Since 1995, the Mexican Navy broke
with the traditional dependency on French or American supplied equipment with
the acquisition of the first batch Mil Mi-8 helicopters, the battle horse of the
Eastern Block. They proved to be a good investment, having 4 machines for the
same price of a Blackhawk. In 1998 the Navy also received some few Mi-2 for SAR
missions. They had been painted in both Yellow+Blue and Gray low-vis camouflage
for Special Operations. I went for the SAR option, having nothing like this in
images below to see larger images
I received this kit as a birthday gift. It is from the Czech brand OKit, which reboxed the Intech kits from Poland. Inside the box I found the plastic sprues, PE and resin pieces plus an interesting decal sheet for many exotic versions as mentioned in the box. Panel lines are engraved, but like those in the old Matchbox kits, some are so deep that must be filled…
The first step was to complete the interiors. The resin seats and PE details are very good, but unfortunately they are hardly seen through the thick clear windows. There is some difficulty to find the right place for the seats, because the molded guides and instructions diagram don't show them clearly, so it is a matter of trial-error. The kit has some fitting issues in fuselage halves, windshield, floor plate and landing gear alignment. You would need to add as much weight as possible to prevent tail sitting. My recommendation is to use small flat metal stripes super-glued below the cabin floor plate to keep them invisible. Those stripes could be obtained from blown home fuses: They are small and heavy enough to do the job.
It was airbrushed with enamel Testors Gloss Yellow overall. Interiors were painted in Medium Gray and Russian Blue/Green for the control panel. The Dark Blue color for the motor top cover and the vertical stripe in the tail was a mix of MM Dark Blue and Bright Blue enamels. Rotor blades were painted in Dark Gray with Yellow tips. Then, Steel Metalizer for rotor mechanism and Flat Black for the exhausts.
Unfortunately, the roundels of the Mexican Navy in the decal sheet from OKit are incorrect in shape and size. Also, any of the Mexican Navy roundels from other generic sets had the right roundel size for these machines. So I had to find replacements from a short-run decal set produced long time ago in Mexico, originally designed for the MD-500/530 helicopter. These roundels worked perfectly, but I still had to print the black identification codes and stencils myself. The entire job was sealed by applying a coat of Future with a wide brush and airbrushing semi-gloss clear coat at the end.
This was a nice gift from a good modeler friend and I didn't want to disappoint him. It wasn't planned but I included this project in my "to-build" list for 2009 and it was completed just in time to take part in the regional contest in November, achieving a 2nd place in the helicopter's category.
Thank you all and regards from Monterrey, México.
Fernando I. Moreno Villa