Heli-Kit News #115, 10-Jan-01

1. SMER of the Czech Republic have released a new 1:72 Mi-2, #0872. This turns out to be the same plastic as the InTECH (from Poland) Mi-2T, #T43, so you don't get any of the armaments included in InTECH's other two Mi-2 kits (#T54 and #T58). You do get a new and very good looking decal sheet printed by Propagteam. Three marking options are included: 2. Tony Morgan describes the new Azur (from France) 1:72 kit of the Cierva C.30 / Avro Rota, #7215:

First off, it is definitely a Rota, as according to the SAM write-up, the LeO's had a different arrangement of the doors to the forward cockpit. The engine is also definitely a Genet, not the Salmson as used on the French machines. The detailing of the plastic parts is first-rate, and the panel lines I would choose to call sublime. Two tiny vac-formed windscreens are provided, and there is a resin engine, exhaust collector ring, and rotorhead. The rotorhead is extremely delicate, and there is no way on earth it is going to be able to support the blades. The plastic parts are well executed, with fine strut work and fuselage interior detail moulded in the fuselage halves. The empennage is a bit dodgy, with the horizontal stab being a four-part affair, all butt-jointed (drills and pins, anyone?). There are also a pair of different end-plates for the horizontal stab that the instructions say not to use. These have the additional vertical stabilizer plates as featured in the JMGT LeO, but as the kit is already missing the engine and door detail of the LeO, it is certainly better they are left unused. The landing gear is very fine, and it definitely beats the hell out of the existing limited-run kits.

Four decals options are provided on a beautiful Cartograph sheet: There are a good set of plan drawings provided for all four aircraft, with paint color call-outs but no FS or brand/item numbers. The decals look very well printed, although I do think the blues in the Czech roundels and the RAF tail stripes are far too dark. All in all, I give it two solid thumbs up; those of us holding on to Merlin and Aircraft In Miniature kits can move into the modern age. (Just don't throw out the D-EKOP decal sheets.)

3. Next a couple of book reviews from Pete Tasker:

AD Graphics 'IAF Light Helicopters' is at last available. Written by Amos Dor, this is No.4 in the IAF Aircraft Series and the first to cover anything rotary winged. Featuring the Hiller 360, Hiller UH-12E4, Alouette 11 and Bell 47, this soft-backed publication consists of 33 pages, 50 photographs, 6 of which are in colour together with 6 colour side views. Brief histories of each type are given together with technical details, colour information and recommended kits and decals. The Hiller information in particular is of immense interest as so little has been written until now about the type in Israeli service. For the ultimate in attention to detail note the shot of the Alouette cockpit on page 19 and in particular the 'Agusta-Bell' inscribed foot pedals!

4. PZL Mi-2 is No.2 in F-40s 'DHS' line of publications. This particular soft backed monograph was first published in 1998 though for whatever reason has only just become available in the UK. The DHS series concentrates solely on the aircraft of the former East German military however unlike the F-40 line these are all in German without the benefit of dual German / English captions. Identical in size and layout to the F-40 series, Mi-2 consists of 48 pages and details the PZL-built Mi-2 in both Polish and German (East and Unified) military and civil service. The book includes 134 photos with 34 in colour, a very nice set of 1:72 scale plans together with a number of scrap view drawings. Overall quite nicely produced, some of the shots of the Police machines being particularly interesting. The only criticism would be that the reproduction of a number of the black & white shots are a little 'muddy'.

5. Here's a picture of the parts in the LF Models 1:72 Kellet YO-60 #7234 (HKN #112).

6. Yevgeny Borissov has re-launched his Russian Helicopter Modelling website 'Heliborne'.

7. Maintrack's conversions for the 1:72 Italeri / Revell H-19 Chickasaw have been released: 8. MRC have announced that their long-awaited 1:35 Blackhawk series will be further delayed until late first quarter this year.

9. Hasegawa's 2001 catalogue has nothing to be excited about. I note that there are no 1:48 Sea Kings in it this year. You can view the whole catalogue at Marco Polo.

Not included in the catalogue are a few more special editions of their 1:72 Seahawk and Blackhawk kits. This month will see the release of #00164, SH-60B "Scorpions", and in March or April there will be a UH-60A 'VIP Hawk', #00175.

10. Here's another look at the Professional Models 1:48 C.30 #00348 (see also HKN #114). It is somewhat ironic that having given up on the UK importer (Hannants), our UK-based correspondent had to resort to Autralia (NKR) for his kit:

Briefly - Consists of 48 resin pieces, 25 etched brass together with an acetate sheet with instruments and cockpit windshields. The decal sheet features no less than 7 options specifically :
The resin casting is generally very good and quite delicate though a number of pieces, particularly the fuselage halves, exhibit a number of air bubbles. The obvious comparison has to be with the recent JMGT offering. The casting of the Professional kit seems much sharper than its JMGT counterpart though the resin pieces are no where near as solid as those of the JMGT kit. Professional's alternative 9 piece Genet Major powerplant and 11 piece Leo powered alternative being particularly finely cast where as JMGT offered a basic two piece moulding. A big difference between the two kits is Professional's inclusion of a brass detailing set though disappointingly no seat belts are included. Professional provide alternative parts to enable the French LeO license-built machine to be modelled and, usefully for UK modellers, the colour options list Humbrol references.

There is little really to fault with the kit other than the red on the decal sheet, particularly for the RAF options, being a little on the bright side and the lack of brass seat belts. Other than that an excellent kit and at nearly half the price of the JMGT offering it has to be the preferred option in quarter scale. The proof of course will be in the making and in fairness to JMGT their kit did build into a lovely model.

11. Ken Duffy posted this impression of the recent 1:72 Amodel Ka-31 Helix #72-45 (see also HKN #111) on the rec.models.scale newsgroup.

The kit is moulded in light grey plastic and consists of approx. 147 parts plus a clear sprue with the windscreen, 2 side windows and 2 landing lights. The components have lots of flash and the whole thing is a typical Amodel limited run with large sprue gates - only more so. The panel detail is a bit crude, but on the other hand there are some incredibly delicate parts and once cleaned up, I am sure it will make up into a nice model. The clear parts are a little thick and cloudy, but a coat of Future (Kleer) should fix them.

The cockpit consists of 2 crew seats, an instrument panel with raised detail, 2 collective and 2 cyclic levers. The rear cabin can be seen if the port door is cut in half and cemented in the open position, although there is no interior detail, just a floor. The undercarriage can be modeled in the extended or retracted position and the radar could be fixed in the operating position, although I guess that most modelers with depict it in the stowed position with the gear down.

The starboard cabin door can be cemented in the down position, complete with integral airstair and hand rail, although I think that the sides may need thinning down a bit. The rotor hub is very complex, made more so by the number of tiny parts, all with flash that needs removing. The instruction diagram makes an attempt at showing the blades folded, but you will need to work out the exact geometry yourself!
(excellent rotor-fold pictures in the Polygon Kamov book - CJ).

The large slab plate radar antenna would normally go under the fuselage, but I photographed the same machine at Zhukovsky with an example of the antenna dismounted and displayed next to the helicopter, something the modeller could follow.

The decal sheet is matt printed and contains markings for two machines, bort numbers 031 & 032. The sheet contains dozens of small stencil data as well as 2 red stars (a/c 031), 2 old-style Soviet flags (a/c 032), blue or black outlines for the rear cabin door, plus Aeroflot titles and Cyrillic lettering that says 'Hydrometcentre' (on a/c 032). When I photographed bort number 032 at MAKS 99, it did not have these Soviet-style markings, just red stars, the same as 031.

While not up to 'Tamigawa' standards, this should make up into a nice little replica of this Kamov ship-borne AEW platform and adds to my growing collection of Kamov co-axial helicopters. It also means that I won't have to attempt to convert the Zvezda Ka-29 into a Ka-31 ! The Indian Navy is supposed to be ordering the Ka-31 to operate from the ex-Gorshkov, so that would provide another marking option as I doubt if the Russians will operate them. The only 2 airframes seen so far are trials machines and have been aboard Kuznetsov, but they are far from operational.

I would add that Ken has posted an excellent series of photographs of the two Ka-31's at his Flankers Website , where you will also find many other exceptional photos of Russian (and Polish) built helicopters.

Thanks to Tony Morgan, Yevgenny Borissov, Drew Graham, Ken Duffy & Pete Tasker.