1/48 Belcher Bits Westland Dragonfly

by Colin Whitehouse

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Here is my second model for the recently completed FAA Group build. This is a Westland Dragonfly HR3 from HMS Eagle in 1954. Made  from the Belcher Bits kit, it was a neat build. Like the Belcher Lynx I posted last year, this is a fully resin kit with the necessary individual add ons. It was quite a challenge in some parts but looks great now completed. An essential addition to the history of Naval helicopters.

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pic 3

Construction was helped by excellent kit design and the picture 3 shows the nose weight is the cockpit floor. Thanks to this innovation she sits on the nose wheel without at other support. The hard part was definitely the assembly of the 3 piece glazing over the nose. I reinforced the joins from the inside with plastic strip and lots of super glue. The job  was made a lot easier with the masks provided and the neat design of the kit.

Quite a bit of additional detail was needed around the winch and rotor head and for this the references came in very handy. I discarded the kit winch and made a new structure from brass and bits in the spares box. Likewise the doors and exterior needed a few additional items. All the machines I found had an additional radiator on the port side which was not captured in the kit.

The main part missing from the kit was any reference to the tail rotor guard structure. This is very prominent and I'm surprised we didn't even get a drawing. I had to estimate the size from pictures I took over the years.

One good feature in the kit was the rotors. Its  always good to see them spread but being resin I know they will soon bend so really need to be built folded. Fortunately Mike gives us 2 sets so I built the correct rotors folded  and the other set spread.  I used lots of brass in both so they are each strong structures in their own right and can be fitted and removed easily. 

I don't don't normally go for kit decals and was tempted to do the Thai version but on this occasion the kit decals were for the machine in the "RN Aircraft after 1945" book I usually for schemes use so I decided to give them a go. They went on beautifully and it was a shame to use so few!

The Dragonfly has done well for preservation and lots are preserved. I used the pictures of machines at RAF Cosford, RTAF Museum Don Muang, Weston Helicopter museum, RNAS Yeovilton and HM Dockyard Chattham for reference.

Hope you enjoy the pics as much as I enjoyed the Group Build.

Colin

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Photos and text by Colin Whitehouse