by: Tim Hatton [ ]
The Robinson R22 is a two-bladed, single-engine light utility helicopter manufactured by Robinson Helicopter. The two-seat R22 was designed in 1973 by Frank Robinson and has been in production since 1979.Due to relatively low acquisition and operating costs, the R22 has been popular as a primary rotorcraft trainer around the world and as a livestock management tool on large ranches in North America and on cattle stations in Australia. The R22 has a very low inertia rotor system and the control inputs are operated directly by push rods with no hydraulic assistance.
The R22 is the basis for Boeing's Maverick military unmanned aerial vehicle helicopter, and its Renegade version. The US navy also acquired four aircraft for development as unmanned drones.
The normal production variant has skid landing gear, though the Mariner version is fitted with floats. The R22 uses a horizontally Lycoming O-320 (O-360-J2A on the Beta II), four-cylinder, air-cooled engine.
Military users of the R-22 include the Dominician Republic Air Force, the navies of Mexico and the Philippines.
Interestingly if you fancy a brand new basic R22 it will set you back just $265,000. No wonder it is such a familiar sight at so many airfields.
Contents: are contained in a sturdy top opening box, with the resin, vac formed, decals and photo etched parts wrapped in individual re sealable bags. Contents include:
-24 x resin parts [approx].
-2 x vac formed clear plastic parts.
-1 x small photo etched sheet.
-1 x decal sheet.
-1 x instruction manual.
Cockpit: the main resin part of the cockpit incorporates the floor, a raised control panel between the two occupants legs, two seats with car style seat belts and a rear wall. The centrally mounted instrument panel is separate and has circular recesses representing the gauges. The instrument between the two seats has some light low relief detail. The cabin has duel controls; the one piece resin duel cyclic stick is a very delicate casting so some care is necessary when removing it. The anti-torque pedals are four small photo etched parts.
Engine: is one piece and nicely detailed There are four separate exhaust pipes to attach to the engine and separate silencer [yes it has a car style silencer] to attach to the exhaust pipes. The area is finished off by attaching the minute engine to the resin mounting plate.
Tail boom: is one piece and cleverly incorporates the main rotor tower. The two vertical and one horizontal stabilisers are separate parts.
The twin bladed main rotor: is one piece and beautifully cast. The blades have a good consistent aerofoil section throughout their length. Some care will be necessary removing the five fine pouring gates that attach the rotor to the casting block. The blades are straight without any distortion although there is a little flash to clean up on the leading and trailing edges of the blades. The swash plate is created from three photo etched parts.
The twin bladed tail rotor: is a one piece photo etched part. The central link needs twisting slightly to achieve the correct pitch on the blades.
The fuselage: is made up from two clear vac formed parts moulded together on the same sheet. Once separated the fuselage halves are split vertically and are glued together around the cockpit, engine, rotor tower and part of the tail boom. The join down the centre of the windscreen follows the line of the frame. A slot needs to be cut out of the top of fuselage to accommodate the rotor tower and also some of the clear plastic needs trimming around the engine bay. Obviously the whole procedure is a little tricky to do, but it will be well worth the effort. Using the vac formed clear plastic for the fuselage halves is a great idea although it does require some care removing the shell of the fuselage away from the surplus clear plastic. It is always a good idea to carefully mark the trimming area with black permanent marker before you start cutting. The quality of the transparent plastic is very good and there are even clear lines that define the windows and windscreen.
Once the fuselage halves are joined the kit construction is finished off by adding the two resin landing skids and photo etched engine frames, the latter require folding.
Markings: Pavla models have supplied four varied and interesting marking options:
[A] ME 015: Armada de Mexico, Escuela de Aviation, based at La Paz – gloss yellow overall.
[B] EN-1845: Dominican Republic Air Force, based at Santo Domingo, 2004 – four colour overall camouflage scheme of brown, tan and two shades of green.
[C] OK-FFF: owned by Karel Kladiva – Klimex Company and operated by the flying school “Fly for Fun” based at Sazená airfield – gloss white overall.
[D] OK-BLT: belonging to NISA AIR Company, based at Mladá Boleslav – tiger stripes are painted two shades of grey.
Pavla Models have provided FS references for option [B].
Decals: a nicely printed set of decals printed by Boa with very good colour depth, definition and minimal carrier film. The fin flash for [A] and the fuselage cheat line for [C] are supplied as decals.
Instructions: take the form of black line drawings, which are very detailed, illustrating exact location points for the parts. There are thirteen stages of construction. Painting guides include illustrations of the port and starboard side profiles of each option. Paint references are for Humbrol paints.
This is an excellent release from Pavla and my first look at one of their mullti media kits. I have to say I am very impressed. Although not a kit for the novice modeler I don’t see anything that would put of anyone with a few kits under their belt. The fuselage is the only tricky part and Pavla very kindly supply a spare. The four colour camouflage of the option [B] will require some careful masking, but I suspect will look stunning.