1/72 Revell T.S.A.R.C Sea King 

What if project

by Andrew Taylor





Due to the current global economic climate and the financial situation affecting thousands of companies, Agusta Westland has announced that they are ceasing production of the highly advanced EH101 Merlin helicopter.  The company who have previously built helicopters such as the Whirlwind, Wessex and the highly successful Sea King have made the decision due to huge financial losses and the rising costs of the new materials, digital flight systems and order cancellations from around the world.


At present, the Royal Air Force and Navy have already received half of their fleet orders of the EH101 and will continue to receive technical support from Westland but no further complete aircraft will be supplied.


As result of this decision, the company have issued proposals to upgrade all remaining in service Sea King helicopters from all over the world.  Sikorsky in the USA has also agreed to help in the upgrade program having built US versions of the Sea King under license.  The new proposal has initially been made to the RAF, RN and Army which will apply to all HAS MK5, HAS MK6, HAR 3, HC4 and HC6 airframes and will be upgraded to TSARC (Tactical Search and Rescue in Combat) standards.  New features will include a simplified version of the Merlin digital flight system, new GPS and data link system, retro fitted long range rotodome tilt radar, extended range fuel tanks, heads up display and a flight fault diagnostic system.


The overall basic airframe will remain the same with few composite or carbon fibre technologies and will retain the powerful MEL Sea Searcher Radar as featured on the HAS Mk5/6 aircraft.  All structures suffering with stress fatigue, cracks and corrosion will be fully removed and replaced with original materials.  All mechanical components will be refurbished prior to the installation of the new systems.


Externally the aircraft will not look too different to its predecessors.  A few extra antennas and the added rotodome will differentiate the new from the old.  Internally, the cockpit will look very different as the heads up display and the digital ray tubes will dominate the main consoles.  The radar operators station will retain the radar scope with an added digital ray tube to display footage from an optional gyro stabilised camera, flight and task information as well as flight fault diagnostic information.  Extra fuel tanks will be installed in overhead bladders inside the cabin and possible larger design sponsons may be installed later which will carry extra fuel and eliminate the cabin fuel bladders.  This is dependent on project costs.


Each upgrade is expected to take a year with three airframes passing through the program at any one time and the project is due to start within the next financial year.  It is expected that there will be no impact to current aircraft availability for current operations in the Middle East or other requirements.


The Kit and Accessories:


The kit chosen for this build was the Revell 1:72 Sea King HAS 6/AEW.  The kit has very good reputation for being very well presented and detailed.  There are enough parts in the kit for you to build any version of the Sea King you wish apart from the HC 4 of which there are replacement aftermarket parts readily available.  For this kit I also used the Airwaves photo etched brass for the tail fold mechanism and the undercarriage bays.  I also used the Airwaves side mounted deflated radome which when added to the finished kit is quite a lump of heavy resin to be hanging off the side.  For the scheme I used Model Alliance Sea King decals.



The Build:


Like my previous Sea King with the tiger stripes, the kit went together very well.  Going down the super detailing route, I decided to cut out the side crew door and mount it in the open position.  For the steps I used the brass from the Airwaves set.  The tail was then cut off and the fold mechanism again from the Airwaves set was applied. 


I applied the sand box filter to the top of the canopy to add something different as I was intending that this aircraft would be operating in areas such as Afghanistan or the deserts of Iraq.


The deflated radome is just a simple drop in replacement from the inflated parts in the kit.  The conventional swing arm from the kit is used from the kit to attach the resin lump to the internal device.


The complete model was hand painted using Humbrol paints and the Model Alliance decals were applied.  Following a dark weathering wash a coat of matt was applied to seal everything in.


As an extra I assembled the main rotor head as usual but then snapped the blades and mounted them in the folded position.  Please oh please, I do not recommend anyone else to try this.  What a nightmare it was trying to set the correct angles and getting the blades to hold just on what seemed a knife edge on the rotor head.  I used copious amounts of plastic weld, CA and accelerator.  Thankfully it worked quite well and I am pleased with the results, but what a fiddly job.


Decals and the aircraft history:


As mentioned I used the Model Alliance decals.  They went on very well and much better than the odd few kit decals I used.  All decals responded well with the Micro Set and Micro Sol solutions.


The history of the aircraft represented starts when XV707 was originally built as one of the second batch of 20 HAS Mk1 airframes as part of a 56 aircraft build for the Royal Navy.  Built between 1971 and 1972 the aircraft operated with 849 squadron based at RNAS Culdrose and continued as a HAS1 until 1984 when she was converted to AEW Mk2A when the Fleet Air Arm Sea King AEW squadron was commissioned at Culdrose. 


The AEW Mk2A was born out of the Falklands conflict as the Royal Navy had no early warning system for detecting inbound threats such as Argentinean fighter aircraft, Exocet Missiles or small armed vessels.  One of XV707s predecessors XV650 was the first to be fitted with the side mounted Search Water Radar. 


From 1984 XV707 has continued to operate with 849 squadron as an AEW Mk2A until now when she will be upgraded to TSARC Standard.


The scheme applied is a special D-Day anniversary to remember and honour those fallen in past wars such as the Somme, Dunkirk, Falklands, the first Iraq war and current ongoing conflicts.


Hope you all enjoy reading my first “What if” project.  I’m now off to decide what to build next out of extensive stash!!!


Photos and text © by Andrew Taylor