(Re)building the Kitty Hawk MH-6J/AH-6J, Part 1

A few months ago, Derek walked into a disaster. One of his girls had pulled his almost finished MH-6 Little Bird off his bench, busting it into an assortment of shattered plastic. I think he had intentions of fixing it, he even went so far as to buy a second kit to steal parts from. As time passed, however, he got sick of looking at the destroyed build and sent it to me along with the parts-kit.

(If you want to see his pics during the build, you can see them here)

Both sat on my shelf for a while until we got involved with a secret project. Not like “TOP SECRET, I could tell you but I’d have to kill you” secret, but secret none the less. I was asked to build Star 44, one of the MH-6s present during the Battle of the Black Sea in Somalia in 1993. I was interested in being part of the build but also hesitant since I really wanted to build Star 41 for myself and we were sort of on a deadline before all the Covid-19 stuff happened.

Derek talked me into joining the project, but recommended that I take apart his broken build and use his interior (which was beautifully done) to save time and so I would still be able to use my MH-6 to build Star 41. I thought it was a great idea and got both kits situated at my bench.

I decided the best course of action, to do as little harm as possible to the interior, was to cut away at the bottom seam with my Dremel and a cutting wheel. This opened up the gap and I could get in there gently with a razor saw.

It didn’t take long until I was able to spread the halves apart and the whole interior came out in one piece. It actually worked out better than I had hoped and there wasn’t much cleanup involved with the cockpit.

The MH-6 is the Little Bird variant that has a bench on either side of the fuselage for their “clients” to ride on into their objective. Derek had started the installation of the bench assembly before Hulk Smash happened, but the mounts were broken. I removed the broken pieces from their locating holes with a little bit of my favorite solvent glue, MEK (Methyl-ethyl-ketone for those of you who aren’t familiar).

So, anyone that has built a Kitty Hawk kit should know that they have a reputation for great subjects, but lackluster fit and engineering. The benches are the first place that I’ve noticed a poor fit. For the most part, the fit is good, but pieces A55 and 56 are just way too short. To correct this, I cut some styrene rod at the correct length and glued it in place.

Once that is corrected, the bench fits like a charm. Fortunately, I wasn’t a dumbass here and didn’t glue both benches to the mount yet. Otherwise, they would have been just a little bit difficult to get in. Probably not impossible, but I’ve already taken this thing apart once and I don’t particularly feel like doing it again.

In part two, I’ll get the new fuselage on and continue on the journey. Stay tuned.

Continue to Part 2

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