by: Gino P. Quintiliani [ ]
Originally published on:
The US Army has been operating in areas where the ground may be soft and inhospitable to landing helicopters on since they have been operating helicopters. To counter this problem, the Army developed a set of skis that can be attached to the helicopterís landing wheels so they do not sink into the soft ground. For current helicopters, these skis are made by Landes Airglas and known as L20500 skis. The Airglas skis provide soft terrain (mud, sand, snow) support for military helicopters. These light, rugged, and economical wheel penetration skis allow operations from both hard surface and unprepared terrain. The skis provide solutions for soft terrain and can be configured to allow operation of hoists and ground handling equipment without removal of the ski.
Wernerís Wings has released a great conversion kit to add skis to Academyís 1/35 H-60 kits, Revellís 1/32 AH-64, or any 1/48 H-60 or AH-64 kits. This set allows you to make any Black Hawk or Apache into a winter warrior.
The set comes in a zip-loc baggie containing 15 parts cast in white resin. The parts are further bagged to keep them from being damaged during shipping. Also included is a nicely done sheet of instructions with descriptions and clear pictures to assist in assembly.
The instructions are clearly written and have good illustrations for parts placement location. The assembly steps follow a logical sequence and also include pictures of actual helicopters mounting the skis as references.
The individual parts are sharply cast with a bit of flash on a few of the parts. The flash is not an issue though, as it can easily be trimmed. The parts look awesome. The finest detail of rivets on the skis and their mounts are exquisite. There are no real downfalls to the set. Also included is a very nice sheet of Jolly Green Giant decals for the bottom of the skis.
The assembly is pretty simple with attaching axles (not included) through the kit wheels. Next you attach the three-part struts that keep the skis in a level position when on the aircraft. Lastly, you attach the two-part rear wheel assembly to the back of the skis.