Mil Mi-2 (NATO code - Hoplite
), also called “tadpole” or ”spermatozoon” due to its fuselage line, is one of the most popular helicopters being in use in the countries of former Eastern Block. It is a light transport helicopter which could be also used for close support if armed with machine guns or rockets. Designed in Russia it was never produced there. All machines (about 7000) were built in Poland by PZL Świdnik. Although this machine was, and still is, widely used by many countries worldwide it was not a popular topic for scale kits producers. Situation have been changed when Hobby Boss have released its universal “T” for transport version followed by “US” which is reviewed below. I hope to some more options soon.
The box content is not surprising at all. Four sprues of grey plastic parts, one sprue of clear parts, small decal sheet and a foldout assembly instruction. The kit parts enables us to build the helicopter in its basic airframe configuration and then finish it in a desired version. The US variant was equipped with additional machine guns and cannons so producer have supplied us with additional sprue containing necessary armament. However over types of load are still available in case we need it, like cylindrical fuel tanks. It is clearly visible that US or T versions, already released by Hobby Boss, are not the last one we will see.
Plastic parts represent rather good quality. The styrene is hard so it is advised to cut the parts of the sprue using razor saw rather than knife (quicker and safer) and file any excesses. Details are nice and sharp as for the 72 scale. Panel lines and rivets are strong asset of this kit. Few details are very simplified and would surely look better if were given as separate parts, for example the step on the left landing gear leg under passenger door. Passenger section have separate door so if you want to show interior or do some improvement you won't find it difficult to expose. For those who are willing to get it closed – door fits great to the fuselage halve, there's no need to adjust anything. Rotor details, although look nice, are not very correct and, in comparison to the real one, have a rough look. Another good point of the kit are clear parts. The whole cockpit section is made as clear part what is good solution in my opinion. All you need to do is just to fit it firmly to the rest of airframe. Joint line, which is always potential point requiring sanding, is in a safe distance from any glazing so if you put some attention you won't damage any clear part.
Although very nice, the kit is not flawless. Except rough rotor I have found two more, rather significant errors. Hobby Boss have reproduced the cockpit instrument console in absolutely wrong shape. First of all it is too square and too short in its “nose” section. If you do not want to scratch build you can use Quickboost replacement (set QB72 365 – shown in this news report
, already available on the market, which looks much better than the original kit part. Another error which I have identified is attachment point of landing gear shock absorber. It is placed about 1,5mm to high. This omission won't be most probably noticeable if you won't put the kit on scale plans and decide to paint the model in some military option. I have found it accidently – the painting scheme which I choose have a straight, horizontal line of two colours and few significant details of machine simply did not align as they should.
As I've already started build of the kit I can say few words about fitting. To be honest it is almost perfect. Because I really wanted to get smooth surface I have used some putty and Gunze Surfacer at the fuselage halve joint lines and sanded it with fine paper (1500 or so). I just had some slight problems with fitting the windows of the passenger section but when put a proper pressure it just used to „click” and was in place.
Assembly instruction is easy to follow, I had no problems to identify parts and their location on the kit. Experienced modelers can easily build the kit in their own sequence and use instruction only as general guide.
decal sheet and painting option
Producer provides just one painting scheme of Polish Air Force machine. It is a two colour scheme: green for overall fuselage and engine cover and light blue for belly and bottom of the tail boom. Decaling is easy and simple: three national markings, two individual numbers and few smaller decals for tail rotor and boom. What I really like in this kit are two transparent decals with cockpit instruments. You have to remember about painting the panels with base colour and apply decals. The instruments on decal fits the details on plastic almost perfectly.
In my opinion this is nice and easy kit. I'm building it just for fun and really have fun. The kit features are good fit of parts (very strong asset for me), important machine of the Eastern Block armed forces and the ability to be used for many non-military conversions (SAR, police, air ambulance, border guard etc) based on the same airframe. If your don't bother errors and omissions mentioned above you won't be disappointed.