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In-Box Review
196
Piaseki H-16
H-16 Piaseki Transporter
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

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Introduction
Back in 1955 the world's biggest helicopter was the YH-16, and Revell made a 1/96 kit of it, the H-16 Piaseki Transporter, as part of their Air Power Series. For some reason this has been a popular model and it was re-issued several times, including by today's Revell-Monogram in the late 1990s. I was happy to find it because it fits well in my niche interest of 1/100 aircraft.

H-16
Piaseki's Transporter was a big whirlybird. The fuselage almost had as much capacity as the four-engine Douglas C-54. On its first flight, observers remarked that it looked like an ocean liner lifting off.

Piaseki put drafting pen to paper for a USAF proposal for a long-range helicopter to rescue downed strategic bomber crews. That took a lot of fuel and a lot of fuel is heavy. Thus the H-16 had to be able to lift and haul a lot. That capability perked the U.S Army's interest as the helicopter, not needed USAF's range, would be able to convert fuel weight to lugging a significant load of troops and jeeps and supplies.

YH-16 and YH-16A development was progressing and looked promising until the second test aircraft crashed. A loose rotor was blamed. By then, events lead to the Army and Air Force to cancel their support. The big copter faded into history, but survives in plastic.
    YH-16, YH-16A

    In 1964
    [sic], development of the H-16 was initiated in response to a U.S. Air Force requirement for a long range (1432 mi.) Rescue helicopter to pick up (1-1/2 way mission) bomber crews. The YH-16 became the largest helicopter in the world, having a rotor diameter of 82 feet and an overall length (rotors turning) of 134 feet. The fuselage was as large as that of a four-engine airliner and could accommodate three light trucks loaded through a rear ramp.

    Initially powered with two P&W R-2180-11 radial engines (each in an engine room), the YH-16 was the first twin engine helicopter. Later, the YH-16 became the world’s first twin turbine helicopter.

    The three blades in each rotor were all aluminum alloy step taper milled skins keeping a ± .002 inch tolerance through their 41 foot radius by a special process developed by Piasecki. The bonded blade was made in four pieces, with two outer skins, a honeycomb filler and a leading edge balance weight which was almost a mechanical fastener of the leading edges of the skins.

    The first flight of the YH-16 was 23 October 1953. The slow turning speed of the rotors (125 rpm) almost made the blades visible in their rotation and in-flight vibration was loping in character.

    The size of the YH-16A fit the power output of the existing 1800 HP Allison T-38 gas shaft turbine. However, the T-38 was not a free-wheeling turbine and thus not ideally suited for multi-turbine interconnection. A concept was developed to tune the two fixed shaft turbines to act in consonance. (This concept was later utilized in Air Geep II).

    The U.S. Army saw the H-16 as an answer to several of its military transport missions and joined in the project. The tall landing gear version was of particular interest since it allowed the rapid attachment of external loads or pods.

    The detachable pod could carry equipment and the troops could ride in main fuselage. In this way, both troops and their equipment could be landed simultaneously.

    The fuselage was designed with a flat bottom to permit slugging a container or other external payload thus eliminating payload swing. Various pods were designed for special functions, including a field operating room, an electronics center, and a mobile
    repair center.

    The YH-16A became the world’s first twin turbine helicopter and established an unofficial speed record of 166 mph in 1956.
      YH-16
      Mission: Rescue & Transport
      Crew: 3
      Passengers: 40 or 32 litres
      Engine: (2) P&W R 2180-11
      hp: 1650 each
      Rotor diameter: 82 ft
      Fuselage length: 78 ft
      Weight empty: 32,000 lb
      Useful load: 14,000 lb
      Max. speed: 123 mph
      Cruising speed: 110 mph
      Range: 230 miles
      Ceiling with normal load 18,000 ft

      YH-16A
      Mission: Rescue & Transport
      Crew: 3
      Passengers: 40 or 32 litres
      Engine: (2) Allison YT38-A-10
      hp: 1,800 each
      Rotor diameter: 82 ft
      Fuselage length: 78 ft
      Weight empty: 22,506 lb
      Useful load: 11,071 lb
      Max. speed: 146 mph
      Cruising speed: 140 mph
      Range: 230 miles
      Ceiling with normal load 19,100 ft*


The model
Revell issued this model a few times with different boxes. One example is the box top above, courtesy of OldModelKits.com. I won’t try to describe this vintage kit in great detail - instead I’ll let the photos do the talking. This model has 56 parts including the display stand. There is also a metal ring in the box. Five are clear styrene, the rest are silver. The clear parts are surprisingly clear.

Molding is fair at best. You can see in the photos the amount of flash that envelope some parts. Plenty of sink marks mar the parts, along with seam lines and visible ejection circles. Panel lines and rivet rows are raised and over-scale. As was the fashion of the day, all markings are molded on with raised lines. It looks awful but leaves no doubt where one should put the decals!

One bad area on my sample is on the right fuselage half. A raised jagged line looks like the mold was cracked and allowing the injected polystyrene into the wound. I intend to sand the surface down anyway so that should go away.

It seems that open windows were considered beyond the ability of the mold makers when this model was tooled. Clever painting can simulate the dark interior with a tinge of reflection.

Detail
Detail is soft. The tires and rims look fair although one looks like it did not mold completely.

A cockpit is provided. It is crude. Two pilots are sculpted and they have good detail and very good posing (Revell and Monogram are acclaimed for that quality) but the amount of flash obscures the detail.

Otherwise, the most impressive detail is on the rotor hubs.

As mentioned, airframe detail includes oversized rivets and panel lines. One need only look at a few photos of the YH-16 to see that it was not flush-riveted. But those rivets aren't as hefty as the ones on this model.

Finally, those molded markings. United States Air Force is molded above the windows. Photos show only airframe 01270 had that marking over the windows, while the other two I've found had them below the windows. Fortunately, 01270 is the only decal option for this kit.

Instructions, painting, decals
This re-pop was issued in 1997. That's what is on the decal sheet, at least. As such, the decals are fair. They are slightly off register but are sharply printed and opaque, but have fairly thick carrier film with more than I'd like around the printed area. Only one aircraft tail number is provided: 01270.

The instruction sheet is a single big page. Four sections guide the modeler through assembly with text and clear halftone illustrations. The other side of the paper is the history of the helo and Revell advertisements.

There is no painting instructions.

Conclusion
I've found several of these models assembled on online. They look pretty good. This will not be a contest winner but for this niche scale and those who like vintage models, Revell's aged H-16 Piaseki Transporter should be fun.
______
SOURCE

* Piasecki Aircraft Corporation. YH-16, YH-16A. [Web.] 2009.

Click here for additional images for this review.

SUMMARY
Highs: The only injection-molded H-16 that I know of.
Lows: Soft detail, lots of flash, visible ejection circles, sink marks, big seam lines, molded-on insignias; cabin windows not molded open.
Verdict: This will not be a contest winner but for this niche scale and those who like vintage models, Revell's aged H-16 Piaseki Transporter should be fun.
  Scale: 1:96
  Mfg. ID: H223-98
  Related Link: Piasecki YH-16A Transporter Newsreel
  PUBLISHED: May 16, 2016
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.00%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 82.35%

About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)
FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2017 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Hi Fred Nice one! I love these trips down memory lane - a lot of them cover the kits I saw advertised on the backs of US-import comics back in the '60s, but which were never on the shelves of my LHS. In many cases your reviews are my first chance to see "for real" what I missed out on all those years ago... All the best Rowan
MAY 16, 2016 - 07:50 AM
this revell piaseki h-16 helicopter today is a classic model. good stuff.
MAY 16, 2016 - 10:21 AM
Excellent. I also enjoy the older goodies. They are fun the build and add any detail you would like. Plus it doesn't take a bank loan to get one. I think I have two or three of these all for under 10 buck each. Can't beat it. Many of these old kits were never seen where I grew up. My models in those days came from Kresties the forerunner of K Mark.
MAY 16, 2016 - 11:13 AM
I remember Kresties! I remember buying the Revell P-40E, Stuka, ME 109...
MAY 17, 2016 - 02:38 AM
Considering this kit when new cost less than 1$US when it first hit the shelves it's a gem.
MAY 17, 2016 - 06:12 AM
Classic, thanks for sharing Fred. I love the surface details, the minor amount of flash to deal with 😳 and the political correctness in the instructions "Revell H-O . . . . A man's train . . . " And that silver plastic, so many builds from my early years that ended up being more cement than styrene just to keep them together. Cheers, D
MAY 17, 2016 - 09:50 AM
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