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Italeri H-21C "Flying Banana" Blog
phantom_phanatic309
#372
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United Kingdom
Joined: March 10, 2010
KitMaker: 2,328 posts
AeroScale: 1,459 posts
Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2020 - 08:29 AM UTC
Great work Fred.
Been watching your build for a while and it certainly has been a struggle.
All your hard work has paid off. That's one very impressive looking helicopter.
HARV
#012
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Wyoming, United States
Joined: November 07, 2003
KitMaker: 2,995 posts
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Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2020 - 05:02 AM UTC
That turned out great Fred. You did a nice job with it. Looking forward to your next project.

Thanks,
Randy
HeavyArty
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Florida, United States
Joined: May 16, 2002
KitMaker: 17,292 posts
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Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2019 - 06:11 AM UTC
It came out leooking very nice. Great job on it.
AussieReg
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
AUTOMODELER
#007
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Victoria, Australia
Joined: June 09, 2009
KitMaker: 7,060 posts
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Posted: Monday, December 09, 2019 - 10:34 PM UTC
Great job on a tough old kit there Fred, really nice work!

Cheers, D
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,548 posts
AeroScale: 3,113 posts
Posted: Monday, December 09, 2019 - 04:05 PM UTC
Jessie, Mark, Oliver, Russ, Russ, Scot, et. al, thank you, everyone, for your comments.

Here are my closing thoughts.

First, and with all due respect to one of my favorite model companies, I expect more from Italeri. They have been around long enough with proven quality that this kit should not have the problems it does. A sheep herding friend once remarked that a llama is a horse created by committee. Italeri must have used a committee to create this kit. It features some impressive characteristics. But it also features some very puzzling qualities, too.

The following is my summary.

PROs
* Overall good detail, including photo-etch. An impressive interior.

* Rotors molded with droop. (Do any other model companies do that?)

* The airframe balances well when set on its back, upside-down. (Only important when working on the belly.)

* Separate lenses for lights, navigation lights and rotating beacons (except tail light).

* High detail such as separate brake shoes.

* Extra parts are provided should you break one, i.e., rotor blades, rotorhead parts.

* Many decals - three aircraft and many data stencils.

* Instruction sheet is well illustrated, but…

CONs
* Inconsistent surface texture of the fuselage halves – one is smooth and one is rough. Panel lines do not match up.

* Strobes and navigation lights could have been molded with divots for paint to simulate bulbs; no tail light.

* Engine compartment panels have flat tabs but the mounting holes in the fuselage are round. (Remember what you were taught about trying to put a square peg into a round hole?)

* Fit of external parts - some delicate parts that could use more secure mounting points are attached by butt joints, i.e., door handles, hand grabs, rear fuselage door step.

* Fit of internal parts - those bulkheads, formers and frames do not always match the curvature of the fuselage halves.

* Fuselage lacks enough peg-and-hole alignment pins for the fuselage halves, and the interior lacks substantial alignment lines and troughs for the bulkheads, which makes closing the fuselage challenging, and resulting in gross steps between halves along some areas.

* Instruction sheet is not very good due to vague directions and misidentified parts. Italeri failed to even hint at the size of drill bits required to open mounting holes. Italeri also failed to show that one must drill out a mounting hole if one intends to mount the forward hoist, and they failed to show where to properly drill it. Parts are provided to build a couple versions of the H-21 but no hint is given as to which part is used for which variant.

* Italeri shows multiple positions for some stenciling in the instructions and yet not enough decals are printed.

* Decals: despite up to four coats of clear gloss for the decals to set upon, many silvered. Several came off, even after receiving a clear top coat. And the blue tips for the stabilizers are too small. Many of the yellow decals are translucent and all but disappear once dry.

* Mating the canopy to the fuselage contours required much forming and clamping, and eventually the canopy developed stress fractures.

* The horizontal stabilizers do not fit the vertical stabilizers or fuselage well, requiring filler.

Conclusion

With perseverance and TLC, this model can be built into a nice model. I made a mountain out of a mole hill overthinking how to close up the fuselage, and once I decided to go for it, the build progressed well. In spite of Italeri's instruction sheet, we modelers are smarter than the average cat and can figure out what really goes where if we take our time.

I do not know what to say about the decals. I applied them like I have applied decals for the past 20+ years. That some still silvered is baffling and I can only presume it is because the surface is rough, even after multiple coats of Future. (Or maybe I just screwed up?) I plan to use the extras on another model and, if I remember to, will post the results back here.

Now that it is complete, I like my Flying Banana. (I like it more now that it is complete.) It is a big model, taking up about as much shelf space as a 1/32 jet fighter. I did not secure the rotors to the airframe with their shaft caps so I can remove them to save space.

I plan to dust on a little more weathering, some SEA red dust, and maybe some more mud splatters, and paint chips. Until then, here are a few more photos.



Circling back, here is the review: Italeri H-21C Shawnee ''Flying Banana'' In-box Review.
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,548 posts
AeroScale: 3,113 posts
Posted: Monday, December 09, 2019 - 03:32 PM UTC
Hi Jessie-C,

Quoted Text

Was the mangled "ARMY" marking on the port side a decal disaster, or did the original have worn paint?


A disaster. (See my kit summary, below.) I decided to make it look like field painted damage repair. I have a lot of subtle color changes on this banana-bird, some intended and some not, some masked and some (intentionally) crudely brushed. I watched a PBS show (Nova?) about USN's HA(L)-3 "Seawolves" and it showed some rough patches, my inspiration. So I figured to carry that over to the ARMY decal after it tore off.
Jessie_C
_VISITCOMMUNITY
British Columbia, Canada
Joined: September 03, 2009
KitMaker: 6,815 posts
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Posted: Monday, December 09, 2019 - 05:43 AM UTC
Was the mangled "ARMY" marking on the port side a decal disaster, or did the original have worn paint?
russamotto
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Utah, United States
Joined: December 14, 2007
KitMaker: 3,333 posts
AeroScale: 370 posts
Posted: Monday, December 09, 2019 - 03:32 AM UTC
Looks really nice, Fred. You fought a good fight to the finish and won!
sardoc
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Florida, United States
Joined: March 02, 2012
KitMaker: 23 posts
AeroScale: 16 posts
Posted: Monday, December 09, 2019 - 03:01 AM UTC
I paint the fuselage before joining, add the windows, join the fuselage and then work on filing the topside and underside seams.

when ready to paint, I mask the model with low tack painters tape and paper except for the seams.

Just work in light coats to avoid paint lines. Works great and I have had several models place in competitions with this technique.
md72
#439
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Washington, United States
Joined: November 05, 2005
KitMaker: 4,621 posts
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Posted: Sunday, December 08, 2019 - 06:48 PM UTC
Well Fredrick, looks like you rassled it to a pin. Looks pretty good. Now I'm tempted to start my Hobbycaft 1/72 flavor.
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,548 posts
AeroScale: 3,113 posts
Posted: Sunday, December 08, 2019 - 05:07 PM UTC
"These proceedings are closed!"

Well, not quite. I still plan to rig the belly cables and cargo hook. But otherwise, this kit is complete.

I will add some closing thoughts soon but for now, enjoy the photos.





Plenty more photos tomorrow. Especially since I just noticed how shiny bright that unwashed rotorhead is!
Antilles
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Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Joined: March 22, 2015
KitMaker: 640 posts
AeroScale: 598 posts
Posted: Saturday, November 30, 2019 - 09:43 PM UTC
Frederick,
great work in fighting this beast. Probably, I would have surrendered to this kit long time ago.

Looking forward to the completed model!

Oliver
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,548 posts
AeroScale: 3,113 posts
Posted: Saturday, November 30, 2019 - 06:19 PM UTC
I did a poor job with masking the canopy. The compound curves and numerous curved frames defeated my eyesight and precision of cutting the masking tape.


As mentioned earlier, I was unconventional with painting and decals. I am satisfied that painting the exterior of the engine compartment prior to joining the fuselage halves was a good idea because I don't know of any practice way of masking them from paint overspray from the inside. I had to spray for touch-up after joining the fuselage halves, and some of the overspray got inside the screens. Not much, but enough to dull some of that beautiful yellow zinc chromate.


Here are three more images before I sign off tonight.

All painted and decaled up, awaiting the attachment of the fiddly parts.


Main cabin didn't turn out to bad.


The decals are a mixed bag. These worked well.

Are the decals odd or am I loosing my touch? Recall previously I remarked that the fuselage suffers from rough texture in areas? This model received four good coats of Future clear gloss, and yet many of the decals silvered! I had to prick them and flood them with diluted gloss clear. Others I had to apply Future with a brush. The registration of colors is not as good as I first thought. Note the 'silvering' around the edge of the national insignia? It is actually the color white slightly out from under the top colors.

Final decal complaint. Note the yellow stenciling, how opaque and bright it is? Most of the yellow decals are translucent and hard to see.

I hope to have the completed model on tonight!
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,548 posts
AeroScale: 3,113 posts
Posted: Saturday, November 30, 2019 - 05:39 PM UTC
Italeri's instruction sheet designers made several errors. Some are annoying. Several are substantial. Here are a couple.

1. Tailplane assemblies: two types are provided. No reference is made as to which is appropriate for a decal choice. H-21 15051 had the top and bottom of each rudder trimmed in blue. Italeri provided decals for that. The decals do not fit one of the tailplane versions.

I think I mentioned that you, the modeler, must drill out the holes for the mounting pins, and for the stabilizer struts, and yet Italeri offers no clue as to the drill size required. I simply fit drill bits into the guide pits until I found a fit, but that came back to haunt me, as the holes were not big enough for the mounting pins of the stabilizer struts.


2. Step 14, assembly of the rotor heads, lacks color information for the heads.

FIT

If you are spoiled by the fit of Tamiya (as I am), this model may frustrate you. Some assemblies are beautiful. Some are what you would experience building models from the 1960s or '70s, or some of the early Classic Airframes kits. Not what I expect from a major manufacturer like Italeri.

1. Joining the horizontal stabilizers to the vertical stabilizers, thence the horizontal stabilizers to the fuselage, left gaping gaps requiring a good amount of filler.

2. Four significant openings are molded into the belly of the fuselage. They accept part 35A, main gear struts, parts 7-8A, landing lights, and the nose gear leg, part 38B. There is so much space between part 8A and anything else that the part will drop into the fuselage and be swallowed up. Otherwise, the holes need some trimming and the gaps need filling.

3. The main landing gear is a robust assembly built up with sturdy parts. Those parts fit into each other well.
md72
#439
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Washington, United States
Joined: November 05, 2005
KitMaker: 4,621 posts
AeroScale: 2,999 posts
Posted: Saturday, November 30, 2019 - 05:21 PM UTC
Looks like this beastie is going to fight you every step of the way. Hang in there.
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,548 posts
AeroScale: 3,113 posts
Posted: Saturday, November 30, 2019 - 05:06 PM UTC
Greetings Group, I'm back.

I actually have had the canopy painted since mid-October but no time to shoot and post the pix. Catch-up time!

I have been decaling and adding the remaining fiddly parts. So while my Shawnee balances on its back in the basement with glue drying, I'll show you where we're at.

Italeri made a lot of mistakes with their instructions and even part numbers on the sprues, and here is an example. There are four tracks for the two fuselage doors, of three sizes. Italeri screwed the pooch identifying them as well as illustrating them. The bottom rail for the front hatch is identified as part 14A, but that part is a half inch to short. Part 11A is the correct part.



In Step 10, be careful assembling the nose gear. Mixed review here. The fork that holds the nose wheel must be spread apart for the wheel to fit; I was surprised it did not break. Also, the wheel is a left/right half assembly. One side has a slot, the other a rim. Both parts are "15A." (Not that confusion could occur.) On the plus side, the struct is a five-piece assembly (excluding the wheel and lenses for the landing light). The torque link, recuperate, and V-strut all attach to the struct with stout peg-slot connectors. The optional landing light cluster is simply glued on. The final complaint of this assembly is that while the V-strut is anchored into the gear struct, the other ends simply set upon the fuselage. No pins, slots, or such to help position or hold it.

Recall my whining about lack of alignment pins for the fuselage halves? It seems that the rear rotor cowling interior is misaligned. That causes the rotor plate to set cattywampus in the cowl, with the associated leaning of the rotor assembly. It is not apparent just looking at it but the list of the rotor is noticeable.

Kevlar06
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Washington, United States
Joined: March 15, 2009
KitMaker: 3,248 posts
AeroScale: 751 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2019 - 01:59 PM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

One other note--dipping your clear parts in Pledge-Future-Kleer keeps cyanoacrylate from "fogging" the clear parts.
VR, Russ



Hi Russ,

good information. Thanks. I've been contemplating the mask-then-trim-then-install window technique for the Airfix B-25 I'm building. For an 'aircraft guy,' canopies have often been my weak spot. I once loved to paint them but then realized my skill with them did not match my increasing expectations.

I did not know (or recall) that Future keeps cyanoacrylate from "fogging" the clear parts. I thought Future just makes clear parts clearer; all of these clear parts have a layer of Future. I'll try a Future-treated canopy with regular CA.

Thanks again!



Fred, try a non-Futured scrap clear part, and compare it with a Futured part-- you'll see the difference after it dries. 95% of the time, without using a Future coat, you'll get fogging. One of the first things I do with a kit is soak the clear parts in Future, precisely for that reason, because I generally use cyanoacrylate to glue clear parts in. To make sure I don't have seams, I'll sand the outside of the model with the windows in place, and then polish them out on the outside. Sometimes (like you did) I'll attach them to a fuselage half, do my sanding and finishing, and go and touch up the areas that have to be joined later. In that case, I'll re-future windows with a fine brush after polishing them out.
VR, Russ
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,548 posts
AeroScale: 3,113 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2019 - 12:11 PM UTC

Quoted Text

One other note--dipping your clear parts in Pledge-Future-Kleer keeps cyanoacrylate from "fogging" the clear parts.
VR, Russ



Hi Russ,

good information. Thanks. I've been contemplating the mask-then-trim-then-install window technique for the Airfix B-25 I'm building. For an 'aircraft guy,' canopies have often been my weak spot. I once loved to paint them but then realized my skill with them did not match my increasing expectations.

I did not know (or recall) that Future keeps cyanoacrylate from "fogging" the clear parts. I thought Future just makes clear parts clearer; all of these clear parts have a layer of Future. I'll try a Future-treated canopy with regular CA.

Thanks again!
Kevlar06
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Washington, United States
Joined: March 15, 2009
KitMaker: 3,248 posts
AeroScale: 751 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2019 - 08:22 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

One question, why do you paint the fuselage halves before attaching them together?


Hi Gino,

Good question. The answer is that I am not happy with recent masking of fuselage windows. I decided to experiment with this kit - paint and decal, then attach the windows and then mate the fuselage halves. I am betting that I can protect the windows and decals with low-tack tape when I repaint the sanded seam lines.

I will discover in a few hours if this unconventional method worked acceptably. Hope to have the pix posted by tonight.



Fred, that's actually an "old school" technique to paint the fuselage halves then install the windows. Although in the "olden days" folks cared less about seam lines, which I know you'll be going over as the project continues. I sometimes do the same thing, the same way you're going with this build. I use a different approach to windows in 1/72 and some 1/48 models-- I paint the interior, then glue the windows in securely, assemble the fuselage halves, sand out the window seams on the outside, then polish the windows and mask them on the outside. Sometimes I have to create special masks by punching out corners of masking material attached to plastic sheet then pulling it off, or cutting masking tape stuck to a thin plastic sheet that's marked using the original window opening as a template. Your canopy technique is a good one for framing the canopy (especially if the canopy has a bad fit). One other note--dipping your clear parts in Pledge-Future-Kleer keeps cyanoacrylate from "fogging" the clear parts.
VR, Russ
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,548 posts
AeroScale: 3,113 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2019 - 05:32 AM UTC

Quoted Text

One question, why do you paint the fuselage halves before attaching them together?


Hi Gino,

Good question. The answer is that I am not happy with recent masking of fuselage windows. I decided to experiment with this kit - paint and decal, then attach the windows and then mate the fuselage halves. I am betting that I can protect the windows and decals with low-tack tape when I repaint the sanded seam lines.

I will discover in a few hours if this unconventional method worked acceptably. Hope to have the pix posted by tonight.
HeavyArty
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Florida, United States
Joined: May 16, 2002
KitMaker: 17,292 posts
AeroScale: 1,652 posts
Posted: Wednesday, October 09, 2019 - 12:51 AM UTC
Looking good. One question, why do you paint the fuselage halves before attaching them together? I leave it all unpainted on the outside and paint it all at once after filling, sanding, etc...
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,548 posts
AeroScale: 3,113 posts
Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 2019 - 12:31 PM UTC
So here we are, ready to re-paint the model where sanding the fuselage seams removed paint, and painting the canopy. Hopefully, the paint will not reveal unacceptable gaps/surfaces where the canopy part mates to the fuselage.


JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,548 posts
AeroScale: 3,113 posts
Posted: Tuesday, October 08, 2019 - 12:18 PM UTC
Gentlemen,

Thank you for your kind comments. Here's where the H-21 and I are at now: ready for painting.

Italeri made the nose glazing as a single clear plastic part (aside from the two side windows) and I am impressed by the nice detail of the framing. But now comes the tricky part - mating that big piece of plastic to the fuselage.

I think the key is the bottom of the canopy mated to the bottom of the fuselage. Here, Italeri got this complex curvature right, although the joining of the fuselage halves here can upset the fit. Mine went on well and I held it in place while the non-fogging CA set.


But the ends do not touch the fuselage sides, leaving a 1mm gap!


I held the canopy in place and squeezed it in to match the contour of the fuselage, holding it together with Excel plastic clamps, and filled the gap with CA.


The copilot side conformed and filled well.


But although the pilot's side was also smoothly formed with the fuselage when I squirted in the CA, in the morning the upper half bowed inward, about a scale 3 inches! I resorted to Tamiya putty.


It looked bad and did not level the step, so I micro-sawed the canopy away from the fuselage, re-positioned the canopy edge along the fuselage edge, and hit it with more CA. This time I held it to ensure no styrene shenanigans.

HARV
#012
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Wyoming, United States
Joined: November 07, 2003
KitMaker: 2,995 posts
AeroScale: 79 posts
Posted: Friday, October 04, 2019 - 01:13 PM UTC
It is looking great Fred. I will be following along to watch your progress.

Thanks,
Randy
md72
#439
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Washington, United States
Joined: November 05, 2005
KitMaker: 4,621 posts
AeroScale: 2,999 posts
Posted: Wednesday, October 02, 2019 - 05:09 PM UTC
Wish I'd held out for the Italeri kit. I've got the Hobby Craft kit, it doesn't have near the detail that this one does.