|PRICE:||$26.05 from GreatModels|
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Short run kit|
The Kharkov KhAI-1 (ХАИ-1) was an airliner produced in the Soviet Union in the early 1930s, unusual in that it was designed (and the prototype built) by students. An exceptionally clean design, the KhAI-1 was the first European passenger transport aircraft to feature retractable undercarriage, and boasted a top speed better than the fighter aircraft in service at the time. Some 40 KhAI-1s were operated by Aeroflot, but while a dedicated military version, the KhAI-1VV was developed and flown in prototype form, this did not enter production.
Following service trials between Moscow and Kiev, the KhAI-1 was introduced on a regular Aeroflot service in early 1936 between Moscow and Sevastopol. Two accidents occurred during early service. In one, an outer wing panel broke soon after take-off, and in another, an undercarriage strut collapsed on landing. These events led to a review of the design by OKO, leading to general strengthening that added so much weight to the aircraft that one passenger seat had to be sacrificed. Production in Kiev had been suspended during this review, but was soon recommenced. Aeroflot continued using the type on passenger and mail routes until 1940 between Moscow and Kharkov, Moscow and Minvody, and between Rostov and Krasnodar.
Molded in Amodel's usual low pressure method, the white plastic sprues contain some nicely detailed parts. One does have the expected flash on some parts, and I found some rough parts on the forward fuselage that seems to be caused by pitting in the molds. However, the overall look of the parts is quite good. This is a short run kit and these are to be expected.
The kit contains a fairly well done cockpit as well as a complete cabin with one bench seat and four individual seats. Not sure which seat was removed for later flights, though it may be that they just didn't book space in it. There is a full span lower wing to keep the wings aligned. Cabin windows are separate pieces. The clear bits are thick and not much will be seen through them so no need to spend a lot of effort detailing the insides. The engine has nine cylinders and eighteen tiny exhaust stacks to glue to them. There is a nicely done prop with a crankcase cover and a one-piece Townsend ring, which I apappreciate as the two piece ones are a pain. For those wondering, there are separate main wheel well pieces to install in the lower wing prior to assembly of the wing.
Instructions are well done with Humbrol and generic color information. The lone options is white with blue trim. All the blue trim will need to be painted by the modeler. The color and markings page shows what areas are blue. It will be a bit tricky to duplicate, but if one scans the page then enlarges it to 1/72 scale, a set of templates can be developed. Decals are nicely done and provide markings for the box art plane (which I assume is with Aeroflot).
An interesting addition to any airliner collection. We get to see very few of these Soviet types being kitted. Though it will require some modeling skills to finish, it will make for a most interesting presentation.
You can find this and many other neat kits and accessories at
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