Heller 1/50 SA.315B Lama

KIT #: 482
PRICE: $26.00 on evilbay
DECALS: None in kit


To quote the typewritten instructions:

“LAMA manufactured by AEROSPATIALE, the only light helicopter in the world, can carry a load of one ton by sling and has 3,500,000 hours of flying time to its credit. Designed for the transport of personnel (1 pilot + 4 passengers) and loads over all types of ground, whatever the altitude or temperature.”

The Lama is a member of the Alouette family, possibly the most successful light helicopters to be built in Europe. Somewhat reminiscent of a Bell Model 47 or Hiller UH-12 but larger, the Lama is outwardly very similar to the earlier Alouette II. It can be distinguished by its higher skids, but the Lama is in fact a more powerful machine designed expressly for “hot and high” performance, being very popular in mountainous regions.

It has also, inexplicably, been very popular as a “bad guy” heli on TV and in motion pictures, including the Charles Bronson film “Breakout”, and the TV movies “Birds Of Prey” and “Deadly Encounter”.

The Lama seems to be such a perfect machine that it is still in use by dozens of armed forces and several  civilian operators today. Wikipedia lists 11 nations whose military uses the type, and mentions that a staggering 81 examples appear on the Swiss civil register.


Heller seems to have a near-monopoly on Lama models – the definitive Alouette & Lama website lists only the Extratech 1/72 kit as an alternative. Heller produced a likely very small model in 1/100 scale which pops up on eBay from time to time – this writer has very recently missed out on such a kit – as well as the more substantial 1/50 kit previewed here.

Upon opening the sturdy cardboard box, which features a very fine painting of a Lama in flight above a dockyard, one is confronted with two white sprues which fill the box (perhaps a little too well – the sprues bend when squeezed into the box), as well as a single clear sprue and the instructions. I’ll start with the clear parts as they are a very distinctive part of the Lama. The dominating cockpit “bubble” is moulded in two halves but the join will be cleverly hidden in the central frame. The detail on this kit is raised, and includes many rivets on the cockpit frames and remainder of the fuselage, as well as titles to be later painted in black (“SA315B” and “LAMA” on the fuselage sides, and the registration “F-WIEL” under the nose) and some decorative striping.

The cockpit is quite well detailed with all flight controls present, raised dials on the instrument panel and two-part front seats. The die-hard detailer will want to add more, but the clear parts are sufficiently thick to make sure whatever is done will be adequate.

The rotor head is made up of several parts so tweezers and/or a steady hand will be essential, and a very basic Turbomeca Artouste engine is provided but really could do with some extra pipes etc. This is also true for the rotor, as I have seen many Lamas with what appears to be bracing wire and lots of other things going on in that general area. 


 All in all this looks be a tricky little build, but to me that means satisfying a long-standing dream of having a model Lama. A simple review of a .... not simple, but basic-in-the-detailing kit. All that round-section framing will in all likelihood test my patience to its extremes, but my goodness it’ll be worth it!

I hope. This is a rare kit. I don’t want to foul it up.



Kit instructions


Zac Yates

December 2010


Thanks t

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact me or see other details in the Note to Contributors.

Back to the Main Page

Back to the Review Index Page

Back to the Previews Index Page