Mi-2 Hoplite Wheels & Paint Masks

Published: January 14th, 2015     
Product Image
Reviewed by: Keith Pruitt - IPMS# 44770
Scale: 1/72
Price: $6.99
Product / Stock #: 7307
Product provided by: Aires Hobby Models

The Mil Mi-2 is a light helicopter, produced in Poland, used for transport and close air support. Powered by two GTD-350 turbine engines, the aircraft would be armed for a variety of uses. Several specialized variants carried a 23 mm autocannon, machine guns, 57mm rocket pods, four 9K11 Malyutka anti-tank missiles or Strela-2 AA missiles. The Mi-2URP Gunship and anti-tank variant was one of these, and the Hobby Boss kit of this version is used for comparison. The Hobby Boss Mi-2 is the most common and most recent kit and is available in several different variants, although there are a few others like the Smer kit which was released in 2000.

The Aires Wheels and Mask Set includes cast resin replacement wheels, two for the main landing gear and two for the nose gear, as well as a set of pre-cut vinyl paint masks and illustrated instructions.

Paint masks are some of the most useful items available on the market today, as they save tons of time that would be spent masking and carefully cutting to insure that the paint lines are crisp, clean and correctly spaced. Many of the aftermarket aircraft sets include masks for wheels along with the canopy masks, and some armor masks are actually dedicated to the tanks or trucks that have all those finicky road wheels.

The Aires Hoplite wheels are nothing short of a work of art. They are finely molded, and would require minimal cleanup, where the kit wheels have sprue attachment points and mold seam lines that need to be removed. Also, the main kit wheels have an almost square cross-section, while the Aires wheels are more rounded. The hubs of both the nose gear and main gear wheels are just spectacular, with the wheel bead and hub molded more realistically raised and with the lightening holes (?) better spaced. The main hubs even include a molded opening for the valve stem. As with any resin replacement part, plastic cement will not work, so cyanoacrylate (super) glue or two-part epoxy would be needed to attach them securely. The mounting holes may need enlarged, depending on the size of the axle, but a few twists of an appropriately-sized drill bit in a pin vise should work well.

With the increased accuracy, high quality molded detail, and easy of use, the Aires Mi-2 Hoplite Wheels & Paint Masks are an outstanding choice. Experienced modelers will definitely want to use these, and they could be an excellent way for novices to gain experience in using resin details for their first upgraded project. These easily receive my Highest Recommendation.

I would like to thank Aires for providing the product sample, and to IPMS for the opportunity to review them.

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