KP 1/72 Mi-4 Hound

Kit Number: 36

Price: $12.00

Decals : for three versions, two Czech military and one civilian.

Comments: I have been building KP kits for quite a number of years. Mostly because thier subject is one that is unique to them. I can remember building Yak-23s, Mig-21MF's as well as some of the unique Czech aircraft such as the S-199, Aero A-100, and C-3A. These kits were all characterized by decent detail, so-so interiors, small parts that often had the sides mismatched due to mold misalignment, and terribly transparent decals. The instructions are actually pretty good as the Czechs are renown for their three-view drawings, if one can get past the language.

The Mi-4 is a typical KP kit. The basic shape and detail is very good, the small parts suffered from mismatched molds so it was almost impossible to get round struts and control sticks. The interior was rather well appointed with jump seats on the sides and a ladder leading up to the cockpit, which had seats, instrument panel, cyclic and collective controls, and rudder pedals. As usual, the soft plastic is easily damaged by excess glue, but builds into a sturdy kit. This one had a nice set of bulkheads (which didn't quite fit) and it is a good thing as it needs a lot of weight in the nose to keep from being a tailsitter.

Typically KP, the transparencies were difficult to install and had gaps around the edges that no matter what I did , I could not prevent. I also had trouble with the main rotor shaft support bushing as it has to be aligned in one half of the fuselage before the fuselage halves are joined. The fact that there is no location scribed on the attachment surface (a standard problem with KP kits), meant that my main rotor shaft is a terrible fit. I did manage to get the main gear struts and al the little handholds in the right place by looking at the excellent three views and drilling small holes to accept the parts. Why this could not be done for you is beyond me, but it is a peculiarity of Eastern European kits.

My Mi was done as a civilian helicopter just to be different. This just meant that the gun tub was eliminated and civil registration applied. The kit was painted medium green on the uppers and sides and light blue beneath just as the military versions. Propagteam decals were provided, but the large white flash for the fuselage sides are too much for the thin and fragile decals. Fortunately, the same scheme is available in a Mi-4 decal sheet from Kanga, a Russian manufacturer that is offered by the Small Air Forces Clearing House. While this sheet is not as thin, it is very opaque, can take a lot of handling and reacts well to the Microscale system.

As with all my completed kits, it looks good once finished and if not examined too closely. It even survived a six foot fall to a wooden floor with the only casualty being the operability of the tail rotor. The main rotor just sits precariously in the shaft support. I enjoyed building this kit as it offered few big problems. It also looks nice next to some of the other helos in my collection. Try one, you'll like it.

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