Happy New Year, the first post of 2013 and following hard on the heals of the late 2012 obsession is the continuing development of a Soviet Air Assault force. The heavy lift component of which is to be largely supplied by the Mi 26 Halo. The Halo entered service with the Soviet Armed forces from about 1985 and is still flying today. Whilst the Hook was a revolution for its day the Mi 26 started to make the Soviet DShV vision a realisable reality given the equipment scaling and organisational size of the Front Helicopter Transport Regiments of the time. Where the 24 Mi 6 could deliver 24 BMDs the Mi 26 could deliver 48 with the same number of airframes. Both Zedveda and Revell offer 1/72 versions of the Mi 26 at the time of wrighting the Revell version was cheaper by a couple of pounds, but judging by its lack of availability is looking like a discontinued item.
The Revell kit is fairly straight forward to build, inevitably with a kit this size there are a few challenges given the flexible nature of the material its made from. As with the Mi 6 Model you need to assess the model befor choosing what interior detail to leave out as a significant amount of the models structural integrity comes from a number of the interior components. Whilst I did not build in the cockpit detail any component that seemed to offer strength to the hull construction was built in.
Having built two of these beasts there are a couple of fun bits to watch out for, on the first aircraft I built I put the hold floor in the wrong way round, the second model was less calamitous but the cabin ceiling remains a challenge and needs to be glued in stages. The Aircrafts hull needs similar treatment with the alighnment and location of the cabin floor and cieling into the opposite half of the hull requiering a fair bit of attention. The real pain of the build however is the main flight deck windscreen which has to be bent and forced into place a challenge to most peoples patience. Other than that the buildphase is a dream
Once built it is a great looking model and an impresive beast of a chopper even if like me you build it without the rotors. In 1/72 scale its 50cm long and dwarfs other models, for real it has the load capacity of a hercules. If you want to put air assault armour on the table from an air assault force you either need a few of these or some of Rodens An 22s in order to run an air landing or parachute operation, which is tempting but expensive in this scale.
Painting this aircraft without an air brush is a challenge requiering numerous thined coats of paint if brush marks are to be avoided. I painted mine in Vajello desert yellow with the disruptive pattern in Russian Uniform and wheels windows and exhausts in black grey. The underside was painted sky grey. Pannel lines were picked out in GW Agax Earthshade (brown) before being washed with dilute solutions of the base colour or cam colour as appropriate.
The aircraft is mounted on a 3" Corsec flight stand which in turn is mounted on a CD ROM which works well even for an aircraft of this size. The Flight stand unscrews allowing the aircraft to be depicted airborn or on the ground.
Mi 26 - Development History
Mi 26 Walk Around
Mil's Heavylift Helicopters (Red Star)
Soviet Tactical Aviation
ORBAT - Soviet Air Assault Units Part 1, Overview and Lift
FM 100-2-3 The Soviet Army Troops, Organization and Equipment
Revell 04645 Plastic Model Kit 1:72 Mil Mi-26 Heavy Helicopter @ Amazon
ZVEZDA Mil Mi-26 Soviet Helicopter 1:72 - Model Kit Z7270 @ Amazon