The Airbus Helicopters EC135 is a light twin-engined helicopter, developed as a successor of the highly successful Bölkow (and later MBB) BO-105. Designed by Eurocopter/Airbus Helicopters it is, like the BO-105 successful with over 1200 of these helicopters produced. Over 500 of these are in service with Ambulance services with the others in service with Police and civilian operators. A military variant is named the EC635 and offers much of the same but with some Military specific modifications to the airframe, like the ability to mount weapons.
The EC135 started life as the BO-108, a technology demonstrator to show what’s possible with more modern avionics and aerodynamics. In the late nineties, when MBB merged with Aerospatiale to form EuroCopter, development started on a variant of the BO-108, designated EC135 with the Fenestron tail rotor system from the Aerospatiale AS365 Dauphin.
This kit depicts the PH-ELP, and is named Lifeliner 3m, it is based at Volkel Air Force Base and serves the south eastern part of the Netherlands and the region around Kleef, Germany. The PH-ELP is owned and operated by the Royal Dutch Touring Club (ANWB) and thanks to the introduction of Night Vision equipment it’s operational 24/7 since 2011.
This kit is a rebox with changed decals, this time with decals for the Dutch Mobile Medical Teams, teams stationed at academic hospitals that can use the EC135 or special ambulances when the EC135 is not available for any reason (bad weather, maintenance, etc). Inside the kit we find a decent looking kit with some problems. First of all the instructions call for 10 grams of weight to be added to the nose section, but that section is so small I doubt you could get that much inside without it showing. I tried fishing weights, and only the smaller weights would fit. But there are probably many more ways to skin that particular cat.
The rest of the kit seems decent enough, with decent panel lines and a fairly busy interior with most of the equipment you would expect in such an helicopter. Looking at the sprues I can’t see any obvious errors and just a hint of flash here and there. Pin marks are usually hidden on some unseen part, but in one case there are two marks inside the exhausts. And they look to be hard to clean up. The spinning parts look fairly detailed, but it’s the almost invisible interior where this kit shines. I think Revell did what they could do make this looking as good as possible, and it shows. The interior is fairly detailed for an older 1/72 Revell kit and is suprisingly accurate.
Decals and color schemes
The decals are of the usual Revell ‘Printed in Italy’ quality, with one major problem. The ambulance logo has a white border around it which is severely out of register. This was a bit surprising, as I’ve never seen such a major error on any Revell kit. The decals that I thought were most problematic, the red-and-blue striping, are perfect however. maybe it is a fluke, as other reviewers have not noted this problem. But this emblem is used on a very visible spot, and it is not just a warning label or small logo. Other than that the decals are perfect. In terms of color options you get exactly one: the Dutch MMT variant in yellow and black. Not much choice, but that is to be expected from this kit. If you want to build another variant you have to buy a different kit or a different decal sheet. Revell seems to be following the ‘Hasegawa-model’ of releasing variants. But given the low cost of this kit it isn’t a problem. I just wish they had included other MMT helicopters like the PH-MMT instead of ‘just’ the PH-ELP
Being a helicopter it obviously has a lot of clear parts. Most of the front of the EC135 consists of clear plastic, and in this kit the clear parts look good. But the kit kind of shows its age here, as I have found the parts to be a wee bit too thick, but it isn’t a huge problem and I’m pretty sure that it is not noticeable on the finished kit. A large part of the clear parts have to be painted over anyway.
Despite the uncharacteristic error on the decal sheet this kit looks great considering the price of this little kit. I would recommend it for beginning builders.
Vehicle: Airbus Helicopters EC135 ANWB