Sikorsky S-51 in 1/72 scale
A single Sikorsky S-51 was the first helicopter that came to The Netherlands after the Second World War. It was tried out by a Helicopter Technical Society and later went to the Royal Dutch Naval Flying service "Marine luchtvaart dienst" (MLD).
This MLD S-51 helicopter was the first aircraft to land on soil of the Dutch island of Saba in the Caribbean on February 13, 1952. There was no airfield at that time on this tiny island which is in fact an old vulcano. So an important date for the Saba island's history. The helicopter was carried on board the Dutch aircraft carrier Hr.Ms. Karel Doorman during its Caribbean cruise. The ship went to visit the island in the Dutch Antilles.
The Sikorsky S-51 book written by Nico Geldhof about the Dutch S-51 and later MLD aircraft provides good information, see references.
(This aircraft would be made as model).
Two S-51 models will be made: the old MPM and first the LF Models kit.
The first Sikorsky S-51 model was made with the LF Models short-run 1/72 kit.
It has about 50 basic plastic parts and an etched metal fret for detail parts.
I also bought a separate masking set CM7201 (for use with the MPM kit, to be discussed in a future article).
A small decal sheet is also in the kit for:
 S-51 Dutch ex "PH-HAA" and later to MLD, first yellow scheme, 1953;
 S-51 Yugoslav Air Force, 199th group, 1954;
 S-51 Italian Air Force 1954 in an aluminium scheme.
All decals are on 1 carrier film, so cut out each one as needed.
The kit instructions are OK but tiny printed and the assembly needs care where the parts should be placed. This is not clearly shown.
Being a short run kit, all parts should be sanded and checked for fit.
The fuselage is assembled and a nose weight is needed. It needs sanding and putty and than got a primer layer of grey.
The hoist/ winch was made from scratch, the etch partss do not look like the real one. In fact, I did not use many etch kit parts at all. The details were made from the real photos.
The hoist / winch seen here I was not happy with. It was removed and again made from scrap. The stubs for the gear need careful alignment.
Before setting the window glazing, the model got the overall yellow colour.
The first MLD S-51 scheme as it was on the Dutch island of Saba in the Caribbean had the overall yellow scheme. Gunze Sangyo H329 acrylic is used for the color, which is FS 13538 and this was airbrushed. (Xtracolor X106 enamel can also be used).
The color of the interior was not entirely clear to me. I used the usual interior green of that time. The interior got the pilots seat and a bench in the rear. Also fit the collective control part #10. Some etched metal bits are provided in the kit including a nice instrument console.
All the windows were now set and are separate parts. Each one needs sanding with a small file to fit. I think some part numbers were incorrectly indicated in the instructions. Check, sand and fix with Microscale Kristal Kleer. It did not work perfectly, so filled some gaps again with Kristal Kleer. The front screen was also painted and fitted.
LF gives the wrong number of the rotor blades for the first yellow MLD S-51: take not the rectangular blades #26, but the more kinked blades #25, which are fortunately in the kit. (the rectangular style blade were fitted later in its operational career).
The rotor itself with 25 parts and separate beams is impossible to assemble to achieve sufficient strength. I improvised with bits of rod and plastic card. Most etched metal parts were useless for the rotor. I drilled holes to get a metal rod to get more strength.
The blades were VERY carefully bent an bit. The rotor has been kept loose to turn and be less fragile and I hope it remains strong enough. Set the 3 blades at 120 degree angles.
The tail rotor is again in 3 separate blades.
The various smaller parts are the steps #16 on both sides; note that the slide doors left side and right side are on different positions. xAt that time not always the demountable longer step #17 were fitted. Do not forget some panels #26 and strips #27 on the belly.
I was not sure about the exhausts #35 at the left side. Probably it was just one, so I cut off one of the pair.
The decals are a mix of the LF Models decals and an old Dutch Decal set 72025 that I still had. (The numbers 8 - 1 on the LF set do not have the correct style, so got these from the DD set). At that time at Saba, the title "jezebel" was not yet painted on the helo.
After that, the model was finished quickly; the wheels should have caps and these are not included with the model. I mounted the wheels reversed, the 'spokes' are now on the back. That completed this tiny yellow model.
S-51 "jezebel" at Saba, February 13, 1952
A nice little model of the S-51 as the first helicopter of the Dutch Naval Flying Service "marine luchtvaart dienst" (MLD)
Sikorsky S-51, written by Nico Geldhof, published by Geromij.
IPMS Nederland S-51 walk around:
IPMS Nederland S-51 info page:
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Created this page August 16, 2020