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Sikorsky SH-3D Sea King

by David Weeks (1:48 Hasegawa)

Sikorsky SH-3D Sea King

The diorama depicts the recovery of the Apollo 9 crew, Colonel Jim McDivitt (USAF), Colonel Dave Scott (USAF) and Rusty Schweickart on March 13, 1969 by assets of Helicopter Anti-Submarine 3 (HS-3 “Tridents”).

The 1/48 scale Hasegawa H-3H kit was backdated to a H-3D. The basic conversion is relatively easy with the more difficult portion being the cargo bay door and interior changes. The basic conversion included shortening the horizontal tail, removal of the left-side forward cargo area window and replacement of the H models’ elongated sponsons with the Belcher Bits short sponsons.

Other modifications specific for the diorama included un-loading all three landing gear struts, removing the dipping sonar, opening the cargo door and scratch building the cargo bay interior. The front halves of the pilot and co-pilot’s side windows were also scratch-built so they could be shown in the open position.

The main rotor blades were re-shaped into an in-flight lifting configuration and photo-etch prop blur blades were used on the tail rotor. NASA recovery specific additions included the two SARA/Yagi antenna installations on the sponson supports, the “Billy Pugh” recovery net and the camera suite installed to the rear of the cargo door. With the exception of the tail rotor blades and the sponsons, all added details were scratch-built.

The model was pre-shaded with Tamiya German Gray (XF-63) and then painted with Gunze Acrylic Light Gull gray and Tamiya Flat White. The yellow warning stripe as well as the black exhaust and anti-glare panels were also painted with Tamiya colors. The helicopter’s markings were created in Adobe Illustrator, and then printed on an Alps printer. Insignia and rescue arrows were scrounged from various after-market decal sheets.

The Command Module, floatation collar and recovery rafts were entirely scratch-built. Wooden masters for the major parts of the CM were turned on a lathe and then vacuuformed with all other details created out of styrene sheet, strip and rod. The rafts and floatation collar were created mainly out of Milliput. There are a total of 11 figures in the diorama; parts from Monogram, Hasegawa and Tamiya pilots, ground crew members and solders were used for these.

I did a PowerPoint presentation on this build at the 2008 IPMS USA Nationals in Virginia Beach;

David Weeks

Published on 28. September 2009

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