Italeri 1/48 OH-13S Sioux






Three Aircraft


Scott Van Aken




The Bell model 47 is considered by many to be the first really successful light helicopter. It not only served (and in some cases still does) with many military forces around the world, but was also quite popular with civilian operators. There was even a TV show in the US that featured a model 47 as its star. I'm not talking about MASH, but an even older show called 'Whirlybird'. Undoubtedly that puts me into the niche of an 'old geezer', but I do recall it with some fondness.

Anyway, it was used with much success in Korea as a casevac helo bringing wounded soldiers into field hospitals. It was also used a bit later on in another Asian war farther south as a gun ship with twin machine guns attached to the skids. If you have seen the 007 movie 'You only live twice', there was a quartet of machine gun firing bad guy model 47s in that flick as well. The OH-13S was OK, but not really that great a gunship. What was needed was something a bit larger and the UH-1 eventually filled that bill. In US service the H-13 eventually was relegated to training duties and then quietly disappeared from the US Armed Forces.


Italeri's kit of the OH-13 is very much a state of the art kit. The only other models of this kit in this scale have been multimedia ones using etched brass tail framework. Frankly, it didn't pull it off too well. Only three dimensional materials can do it justice. Though it is a relatively simple helicopter, everything is out in the open so it is important that the details be well done. Italeri has become the master of the helo in the last decade and this one shows it. It has a separate engine with a properly complicated looking intake and exhaust system. The rotor head is well detailed as is the cockpit, which is complete with both controls, something that is often missing from earlier helo kits. The bubble canopy is nice and clear and there are optional doors if you wish to use them.

The lattice frame is quite well done and an interesting engineering job. It looks a tad thick, but it a LOT better looking than etched brass. There are optional fuel tanks of two different sizes. These are the saddle type and not the one at the back of the engine as on earlier H-13s. This kit also has optional machine guns if you wish to add them on. The overall quality of molding is very good, but there is a tad of flash on some parts and there are ejector pin marks that will be difficult to remove properly. It is the problem with the large lattice work and the skinny landing skids of this helo that there would be ejector pin marks on them. Some are a bit deep so just filing them off won't work.

Instructions are very well done, giving clear assembly instructions. Paint colors are given for Model Master paints as well as generic colors. There are three decal options for this kit. One is an OD US Army version, another a green and brown British  Army version and the third an Agusta-Bell AB.47 for the Italian Army in Italian brown. None of the paint schemes will be hard to paint and there is a color profile of the two versions not on the box top on the back side of the box. As you can see from the image to the right, my decal sheet has Italian roundels that are slightly off register, but shouldn't be too much of a problem to find replacements in the spare decal box.

If you like helos and you model in 1/48, this is a kit that really should be in your collection.

Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!

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