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Mi-17 Hip Early (88010) 1:48


Mike

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Mi-17 Hip Early (88010)

1:48 AMK – Avantgarde Models

 

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The Mi-8 was originally intended as a replacement to the ageing Mi-4, and started life as a single turbine medium lift helicopter of the Soviet Union.  After the addition of an extra engine for greater lift and an element of redundancy, the Mi-8 entered service with Soviet and Soviet aligned forces in the mid-70s, the export variants known as the Mi-17 and having some differences from the indigenous airframes, in the shape of larger, more powerful engines and optional hot-and-high engines for environments where the originals might struggle.  The new engines gave it a greater lift capacity, and they are easily separated from the Mi-8 variants by their tail rotor, which is on the port side of the Mi-17.  They have become a very popular helicopter amongst former soviet states and their export customers, with over 6,500 airframes created if you incorporate the local Mi-8s and their many variants.

 

‘Hip’ is the type’s NATO reporting name, and it has been pressed into many roles throughout its long service life, which at time of writing is still ongoing with many countries.  One such role is as a gunship, as the Mi-171V, which was fitted with rocket pods to provide close support to friendly forces, although this was a role better suited to the Mi-24 and later attack specific choppers.  China have long been a customer of the Hip, and have built their own under license from Mil, although they have recently decided to use their own indigenous equipment going forward.  They are still an excellent load-carrying chopper, and their rear clamshell doors are surprisingly capacious with plenty of space to load and unload equipment, vehicles or up to 24 fully armed and equipped personnel.

 

 

The Kit

This is a new tool from AMK from 2022, who have returned to produce more new kits for us modellers after a quiet period that seemed to follow their F-14A release, at least here in the UK.  It has been reboxed a couple of times already, sometimes under the Annetra logo, although I’m not entirely sure who or what that means.  The kit arrives in a standard top-opening box with their burgundy theme, and inside are nineteen sprues in grey styrene, a clear sprue, a sheet of Photo-Etch (PE), decal sheet and instruction booklet that is printed in colour on glossy paper in an A4 portrait format.  Detail is everything we have seen from AMK in the past, including copious use of slide-moulding, raised and recessed features, and finely engraved panel lines next to raised rivets in places.  Unusually, the painting and decaling diagrams are printed at the front of the booklet in colour, along with a chart of all the colours to be used in the build, with Gunze Sangyo C codes given, which are usually simply the same number as their acrylic H equivalent, plus a Federal Standard FS or RAL colour code wherever possible to assist with conversion if necessary.

 

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Construction begins with the bulkhead between the cockpit and main cabin, which is built from two highly detailed layers and several extra parts, including a jump-seat and cabin door with porthole in the curved top.  The finished assembly is inserted into slots that match the pegs on its underside in the combined floor, which is nicely detailed itself.  Another simple (and uncomfortable-looking) jump seat is attached to the cockpit side of the door, then adding control consoles in the centre, with cyclic and collective sticks replicated for both crew, as are the pedals.  The crew seat shells are made from halves that have the legs moulded-in, the seam hidden at the front by the L-shaped cushion parts that are pencil quilted vertically.  The two pilots have an instrument panel each, which are supported either side of the centre console, and they each have a dial decal to apply over the raised details moulded into the panels, which have a blanking plate added to the back.  The passenger/load area has an internal skin with plenty of detail moulded into it that is augmented by adding the canvas seats on tubular frames down both sides, which like a great many helicopter interiors, can be folded away on the real thing.  With both sides completed and painted, the side walls are glued to the floor and closed over by adding the ceiling panel, which has a curved interior with yet more detail.  Once the glue has fully cured on the interior “sausage”, the fuselage can be closed over the assembly after inserting all the portholes that line the sides of the aircraft, and a couple of consoles in the ceiling area of the cockpit on both sides, referring to the drawings in the front of the booklet for decal information.  The modeller is advised to “duddy” the seamline of the upper tail boom, which with a little help from my iPhone means putty, or literally “replenish soil”.  It’s a fair guess from a non-Mandarin speaker.

 

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There is a basic rendition of the two turboshaft engines inside the cowlings, which are made from two halves and each have a three-part engine face and bypass trapped between the parts.  The engine cowling is moulded as a single slide-moulded part with several cut-outs for exhausts and intakes, fitting a central support for the central intake on a lug, then building the rotor base from just two well-detailed parts, before inserting the two engine sections in place on the supports moulded into the cowling, and closing the front with a bulkhead to admit the air into the turboshafts.  The entrances are then covered by a pair of dust deflecting domed filters that are each made from three layers and have a fourth part that inserts into the openings in the front of the cowling.  The cowl is detailed with grab-handles, handles, a blister over the transverse mounted APU on the starboard rear side, and an intake in the front above the main intakes.  The completed assembly is then mated to the flat-spot on top of the fuselage, taking care to align the two parts carefully.  The clamshell doors at the rear of the fuselage can be posed open or closed as you like it, starting by detailing the interior with additional parts over the ribbed surface, then either gluing them together and mounting them over the rear, or leaving them separate from each other and attached to the rear of the fuselage on their hinge-points.  The front of the fuselage is closed by detailing the canopy with small sensors on the exterior and an overhead console with decal on the inside, lining it up gluing it carefully to the fuselage.

 

The underside of the fuselage is closed by a curved insert, and the panniers on the sides of the fuselage are installed on their mounting locations, the port pannier made from a single part, while the starboard unit is built from four parts in order to provide further variants later, hopefully.  The underside is covered with small details, and a sensor box that bears a resemblance to an old-fashioned tin bath is inserted into a recess under the tail boom, adding a pair of stabilising fins to the sides, and a vent insert right under the tail.  The side door is outfitted with another porthole, and a winch is made from three parts and fixed to the fuselage next to the door at head height for easy access.  More sensors, aerials and antennae festoon the upper fuselage, with an emergency exit over the pilot’s seats in case they get the urge for a quick flat-top haircut.  In typical Soviet fashion, the landing gear is fixed, and relatively simple. The nose gear has a three-part strut and twin wheels with separate outer hubs, and sprouts from the floor under the cockpit bulkhead, while the main gear is mounted on a single strut attached to the upper fuselage side, and is mated to an A-frame outrigger that supports the four-part wheel, one on each side.

 

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The three-bladed tail-rotor is fitted to the tail after building the six-part mount, slotting into the top of the tail on a long peg for strength, and do remember that it is meant to be on the port side of the airframe.  The main rotor has five blades that have been moulded with the necessary gravity-induced droop incorporated, and the hub is presented as the lower half, onto which the blades with the upper portion of the hub moulded-in are glued, then the axle with three-part actuator assembly, spacer and counter-weight crown are inserted, after which it can be inserted into the socket on top of the aircraft.  A pair of tiny round rear-view mirrors on long frames are applied to the nose for the crew’s use, adding windscreen wipers, blown side windows, probes and a side access ladder that should be shortened before installation according to the scrap diagram.  The model isn’t yet finished, as the tail boom needs some work, first removing some raised details that aren’t applicable to this variant, then applying many of the PE sheet’s parts to replace and augment the detail all around the tail and boom, which may have been damaged by sanding the seams earlier.  Take care here, follow the instructions carefully, and perhaps consider doing this task early in the build after you have glued the fuselage together to save breaking off any small parts.

 

Creation of the weapons and their pylons is interleaved between the other steps of the build, but we have left them until the end to preserve continuity.  There are two racks of three pylons, one each side that are supported in the horizontal by a pair of inverted V-frames that latch into strengthened points on the side of the fuselage.  Additional cross-braces are laid across the pylons to act as anti-sway braces, and each of the three pylons can carry a UB-32 rocket pod that are each supplied on their own sprue, making heavy use of slide-moulding, and providing two styles of rear housing, one with a conical rear shroud, the other with a curved cut-out under the rear.  It is the cut-out option that we use for this boxing, sliding a tubular sleeve inside that has the rear of the pod engraved at the end, then closing the front with the conical cap that has all the rocket tubes moulded deeply into the surface.  There are no rockets visible inside the tubes, so we’ll just assume they’re unloaded.  Sanding the seams between the mould sections of the slide-moulded parts will take a little time, but it’s preferable to trying to align two halves and suffering from reduced detail levels that a traditional injection moulded rocket pod would offer.

 

 

Markings

There are three decal options on the sheet from three operators, with vastly different camouflage schemes for each option.  You are advised to select your decal option before starting building, and three single profiles are printed at the front of the booklet with the paint codes beneath them.  The options then have a further page devoted to each one, with another page showing the colours for the main and tail rotors, stencils for pylons, rocket pods and the decals for the instrument panels and consoles, as previously mentioned.  From the box you can build one of the following:

 

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The decals were designed by L-Decals Studio and printed anonymously on light blue decal paper.  Printing is crisp, colour density good, and sharpness allows you to read the stencils, providing you can read whichever language the Cyrillic stencils are.

 

 

Conclusion

A very well-detailed model that shows attention to detail inside and out, and with pre-sagged blades that are a huge relief to this modeller that is currently facing this task on another model.  It’s great to see AMK back and producing kits that are just as good as their previous issues.

 

Highly recommended.

 

Available from all good model shops, whether they’re bricks & mortar, or virtual.

 

Review sample courtesy of

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I seem to remember the kit was originally announced by Annetra as their own design and that it was to be moulded for them by AMK, then it all went quiet and the kit eventually appeared a few years later in what appears to be an AMK style box but with credit to Annetra. 

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8 hours ago, AntPhillips said:

I seem to remember the kit was originally announced by Annetra as their own design and that it was to be moulded for them by AMK, then it all went quiet and the kit eventually appeared a few years later in what appears to be an AMK style box but with credit to Annetra. 

Sounds reasonable. :)

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