Zvezda kits are getting hard to obtain, but they are releasing some great offerings with the MIL MI - 8MT Soviet Multi Purpose Helicopter in 1/48th scale being the subject of interest.


The following introduction is taken supplied Zvezda:

The MIL MI - 8MT (Modernised Transport) - multi purpose medium helicopter, a modern version of the MI -8T. The helicopter is equipped with two TVZ-117MT engines of 2,200 horse power each, an AI-9v auxiliary power plant, the tail rotor was moved to the left side, also many structural elements were improved. MI-8MT speed increased to 250 KMH, ceiling up to 5,000 metres, range up to 600 KM. The MIL MI-8MT has improved manoeuvrability and increased fire-power due to two additional hinged armourment points. To counter act surface-to-air missiles the helicopter has various systems: scattering hot gases from the engines, firing decoys and generating pulsed infra-red signals. With over 17,000 units manufactured, the MI-8 is the most produced helicopter world-wide. 


This offering from Zvezda is supplied in a flip top cardboard box, inside of which are 6 plastic bags - 4 containing the grey sprues the model is moulded in, 1 containing the clear parts and another containing the decals. An examination of the parts, reveals no obvious issues with the model having very few ejector pin marks. There are flow lines in some mouldings, but these do not look or feel to have caused any distortions to the parts. The booklet covers the assembly of the model in manageable stages, and looking through everything and checking it against the sprues I see no obvious segments waiting to trip you up. 

The cockpit of this release in 1/48th scale is well detailed in all regards, with panels being added to the rear bulkhead to give a good depth of field. One area in the cockpit which will require after market or scratch build is the harness detail on both the pilot and co-pilot seats. All of the porthole openings, both in the doors and the fuselage of the helicopter have been provided with clear parts. The overhead instrument panels and the main instrument panels have been provided with decals, but no raised detail is present for those who would normally paint their instrument clusters. Overall the detail in the cockpit meets my expectations with the exception of the lack of harnesses and the fact that the crew door is moulded as part of the bulkhead.

Both TVZ-117MT engines are provided in multi part assemblies. The gearbox prior to the motor head is also well detailed and Zvezda has done a good job of providing the panel detail on to which these parts are mounted, also extends to multi part access panels with detail on all faces. The modeller of course can further improve these areas via the addition of the wire that would be present, fuel lines and the like. Looking at the mouldings and instructions in these areas provides a very positive opinion of this offering from Zvezda so far, and I also appreciate that detail painting colours are called out during construction. These parts with weathering and further detailing will give the modeller the opportunity to have a very nicely detailed area to view.

Moving to the loading bay, Zvezda has again given you good detail due to supplying internal panels as separate parts. Even remembering to supply decals above the portholes which I believe were emergency escape routes. Items such as fire extinguishers are supplied separately and detail painting is again called out. The fuselage of the helicopter is a multi part assembly, with a separate tail boom made of four pieces, with internal bulkheads to aid the ease of assembly, and give you a robust sub assembly. The main body of the helicopter is also made up of two main parts, and two sub-assemblies. These being the two sides of the helicopter, the cargo and cabin roof of the model with all of this mechanicals attached, and the floor which has had the loading bed placed on it and the crew cab as well. The internal walls of the models are obviously attached at the same point as the main assembly goes together - I would get these two pieces assembled and secured in advance, but locaters are provided for these pieces. One of the things I would have possibly have liked to change is that the banks of seat down each side of the loading bay, are all in the folded up position and I would have liked the option to have at least some of them down. The glazed nose of the model is provided in three parts, and so takes care during assembly. The clarity of the offerings in this sample is very good in all respects. 

The undercarriage of the model has very good detail for the rear wheels, and despite the fact that you cannot really see the nose wheel - I feel the detail could have been better on the main leg. All of the external parts of the model looked to be well moulded especially the fold out weapon arrays, with decals provided where needed. The loading bay doors have again been supplied with internal and external panels with a lot of detail added, and the ability for the modeller to show them open or closed. The level of detail present screams “Leave the open”. Access hatches to both engines and gearboxes are provided with the option of being open or closed and the side access door can also be shown open or closed.

The rotor-head and tail rotor have a good level of detail provided, with the main rotors having been moulded with the natural droop present on the aircraft on the ground. My only concern with the rotor-head is that these are quite large parts, with small mating faces, which could easily be broken or mis-aligned if care is not taken during assembly and any handling after assembly. Some nice additions is the stair assembly for the side crew access door, and the loading ramps at the rear. 

The armament supplied with this release consists of gun pods, multiple rocket launchers, and according to on-line reference 2 free fall bombs - but I am not convinced of the identification due to the size and shape of the fins. The devices for scattering the heat from the turbine engines are especially nicely detailed and give the model quite a mean look.

Zvezda has provided five finishing options, and these are as follows:

MI-8MT of 262nd Independent Helicopter Squadron of the USSR Airforce, Limited contingent of Soviet forces in Afghanistan, Bagram Airfield, 1989

MI-8MT from 933rd Airbase of the Russian Air force, Kamensk - Uralsky Airfield early 2000s

MI-8MT from 549th Base of the Russian Air force, Levashovo Airfield , 2018

MI-17 of the 3840 Escuadron de Helicopteros de Propositos Generales Air force of the Republic of Cuba, Holguin Airfield, 2020s

MI-17 from the First Helicopter Squadron Slovak Air force, Temporarily transferred to SFOR NATO peace keeping force in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2002.


This offering from Zvezda is in my opinion a truly stunning model for those with interest in rotary wing aircraft. While I was unable to verify all of the detail provided and one of the offensive weapons I can only say this is a truly stunning model which in the hands of a good modeller will result in a truly stunning and eye catching piece. The model is not without its faults, with the main issue for me being the lack of harness detail.



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