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Chuck A. Villanueva
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FALKLANDS GB-1/72nd Italeri Boeing HC.1 Chinook RAF "Bravo November"

May 26, 2024 · in Aviation · · 23 · 231

25 April 1982, the container ship MV Atlantic Conveyer departs the UK to the Falkland Islands. Aboard are 5 HC.1 Ch-47 medium lift helicopters (No.8 squadron), all the maintenance and ground crews with equipment aboard. Along with supplies and several other helicopters. Also on the way a stop at Ascension Island to pickup 8 FAA Sea Harriers and 6 RAF GR.3 Harriers. The rotor blades had been removed and placed within each helo and cocooned with a "banana bag" to cover the airframes from the sea salt. As the container ship approached the Falklands, one of the Chinooks is uncovered and the blades are attached enroute. First time ever an attempt to do so at sea. On arrival to the Falklands in mid May, the Sea Harriers were off loaded and divided to the carriers HMS Hermes and Invincible, all the Gr.3's were placed on the Hermes. A Has.2 from the Hermes flew to container ship and stored there.

On 25 May, BN was tasked to pick up cargo from HMS Glasgow, it was this time while on that tasking is when the Atlantic Conveyer was struck by two Exocet anti ship missles. Causing major damage to the ship, the 2 remaining Chinooks and 5 of the six Westland Wessexs were destroyed as well as the Lynx. While under tow the container ship sank. Leaving only one heavy lift helo without any spare parts, manuals, lubricants and tools to service the lone Chinook. Now known as "The Survivor", despite the loss of all of it's maintenance supplies, BN continued on through out the war doing what it was tasked to do. Even earning it's first Distinguished Flying Cross to Squadron Leader Dick Langworthy, and Co-pilot Flight Lt. Andy Lawless managed to fly at night with a faulty altimiter, a thick snow shower limited visibility which caused to impact the surface of the sea at about a 100 knots, causing sea spray to get into the intakes, yet maintained control keeping the helo flying, the impact caused the co-pilots door to get ripped off the air frame. Losing an antenna and damage to the air frame, no navigation or comms, the pilots manage to return to San Carlos for damage assesment. Discovering dents and minor damage to the radio systems. Despite that and time without proper service through out the campaign, BN accomplished to transport 1500 troops, 550 tons of cargo, p/u 650 POW's, and 95 casualties. BN retired from service in 2022. It is now on display RAF Museum Cosford in the Falklands War display.

The kit is from , which can be hit or miss or in between. This one was actually good, engraved panel lines, fair interior which Italeri are quite basic, I enhanced the cockpit with a Bilek PE set, used the excellent Aztec Models Falklands decal set 72-063 with several subjects available for both sides of the conflict. Gunze Dk Sea Grey, Dk Green upper surfaces with Tamiya Flat Black undersurfaces. A fun fulfilling build, some minor issues to address but otherwise the most important part was the clear parts did fit as at times they can be a nuisance on a helo kit.

Happy Memorial weekend.

Fly Navy


Reader reactions:
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42 additional images. Click to enlarge.

23 responses

  1. This is really nicely done! I love those 80's RAF colors.

  2. Great build, write-up and photos.

  3. Thanks Russell, appreciate that.

  4. A beautiful Chinook, Chuck @uscusn
    Thanks for sharing the historical part and the photo shoot of this beauty.
    Not that easy to get all those protruding parts attached this nicely.

  5. Hi john thanks, and even more so to pick it up safely without breaking something off.

  6. Well done. Chuck!

  7. Nice work, Chuck. One of those things from the Alabama NG scared the snot out of me a few months ago flying just over the trees as I drove underneath it.

    • Thanks John, the sheer size and noise can do that unexpectedly. Here there are a few airfields and many of them will have one or two Cal Fire helo's operating out of them. Ch-54 Tarhe flying cranes are frequent vsitors and they can be quite loud when they fly in or out.

  8. Well done Chinook

  9. Well done Chuck, interesting story.

  10. Excellent result and ditto write-up, Chuck! What an amazing story!

  11. Brilliant work on this Chuck, I was at Cosford a few weeks ago looking at this very Helo, you really nailed it.

  12. Chinooks used to fly over my home in the U.K. some years back, Chuck. This is an excellent reproduction of an iconic aircraft. Not just the Chinook, but Bravo November. A long and action filled career! Beautifully done!

  13. What a great helo, Chuck (@uscusn). These Chinooks are a really complex build, which you have obviously handled well. I did my master's thesis on the Falkland War, so I have a soft spot for all things Falkland.

  14. Thanks George, helos can be and the larger ones are more so. Having several in the stash of similar type medium and heavy lift helos in both 48th and 72nd scale. The Falklands is a rather unique story and a subject with interesting back stories such as the story on the Chinook. The Argentines were not pushovers and did put up a good fight. The Exocet missile was extremely dangerous. And would not be the last time we would witness it's devastation in the near future.

  15. Very nice build, and a story I was unfamiliar with - thanks for sharing that!

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