SUD-Aviation HSS-1

1/48 Revell CH-34

Gallery Article by Mark L. Rossmann on May 17 2016



The Sikorsky CH-34 is a piston-engine military helicopter which first flew on March 8th, 1954. The first production aircraft was ready in September and entered in service for the United States Navy, initially designated HSS-1 Seabat (in its anti-submarine configuration) and HUS-1 Seahorse (in its utility transport configuration) under the U.S. Navy designation system for U.S. Navy, United States Marine Corps (USMC), United States Coast Guard (USCG) aircraft and also serving with the USAF as the H-34.
The U.S. Army and Marine Corps, respectively, ordered it in 1955 and 1957. Under the United States Army's aircraft designation system, it applied the name Choctaw to the helicopter. In 1962, under the new unified DoD aircraft designation system, the Seabat was redesignated SH-34, the Seahorse as the UH-34, and the Choctaw as the CH-34.

CH-34s served on every continent with the armed forces of twenty-five countries, mostly as medium transports. It did see combat in the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Algeria and throughout Southeast Asia. 

Roles included utility transport, anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, and VIP transport. In its standard configuration, transport versions could carry 12 to 16 troops, or eight stretcher cases if utilized in the MedEvac role, while VIP transports carried significantly fewer people in much greater comfort. CH-34 was utilized by Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy from 1958 to 1961 using the call sign Army One. It is most famously remembered for recovering the Mercury program astronauts and space capsules.

It was one of the last piston-powered helicopter designs and second most widely used helicopter behind the UH-1. It was replaced by turbine-powered types like that of the UH-1 Huey and CH-46 Sea Knight. A total of 2,108 CH-34s were manufactured between 1953 and 1970, by Sikorsky and under license from 1958 in the United Kingdom by Westland Aircraft as the turbo-shaft engine Wessex, which was used by the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. The RN Wessex was fitted with weapons and ASW equipment for use in an antisubmarine role. The RAF used the Wessex, with a turbo-shaft engine.

France purchased an initial batch of 134 Choctaws; these were shipped in kit-form from the United States and locally assembled by Sud-Aviation. Later, a further 166 were domestically manufactured by Sud-Aviation; these were operated by the French Army Light Aviation (ALAT), French Naval Aviation and Air force. 

Click on images below to see larger images

Model: Revell Marine UH-34 Helicopter

This is an easy build that can be made into a very nice copter. It is light on the interior cockpit details, but scratch building can enhance it. I chose not to. The tail light and belly light I did create using clay, and attached with super glue. Added antenna wire on the bottom using EZ Line.

This version of the copter had the exhaust on the front bottom port side; this differs from the kit as it was more to the middle port side. I used styrene backing (see pic) and filled in the hole using white filler and sanded it smooth. Then cut out the new exhaust location and added the pipe. I did not cement the rotor on, can take it off for easier transport to shows.

The decals are from Berna Decals 48-95, which provides four aircraft; Flotilla 33F, Algeria 1959; Escadrille de Servitude 20S, Saint Raphael 1970 (which I used for this build); Flotilla 31F, Saint Mandrier 1972 and Flotilla 33F, Saint Mandrier 1976. If you carefully plan you can make 3 of the 4 versions with the Berna and kit decals.

Used Testers rattle can Sea Blue with a dull-coat finish.

If you want a much more detailed kit without having to buy upgrades, would suggest getting the MRC kit. But this still works up to a very nice base kit. 


  • 1. Berna Decals BD 48-18.

  • 2. Wikipedia

  • 3. Revell Instructions

Thanks to Steve for his great site and providing readers a means to provide articles.


Mark L. Rossmann

Click on images below to see larger images


Photos and text by Mark L. Rossmann