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Vertol Piasecki HUP-2 Retriever




Battle Axe


Battle Axe's 1/48 scale HUP-2 Retriever isavailable online from Squadron.com


S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number: BX4806
Scale: 1/48
Contents and Media: 51 parts injection-moulded in white plastic, 66 brass-etch parts and six vacform parts.
Price: US$49.96 from Squadron.com
Review Type: FirstLook
Advantages: Ambitious and unique subject matter; fairly sharp detail; good photo-etched parts; thoughtful engineering for vacform nose; helpful instructions in English
Disadvantages: Flash present on plastic parts; vac nose will need care; raised pips on vac parts; US Insignia Blue too pale.
Recommendation: Recommended


Reviewed by Rodger Kelly




Battle Axe is a French company which produces limited run kits of subjects that are unlikely to ever be released by mainstream modelling companies.

Like the other well known French company, Fonderie Miniature, Battle Axe focus their production efforts on producing models of aircraft that were flown by the French Armed Forces.

Battle Axe’s latest release, the HUP-2, is no exception.

The HUP-2 “Retriever”

The Piasecki Helicopter Corporation HUP-2 was another of the second-generation rotary-wing designs that first appeared in service in the early ‘50s. The HUP-2 was used by the US Navy and US Army as well as the armed forces of France and Canada. But enough of the history lesson and on with the kit!





As stated previously, this is a limited run kit and as such is a product of the limited run process. What does that mean? Well, to put it simply, it is not one of the highly engineered, stunningly refined products that is available from Japan.

The kit comprises of 51 parts injection-moulded in white plastic, 66 brass-etch parts and six vacform parts.

Injection-Moulded Parts

The injection-moulded parts are contained on one enormous sprue. This sprue is so large that I had to cut it in half just to fit on the bed of my scanner! Again, the parts are the result of the short-run manufacturing process. All of them contain flash to some degree, but nothing that is all that serious. The plastic is relatively soft so the clean-up process will not be too onerous. The detail on the parts is sharp enough so that you know where the flash ends and the part begins.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

Brass-Etch Parts

The brass-etch sheet is quite comprehensive and the parts exhibit two-dimensional relief, which will make them look nice under a coat of paint.



The brass is very malleable and accepts the bending process quite well.

Vacform Parts

Oh dear, that word! The vacform parts are for the forward part of the fuselage cum windscreen and the various windows in the fuselage. The parts are beautifully clear and are formed so that they incorporate part of the surrounding fuselage.



This is a great idea and means that you have some plastic between what needs to remain clear and what you can sand and putty. There are prominent moulding pips present on the windscreen but these are confined to the framework and should not present too much of a challenge to remove. Thankfully, two of each part is provided in case of slip-ups.


The decal sheet is quite comprehensive and provides markings for four different machines that pretty well represent the service history of HUP-2.

  • An overall Glossy Sea Blue machine of Naval Air Station Glenview with an International Orange band around the rear fuselage.

  • An overall Glossy Sea Blue machine of HU-1 that sports liberal applications of Insignia Red on the tops and bottoms of the fuselage as well as the entire rudder.

  • An overall Glossy Sea Blue machine of the French Navy

  • An overall Light Gull Grey machine of HU-1.

Surprisingly, there is no Canadian option.

Each of the options is complete and fully supplemented by an extensive selection of stencil data.



Unfortunately, I am not able to comment on the opacity of the decals, as I have not yet subjected them to the test. My only concern with the decals as presented is that the blue of the US National Insignia is far too light.

Instruction Sheet

The instruction sheet is quite comprehensive and printed (in English) on both sides of an A-4 sheet.

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

As well as providing excellent, easily understood construction notes, drawings of the assembly sequence and helpful suggestions it also provides:

  • A placement diagram for the myriad of stencil data, and

  • A full and detailed painting guide quoting Federal Standard paint numbers.



Interesting to say the least!

The whole kit is contained within in a plastic zip-loc bag with a cardboard header. The brass-etch sheet is packed into another smaller ziploc bag that also contains the vacform parts. The main fuselage parts are at the top and bottom of the sprue and form the edges of it (see the images).

However, having suggested that the packaging is inadequate, I do have to say that my example has arrived here safely in Perth, Western Australia after having been subjected to the postal system twice. Firstly, from the USA to Sydney, Australia and hence from Sydney to Perth.



Fit of Parts


Again, I have to confess that I have only dry-fitted, Blue-tacked and taped the interior parts and fuselage halves together but they all went together quite easily with only perfunctory attention with sandpaper and files.





Battle Axe’s 1/48 scale HUP-2 is not really for the feint-hearted but it is all there. The kit simply needs the application of time and basic modelling skills to do it justice. Whilst references do not abound they can be found. The Delaware Valley Historical Aircraft Association http://www.dvhaa.org/hup-2.html has some nice pictures of their HUP-2 whilst it was being restored that will help providing images to aid in detailing, as well as providing links to other sites that contain info on the HUP-2, one of them being a Russian site http://avia.russian.ee/vertigo/piasecki_hup-r.html that has a history of the machine.


Thanks to Squadron.com for the review sample.

Review and Images Copyright © 2001 by Rodger Kelly
Page Created 03 May, 2002
Last updated 22 July, 2003

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