Trumpeter 1/35 Mi-8MT/Mi-17 Hip H Kit First Look
By Michael Benolkin
|Date of Review||June 2004||Manufacturer||Trumpeter|
|Subject||Mi-8MT/Mi-17 Hip H||Scale||1/35|
|Kit Number||5102||Primary Media||Styrene/Photo-Etch|
|Pros||Nice Detailing, Excellent Subject Possibilities||Cons||Ejector pin marks on cargo compartment walls, no armament|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$119.95|
As I’ve heard quoted many times on television, the vast territories of the former Soviet Union were made for the helicopter. The Mil OKB, the design bureau named for its chief designer, Mikhail L. Mil, was the moving force behind rotary-winged aviation in the former Soviet Union. Its first principal workhorse for the Soviet Army was the Mi-4, codenamed Hound, which bore a strong resemblance to its Russian-American cousins, the Sikorsky H-19 and H-34 series.
With the availability of turbine power, the United States fielded the Bell UH-1 Iroquois in the late 1950s (then designated as the HU-1A, where it gained its nickname ‘Huey’), which would become one of the most widely used helicopters in the world. Within a few years of the UH-1, Mil was given the green light to develop a new turbine powered utility aircraft, the V-8. This prototype flew in 1961 and bore a strong resemblance to the Mi-8 of today with one exception; it only had a single engine. Mil wisely added a second engine to the production versions that followed.
The Mi-8 was employed as the Soviet Army’s principal workhorse, and with its spacious interior, it would be adapted into troop transport, cargo aircraft, communications aircraft, gunship, electronic warfare platform, airborne command post, rescue helicopter, and more. With the addition of a boat hull, the Mi-8 would become an amphibious anti-submarine warfare and SAR aircraft, re-designated as the Mi-14. When the US took the power train from a UH-1 and build an attack helicopter that would become the AH-1 Cobra, the Mil OKB adapted the best parts of the Mi-8 and Mi-14 to create the Mi-24 Hind.
For those who love trivia questions, what was the most heavily armed helicopter in the world during the 1980s? If you said the Mi-8, you would be correct! While the Mi-24 was heavily armed, it only carried four rocket pods and four anti-tank missiles in addition to its cannon. The gunship version of the Mi-8 carried SIX of those same rocket pods, four anti-tank missiles and the cannon. US helicopters at that time did not carry that kind of firepower, and I daresay that is still true today.
The Mi-17 would become the export version of the improved Mi-8, the Mi-8MT. The main visual difference between the previous Mi-8s and the Mi-8MT/Mi-17 is the tail rotor. The previous Mi-8s had the tail rotor on the starboard side, the later on the port side. Over 11,000 Mi-8/Mi-17 have been produced and sold around the world, where they continue to serve today.
Trumpeter’s latest impressive kit is the 1/35 scale Mi-8MT/Mi-17 Hip H helicopter. Molded in light gray styrene, the kit comes on seven parts trees, plus two clear trees, and one set of photo-etched parts. As with some of the previous kit releases, this kit suffers from ejector pin marks along the cabin interior walls and on the clamshell cargo doors, though nowhere near as bad as on the Mi-4 kit. With a little careful sanding, the ejector pin marks on my example appear to be easily dealt with.
The kit features two fully detailed engines on an engine deck that sits atop the cabin ceiling. As with the Mi-24 kit, the main cabin and cockpit have fully detailed and enclosed interiors. The only room for detailing I can see here is the space behind the instrument panels lacks detail and wiring that would be visible through that greenhouse canopy. On the other hand, photo-etched seatbelt and harness buckles are provided.
The kit can be positioned with the crew entry door open or closed, the clamshell cargo doors open or closed, one or both engine covers open or closed, and the horizontal stabilator is movable.
Out of the box, the kit does not appear to be set up for other versions of the aircraft as there are no flashed-over holes in the fuselage and the IR countermeasures device is molded onto the fuselage. While the instructions only give the steps for assembling the tail for the late-model starboard side, the way that the tail rotor is attached to the vertical stabilizer allows for reversing the tail rotor (and reversing the blades as well) to represent an earlier Mi-8. Check your references, but with a little work, this kit can be modified into just about any Mi-8 variant.
My biggest disappointment is with the lack of armament in this kit. As I mentioned above, the Mi-8 was (and may still be) the most heavily armed helicopter in the world. While you can rob the spare weapons from your Mi-24 kit, you’ll have to scratch-build the weapons outriggers and pylons, though these are not terribly difficult in design.
With over 11,000 Hips out there in the world, you can imagine the vast number of paint jobs that this aircraft carries. In this kit, markings are provided for three examples:
- Mi-17, Black 0844, Slovakian Air Force with SFOR markings
- Mi-17, White 0837, Czech Armed Forces with SFOR markings, 1997
- Mi-8MT, 535th Composite Transport Regiment, Russia 1993
Here is a kit of an aircraft that has served many countries around the world, in numerous conflicts, as well as being modified into a wide variety of configurations. This kit provides the modeler with a vast number of possibilities to create a colorful subject that will look great on your shelf and on the contest table.
- Mil Mi-8/Mi-17, Yefim Gordon/Dmitriy Komissarov, Midland Publishing, 2003, ISBN 1-85780-161-X