by: Tim Hatton [ ]
Originally published on:
Zvezda 1/72 release of the Mil Mi-24V/VP Hind E of this very distinctive looking Russian attack helicopter is one I have been looking forward too since I saw the CAD images released by Zvezda. early last year. With it's looks and the fact that it always seems to be bristling with armament made this aircraft one to be very wary off. Zvezda provide three options with this kit, two Mi-24V's or one Mi-24VP
Mil Mi-24 is a twin-engined combat helicopter intended for close support of ground forces, destruction of armored targets and carrying troops or cargo. Soviet pilots called the aircraft 'letayushiy tank' or flying tank. Another common nickname is 'Krokodil' (Crocodile) - due to the helicopter's camouflage and fuselage shape. A characteristic feature of the Mi-24 is the main cabin connected with the flight-deck, which is 2.83 m long, 1.46 m wide and 1.2 m high. It is capable of accommodating up to armed 8 troops, they can fire their small arms through the opened side windows. The Mi-24 was the first helicopter to enter service with the Russian Air Force as an assault transport and gunship. Additional missions include direct air support, antitank, armed escort, and air to air combat. The helicopter was used extensively in the Afghanistan War, becoming a symbol of the conflict. The Russians have deployed significant numbers of Hinds in Europe and have exported the Hind to many third world countries.
The core of the aircraft was derived from the Mil Mi-8 [NATO reporting name "Hip"]: two top-mounted turbo shaft engines driving a mid-mounted 17.3 m five-blade main rotor and a three-blade tail rotor. The engine configuration gave the aircraft its distinctive double air intake. The original versions had an angular greenhouse-style cockpit; From the model D the characteristic tandem cockpit with a "double bubble" canopy was another distinguishing feature. Other airframe components came from the Mi-14 "Haze". Two mid-mounted stub wings provide weapon hardpoints, each offering three stations, in addition to providing lift. The load-out mix is mission dependent; Mi-24s can be tasked with close air support, anti-tank operations, or aerial combat.
The body is heavily armoured and can resist impacts from .50 caliber [12.7mm] rounds from all angles, including the titanium rotor blades. The cockpit is an even more heavily armored titanium tub and can resist impact from 37mm cannon rounds. The Mi-24/25 is primarily an attack helicopter, but may also be outfitted for other missions. In the transport/cargo role it can not only carry internal loads but is capable of external sling loads up to 3,000 pounds. In the air ambulance role, the Mi-24/25 can carry four stretchers and one attendant. The Mi-24/25 cockpit areas and cargo/passenger areas are sealed, environmentally controlled, over pressurized and NBC filtered. The aircraft may be equipped with additional internal fuel tanks to extend the range/endurance of the Hind.
One of the special features of the Mi-24 is its speed. It was and still remains to this day the fastest combat helicopter. In 1978, a similar helicopter, given the designation A-10, set the absolute, officially recorded world speed record for "clean" helicopters of 368.4 km/h. Considerable attention was given to making the Mi-24 fast. The airframe was streamlined, and fitted with retractable tricycle undercarriage landing gear to reduce drag. The wings provide considerable lift at high speed, up to a quarter of total lift. The main rotor is tilted 2.5° to the right from the fuselage to counteract dissymmetry of lift at high speed and provide a more stable firing platform. The landing gear was also tilted to the left so the rotor would still be level when the aircraft was on the ground, making the rest of the airframe tilt to the left. The tail was also asymmetrical to give a side force at speed, thus unloading the tail rotor.
Source Wikipedia and GlobalSecurity.org
Box is a side opening with some very useful images on the back and sides displaying the assembled, but unpainted model. It is very important to decide early in the build which aircraft you are depicting, as there are subtle differences between each version.
5 x light grey injected plastic sprues.
1 x transparent injected plastic sprue.
1 x small decal sheet.
1 x 12 page A4 instruction manual.
The main thing to notice is that the front of the model containing the cockpit is separate from the bulk of the fuselage. Whether this has been done to create more versions of the Hind in the future, we will have to wait and see. The cockpit is detailed and made up of around 16 parts. Both cockpits come with cyclic and collective controls, but there are no anti torque pedals. In reality the cyclic and collective controls are normally folded away in the gunners position. The pedals may be missing because there are two crew members included in the kit. The pilot and gunner are each made up from four parts. The rear position has minor ejector marks on the floor and should not be a problem to sort out. The side wall for the rear cockpit also has a couple of ejector marks that can be either filled or sanded down. The one piece seats are not provided with harnesses. The instrument are provided as decals and look fine.
The canopies I suspect are going to be the most challenging aspect of the build. The front canopy comes in two parts, the canopy hatch, hinging to port is separate. The rear canopy comes in three parts, with separate windscreen and a car type hatch opening to starboard. The prominent wind screen wipers are not included in the detailing. It's a pity there is not the option for complete canopies to make construction easier if you did not want the crew hatches open, but that's a minor point. While around the canopies, the rather lethal looking probe attached to the front canopy is beautifully moulded. The probe looks like it has been designed as the last means of attack, when all the weapons have been spent. There are transparent parts for the hold windows, eight in all, two each in the doors. The surface of the plastic on the outer side is slightly concave distorting the light some what. But you have to be very close to the parts to notice. A pity they could not mould the entire upper half of the door in transparent plastic. All that would be required to represent the windows is the application of cut masks applied to the window areas before painting. Again a minor grumble. The edges around the widows are slightly recessed, hopefully making the fitting of the windows more positive.
The fuselage to the rear of the cockpit comes in two parts and is split vertically. There are depressions in the surface to fit the stub wings and access panel on the port side and a depression on the starboard side to fit a vent. The shape of the fuselage and the placement of the panel lines look very good compared to photographs. There are a number of cutouts for the windows in the hold, two hold doors, engine access and for the engine exhausts. Internally in the passenger cabin there is some low relief framework, but this is slightly marred by some rough looking ejector marks. They wont be difficult to clean up, but leaving them will spoil the look of the detail inside the hold, particularly if you are displaying your Hind with doors open. There are a few components to add to the hold; front and rear bulkheads, floor, ceiling with nicely moulded detail representing the quilted insulation, and a central support with two bench seats. The rear bulkhead looks a little odd as the horizontal lines are not parallel. Whether this is to do with the fact that the Hind is slightly higher on one side than the other, I am not sure [see above history]. The clean and crisp detail of the hold components emphasis the need to clean up those ejector marks from the inside of the fuselage. The hold doors do not slide, but are split horizontally to open up and down. For each door a there are some finely detailed one piece hydraulic arms. Some drilling is required in the fuselage halves to provide location points for the chaff/flare dispensers. The holes have been already been started in the interior so all that is needed is to finish drilling through.
Moving on to the engines, which can be displayed if you chose to leave the access doors open. The nine part gear box has some lovely detail on it as does the floor of the engine compartment. There are a number of components to fit to the floor. Each engine is made up from nine components. All the components look beautifully detailed and busy, but the addition of some additional piping using references will further improve this area. As it stands most modelers will be very happy with the level of detail provided out of the box. One of the appealing features of this kit is that you can have access doors open to reveal all that lovely detail in the engine bays. The interior side of the access doors have some nice detail moulded on them. There is also a very nicely detailed intake for the oil cooler on top of the two power plants. This part could easily pass as a after market resin detail part. The engines are finished differently depending which aircraft you are modeling. There are two slightly different exhaust pipes, one is a little longer than the other. Hind version 2 has a housings in the form of a box, that covers the exhaust pipes. There purpose is to reduce the heat signature of the engines, so they were less susceptible from ground fired Stinger missiles. Each exhaust box is made up from 5 parts. The engine air intakes come with separate dust guards.
The five blades of the rotor are pre-drooped on the sprue. Blades are thin with etched detail and a couple of what look like trim tabs on the trailing edge. The rotor head is made up from 10 parts. The locating points for the blades and links look very positive. Although the build up of the rotor head looks initially complex careful study of the instructions should make the build straightforward. The three blade tail rotor is moulded in one piece and the detailing looks excellent.
The main undercarriage bay is detailed. Each leg of the main undercarriage is made up from two parts. The wheels are also made up from two parts, but the tyre look rather too inflated compared to the much softer look on the real thing. In some of the reference photos, some tyres almost look punctured. Front under carriage bay is detailed. Each of the two wheels for the front undercarriage are moulded in one piece, and have some very fine spoke detail.
Armament. Zvezda provide the following.
Two single barreled machine gun [V] or the gatling type four barreled gun [VP] mounted in the turret under the nose.
2 x rocket pods for 20 projectiles in each pod.
2 x twin cannon pods.
4 x anti-tank rockets tubes.
2 x fuel tanks.
The cannon pods are made up from three parts, each pod has two cannon barrels. The detail on the pods is very good and the four cannon barrels have slightly recessed detail depicting the cooling vents. Each of the two rocket pods are made up from five parts. Each of the twenty holes to the rear of the pods are nicely replicated. The projectile tubes sticking out from the front of the pods are made up from two pieces. The tubes are solid plastic, so a little bit of black paint should be enough to create the illusion of the plastic being hollow, unless you have a steady hand and a great deal of patience to drill out 40 tubes. The four anti tank missile tubes are not hollow either. The drop tanks are made up of two parts and look the part although I would be tempted to thin the fins a bit. Each stub wing to which the weapons are attached are made up of two parts. Each wing comes with three pylons, two positioned mid wing and the other pylon hangs from a elbow extension to the wing tips. The port side outer pylon features a pod on the leading edge, that contains possibly a landing light or gun camera. There are two different types of gun turret under the nose, depending on which gun is being used. The turret can be rotated if you wish. Zvezda provide a choice of guns between the two single barreled or a four barreled Gatling style gun. Just to the side of the turret is a TV camera housing, which is usually displayed open for the benefit of air show spectators, but in this instance the camera has the lens protective doors closed. To the port of the camera is the missile guidance pod and this comes in two parts.
Self defence features include the infra red jammer behind the main rotor. The infra red suppressor on the engine exhaust has been mentioned already. There are also two different types of chaff and flare dispensers. The detail on the large fairings of the dispenser has some very fine detail representing the decoys.
Markings. Zvezda provide the choice of three aircraft:
Mi-24V, Djelabad, Afghanistan, Spring, 1982.
Painted in a disruptive camouflage of medium green over radome tan. Pale blue under surfaces.
Mi-24V Bagram airbase, Afghanistan, December, 1988.
Painted in a disruptive camouflage of field green over gull grey. Pale blue under surfaces.
Mi-24VP. 288th OVP, Naval Aviation of the Baltic Fleet of Russia, Nivenskoye airbase, Kallingrad region, 2001.
Painted in a disruptive camouflage of European green over field green. Pale blue under surfaces.
Paint references are for Model master.
Decals. Printed matt with good colour density and registration. Bort numbers depending which example you are building are either red[x2] or yellow. There are a number of stencils and badges to apply. Also as previously mentioned there are instruments for the cockpit, seven in all.
Instructions. 12 pages of black and white exploded diagrams taking you through 35 stages of construction. Be a little wary of the use of “version” in the instructions as it can mean the versions with open hatches or closed up. Or it can mean the finished versions, so don't become confused. Other than that the instructions are very good. Written instructions are primarily in Russian, but the exploded diagrams are self explanatory. The parts in focus on each stage is highlighted by shading. There is guidance to painting each part using numbers referring to the Model master paint range. There is a separate diagram of the aircraft and the ordinance carried for the placing of the stencils. The painting guide could be better as the first two versions have the port side only illustrated. While the third version has both side illustrated. So you will have to use references or your imagination to paint the starboard sides of the first two versions.
This looks a stunning kit particularly as it is in 1/72. It has been a long time since I built a helicopter, but this one demands to be built and has jumped the queue to pole position. Whether you are going to build it all buttoned up ready for it's next mission or all open for maintenance, this kit is going to look stunning. The potential for super detailing is there so with some references you could make this model a show stopper with some extra detailing in the right places. Maybe if you have not tried further enhancing the detail of your kits, this one will encourage you to do so. Which ever way you build it, straight out of the box or super detail it I am sure you will enjoy this most distinctive aircraft. Nice one Zvezda.