by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ] (photos and kit history by Alan Bussie)
Welcome to the first review of the late-great Aurora Model Company range of 1/48 helicopters! Kaman HOK-1 “Egg Beater” was kitted in 1956 as kit Nr. 505-69; “-69” was the MSRP of 69¢, and one got a cool model for that. We’ll judge this venerable kit today.
Special thanks to Alan Bussie of Old Model Kits for his contribution of kit release notes, as well as making this model available for this review.
Kaman HH-43B Huskie/HOK-1
Aurora’s Kaman Model K-600 (Kaman Aircraft’s designation) model is of a unique helicopter flown by the United State’s Air Force, Marines, and Navy. Decals are included for all three of the services, as well as for the US Army, for which I can find no history of. Although Aurora marketed it as the USMC HOK-1, as it was essentially the same aircraft (Except the HOK-1 was powered by the R-1340-52 radial piston engine engine while USAFM’s Husky had a turbine engine), I offer USAFM’s history of the machine.
We are happy to announce that Oldmodelkits.com has received exclusive license from the French Line to produce and sell the 1/350 SS Normandie Ocean Liner model kit! The first batch are ready to ship. These are limited run kits in resin with photoetched details.
Photo of the first production model, built by Ken Friend
If you have ever wondered what goes into making a model, then please read on! If you plan on buying a 1/350 Normandie, please continue so you will know what went into your personal model.
Alan: In 2007 Ken Friend and I decided to make a model kit. It was not a sudden decision, but the result of two life-long dreams. I had been seriously investigating making a number of unique models but I lacked certain necessary skills. Ken had wanted to produce a model also and did possess the numerous skills that I lacked- IPMS National Award Winner, CAD expert, early 3D printing engineer for GM and a mold maker/caster.
In the chill of the Cold War a golden age of aviation inspired many new aerospace vehicles, including surface-to-air missiles. One was the supersonic, long-range anti-aircraft Bomarc missile. The USAF originally categorized it as a fighter aircraft and designated it F-99. Later they re-designating it IM-99A and IM-99B after 1955, and finally CIM-10 after the McNamara Sept. 1962 dumb-down.
Bomarc Base #1 with missiles in launch position (courtesy Wikipedia)
Most of these kits came out before I was born so perhaps it isn’t so strange that I never saw them at my hometown hobby outlets. In fact, I was not even aware that many existed until the advent of online sites.
Aurora wasted little time detecting and acquiring information to cut tooling and produce injection molded models of those contemporary subjects. Their goal was to be to market first with the latest – and they were! The Boeing “Bomarc IM-99 Intercepter- [sic] Missile With Mobile Launching Platform- Newest Weapon for America’s Defense” was released in 1958. Aurora scaled it to 1/48. It was packaged in an Aurora standard “long box” carton, a sturdy cardboard conventional lid-tray design. Dramatic box art shows a Bomarc searing skyward from its launcher into the atmosphere to smite commie inbounds. In an effort to maximize mold utilization, Aurora issued this model as two kits (just like the Regulus II). 377-198, the subject of this review, was the Bomarc with a working launching. At nearly double the price, this kit featured completely new box artwork, decals and instructions. The traditional Aurora stand was not included, presumably because the launcher doubles as one.
Nothing is more discouraging than watching decals yellow with time after they have been applied to one of your favorite models. Well, maybe there is something more discouraging; spending your valuable allowance on an older model kit only to find the decals are almost useless from discoloration. The following article might help. Discolored decals can be used to generate new decals that stand a much better chance of maintaining their true colors and clarity.