Kaman UH-2A Seasprite 1/72 Clear Prop!
Kaman UH-2A Seasprite is a rather conventional helicopter with a single main rotor and a tail rotor. It had been used by the US Navy since the 1960s as a rescue and multipurpose helicopter. Later versions were developed for anti-submarine purposes. In Vietnam, Seasprites were used in a combat environment. While piloting one of these machines in a rescue mission, Lt. Clyde E. Lassen earned the highest US military decoration, the Medal of Honor.
I first noticed the Clear Prop! company in Moson, 2019. I remember examining their new release then, the A5M Claude, in (pleasant) shock and awe. When they later announced the early version of Kaman Seasprite, I naturally took notice. I have never built a helicopter before and this seemed like an ideal candidate. I have been always interested both in the Vietnam war and everything with “US Navy” written on it.
A half-year ago I finally got a hold of this kit. As so many times before, the new arrival jumped the line and I started to work on it immediately. Since it took a few months, with some detours for other projects, it is a bit difficult to recall all the aspects of the build now in retrospection. I will try to focus on such advice, that I would love to know myself beforehand to help me prepare for the build. Here is a list:
• I didn’t follow the instructions too much, but rather my own workflow, to minimize any damage of prematurely attached parts.
• The fuselage parts have a decent fit, but I recommend thorough dry-fitting none the less. Each fraction of millimeter counts, to avoid sanding, filling, and renewing the rivets.
• Unfortunately, the “E” sprue had a significant mold shift on all the small parts, so a lot of sanding was necessary. The resin wheels and exhaust, also made by Clear Prop! (No. CPA72016/21), are worth every penny. A tailwheel is included as well, more detailed than the kit part.
• If you plan to make the door open, you need to thin it down. It is difficult and you only have one shot. The details on the inner side will be lost, but they are not visible when the door is fully open, anyway. If you don’t have any experience with thinning down and polishing clear parts, you’d better avoid this step.
• The photo-etched parts of the main rotor look daunting, but the assembly is fairly easy in fact. Some more details could be added, but it looks great even straight out of the box.
• Be very careful with the tail rotor, the blades are very delicate and easily broken off.
• The decals have perfect register, opacity and are easy to handle. I used Microscale decal solutions. My only gripe is the Insignia Blue shade, which should be much darker.
• The white foil masks included in the box cannot be highly NOT recommended enough. They leave a glue residue on the clear parts, which is very difficult to remove. At least, you can use them as a template to cut your own masks from kabuki. I informed the manufacturer and hopefully, a better material will be used in their future releases.
And that is all. Despite the few shortcomings mentioned above, I rate this kit very highly. However, keep in mind it is not suitable for beginners. I am pretty happy with the result, in fact, I think it is one of my best models ever. Recently, I have been focusing rather on more simple projects, but now, I feel the confidence to tackle something so complex and eye-catching again! Well, enough candidates are waiting in my stash already 😉
5 thoughts on “Kaman UH-2A Seasprite 1/72 Clear Prop!”
Excellent work Mr.Henyk !..
Even a more impressive feat considering what seems to be such a very daunting model.
Wonderful build. Some of your color choices are different than the call-outs in the kit, that said i like the choices ie. pilots seat cushions, the main rotor blades, and the green tint on the overhead glass. I’m curious what sources influenced your color decisions. The sources I’ve found online tend to lean towards later ASW versions of the Seasprite and I haven’t found any pictures at all of the early Seasprite interiors. Curious if you know of info I don’t. Thanks. Brian
Hello Brian, thanks for comment. I went through many Cruise books from that era when Seasprite was used in many detachments on board of USN CVs and collected some good pics. I share the same experience with you as I wasn’t able to find any interior pics of early Seasprite. Few B&W partial views only. I would love to see any walk around but I’m not sure if even at least one early Seaprite survived into our days? You are absolutely right, in some cases I went in a different way than the kit instruction suggests. I disscused some details with my friend who has deep knowledge about USN aircrafts. The pilots seat cushion wasn’t black…and most likely not green as I did paint them. Orange could be better option. The main rotors blades..got inspiration from some pics I mentioned above. Green tint for overhead part of canopy is suggested in the instruction, isn’t it? Not sure now and don’t have it in my hands.
No kit is absolutely accurate. At least non of my kits 🙂 Everytime I have to solve missing info about the color or shape or detail. You know it mst likely as well. Please don’t take my build as a 100% refence 🙂 It shoudl serve as a inspiration and proof that this kit can be build with no big issue.
My name is Roger L Johnson. I am a retired US Navy helicopter pilot and flew the UH-2 A/B from the USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14) during the 1965 WESTPAC cruise to Vietnam. I flew the H-2 during my second cruise also; the USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) during the 1967 WESTPAC cruise to Vietnam. Rescues three different downed-at-sea pilots. A very fun helicopter to fly, but the A/B models were somewhat under-powered for the hot/humid Western Pacific arena. We therefore only carried about a 2/3rd fuel load during the launch/recovery plane guard flights. Had four (4) near-death experiences in the H-2, none of which were due to the aircraft design of capabilities. If you would like to read these stories, email me at email@example.com and I will send them as Word documents. I made a third WESTPAC cruise on the USS Midway (CVA-41) in 1972-73. Due to trouble on another carrier, Midway was extended to an eleven month cruise. We flew the Sikorski UH-3 Seaking helicopter on this cruise. Both great helicopters, but the Seasprite was by far the funnest to fly. Oh, I was only 21 on that first cruise and 22 on the second one. Children let loose in the ultimate toys! Ha!
Served with this helo in 1967-68 in viet nam.Lost power on april,8 1968 ditched in south china sea.Pilot was Lt.Carl S. Parks,co-pilot lt Jg David GRahm