BLOG: USMC UH-34D Conversion in 1/32

I am about to start on something I have wanted to do for a long time; a large scale (1/32) UH-34D conversion.

The finished product will be a USMC UH-34D from Vietnam which is currently at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, VA; YN-19. This helicopter has very long and storied history, which can be found here.

I will be starting with the Fly Models Westland Wessex HC.2 kit, which is of a later British version with turbine engines. The kit is interesting that it is a true multi-media affair with injected plastic, resin, PE, and paper parts.

I will be using a new product that will be available soon to backdate it to a USMC UH-34D with piston engine. It is a 3D printed H-34 nose conversion designed by Oliver “Rotorman” at ARC and printed by by Norbert from Reedoak Rubber Composites out of France, who do excellent 3D printed figures and accessories in multiple scales. It is beautifully printed and extremely detailed. A great piece.

More to come as I get started.

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Looking forward to seeing how this goes. :+1:

Most interesting I’m going to tag along and watch.

I have made a bit of progress. It doesn’t look like much, but it was time consuming. The Fly Models kit is very detailed. You start by adding all internal stringers and longerons in the rear cabin. The vertical stringers weren’t too bad as each was a separate part that you glue onto thin lines on the inner wall. The longerons and parts around the windows are each individually cut to fit between the stringers.

Here is one side done, one to go.

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They took some time, but it does look great when done.

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Fiddly stuff but worth it.

Keith

Thanks Keith.

Progress is moving along slowly. I have completed all the stringers and longerons on both sides of the cabin. After finishing them, you glue a bunch of triangular and diamond shaped PE bolt plates where they come together.
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There was a minor issue with these PE plates. The instructions indicate a total of 33 of the diamond shaped plates. However, there are only 24 on the PE sheet. To rectify this, I left them off behind where the seats will be. You won’t see that area to tell they are missing.

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A bit of an oversight by the manufacturer there, glad it was an easy get out as they would be fiddly to make. Once the fuselage is together you won’t see much I guess though.

Looking forward to the next installment

Keith

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Work continues, slowly. Life and Hockey on TV (Go Bolts!) keep getting in the way of bench time.

I have continued with the cabin and cockpit area. First off, the kit is inaccurate in the area where the lower front cabin wall and the cockpit rear wall meet.

This is how the kit has you build it. It has a couple issues.
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To start, the cockpit rear wall comes down too far. The kit has it even with the cockpit floor. There is actually a step there. I cut 5mm off the bottom of the cockpit rear wall. Next, there should be a tunnel going from the cabin front wall through the cut out area to the ceiling that the prop shaft goes through from the engine to the transmission above. You can see it in the below pic.

Here is how I replicated it. I cut off the bottom of the rear IP at an angle, then boxed in the tunnel with sheet styrene and added an access panel on the rear side.

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Also, here is how the mesh will look on the nose section. I’m not sure how much details I will add behind the screens. I am using a PE mesh from Royal Model (no. 469). It is relatively fine and I don’t think you will really see much through it. We’ll see.

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You’re off to a really good start on this. Lovin’ all the detailing going on so far. I think you’ll be able to see more behind that mesh than you think you will. I know it’s a car but this is what I’m talking about with my Willys build. I didn’t think I’d be able to see much on the other side of that PE grille either and those grille bars are pretty tightly packed in there…

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Thanks Mustang. I have done some more research and there isn’t much under the screens. It is mainly an air intake. There is a large fan on the backside of the radial engine, the prop shaft that transverses the area, and a few hoses/wires. I plan to add all that can be seen.
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Very cool Gino! I had no idea this kit even existed, nor did I know the horizontal stringers were called longerons. LOL. They really make the interior pop.
Will definitely be watching your work on this one.

You are making great progress there keep it coming.

@HeavyArty i love those pictures of the “retired” bird, where were they taken at… AMARC?

Thanks Klaus. I am not sure where it is, but probably. I lifted it off the net.

Really nice work, those images are invaluable for detailing.

Same engine as in a sherman tank, or similar?

Mesh screens can be either deceivingly clear or bloody too fine… but yours looks just about right

Keep on keeping on
Keith

Thanks. I am enjoying the build.

The engine is similar, but a little bit bigger. The Sherman used a Wright R-975 (975 cubic inches). The H-34 used a Wright Cyclone R-1820 (1820 cubic inches).

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I have a small update tonight. Not a lot done as I have been pretty busy w/life lately. My younger daughter graduated from college last weekend and was commissioned into the US Army as an ADA officer. She gets married next week, so I have been and will continue to be busy.

A very proud papa.


On to the H-34…

I have pretty much finished building and detailing the cabin and cockpit. I found that the cockpit floor was too long for the H-34 nose. The angled front firewall that separated the cockpit from the air intake grills area was falling across the middle of the grills.

I cut the angled part off and glued it into the H-34 nose in the correct place.
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I then cut 1cm from the cockpit floor and angled the front of the center console to match the angle of the firewall. I will need to add about 3mm of styrene to the bottom of the firewall as the new position (further aft) raised it up as well.

The H-34 IP is also included in the kit listed as “For Other Versions”.
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Lastly, I added details to the cabin side of the cockpit rear wall and the cabin front wall.
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That’s it for tonight.

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First and foremost congratulations to you and your family- and your daughter especially -on her commission into the US Army ! You must be so proud!
Great job on the helo too! Keep up the good work!

Rich

Thanks Rich, will do.

I have made a little bit of progress. I completed the basic interior and haver painted it. Waiting for paint to dry to proceed on that.

In the meantime, I have been working on the 3D printed nose. It is very detailed, but missing the intake screens and internal parts that can be seen behind them.

I added the firewalls and a basic engine fan and drive shaft inside. The engine fan is a little small, but for what you can see, it will do. The firewalls are 0.020 styrene, and the engine fan is a couple left-over fans from a couple Tamiya M26 Dragon Wagon kits.
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For the intake screens, I ordered PE screen from Royal Model; Medium Hexagonal Mesh (#469). I made a template for the screens by enlarging a 1/48 UH-34 PE fret to 1/32. I then used the paper templates to cut the Royal Model mesh. It was pretty close and only required a bit of finessing to get them to match the openings on the 3D nose.
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I also made a recessed “bucket” to place the exhaust pipes into. I used a kit part for the wheel hubcap used on the British version that is excess to the UH-34.
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More to come soon.

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