Here we take a look at the KA-52 Alligator release from Zvezda in 1/48th scale.


The following introduction is as provided by Zvezda:

The Russian two-seat Ka-52 Alligator combat helicopter is a further development of the single-seat Ka-50 Black Shark. The addition of a second crew member - a navigator-weapons operator has expanded the helicopter’s capabilities. The Ka-52nprototype made its first flight in 1997 and in 2011 the first production machines were delivered to the Russian Army Aviation. To destroy ground targets, the helicopter is armed with a 2A42 30mm aircraft gun, unguided rockets of 80, 122 and 240mm calibre, and can carry bombs, cannon containers and other weapons weighing up to 2t. In addition, the Ka-52 is capable of using Vikhr anti-tank missiles with laser homing heads and fighting enemy aircraft with Igla-V air to air missiles.


This offering for Zvezda arrives in a flip top cardboard tray which offers a high level of protection for the contents. The sprues are packaged in 2 bags, but they do rattle around inside the box, as it is much larger than required. Unlike most western attack helicopters the crew sits side by side rather than in tandem and so the vehicles profile is much larger than it otherwise could be. Zvezda has provided 2 very nicely detailed air crew figures, however if you do not use the figures provided you will need to replicate the harness details on the seats. Looking at on-line images of the cockpit area, details provided would appear to be accurate and Zvezda has provided decals to add to the instrument panel. Having looked at on-line images, which there are a surprising quantity, details provided give you a decent starting point for the modellers who build straight from the box. But there is room for further improvement for those who wish to go for the highest level of accuracy. 

The body of the model has very nicely recessed and raised panel detail that in my opinion is the star of this release, and while I have not been able to find a detailed schematic I have no reason to believe that the detail provided is inaccurate. An unusual aspect of this model is that the body of the aircraft is made of 4 main panels, left and right as you would expect but then also a top and bottom panel which is a novel approach but one that I believe has enabled Zvezda to provide a particularly high level of surface detail. Engine detail is restricted to intakes and the rotor-head assembly. The engine in-takes have an armoured cowl to protect them. So far as I can see the details that have been provided in this area have been included.  

The sub wings for the weapons could be more accurately described as wings. The wings have 3 hard points each and nicely detailed weapons pylons have been included in this release. There is also an end mount of each wing, which I believe is either for some form of weapons guidance or defensive in nature in the form of Chaff dispensers. Unusually for attach helicopters this offering is not equipped with a chin mounted machine gun or cannon. Instead you have a fixed gun on the side of the airframe, a chin mounted targeting system is mounted where you would expect. However, placement of this chin mount appears to vary as sometimes it is mounted on the roof of the helicopter and there are images where the chin mount has been omitted completely. However, I do not know if the one with out the chin mount are pre-production or production aircraft. There are 2 further ball mounts on the adjacent to the wells, these are listed on-line as L-37D-5 vitebsk (DIRCM). The landing gear is basic in design and I am sure it would benefit from further enhancement by the modeller. 

The helicopter is said to have a payload capacity of 2t, and can have a mix of offensive weaponry on the pylons. Typical weapons used are twin Stinger anti-aircraft missiles which are provided, 6 VIKHR ATGM which are provided, 4 EO ATGM which are not provided in this release,B-8V20A rocket pods that are included and fuel drop tanks which are also included. I should add that the weapon mounted on the side of the helicopter is a 30mm cannon I believe. The rotor assembly being a twin mount is nicely detailed and fairly busy, so take care when getting ready to assemble this aspect of the model as it will make or break the model. The decal sheet as can be seen in the photographs provides a lot of stencil detail and so this is another area of the model where a lot of care will need to be taken to get everything correctly located. Zvezda has provided 3 finishing options for this release:

KA-52 of the Russian Air Force, MAKS-2015 Air show, August 2015

KA-52 of the Russian Air Force, 2023

KA-52 of the Russian Air Force Group in Syria, Hmeimim Airfield, 2018


Zvezda as a company have had some stunning releases of late, and I believe this offering is in that vain. The detail provided appears to be accurate judging by on-line images, however it is possible to improve the detail further in some places as there are some aspects that appear to be missing judging by on-line images. With that said, this will build into an imposing model due to it’s mix of offensive weaponry and contra-rotating main rotor assembly. It is my belief that Zvezda has another winner on their hands with this release. 



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