South Front 1/72 Mil Mi-26 Halo Kit First Look
By Fotios Rouch
|Date of Review||April 2007||Manufacturer||South Front|
|Subject||Mil Mi-26 Halo||Scale||1/72|
|Kit Number||72001||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$37.95|
The Mil Mi-26 Halo replaced the Mi-6 Hook in the heavy lift role. It first flew in December 1977 and to this day it is still the biggest and most powerful operational helicopter. It is powered by two Lotarev D-136 turbines at 11,400 shp each. The Mi-26 is also the first helicopter with an eight-blade main rotor. It can carry up to 20 tons of cargo or about 90 troops.
About 300 Halos have been built and are being operated by about 20 countries (Russian Army, Russian Ministry of Emergencies, Mil-Avia, Ukraine, Belarus, Cambodia, Congo, India, Kazakhstan, North Korea, South Korea, Mexico and Peru.
South Front is not a known company name to the US with no official importer. They have done so far two kits that I am aware of one is the Mi-26 in 1/72nd scale and the other is the LAGG-3 series 4 WWII Soviet fighter in 1/48th scale.
The box is big and all the sprues are packaged in ziplock bags.
The plastic is white and a little on the soft side. Soft is not a bad thing when you need to manipulate the parts for a better fit in a limited run kit.
The fuselage is broken down into three segments. This was necessary and is common practice with limited run kits as then it keeps the cost of the molds more manageable. It is clear from looking at the parts that a lot of test fitting and sanding will be necessary to achieve a good fit.
There is adequate detail for the interior for a 1/72nd scale kit and with carefully applying the different green and gray paints the modeler should be able to achieve good results. The instrument panel details are given as decals and this is fine for the scale.
The rotor details look good but again cleanup will be required to achieve a sharp look. The rotor blades, all eight of them, do not have the characteristic droop dialed in the molds like Italeri does. The blades in my example are a bit warped and will require some hot water treatment. I am thinking that while I am at it I might as well dial the droop myself.
The clear parts are reasonably transparent and will look fine after a dip in Future floor polish.
The decals look nice and they cover 5 different Halos.
Two schemes reference Chechnyan Halos in gray/green/light blue camo. One scheme in the same gray/green/light blue camo references a 1986 Chernobyl Halo. One scheme is for the UN Halo as it appeared while in humanitarian operations in Kinshasha Kongo and the last scheme is for an Aeroflot machine as it appeared in 1992.
This is not going to be an easy, slap-it -together kit. All the parts will need cleanup and careful assembly. What this kit will be is a unique addition to any helicopter collection as it will absolutely dwarf any other model!
Recommended to modelers with some experience in limited run kits and to all helicopter lovers with a taste for special subject matter.