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Mike

Kamov KA-27 Helix 1:48

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Kamov KA-27 Helix
1:48 Hobby Boss


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First flying in the early 1970s, the Helix is a maritime helicopter with two contra-rotating rotors, which removes the need for a tail rotor, a feature that be quite lethal on a busy deck. It also helps to keep the size of the aircraft down, especially when the main rotors are folded. Its compact design and contra-rotating rotors make it a powerful lifting platform that is capable of carrying five tonnes, as well as being easy to fly with precision in difficult situations. As well as being in service with the Russian Navy, it has been an export success with many former Soviet allies, and some have made their way into the civil market.

In military service they are capable anti-submarine helicopters, and carry a torpedo or a sonobuoy pack over 500 nautical miles at up to 168mph. it is also available as an assault transport under the KA-29 designation, with a powerful 30mm cannon and machine gun added along with hard-points for additional munitions.

The Kit
This is a brand new tooling from Hobby Boss, and should please anyone that has a thing about Russian helos, or just likes something a little bit left of field. It arrives in the usual box with a painting of a Helix dangling as dipping sonar underneath. Inside the box is split into two sections by a card divider that is glued to the lower carton. A couple of sprues are also wrapped in foam paper to keep them safe and secure, and the rest of the sprues are either bagged individually, or in pairs to keep the chances of chaffing to a minimum. There are nine sprues in mid grey styrene, one very delicate sprue in clear, a small Photo-Etch (PE) brass sheet containing some grilles, and a short metal strut. A small sheet of decals, instruction booklet and separate glossy painting guide in full colour.

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Detail is very nice, with restrained surface detail on the outer skin, very deeply engraved instrument panel, equipment racks and rotor detail. They have included a metal drive-shaft for the rotors as well as a gearbox so that when you turn one rotor, the other rotates in the opposite direction, just like the real thing. A busy interior is of course a must for a helicopter with a big side-opening door, and a big goldfish bowl on the front of the fuselage, so it's a good job it has one!

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It's the interior that is built up first on a large round-ended floor panel onto which you apply triangular rear stowage racks, a boxed in area with more racks on the opposite side that creates a narrow central walkway, and finally a cockpit that extends aft somewhat to accommodate the systems operator behind the two pilots. All the instrument panels are deeply engraved and have decals supplied to detail them, but you will need plenty of decal softener to get them to settle into the hills and valleys of the panels. The crew seats have been slide-moulded to obtain detail on the sides and an undercut on the front of the seats, with a seam running down the centres of the back that is easy to deal with. There are separate cushions fitted to each seat before they install on their mounts, with one in the rear, one behind the main cockpit and two up front for the pilots together with their instrument panels, drop-in centre console and separate collective and cyclic sticks.

The rotor heads are next, with one being made up for the top rotor that has its connecting rods underneath, and the lower rotor having the rods on the top. The two are joined together on a geared drum that permits the two rotors to contra-rotate if you manage to keep the glue and paint out of the works. Sure, it's gimmicky and being made from styrene it won't last long if you use it a lot or try to motorise it, but a nice fun feature nonetheless. The mechanism attaches to the top of the cabin roof, onto which is installed the overhead console and decal for the cockpit. This then sits on a ledge within the fuselage halves, where it is joined by the lower portion of the cabin before the fuselage is closed up. There's no detail on the ceiling, but at least there is one, which can act as your blank canvas if you feel motivated to add extra detail. A faceted metal rod is supplied as the drive-shaft, which goes fully through the lower rotor and lodges in a socket in the lower gear and upper rotor head. This both gives the assembly some strength, as well as allowing the lower rotor to spin on its larger styrene "nut" moulded into the top of the gearbox. The rotors themselves are installed as the last act of the build, which makes sense from a practical point of view, and each one is made up from one part with sag moulded into it, starting from about the right point on the rotor where the aerofoil shaped part of the blade begins, and a small balance weight just before.

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The twin intakes over the cabin are a complex shape, which is why the top portion with a shallow valley between the two intakes is a separate part. The intake mesh and lips are added to the front once these are installed. The nose of a Helix is covered in glazing, which is replicated in lovely thin clear parts comprising the main nose glazing, plus blown side windows that have frosted areas that become the door skins. Painting the interior of these parts would add a bit more realism to them by achieving the correct colour for the interior as well as covering up the glossy inside of the parts. More window inserts are added to the fuselage before closing up, and to the large side door before it is added.

A huge array of exterior parts are required for a bit of detail, which includes the two large oval exhausts, various domes and sensor blisters, antennae, grab-rails and PE vents on the fuselage sides. Its tiny sponsons are added toward the rear of the fuselage, and the substantial main gear legs are built up from four parts each plus a single wheel. The nose gear comprises a pair of "castor" wheels on a short yoke, and all wheels are built from two halves split circumferentially. Rescue gear and flotation devices are added to the sides, and the stubby H-tail is built up with separate rudders and leading edge slats, plus an actuating arm on the short horizontal planes. These mate with the fuselage using the usual slot and tab arrangement, and have bracing rods underneath each one.

Markings
There are two options available to the modeller from the box, and both are in a light bluish grey, as is to be expected in this age of grey military aircraft. There's plenty of scope for weathering with these aircraft, and if you wanted to go off the decal sheet, there are plenty of other colour options available. From the box you can build one of the following:

  • Russian Navy, Ka-27PL, 42 Yellow RF-34177 – Yellow 42 on engine nacelles, Russian star on the tails.
  • Ukraine Navy, Ka-27PL, 20 Yellow cn. 5235003517202 – Yellow 20 on engine nacelles, Ukrainian roundel on the tails.

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Decals are printed anonymously on an odd blue paper that has a sort of "wholemeal" patina, and the density of the yellow is a concern on some of the smaller decals because they don't appear to have a white under-printing, or the yellow extends past the sides. Some of the writing is a little indistinct, but as it's in Cyrillic, it's not a major concern. The decals overall aren't very inspiring, either in choice of subject, or execution.

Conclusion
This is a nice kit of a rather unusual and compact helicopter, and while it is perhaps a little on the high side for a kit of this size, there is plenty to commend it, and it won't take up much room in your cabinet when built. I have heard concerns expressed that the details on the fuselage are incorrect, but having done a little research they appear to be about right on the pictures I have studied, although perhaps fractions of a millimetre off in places?

With a lump off the RRP, and with a more interesting decal sheet, you can have a lot of fun with this kit, and the super-detailers can add to the interior that is already present. Also, don't forget the fun you'll have twiddling the rotor blades!

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Review sample courtesy of
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bought it about 2 weeks ago, when it first turned up on ebay.

The kit looks awesome, going to wait to see if eduard get their hands on it before starting it for some etched

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Ridiculously overpriced for a kit of its size.

I will definitely not buy it, no matter how much I would love bulding it!

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