Chinook Review

Modelling the Boeing Vertol Chinook

By Rod “Otto” Ulrich (Ex-RAF engineering tradesman with 23 years’ Chinook experience!)

Trumpeter 1/35th scale CH47D review

Overall impressions of this kit are very favourable. It seems to of been logically broken down to allow for the issue of other variants. A closer inspection has revealed only two major areas of criticism:

There is no provision for the cabin seating, which is very similar to the red nylon fabric seating used in the Lockheed Hercules. This is very short-sighted, as this seating is seldom removed and is normally folded up if the maximum use of cabin space is required. Whilst vehicles can easily be accommodated within the Chinook’s cabin, the overhead clearance as the vehicle drives over the ramp hinge line is strictly limited.  Therefore, the maximum combination of height and width is similar to that of a LWB Landrover with the tilt and windscreen either removed or collapsed.

All early model Chinooks up to and including the CH47C were equipped with panelling that completely enclosed all the structure from the ramp hinge line frame to the last frame before the APU bay.  None of this has been included. Although it was common in Vietnam to remove some or all of this panelling to facilitate maintenance access, none-the-less it was a standard fit.

An area of minor criticism concerns the rotor head assemblies. Whilst the basic shape is a reasonable representation, the geometry is incorrect. On the full size machine’s rotor heads the ‘arms’ of the rotors ‘lead’ the rotor hub centre line in their respective directions of rotation. In the kit the ‘arms’ of the rotors are arranged as in an equilateral triangle and the rotor head subcomponents are very simplistically represented.

There are several panel lines, access panels and equipment mounting points which seem to be either additional or incorrect to current specifications but these may well have been only specific to the CH47A. The CH47C which replaced it was extensively modified in the light of operational experience.


To make an 1/35th scale RAF Chinook HC1 or HC2 or HC2a

The short answer is DON’T BOTHER!

The closest variant is the RAF HC1 initial issue of six aircraft.  These aircraft were accepted into service fitted with metal rotor blades as issued in the kit.  However, the kit still requires replacing the rear undercarriage, replacing the rear portion of the aft pylon (from a ‘sharp’ trailing edge to the current ‘square-cut’ version), replacing the cockpit seating with armoured seats, manufacturing a complete suite of aerials to suit the initial batch delivery spec., a forward and aft cargo hook and manufacturing a replacement set of engine intake screens. Additionally, a full set of cabin seating, ‘bubble style’ cabin windows and rear fuselage panelling are also required.

Later HC1 aircraft were modified with fibre glass composite (plastic!) rotor blades, radar warning receivers (RWR), a modified aerial suite and chaff / flare self-defence aids.  There are also detail differences with rotor heads, rotor hubs and cabin window arrangements.

HC2  and 2a aircraft have all of the above, plus a modified aft pylon leading edge fairing, a modified forward pylon assembly, a further update on the aerial fit, revisions of the self defence aid suite and of both engine pod assemblies.  Other inclusions would have to include engine air partial separators (ECU Sand Filters) mounting rails and a major revision of access panels, intake and exhaust grilles.

You would then have the additional difficulty of trying to source decals / unit insignia / stencilling / walkways / etc, to suit an unusual scale for aircraft.


Trumpeter 1/35th scale CH47D

Trumpeter is to release a CH47D “in the near future”.  Providing this kit is as all-inclusive as the CH47A, it would meet most of the criteria for the basis of a representative HC1 / 2 / 2a.  Nonetheless, this will involve some extra work to retrospectively return it to HC1 standard, especially regarding the forward pylon and the aft pylon leading edge fairing, plus the revised access panel work. 

However, if the kit is based around a US Army spec. machine expect a vast amount of work to scratch-build a new aerial suite, RWR and defensive aids, cockpit interior furnishings, cabin seating, windscreen wiper fit, etc. Unless Trumpeter supply some cunningly designed resin inserts, expect  real aggravation in recreating the enormous amount of components, pipelines, cable looms and controls that are left open to the elements in the rear fuselage area aft of the ramp hinge line.  Again, you would then have the additional difficulty of trying to source decals / unit insignia / stencilling / walkways / etc, to suit an unconventional scale.


Italeri have announced a 1/48th scale CH47D

If all Italeri do is scale up their current offering then it will be a complete mongrel! At least Revell managed to correct the rotor blade shape in the latest 1/72 issue of the MH47E. If no effort is made to revise this kit the following items will need to be replaced / modified / scratch made:

Rotor blades, rotor heads and dampers, aft pylon, forward pylon, ECU pods, ECU exhaust pipes, cabin seating, cockpit seating, all interior furnishings, the fuselage fittings aft of the ramp hinge line, aerial fit, self defence suite,   windscreen wiper fit plus a full revision of all panel lines, intake and exhaust grilles.

Note: This list is not exhaustive and will need to be tailored to the particular mark / variant you intend to model!

Rod ‘Otto’ Ulrich © 20 March 06