In recent years the overall quality of models from Zvezda has been very high when releasing new mouldings of their own kits. One of these releases is the Soviet Attack Helicopter Mi-24P, a different look for this very large attack helicopter with the chin mounted machine gun replaced with a fixed cannon.
The rest of this introduction is as supplied by Zvezda:
The combat helicopter Mil Mi-24P (P for cannon) was launched in April 1981 and remained in serial production until 1989. Different from the early versions with a machine gun, it has high firepower due to a duel barrelled 20mm cannon GS-2-30K Mounted on the right side of the fuselage. Aiming is done by turning the whole helicopter; consequently the pilot(Commander) is firing the cannon. In addition this helicopter can carry up to2400kg of arms load: bombs, unguided rockets and anti-tank missiles. The Mi-24P took part actively in the Afghan War, in combat operations in Chechnya, and during the Russian air force operations in Syria. It is still in service in Russia and many other countries worldwide.
This offering from Zvezda arrives in a large flip top cardboard box that protects the contents well. Inside there are three plastic bags containing the model parts with the clear sprue packed on their own. The decals could be better protected rather than loose in the box and I usually place them in a Ziploc bag or at least inside the instruction booklet. An examination of the mouldings reveals no obvious moulding issues that jump out at me.
The cockpit offered in this offering from Zvezda, replicates the spacious area quite well. However, a look inside the cockpit of one of these helicopters reveals more buttons and switches than you would probably find in the entire space shuttle! Zvezda has tackled the instruments that surround both crew with decals. I feel this to be an acceptable in box solution to the problem, but these will obviously be 2 dimensional and not 3 dimensional. The seats provided for the crew, appear to be correct in shape and form, however, they lack the harness detail and I have noted that on line images show a high degree of padding in this area. Zvezda has overcome this issue, via the inclusion of two multi part figures, with a very nice level of detail. One of the major features of the cockpit that seems to be missing, are the prominent cooling fans which I believe are added in an effort to over come the fact that they are sat in a greenhouse, surrounded by electrical equipment giving off heat. I will say that when tackling this helicopter - I would hope that a resin replacement becomes available, as I feel that the effort put into the design of the model by Zvezda will make this area really pop. The glazing of the model has been very nicely replicated, and is suitably thin. The access hatches can be displayed open or closed.
The area to the rear of the pilots provides the access hatch to the rear crew member. One set of seating has been included towards the rear of the compartment, however again there is no harness detail present. The areas of the bulk heads that can be seen, have been nicely detailed and is something that I like to see.
Something that I was surprised and again very pleased to see, is that Zvezda has included both turbines and the gearbox housing for the rotor. There are not a lot of parts to the entire assembly, but it is a very good inclusion that with some extra work could become a stunning area of the model. The body of the helicopter is a multi part assembly, and I believe this is due to Zvezda releasing a line of Mil-Mi 24s and so it reduces the amount of moulding changes they have to make. This will make assembly more of a challenge, but as a modeller, I am happy to undertake that difficulty in exchange for the range of aircraft covered. The panel lines are extremely fine, possibly some of the finest I have seen, and my concern in this regard, is that they could easily be obscured during the painting process. A negative in my book, is that a number of holes will need to be opened up in various areas of the model, and includes both the sides and centres of panels. The Zvezda instructions show this being tackled with a blade, and what looks like a sharp point of an unknown tool. As most modellers are aware, it is far better to tackle the task of opening holes with a drill and I would have liked to have seen a drill size supplied for this purpose.
The access doors on both sides of the aircraft, are correctly replicated and can be assembled in an open or closed position, and I was pleased to see that Zvezda has made the effort to replicate the restraining loops for the doors in the open position. The tail rotor assembly accurately covers the details you would expect to find, with the tail rotor being movable should that feature appeal to you. The main rotor assembly is one of those areas that will need to be tackled, in a slow and steady progression in order to prevent issues with the blades dipping or joins separating. The rotor head assembly is an area that Zvezda has put in a lot of effort, and there are a number of small parts that will need to be added, which could prove problematic for those who are ham fisted like myself. However, the results of the effort put into this area will I feel pay dividends.
The large stub wings each have three weapons stations and also exhibit very fine panel lines. A small amount of work will be required if you intend to display the model without offensive weaponry. The undercarriage is well represented, however I cannot deny that I have concerns about the rear undercarriage assemblies which may collapse under the weight of the model overtime. The wheels have good detail, but are split in half unfortunately they are not weighted. A number of external ordinance choices have been provided for this model from Zvezda., in the form of gun pods, drop tanks, multiple launch unguided rockets and anti tank missiles. The twin cannons will require the muzzles to be drilled to improve the detail, however in all other respects I am perfectly happy. When in comes to displaying the model Zvezda has supplied a number of options with three of the engine covers having the ability to be shown open. The crew hatches and the rear cabin can also be open, and so you have a good number of choices. The exhaust points on the side of the engine have been provided with two options, but without further information I can only guess that one is for sandy areas and the other for other less harsh environments.
Five finishing options have been included for this release, which are a follows:
262nd Separate Helicopter Sqn of the USSR Army Aviation, Afghanistan, Bagram Air Base, Summer 1989.
334th Centre of Combat employment and personal retraining of the Russian Army aviation, Torzok Airbase, 2014
Aviation Group of the Russian Air and Space forces in Syria, Khmeimim Airbase, 2017
5th Helicopter Sqn of the National Peoples Army of the German Democratic Republic, Basepohl Airbase, 1988
86th Helicopter Aviation Base of the Hungarian Military Forces, Szolnok Airbase, 2019
This release from Zvezda, is I believe the second Mi 24 in 1/48th scale and is one that I am very happy to see. Packaging and access to parts is good, a good selection of finishing options is provided, but I do question the identification from Russian to English. Detail on the hole is of a high standard, with my only concerns being the lack of harness detail, if the figures are not utilised. The view of the cockpit is so good that it is one area that I would certainly consider looking for a resin replacement.