PKZ-2 Austro-Hungarian Helicopter in 1:72nd scale by Roden

The PKZ-2 was allegedly the world’s first flying helicopter, though it is unlike anything we would think of as a helicopter in the modern sense. The strange contraption was dreamt up as a replacement for hydrogen filled observation balloons. The three engines turned the counter rotating blades and the machine was attached to its launching base by tethers as fine control was difficult. The pilot/ observer sat in a bin mounted on top of the frame and was supposed to be able to bail out and parachute to safety if anything went wrong, though you have to wonder how that was possible with the blades whirling away beneath him. Crashes in testing and eventually the Armistice meant the PKZ-2 never saw service.

There’s not a lot to the model. All the parts are on one small sprue, apart from a faux wood base to mount the finished article on for display. There are a lot of fine and fiddly bits which are going to be tricky to put together and getting everything to line up is going to be fun. I’ve never made a First World War plane before so I don’t know how easy it’s going to be to replicate the cables, if it’s possible at all. I may also look for a few Austro-Hungarian figures to go with it, crowding round the helicopter with a nervous looking observer staring out of the basket.

More information on the PKZ-2 here.

Pictures of a 1:48th scale model of the same machine here.

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