The Piasecki H-21 "Flying Banana" as it was nicknamed, was produced in three principal versions H-21A SAR helicopter; H-21B Troop carrier and H-21C utility or general purpose helicopter. It was used by four Military operators but many other foreign operators in civilian roles, in the military as the versions indicate it was used to perform various tasks. In US service the H-21 was known in the Army as the Shawnee but in the Air Force it was known as the Workhorse.
The XH-21 first flew in 1952 evolving from Frank Piasecki's (who was an early pioneer of the twin tandem rotor concept) PD-22 design made to meet a USAF requirement that then became the H-21A production aircraft given the Workhorse name for its air rescue service. Through further development, including updated engines, the H-21B troop carrying version emerged and was capable of carrying 20 troops for the USAF.
The US Army took a comparable version as the H-21C Shawnee and more than 300 of this model were delivered between 1954 and 1959. In July 1962 it was redesignated to the CH-21C and had an underfuselage hook for the carriage of a 4,000-lb slung load. The Shawnee was an early American arrival in the Vietnam war and proved useful until the advent of more modern helicopters such as the Bell "Huey" UH-1 general purpose helicopter, CH-47 Chinooks (which essentially were the major replacements for the Shawnee), CH-53 Stallions and CH-54 skycranes.
Impressions: Inside the box Italeri have provided both of their sprues without bags and the two fuselage halves also float loosely. There are around 80 parts all molded in a dark green, almost black, plastic with nicely rendered detail and engraved lines. The clear nose glazing and other windows are molded well and the kit looks quite impressive on the sprue.
The interior has received a modest but quite reasonable fit out with the cockpit catered for in the form of two bucket seats, control columns, main instrument panel and console and this is all assembled onto a raised section of a long floor piece that stretches right into the cabin. Rear bulkheads are provided for both the cockpit and cabin area. One point of note is that the rear bulkhead between the cargo area and engine compartment even has the curtain molded into the plastic. Unfortunately a lot of the interior cabin stuff though won't be seen once the fuselage halves are joined together as you only have the small bulbous fuselage windows to look through which will probably make things a little distorted once they are affixed. Bench seats are also provided for the cargo area. The whole interior looks like it will be a bit of a challenge to fit in between the fuselage halves so when I build it I will be doing a few dry runs against one of the halves to make sure it fits all okay.
Otherwise the kit is broken down in what can generally be described as being pretty standard. The left and right fuselage halves fit together well in my dry test but I did spot that the clear nose might present some problems with fitting, a dry run suggests this might provide some challenge. The rotor blades and shaft are of course separate pieces, which is standard for helicopter kits and there are a decent amount of external rails and the like to enhance the authenticity of the chopper.
Detailing wise externally the kit is well done and you are immediately drawn to the cooling screens around the engines and drive shafts. The fuselage having rectangular holes and you can insert plastic screening after installing the drive shaft. All the parts are given enough detail to look quite good in this scale.
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