724: Sea King Helicopter

DINKY 724 SEA KING HELICOPTER (1971-1980):

The Sea King helicopter with its powered rotor, operating winch and Apollo spacecraft capsule was a popular model and was produced for nine years until the factory closure.

“Helicopter 66”, a Sikorsky SH-3D Sea King, is easily one of the most well-known and recognised helicopters in history.  It was the prime recovery helicopter for five of the Apollo missions including Apollo 11 that carried the first men who landed on the moon.

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The on/off switch activated the rotors and the cog wheel lowered or raised the winch that was used to attach the Apollo capsule. Additional decals were also provided.

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The Apollo space capsule had an opening door revealing three astronauts.

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SIKORSKY ‘SEA KING’ HELICOPTER:

The Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King was an American twin-engined anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter designed and built by Sikorsky Aircraft.

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“Helicopter 66” was the prime recovery helicopter for five of the Apollo missions.  The ’66’ Sikorsky SH-3D Sea King,  served with the Navy’s Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 4 (HS-4).

From late 1968 through the spring of 1970, the Black Knights of HS-4 participated in and pioneered techniques for the Apollo capsule recoveries. HS-4 was on scene for Apollo missions 8, 10, 11, 12, and 13.

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The helicopter’s flight number was changed from ’66’ to ‘740’. The U.S. Navy had switched to a three number squadron designator but the chopper was repainted with the number ’66’ for each recovery thereafter for public relations reasons.

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After the recovery of the Apollo 13 crew, HS-4 was divided between Vietnam and training in San Diego. On June 4th, 1975, during a training mission it crashed and sank. Four crew survived the crash but one died later

VARIATIONS:

The 724 helicopter had variations to the lower body, which was initially mid-blue but later a light or dark blue. The interior was red initially but some later models were black and the rotors started off as mid-blue but later models could have black or light blue blades.

1971-73: Red interior, white capsule, mid blue rotors
1973: Black interior
1974:  Mid or light blue or black rotors/ white or yellow capsule

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There are five known Apollo capsule variants. The white variant, which was the first and most common had white, yellow or mid-blue or dark blue interiors. The later yellow capsule had a white interior. The interior was a moulded representation of the astronauts.

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DINKY 1040 KIT:

The Sea King Helicopter ’66’ was also available as a kit Dinky 1040, with an orange base colour paint supplied but with similar decals.

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The Sea King was also released as 736 Bundesmarine Sea King Helicopter  (1973-1978) and as part of the 618 AEC Articulated Transport with Helicopter set (1976-1980).

ODDITIES AND RARITIES:

This is a salesman’s sample of the Sea King given to the Parodi family, the exclusive distributors of Dinky Toys in Italy. It’s raised high so it can demonstrate the winching mechanism for the Apollo capsule.

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Salesman’s sample sold by C&T Auctions

BOXES:

The first box type was an all cardboard version with a detailed pictorial inner.

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There were two inner packing pieces as well as instructions and additional decals.

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The second and final version was a bubble pack, which was available in blue, yellow and white bases.

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CATALOGUES:

The 724 Sea King helicopter made an appearance in all the catalogues from its production in 1971 till 1979.

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Dinky 1971 UK Consumer Catalogue 
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Dinky 1972 UK Consumer catalogue
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Dinky 1973 UK Consumer catalogue
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Dinky 1975 UK Consumer catalogue
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Dinky 1978 UK Consumer catalogue
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Dinky 1979 UK Trade catalogue

ADVERTS:

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Countdown magazine 1981

MECCANO MAGAZINE:

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Meccano Magazine June 1971
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Meccano Magazine June 1971