Home  |  What's New  |  Features  |  Gallery  |  Reviews  |  Reference  |  Forum  |  Search

MD-500MD, MD-500E & Kawasaki OH-6D

AZ Model, 1/72 scale

S u m m a r y :

Catalogue Number:

AZ Model:
AZ7231 MD-500MD
AZ7232 MD-500E
AZ7324 Kawasaki OH-6D

Scale:

1/72

Contents & Media:

Two lots per box of 18 x styrene airframe parts, 5 x clear styrene glazing parts, 5 x resin cockpit parts (the MD-500MD has an additional 7 x resin parts associated with missiles), and decals for between four and seven aircraft.

Price:

Available on-line from:

Hannants for between £10.72 & £11.06: MD-500MD, MD-500E & OH-6D.

Modelimex for €10.00: MD-500MD, MD-500E & OH-6D.

Or from these AZ Model distributors.

Review Type:

First Look

Advantages:

Two kits per box significantly boosts value. Good quality kits of a, until recently at least, somewhat overlooked subject, with a good range of decal choices.

Disadvantages:

Slightly soft rotor head detail.

Conclusion:

Great value, nicely executed although PE seatbelts would have been nice. Hopefully we will see some civilian decal options.

 

Reviewed by Mark Davies


HyperScale is proudly supported by Squadron.com

 

Background

 

The Hughes 500 family of helicopters came about in response to a 1960 US Department of Defense’s (DoD) requirement for a new Light Observation Helicopter (LOH). The new LOH was to be turbine-powered and replace the Bell and Hiller piston-engined designs then in use. 12 companies responded to the DoD requirement. The selection was initially reduced to designs from just Bell and Hiller, these being the YHO-4 and YHO-5 respectively. However, the Hughes Helicopters Model 369 was given consideration due to its low price and designated the YHO-6.

Five YHO-6's were ordered for evaluation in 1961. In 1965 the Model 369 was declared winner of the LOH contract, and was accepted into service as the OH-6A Cayuse. 1,300 OH-6A’s were quickly ordered, and the first machines entered service in September 1966.

Hughes had already announced a civilian version of the OH-6A Cayuse prior its adoption by the military, called the Hughes 500. Both military and civilian versions proved to be very successful in a wide variety of roles and applications.  The OH-6/500 series have gone through steady development over the years. McDonnel Douglas acquired Hughes Helicopters in 1984, which in turn merged with Boeing in 1997. Boeing then sold the former MD civilian helicopter lines to MD Helicopters in 1999. So the more recent versions are known as MD 500’s. 

Until recently the only previous 1/72 OH-6/500 kit I was aware of was the very good Italeri AH-6A offering. Then a few months ago Profiline released new tool kits of the 500D and 500E, with a 520 NOTAR variant due later. The Profiline kit is very nicely engineered and finished to high standards. So t is interesting to see another Czech company also release a series of new MD 500 kits around the same time - something which means that 1/72 scale helicopter modelers are now almost spoilt for choice where this subject is concerned.

 

 

FirstLook

 

All three reviewed here share a common sprue, as well as common clear, resin and PE parts. Interestingly for the typical price of one AZ Model kit you get two complete kits per box. Perhaps it says something about the cost of the actual parts versus the cost of ancillaries like boxes, instructions and decals etc. The 500MD has one set of additional resin parts covering the TOW missile launchers, associated sight and what seem to be two vents for the rear fuselage. So only one missile armed version can be built per 500MD box.

Two kits to a box is good for modelers in terms of value; either by saving on the price of two kits, splitting the purchase with a mate, or selling one off. I can’t help but think that AZ Models will sell fewer units as a result, and would make more money in the long run by selling one kit per box at around the same or a fractionally lower price as the 2-kit boxing. But hey, I’m not a kit manufacturer!

 

 

The kits come in typical Czech end-opening boxes with attractive artwork on the front, and colour schemes covered on the rear. The common to all instructions are simple and uncluttered, with clear assembly diagrams. These are in English and provide additional advice where needed. The parts and decals are enclosed in a cellophane bag. Colour call-outs are generic, and colours for small detail painting are provided in the instructions.

The sprue has the appearance of a good limited run kit, although I suspect this is a metal spray tooling. There are small amounts of flash, but generally adequately crisp detail and small sprue gates. One area where detail is perhaps a bit soft is the rotor head, but most of this will be hidden by the circular cap.  Airframe surfaces have fine recessed panel lines and raised detail where appropriate. The parts and their breakdown are very similar to Italeri’s, except the Italeri has fine raised surface detail and the option of open doors. I think that both AZ Model and Italeri capture the round tail-boom section a little better than Profiline, whose kit I have just noticed is a bit flatter in section (but easily sanded to a rounder shape).

 

 

The clear sprue has both the 500D and pointed nose 500E noses, along with door windows. Their clarity is a better than the accompanying images suggest, and is typical of this type of Czech kit.

There is enough interior detail to keep most happy in this scale, but the instructions direct that two collectives be made from plastic rod. This seems surprising when the more delicate cyclics and tail rotor pedals are provided as resin parts, along with a resin instrument console. The resin by the way is generally okay, but not outstanding. Some will want to at least add seatbelts, which I would have thought could have been included on the PE fret. Instead the PE fret just caters for the tailplane end-plates and various blade antennae.

 

  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
  • AZ Model 1/72 MD-500 and OH-6D Review by Mark Davies: Image
Thumbnail panels:
Now Loading

 

Decals for between four and seven options depending on the boxing are offered. All but two are military subjects. However AZ Models has previously demonstrated a willingness to offer multiple boxing s of its kits, so I would not be surprised to see some colourful civilian options from them in the future. Decals appear well printed with good registration and colour density. Please see the images of the reverse sides of the boxes for a guide as to the variety schemes provided.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Despite the fact that the cockpit detail could have been improved by seatbelts, and the strange absence no collectives, I have no hesitation in recommending these kits to helicopter fans. I’m sure that very pleasing models will result from these twin-pack kits. I hope that AZ Model issue some kits with civilian markings options, as there are some stunning MD 500 schemes around. (There may also be an opportunity for an after-market decal producer with these and the recent Profiline kits.)

In the space of few months we have seen the 1/72 MD 500 kit options increase dramatically. All three brands of kits are good, but I suspect that the value proposition of two kits per box plus ready availability may tip the balance of sales in AZ Model’s favour.

These samples came to me courtesy of a Czech modelling friend.


Review Text Copyright 2010 by Mark Davies
Page Created 25 October, 2010
Last updated 25 October, 2010

Back to HyperScale Main Page

Back to Reviews Page