The phrase “paralysis by analysis” seems fitting as Venom has slowed to a halt as a multitude of changes and additions are required to get the most accurate MH-60L out of the Kitty Hawk kit. I’ve already blown through two self-imposed deadlines to have the entire kit completed, and I don’t think I’m getting any closer.
It seems that Kitty Hawk’s model is indicative of a later MH-60L, and is much closer to the type used in the movie Blackhawk Down, the type that appears to be shown in these great pictures on aircraftresourcecenter.com. In fact, it seems the model was specifically based off of those pictures (note the ceiling, the orientation of the crew seats, the internal aux tanks, etc).
Here are a few notes based on my primary sources. These are good for S64, and likely hold true to any of the Lima UH-60s present on October 3, but check your references (whew, good luck).
- The interior floor of the crew compartment was covered in an armored blanket. The blanket was installed as 4 largely rectangular pieces. There is some uncertainty as to how many access holes to the cargo rings on the floor the blanket had, and if it extended to the rear bulkhead or ended where the aux tanks would be. There were pieces of the blanket under the pilot and co-pilot and it extended up the interior wall in front of the crew chief seats. The blanket appears to be more olive green than olive drab.
- The crew chief (CE) seats actually face outwards behind the mini-guns, not with their back to the pilots. This requires creating a bracket on the ceiling to attach the CE seats in their proper orientation.
- The ammo cans in the kit are wrong, as is their location. We are researching to correct these aspects.
- The SATCOM antenna on the kit is incorrect. It is not the cross antenna (parts C52 & G32) Kitty Hawk supplied. Again, research is being conducted to correct these parts but it will be more like the so-called bat wing antenna present on Little Birds in Mogadishu.
- There were no laser threat detectors on S64, or likely any of the UH-60s on October 3, 1993. This means omitting D63 and D62 in step 14, and modifying the tail assembly in step 13 to reflect a more typical UH-60 tail. This will require some cutting and filling but isn’t anything too difficult.
- The hoist controls (for the aircraft that had a hoist) in the kit are for a later version (also like was linked in the pictures linked above). We have designed a corrected hoist control that is being 3d printed.
- There were no auxiliary fuel tanks present in S64. The distance to any target was too short to require the tanks, and the extra crew space was needed for Rangers.
- The soundproofing material was present covering the entire ceiling, not leaving the ceiling structure partially exposed as in the kit. I fixed this by simply taping over the exposed interior structure and painting it. There are many ways to skin this cat, however.
- On S64 the fast rope bars were locked in the extended position with the ropes installed. The ropes were 30′ long with the excess coiled on the crew compartment floor.
- The external stores support system (ESSS) wings were not present on any of the aircraft on the October 3 raid. This means ignoring those assemblies in steps 17 and 18. Not referenced in the instructions, but included in the kit, are the correct ESSS stubs. These will be used instead of the wings.
- The kit omits the prominent towel-rack antenna along the port side of the tail. This will require some scratch building.
This is the bulk of the corrections that we have noted and believe need to be corrected for a more accurate Mogadishu raid Blackhawk.
Next up I hope to have the interior together and the fuselage halves closed.