Sikorski S-51 Dragonfly
by Markus Wuellner
Here is my 1/48 scale Sikorski S-51 (HO3S) Dragonfly. I built this model about two years ago. This was one of the classic helicopter designs, and one of the first that were successfully used during wartime.
This is the Belcher Bits / Canada mixed media kit that was released about 3 years ago. It consists of resin cast main components such as fuselage, tail boom, landing gear and rotor blades, a few other minor details plus various vacformed clear parts for the "greenhouse" cockpit.
Alternative parts for the British Westland built variants and EZ canopy masks are also included. In my case all resin parts were of good quality without any bubbles or deformations.
The resin parts were quickly glued together and fitted well.
The main challenge was the cockpit area. Only the seats and the instrument panel are supplied for the interior, so there is plenty of room for extra detailing. At the time of building this kit I had almost no reference pictures of the interior. The only pictures I had were the photos that I took at the Pima Air Museum in Arizona (click the thumbnails below to view the images full-sized).
Unfortunately all the canopies on this chopper have been painted over. At least the external rotor head and rescue winch details were very useful. The rotor head and the rescue winch were extensively updated since the kit parts were very basic.
Another major addition were the external fuel tanks. I made them from modified Italeri/OH-47 tanks and plastic rods. A nice picture of these tanks can be found in the Squadron Book - Bent & Battered Rotors.
At this point there is one thing that remains unclear to me until today... did the HO3S carry only one fuel tank on the left side or on both fuselage sides? As a friend of symmetrical things I decided to add it to both sides even if it proves to be wrong.
The markings are partially taken from the kit sheet (wich is great - seven variants can be made) and partially selfmade. I chose the markings of HU-1 during the korean war for my model. The unit badge from HU-1 with the logo "we're hot to trot" and the stylized Dragonfly on the blue disc was handpainted.
Building this kit was a lot of work but also a lot of fun. I recommend this kit for anyone who has a little experience in resin/vac kits and who likes something special on his shelf.
I hope you all like my Korean War era chopper.
Click the thumbnails below to view
the images full-sized.
Model, Text and Images Copyright © 2000 by Markus