We were asked some time ago about the possibility of rebuilding an old display model of the Bell 412SP helicopter used by SNOWYHYDRO SouthCare. The model had been used for a number of years for public displays and had been damaged to a point where it couldn’t be used any longer. On a trip to Canberra in 2011 I decided to drop in and have a look to see what could be done. The model was tucked away in a back room and looked very sad and sorry. I decided that we could do something with it and brought it back to the workshop.
With a bit of investigation we found who had produced the parts for the original model. I contacted them and managed to source parts to repair it. The major repair involved replacing all the windows that were either missing, cracked or discoloured. The paint work was also very worse for wear and would have to be completely redone.
Firstly we repaired and reshaped the main rotor blades to their correct shape. These were painted and refitted to the rotor head which was also repaired and repainted. The tail rotor also received attention and was stored away ready to be fitted later on. The body was taken apart, repaired, cleaned, sanded and primed. All the damaged fittings were replaced with new ones made up in the workshop.
Once this was done the body was repainted in high gloss white and allowed to thoroughly dry. It was then masked and the other colours sprayed on. Meanwhile Teresa was busy redrawing all the SnowyHydro and SouthCare logos and markings. Once these were all done they were placed on the fuselage. She was now starting to look like new again.
The landing skids, searchlight and winch was refurbished or replaced and fitted to the now completed fuselage. The new windows were trimmed and fitted as well as the interior of the cockpit. The tail and main rotor was now fitted and minor touch ups done. At last it was completed and didn’t it look great. It could have been a new model. I waited until morning and took a bunch of photos of her sitting out in the yard before taking off the main rotor and putting her in the car to take her back to the Helicopter base in Canberra.
SouthCare staff were rapt with their “new” model and she went on display only two days later at their base open day. The model is now doing the rounds when doing fund raising for the service. When I get a chance it is planned to do a couple of 1:35 scale versions of the aircraft. One for our display room and one for them to auction off as a fund raiser.