 

  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72346  MD-500E Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72346  MD-500E Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72346  MD-500E Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72346  MD-500E Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72346  MD-500E Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72346  MD-500E Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72346  MD-500E Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72346  MD-500E Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72346  MD-500E Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72346  MD-500E Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72346  MD-500E Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • Special Hobby Kit No. SH72346  MD-500E Review by Mark Davies: Image
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The instructions are an A5-sized booklet printed in colour on gloss paper with a brief aircraft history, parts map, acceptably clear assembly illustrations, and a page for each markings option using three or four view drawings. Text is in English & Czech. Detail and airframe colour call-outs use generic names keyed to a table of colours, and referenced to Gunze Aqueous and Mr. Color paint-codes.

The sprue gates are fine enough, and parts numbers moulded next to them, the grey sprue moulding is quite crisp but has some degree of flash in all areas; although this can be easily dealt with. The clear sprue is crisp, without flash, and acceptably clear; although some may wish to polish and possibly dip in Future as well. The resin and PE parts appear flawless.

 


 

The Kit

This Special Hobby boxing differs from the original Profiline issue by including some resin and PE parts, and replacing the original kit’s self-adhesive instruments with more conventional decals.

 

 

The resin parts relate to small airframe features specific to the different colour-schemes, as do most of the PE parts.

 

 

I have included scans of the instructions in the gallery image section that illustrate where these new parts fit. I could not help but wonder why Special Hobby did not include PE seat belts as well.

The kit is a little unconventional in that the fuselage pod, encompassing the engine, cabin and windscreen, is moulded in two clear halves with four separate clear doors. This seems a sensible approach to me, although I cannot say how well the doors will fit for a model with closed up cabin. The doors need to be separate, not just to give an open door option, but to provide for door-less options (the instructions mention that this can apply to the Finnish Army option).

 

 

Airframe surfaces have fine recessed panel lines and raised detail where appropriate. Smaller detail parts are nicely done too. There is enough interior detail to keep most happy in this scale, but some will want to at least add seatbelts (again, I think these should have been included on the PE fret).

There is a choice of long and short landing skid legs, with the choice referenced to the colour scheme concerned. I recall that the original Profiline instructions provided a splayed leg width of 29mm as a guide for the legs, but did not state if this applied to both long and short legs. If it did, then it would mean that the long legs need to be at a more acute angle than the short ones. Special Hobby’s instructions give no guidance at all on this point; so I suggest careful reference to photos or other sources to determine the correct leg angle, as it will have a critical influence on the final sit and appearance of the model.

Whilst on the subject of sit, I have read that a small quantity of nose ballast is needed to keep the model level.

As with many small helicopter kits, the main rotor detail is a little simplified, but it looks OK to me.  I have read that the tail rotor fixture is not correct for 500E, and that has to be shortened a little bit for a truly accurate appearance (apparently the kit is correct for and MD-530F).

This is a nice simple looking little kit, but helicopters are often more complex to build than their in-box appearance suggests. Certainly, the advice for this kit seems to be clean up the parts, test-fit, and be very careful installing the cockpit and cabin interior, as there are no locating tabs to aid positioning; so the risk of cement damaging the clear fuselage pod is high. Likewise, care will be needed when joining the pod halves to avoid cement frosting of the clear parts.

It seems likely from viewing Special Hobby’s website that they will re-issue the MD-500D and MD-520N previously offered by Profiline, which I am sure will be welcomed by 1/72 scale helo-buffs.


 

Markings

Profiline’s original boxing offered nine military and civil decal options, whereas this Special Hobby issue has just three military markings choices; these being:

  • Kawasaki OH-6D, 211879, Japan Air Self-Defence Force;

  • MD-500E, HH-11, Finnish Army; and

  • MD-500E,MDD-369FF, Chilean Army

 

 

Both the Japanese and Finnish options include an alternate serial number for aircraft featuring the same colour scheme as that illustrated.

 



The decals are printed by Aviprint and appear to be very good all respects

 

 

Conclusion

 

Special Hobby’s re-boxing of the Profiline MD-500E kit is most welcome, and its use of PE and resin parts enhances the original; although failing to include seatbelts on the PE fret really is a missed opportunity. 

I think that Special Hobby’s MD-500E kit is superior to the only other option from AZ Model, not by a wide margin, but enough to sway a purchase decision in its favour.

I look forward to more Profiline MD-500 re-issues by Special Hobby, as I definitely recommend this one.

Thanks to Special Hobby for the review sample. 


Text and Images Copyright © 2017 by Mark Davies
Page Created 23 March, 2017
Last updated 23 March, 2017

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