Hobby Boss 1/72 Mi-2URP "Salamander"
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
The Mi-2 was produced exclusively in Poland, in the WSK "PZL-Świdnik" factory in Świdnik. Production ended in 1985 after about 7,200 were made.
The first production helicopter in the Soviet Union was the Mil Mi-1, modelled along the lines of the S-51 and Bristol Sycamore and flown by Mikhail Mil's bureau in September 1948. During the 1950s it became evident, and confirmed by American and French development, that helicopters could be greatly improved with turbine engines. S. P. Isotov developed the GTD-350 engine and Mil used two of these in the far superior Mi-2. After initial development at the Mil bureau (Soviet designation V-2) this was transferred to Poland in 1964, after the first Swidnik-built example had flown. WSK-Świdnik has since delivered many hundreds, possibly one-third of them to military customers, and developed plastic rotor blades and the wide-body Mi-2M seating 10 passengers instead of eight. Most typical role kits include four stretchers, as air ambulance, or aerospraying or cropdusting device.
In Poland, there were also developed several specialized military variants, first of all support or reconnaissance ones, with 23 mm autocannon, machine guns and/or two 57 mm rocket pods, four 9K11 Malyutka anti-tank missiles or Strela-2 AA missiles. The anti-tank versino is the Mi-2URP, called the 'Salamander' in unit service, though still referred to as the 'Hoplite' by NATO.
To my knowledge this is the second Mi-2 variant that Hobby Boss has produced. Typical of Hobby Boss kits, this one has superb engraved panel lines and a full cockpit and cabin interior. It continues what I guess many of us know as the 'Chinese method' of engraved rivet detailing where appropriate. I know that there are modelers who do not like this, but I have no qualms about it one way or the other.
This kit is the anti-tank version of the Mi-2 so you will find a nice sprue of weapons and their mounts in with this kit. The kit has a nicely done cockpit that uses a decal for the main instrument panel. Both the cyclic and collective are included. In the back are seats for six that are an option if one wishes to install them. There is a door to the cabin that can be posed open if one wishes. I found the full clear nose to be a great way to take care of those pesky seams one often finds in theclear bits of helicopter kits. There appears to be scabbed on ESM systems at the base of the tail boom and on the end as well. The rotor head is adequately detailed and while the blades have no droop molded into them, it should not be all that difficult to incorporate it if one wants to apply a bit of judicious heat to them.
Kit markings are for two planes. Both are Polish AF versions. One is the overall green helo shown on the box art. The other has a nice green, grey, tan camouflage scheme that wraps around the aircraft in a pattern similar to the small image to the left. I am not sure if this version was exported or not, but if so, some alternate markings would have been nice. The kit decals are well done and should provide no issues in application.
Helo fans will like having this particular variant available. It looks like it will make into a very nice model. Have fun figuring where to put the nose weight!
Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. Get this one at your local retailer.
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