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Boeing Vertol
H-21A

"The Flying Banana"
Tandem Rotor Cargo Helicopter

Flotille 31F

FrenchNavy
Algeria, 1956



This model added to kgwings.com on May 3, 2000

In 1956, the 31F squadron was created in Algeria and was equipped with H-21A "flying Bananas". The Bananas provided tactical transport missions for the French Army troops against rebels ("fellaghas") who wanted independence for their country.
The H-21 was designed for the U.S. Army by Piasecki Corporation as the World's first tandem rotor transport helicopter. The prototype (XHRP-1) first flew on April, 1952.
The H-21A was powered by an 1820 cu.in. Wright Cyclone Radial piston engine. The radial engine provided 1425 hp. for a top speed of 110 Knots (121 mph).
It's a difficult to see here, but this Italeri kit has canopy alignment problems along the sides. I solved the problem by making all new side windows and slide tracks (details can be seen on my H-21 Construction Page.
The nickname "Flying Banana" is pretty self explanatory from this vantage point.
Here you can see how nice the recessed lines and raised rivets are on this kit.
In the background one of my other French Navy whirlybirds sits, the Alouette II SE.313.
Here is my Banana on the workbench before I applied a light coat of Testors dullcoat lacquer. Interior details can be seen on my H-21 Construction Page.
Overall, this is a really nice kit and a "must have" for the avid helo fanatic.

Go to the
H-21 
H-21 Construction Page



Italeri #007 Shawnee H-21

Kit: Italeri #007 

Scale: 1/72 
Cost: This kit was a gift from fellow modeler Shawn Lynch... Thanks Shawn!
It sells for around $19.00 (US) as I write this, which is fairly reasonable.
Decals: Stock. Optional markings were provided for U.S. Army 93rd transport company South Vietnam, and German Army 3.HFLg.Btl.300 Mendig. The decals are in register, thin and went on very smooth.
After Market Parts: None.
Paint: The instructions called for Model Master 1772 (FS 15050) "Blue Angel Blue" which seemed too dark so I added white until it was a more pleasing color.
Review: The kit is molded in dark green, 93 parts in all. All parts were flash free and molded with crisp recessed panel lines. Fit was very good overall with the exception of the cockpit and canopy. My instrument panel obstructed the fit of the canopy, so I moved the panel aft on the flightdeck until it fit. Another problem with the canopy was that the sliding glass window tracks molded on fuselage don't align with the tracks molded on the canopy. I solved this problem by cutting away the windows and creating new windows and tracks (described on the H-21 Construction Page). The fuselage halves fit together well, however the panel lines didn't line up along the spine so I had to do some re-scribing. The rest of the kit went together smoothly.

The cargo area comes with webbed seating for 20, and the cockpit includes cyclics, collectives and foot pedals. Engine detail is good although barely visible after assembly. Fine mesh is included for the engine vents.
Customizing: I added harnesses for the pilots seats and troop seats using 3M masking tape and small gauge wire for buckles. Masking tape was also used to simulate the "quilting" on the rear cockpit bulkhead.

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