The Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunship has been in service around the world since the early 1970’s. The first version, the Hind A featured a large square sided front canopy, but later versions, starting with the Hind D, have all sported a streamlined double bubble canopy over the pilot and weapons operator. While the Hind was designed to be a formidably armed helicopter gunship, it can also carry 8 passengers or troops in the main cabin.
Like most other Soviet or Russian designs, the Hind has gone through a number of changes and numerous variants have appeared in service around the world and participated in many conflicts around the world, and continues to do so even today.
One of the more recent variants is the Mi-24/35 SuperHind Mk. III produced by the South African company Advanced Technologies and Engineering (ATE). The SuperHind is an upgraded Hind with modern western avionics, weapons (including a 20 mm cannon) and countermeasures. In addition to the prototypes modified by ATE, the SuperHind Mk. III is in service with the Algerian Air Force.
Last year Hasegawa released a special edition kit of the SuperHind. The set includes Hasegawa’s baseline Hind E kit, a number of resin parts that comprise the external upgrades to the baseline kit, a metal 20 mm gun barrel and new decals for an ATE prototype and an Algerian Air Force operational machine.
Hasegawa’s Hind has been around for quite a long time and I suspect many of us have a least 1 in our kit stash. The baseline kit features good surface detail, nice recessed panel lines and quite a large number of parts. Unfortunately, the molds are showing their age as the review kit suffered from a fair amount of flash around the injection molded parts. The flash is not difficult to remove from the larger parts, but it is time consuming. Removing the flash from the smaller parts is more difficult as they are harder to hang on to. The resin parts are molded in a soft grey resin, but also suffer from a lot of flash as shown in the photographs. Removal is not difficult as the resin is fairly soft and easily removed with a sharp Exacto, but take the time to compare the resin parts to not only the instructions, but also to photos of the actual helicopter as there are some areas where additional resin must be removed as some of it appears to have been molded as a stiffener to help the part keep its shape, but in reality does not exist on the actual helicopter. The metal cannon barrel has a slight casting seam, but it is easily taken care of.
In addition to the standard kit instructions for the Hind E kit, Hasegawa includes an additional insert which has a parts diagram on the front to assist in locating the needed resin parts. Revised versions of some of the construction steps for the primary directions showing where parts are either added or omitted in these steps are also included. The steps also list which of the original kit parts are not used on the SuperHind. To avoid confusing myself, I set the two directions side by side and marked out the deleted parts on the original instructions and made notes on them as to where the resin parts were to be added. The front side also includes 1/72 scale 3 view drawings showing all of the replacement parts installed and labelling them to assist in construction. The back of the insert illustrates the two options included in the decals.
I pretty much followed the construction sequence of the original instructions with the modifications noted in the insert. In Step 3, I elected to close up the passenger cabin not only to help show the clean lines of the Hind, but also to give me someplace to hide some weight to prevent a tail sitter. I used a couple of large cylindrical fishing weights glued upright behind the pilot’s bulkhead for weight. One big disappointment in the kit was the clear parts. It appears their molds have suffered more than the other parts as my sample was badly scratched and some areas of the canopy have very soft detail or were fuzzy. I decided not to use the kit provided windows for the passenger cabin and these were made with Krystal Klear at the end of the build.
There is not much detail in the cockpits and the instrument panels and consoles are provided as decals. In my opinion this is usually fine in 1/72 scale, especially in situations where the cockpit will not be opened up such as this build. I did add some Eduard Superfabric seatbelts to the pilot and gunner seats as they are very bland otherwise under the double bubble canopy. I used a spare WWII Luftwaffe fighter set I found on the workbench and I am pleased with how they turned out.
On the upper right fuselage half, the kit provides a resin replacement for an insert at the back of the engine housing. The part fit snug in some areas, but required putty in others. One thing that was omitted from the instructions is that you need to remove the Odd Rod IFF antennas molded above the center engine intake and at the base of the tail as these are not fitted to the SuperHind.
One area that will also need attention is the floor of the gunner’s compartment. For the Hind D and E there is an under-nose piece that with a locating peg that fits into a hole in the gunners floor – unfortunately this hole is very prominent when you look into the front cockpit, so I cut a small square of thin sheet styrene and made a new floor, covering up the hole. I ended up doing some filling and sanding on the fuselage once it was assembled in order to eliminate some pesky seams. Once this was done I started adding the resin bits, starting with the smaller lumps and bumps and ending up with new resin nose bulges. This part cleverly snaps into the locating holes for the under-nose parts of the Hind E, with the exception of the hole mentioned above. I thought this would be covered by the gun turret, but discovered it was not when the gun turret was test fit. Once again I resorted to a square piece of very thin sheet styrene to cover this hole and to blend in the bottom of the helicopter.
The kit stub wings are to be used, but the endplates and the anti-tank missile tubes of the Hind E are not. The SuperHind uses four-tube arrangement on the outer station of each stub wing and these units appear to be trainable a little bit side to side and up and down. I used a little bit of filler to blend the stub wings into the fuselage, but this was easily addressed.
As I wanted to use the large intake filters provided in the resin parts, I elected to model the ATE prototype, which fortunately is overall dark grey. I used Testors Gunship Grey as it looked like the best match to the box top photograph. As a couple of the photos I found online of the rotor blades look like the blades have a bit of a greenish tint to their overall grey, I painted the rotor blades Tamiya RLM Grey and I like the contrast between them and the Gunship Grey of the main airframe. The missile tubes have some copper sections so I painted these with Testors Copper and the contrast is pretty striking and adds color to the build.
I sealed the paint with Future and applied the kit decals which reacted very well to Microset & Microsol, settling down with no silvering. As I prepared to decal the main rotor, I realized I had made a mistake assembling the blades to the rotor head before decaling as there are four thin white stripes on each rotor blade, 2 on top and 2 on the bottom, roughly dividing the blades into 3rds. In order to ensure the stripes were not only perpendicular to the blades, but also in the same place on each blade, I made a paper template with parallel lines at the 1/3 and 2/3 points on the rotor blades and decaled one blade at a time over the template to ensure the decals were the same on each blade. I did the bottoms first and then the tops and I actually like the way they came out. I did not use the provided decals for the blade tips on the main and tail rotor blades as I have never been able to get the tops and bottoms to match up without gaps, I airbrushed them instead – yellow on the main rotors and red on the tail rotors.
Once the decals were set, I sealed everything with Testors semi-gloss as the prototype is a show bird, not an operational bird, then proceeded to add all of the tiny antennas that seem to stick out all over and I installed the drop tanks and missile tubes to finish the build.
While the build had its challenges and some frustrations, overall I am pleased with the end result. My biggest gripes are the amount of flash on the parts and the poor quality of the kit canopy. In hindsight, I should have grabbed a canopy from one of the other Hinds in my stash and replaced the kit canopy.
I enjoyed the build and it certainly results in a very different looking Hind. Unfortunately with a list price of $100, I suspect many may pass it up for the newer Zvezda or Eduard kits.
Thanks you to Hasegawa/Hobbico for the review sample and to IPMS-USA for letting me build it.