Hobbyboss 1/72Mil Mi-24V Hind E

KIT #: 87220
PRICE: Ä12 (approx USD$18)
DECALS: Two Options
REVIEWER: Gordon Zammit
NOTES: Linden Hill Decals used.

HISTORY

The Hind was the first USSR helicopter developed from the start to serve as a "gunship", much to the same extent as the US AH-1. The Hind however was of a much larger scale with the ability to carry eight troops in the cabin behind the cockpit. The early version known by NATO as the Hind-A, did not have the turret mounted cannon, but a fixed one in the nose and carried its armament underneath the stub wings, with three hardpoints on each wing. It also had a crew of three which meant the cockpit had to be quite wide.

The Mil OKB later made a thorough redesign of the front end of the helicopter which emerged as the Mi-24D, known to NATO as the Hind-D, which became the main production example for a long period during the cold war. The main differences were a new cockpit with a crew of 2 in tandem and a turret mounted gun under the chin. Other differences were various electronic countermeasures equipment and targeting devices for the air-to-surface armament carried. The tail rotor was reversed from the starboard to port on the Hind-A and consequently all Hind-Ds and later had the tail rotor on the port side. The Hind-V, which the Hobbyboss kit represents, is very similar externally to the Hind-D, and most modifications are in the electronics fit, which can be very easily replicated by the modeler. However the Russian AF depicted in the decals supplied with the kit are for a  Hind-P, with a side mounted 30mm gun instead of the turret mounted 12.7mm machine gun. I chose to build my Hind-V as a Slovak AF model, one of many interesting colour schemes available on the 2 Linden Hill Decal sheets named "Bush War Hinds" part 1 and 2.

THE KIT

This is the latest  kit in 1/72nd scale of this Soviet iconic gunship, and it is certainly the best example in this scale. Hobbyboss seem to be focusing on a lot of nicely molded helicopters in this scale from all over the world. They have also issued a nice model of its carrier counterpart the Mi-8, which is also a great improvement over the previously available models of the Mi-8. For the Hind, before the Hobbyboss, we had the Airfix (and Heller), Hasegawa and Italeri all of which had some inaccuracies in dimensions and other faults which we were not able to detect easily when they were issued as there were very few references on these Soviet machines. In fact while building this kit I also built an Italeri kit (another review for it will follow shortly hopefully), and tried to correct as much as I could to make it match the Hobbyboss example. But I won't do it again and the other Italeri kit in my stash will end up in the spares bin now!

This kit has a very respectable interior complete with the troops cabin and seat, a very nice cockpit with side detail as well as pilots seats. I think for 1/72nd it is the best which can be achieved in styrene alone. The detail on the exterior in finely engraved and seems to match the many available photos of the real Hind. The kit also includes a lot of armament with it, enough to equip at least 2 Hinds with full weapons, and still have more left. There is no indication however as how to paint the armament on the instructions. Another annoying but understandable issue with the kit is the seam line running along the middle of the canopy. Also, the interior painting instructions are lacking and probably not accurate. For example, light blue is suggested for the cockpit, which might be true for newer or refurbished models, but older examples were always painted in the soviet blue-green colour which was standard at the time. As references now are quite abundant, we should not have a lot of trouble as how to paint this model.

CONSTRUCTION

Starting as usual at the cockpit, we have the whole floor of the cockpit and troop compartment as one piece. I followed the instructions and built the cockpit and interior and painted these from photos I had of real Hind-D's. This assembly fits onto the fuselage halves by means of several pegs that are about 4mm wide and the fit in nearly perfect and alignment is also very good. In fact dry fitting the two halves and the interior is so positive that the whole assembly stays together without glue. To have the interior visible, you have the option to leave the cabin door open, but it's not my taste, and I always finish my models with all doors and cockpits in the closed position. In my opinion this gives the best impression of the whole design of the aircraft with the aerodynamic profile clearly represented, although I appreciate models which have a lot of more effort and display the whole interior of course. Construction continued as per instructions with the difference that I did not glue the main rotor hub in place and left it so as to keep the rotors as separate assemblies and just place them in place after everything if finished, as is usually done by all of us I suppose. I also added some nose weight although the instructions do not mention it, just to be sure not to end up having a tail sitter.

I then tackled the canopy mold line problem. I sanded it down with wet and dry sand paper, starting with 1000grit and than with 2000. I then polished it with toothpaste and ended up with a very smooth but not perfectly clear transparency. (I have made another attempt since then on the Italeri F-100D canopy and polished this with Turtle Wax Metallic paint polish and the result is very promising, and a lot clearer). I then dipped it in Johnsons Klear and left it to dry in a small container. I dipped it again the day after and it ended up very well. Construction was very simple just following the instructions and fit of all parts was very good to excellent. The only trouble I found with building this kit was the engine exhaust pipes. These are moulded in halves and do not match very well. I tried to added pieces of styrene from flash of other kits to build up the thickness differences and a lot of sanding and filler finally got a good result. A little bit of filler is also required on the stub wings and in front of the engine intakes as can be seen in the in progress photo. The main undercarriage construction is not explained well on the instructions and may be a little tricky to assemble, but it is a very good replica of the real thing. Other than these, the progress is smooth and rapid.

COLORS & MARKINGS

As already mentioned, I bought both sheets from Linden Hill Decals, named Bush War Hinds collection part 1 & 2  that have Hinds from all over the world and intend to build some other Hinds in the future from these very interesting sheets. I chose to built my first Hind as a Slovak helo in a very unusual colour scheme. There are several photos of these Hinds on the internet and they seemed to have been repainted in similar scheme with different shades of colours. Their serial number seemed to have been changed from white outlined black numbers to solid black. After viewing a lot of photos from the internet, I decided to change the lighter shade of green mentioned in the instructions as Humbrol 88 to a lighter shade, and I chose Revell SM360. I kept the other colours according to the Linden Hill instructions. After finishing the kit I am still not sure which are the best colours to represent the Slovak colour scheme, but I found a single older photo that seems to prove Linden Hill right is saying that H88 is a good match for the older variation of the camouflage, so sticking to the instructions might have been right. The propellers were sprayed according to the photos of the real aircraft.

After finishing off the camouflage free-handly, I sprayed some Klear, and 2 days after I applied the decals using a little Klear again to set them in. They performed wonderfully and blended in very well. I then srayed some Humbrol satin varnish all over. When I removed the masking from the canopy, I was disappointed to find that the tape had left lines were it ended and other pieces of tape overlapped. This left the canopy with a lot of white lines all over and the canopy was nowhere near where it was before masking. Probably this happened as the Klear had not cured totally before I applied the masking tape. I left it for a few days and then started to sand it with 2000 grit sand paper with water and a little liquid soap, until the lines almost disappeared. After cleaning I started to apply coats of Klear again, and after some four or five layers, the canopy was nearly as it was before but not as good as it was, but that will have to do for this one. Next time I will either wait for a week or more until I mask it, or else polish it with car polish and mask it without Klear. I filled the side windows with Krystal Klear. I painted the armament from reference photos of the real helicopter and from ICM's Soviet Modern Air Armament set instructions.

CONCLUSIONS

This was a very pleasant build, and the only real problem was with the engine exhausts. I must say that I agree with others who have said that this is the best Hind in 1/72nd scale, although I do not have the Hasegawa, but this is known to have some inaccuracies. What this kit lacks and can be found in the Italeri Hind are the exhaust suppressors and the strap on chaff/flare dispensers, so if you have one in the stash donít throw it away, as you can fit these on the Hobbyboss Hind to get something different. I will follow with an Italeri review to compare the kit and what modifications I did to try to get a decent result.

REFERENCES

Squadron/Signal 1083 Mil Mi-24 Hind in Action.

Mi-24 D, V, DU,  4+ Publications.

The Complete Encyclopedia of Aircraft

Gordon Zammit

October 2009

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