Trumpeter 1/48 Mi-4 'Hound'
|Scott Van Aken
The Mi-4 was designed in response to the American H-19 Chickasaw and the deployment of U.S. helicopters during the Korean War. While the Mi-4 strongly resembles the H-19 Chickasaw in general layout, including the innovative engine position in front of the cockpit, it is a larger helicopter, able to lift more weight and built in larger numbers. The first model entered service in 1953. The helicopter was first displayed to the outside world in 1952 at the Soviet Aviation Day in Tushino Airfield.
One Mi-4 was built with a jettisonable rotor. It served as an experimental vehicle for future pilots' means of safety and ejection designs. Like the H-19, the Mi-4 was used by many Soviet-friendly air arms and also built by the PRC.
This is a surprisingly large kit, especially compared to the H-19 that Revell released decades ago. The kit comes with a nicely appointed cockpit with all the controls separate and with decals to use on the instrument panels. This builds into an encapsulated assembly. Next we have a somewhat bare cabin with a nice floor and a pair of canvas jump seats. The cockpit assembly is then attached to the upper forward section. A smaller piece with the rotor shaft attaches to the cockpit assembly.
The kit's engine is very nicely detailed. While some might wish to leave the engine off to leave room for weight, it really isn't a good idea as it will be visible from the underside and through the vents in the nose. Once the engine is complete, it, the cockpit/interior, and the upper cabin piece can be installed in a fuselage half. Note that the cabin windows have to be installed from the inside prior to closing the fuselage halves. There is quite a bit of detail on the inside of the aft clamshell doors, but instructions show these being glued shut. Same with the cabin and cockpit doors. Pretty sure you can pose most of these open if you so wish.
Much of the rest of the build deals with building and attaching the landing gear, the main and tail rotors along with various exterior antennas along with lumps and bumps. One of the final bits is the windscreen. Not used is an underbelly gun pack which is used in a different boxing.
Instructions are well done providing interior and engine painting information. A separate full color sheet supplies a variety of paint references. Two markings options are provided, both of them fairly dull and painted dark green over light blue as shown on the box art. One is a Soviet aircraft and the other is Chinese. Decals are nicely printed and should work without issues. Tail rotor stripes are included on the sheet in red for the Soviet version and blue for the Chinese variant.
While I don't build many helicopters, I've always liked them. This is a very nicely done kit and if like other Trumpeter kits I've built, should be a pleasant building experience.
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