Trumpeter 1/35 Mi-24V Hind E Kit First Look
|Date of Review||June 2005||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||Mi-24 Hind E||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||5103||Primary Media||Styrene/Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Nice Detailing, Excellent Subject Possibilities||Cons||Ejector pin marks on cargo compartment walls|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$129.95|
The Mi-24 series started development in the late 1960s following the success of the AH-1 Cobra. As the AH-1 was developed using the power train from the UH-1 Huey, the Mil Design Bureau also saved development time by adapting key airframe and powerplant components from the Mi-8 Hip/Mi-14 Haze family. The Mi-24 was closer in development to the UH-1C Huey Hog, as it not only carried an impressive array of firepower on its stub wings, it also retained the ability to carry troops in its cabin. The first versions of the Mi-24, NATO Codenamed Hind A, B & C, all featured a greenhouse cockpit housing the pilot and gunner.
The next version of the Hind was the first to employ a similar tandem seating arrangement as the AH-1 Cobra, with the gunner in the forward cockpit and the pilot sitting above and behind the gunner. The Mi-24D Hind D retained the typical armament arrangement of the later glassnose Hinds with four rocket pods on the inboard pylons and four AT-3 anti-tank missiles on the outboards.
While operational experience dictated additional improvements for the next version, the Mi-24V Hind E, some of these were retro-fitted to the Hind D as well. These included centrifugal air filters over the engine intakes, an infrared jammer mounted aft of the main rotor, provisions for engine exhaust IR suppressors, self-protection chaff/flare launchers, and replacement of the four AT-3 missiles/rails with four cannisterized AT-6 anti-tank missiles.
The Mi-24D, Mi-24V, and export Mi-35 were the combat workhorses of not only the former Soviet Union (especially in operations in Afghanistan), but also throughout the Warsaw Pact and many allied nations around the world. Many of these aircraft are still in service with the Russian armed forces and have even found their way into German Army service as well as with the US Army for OPFOR (opposing forces) training.
At approximately 23.5" x 12.5" x 4", the Mi-24V's large box is actually smaller than Trumpeter's recent F-105 Thunderchief releases. On opening the box, I could only muster one word - YES!!!! This kit is gorgeous! Molded in light gray styrene, the kit is comprised of twelve (12!) trees of parts. Six of those trees are just weapons!
The first thing any Trumpeter veteran will want to know is about the injector pin marks. Many of their recent releases have been marred by these scars, usually in places that require the surrounding detail to be destroyed in order to deal with the pin stubs/impressions. Such is not the case in this kit, While there are a few marks on the inside of this beautiful fuselage, they are not in visible locations from what I can tell and/or are easily dealt with. Ditto throughout the rest of the kit. For example, there are a few on the more complex-shaped main gear doors, but these are in easy-to-work areas.
The cockpit is beautifully laid out with attention to detail here given the visibility through the cockpit bubbles. While there will no-doubt be some detail enhancements coming from companies like Eduard, I am impressed with the level of detail straight out of the box, including photo-etched seatbelt/harness buckles for the two crew seats and photo-etched blades for the cockpit cooling fan. The main instrument panel and one sub-panel even use acetate instruments under clear faces.
The main cabin is not ignored - there is seating provided in the fully enclosed cabin. The cockpit and cabin access doors can be positioned opened or closed. As with the real aircraft, the cabin ceiling is also the structural mount for the two TV3-117 engines. This kit provides two highly detailed engines that can be displayed or hidden as you choose. The engine bay access doors are actually provided as clear parts, so you can paint and position the doors open, leave them clear and position them closed, or paint the closed doors.
The landing gear detail is nicely done, though the super-detailers will want to plumb the gear struts and wells with hydraulic lines. The wheels are not weighted so you'll need to modify the kit parts to depict the rhino on the ramp or wait for some aftermarket wheels to come along.
As is typical with most rotary wing kits, the main rotor blades come out of the box perfectly straight. For the rhino, the only time straight blades are accurate is while running on the ramp. Otherwise they are either bowed downward with gravity or bowed upward during flight. You'll have to add some curve to the blades to get that natural 'at rest' pose.
Some have accurately observed that the 'kink' in airframe at the rotor mast tower as observed head-on with the real aircraft is not present on the model. This is true, as with any model kit, some details get overlooked in the design of the molds. However, 99.9% of the world population wouldn't notice it, and of the remainder that might, 90% wouldn't care. It is the only 1/35 Mi-24 kit in existence so by definition, it is the best Hind in this scale.
Since one of the principal differences between the Mi-24D Hind D and the Mi-24V Hind E was the anti-tank missiles, you'll be happy to know that the kit includes a full set of AT-3 missile to backdate the model to the Hind D. A variety of 50, 100m 250 and 500 kilogram bombs are included along with luster bombs, grenade launchers, gun pods and rocket pods to depict your Hind in any one of many eras and mission configurations. You'll definitely want to stash the unused armament in your stores for 'future projects'.
Markings are provided for two aircraft:
- Blue 04, USSR, stationed in East Germany in the early 90s
- 0705, Czech Air Force, wearing Tiger Meet 1998 stripes
The only real complaint I have is the lack of self-defense equipment in the kit. While the IR jammer is provided behind the main rotor, the IR suppressors used on the Hind E in Afghanistan and the chaff/IR flare launchers used by virtually everyone were not included. While the IR suppressors were also a performance hindrance and not that widely employed (these were boxy fairings that were fitted over the engine exhausts), the chaff/flare launchers are a common detail that are noticeable in their absence. These are not that difficult to fabricate and if this is the worst problem in this kit, I'm going to have fun with this!
I have been looking forward to this kit since it was first announced over a year ago. After seeing the extensive ejector pin scars on Trumpeter's earlier 1/35 helicopter, the Mi-4 Hound, I was fearing the worst. These fears were unfounded as the engineers who put these molds together did a brilliant job of minimizing the ejector pins needed to get the parts trees out of the molds. You're going to love this kit!
My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!