Saturday, 11 August 2012


A Novel Way to Travel

I don't know what it is about helijets that attracts me to them. I've never been for a helicopter joyride as I tend to fill my underwear when in an aircraft of any sort, so why I like building flying machines is beyond me. Since first seeing a helijet in an episode of "Stingray", way back in 1963, I'd had a love affair with them, totally platonic of course. These wonderful machines have appeared in every Gerry Anderson puppet series since - part jet plane, part helicopter, always cool looking and, while not totally functional as they sometimes appeared, they were so well done and so futuristic that I totally believed they could really fly. I suspect that Derek Meddings and his hard working FX/model crew resorted to making up these machines to avoid the use of large rotors on conventional helicopters which would have caused problems with the filming of the miniatures. Although, come to think of it, quite a few helicopters appeared in various episodes, so my logic may be severely flawed. Whatever the reasons for helijets in the shows, be it for practical filming purposes or the futuristic factor, I'm really glad to be influenced by them. Here's a couple of photos of some helijets that appeared in Gerry Anderson episodes, just to whet the appetite.

The ADAC HELICOPTER-SET by Revell in 1:32 scale provided the basis for this helijet conversion. I selected the EC 135 helicopter from the set, completed the interior with additional details and painted the pilot. The cabin was completed and installed before beginning the exterior additions which included a large, vertical stabiliser that I cobbled together from various aircraft kits.

I retained the basic helicopter fuselage and the pilot, but because he was very basic, he required a detailed paintjob to make him look more realistic. Some extra kit parts and a new bulkhead were incorporated into the cockpit.

The vertical stabiliser was assembled from a couple of different aircraft, one of them being the old Airfix Victor Bomber.
The clear windows were left until the very last before installation with Araldite. Quite a bit of putty was used in the conversion. I still have two complete helicopter kits left in the box, so I intend to butcher them as well!

The VTOL engines began life as the backpack from an old STAP Android kit from “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace”. They were recast in resin and four sections were removed with a hacksaw, two from the top and another two from the bottom, to allow the addition of a pair of intakes and two engine thruster bells from an old spacecraft kit.


Brass tubing was inserted through the model to support the VTOL engines, while a pair of aircraft jets became the spacers between the fuselage and the engines. The landing skids were retained, however I added a pair of aircraft droptanks and filled them with resin to provide more stability. Painting consisted of a can of Tamiya Silver, with different panels masked and painted an off-silver colour. Metallic Red was used on the VTOL engines. Decals came from many different kits and the panel lines were drawn on in black permanent felt pen. (Afternote: The 8543 designation just happened to be the decal I used - did I mention that I'm quite a lazy modeller?)

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