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KIT REVIEW


Revell of Germany # 04944
MIL Mi-28N Havoc -- 1:72 Scale

 

Attack helicopters have become an integral part of the modern battlefield.  The Russian equivalent to the AH-64 Apache is the Mi-28 Havoc.  Revell of Germany first issued their 1:72 scale Havoc in 1999, and in late 2015, their Mi-28 kit resurfaced – updated with new parts and decals to depict the contemporary Mi-28N variant.  Here, we’ll take a look at the “Night Hunter” gunship.

With the goal to counter post-Vietnam US attack helicopter developments such as the AH-64, the Soviet Union began to study attack helicopter designs.  Development, however, was slow, and much of this helicopter’s history could be characterized as a near-permanent developmental quagmire.  By 1981, a basic design for the Mi-28 (NATO reporting name Havoc) was finalized, and it first flew in 1982.  By late 1984, however, the Soviet Air Force selected the Kamov Ka-50 Hokum as its mainstay anti-tank platform.  Still, development continued for the second-place Mi-28 and production began in 1987.

The year 1996 saw the first flight of an upgraded and dedicated night attack variant designated Mi-28N, named “Night Hunter” by the Russians.  This version featured heavy armor, FLIR and all-weather capability, avionics improvements including helmet mounted sights, and a target acquisition radar atop the main rotor mast mimicking the Longbow AH-64D.  Despite its obvious potential, the funding environment in mid-1990s Russia predictably slowed development even further, and it was only in 2004 did a second prototype fly.  The first Havoc of a planned production run of 67 airframes entered the Russian army inventory in 2006.  Current Russian combat doctrine has the Havoc functioning as a partner to Mi-24s and Ka-50s.  Havocs have also been exported to Kenya, Iraq, and Algeria.  Russian Mi-28Ns saw combat in Syria including in the Battle of Palmyra in 2016 while Iraqi Havocs played a role in dislodging ISIL from Ramadi in 2015-2016.


Revell of Germany’s injection molded Mi-28N kit consists of 104 tan-colored plastic parts on two sprues and a single piece closed canopy as the only clear part on its own sprue.  The parts feature recessed panel lines and a mix of a few raised and mostly recessed screw/rivet details.  Underwing munitions include rocket pods and anti-tank missiles. Decals are included for only one Mi-28N- the first prototype as it appeared in 2001.

Strengths:  In terms of size, shape, and proportion, this kit appears to be quite accurate. However, the nose radome appears to be somewhat too short.  The recessed panel lines and other external airframe details are nicely executed.  Test fitting of the fuselage halves revealed no obvious problems.  The instruction booklet is in color and generally well rendered.  Also, the gun and main rotor assembly are designed to rotate once they are fitted to their main assemblies, and it looks like Revell of Germany has some of the younger modelers in mind with this functionality.

Weaknesses:  The agreeable level of detail on the exterior of the Havoc does not extend to its interior.  The pilot and gunner’s cockpits are virtually devoid of all detail.  Decals are provided for the instrument panels.  The crew seats are idealized representations of the real thing and they also lack shoulder and lap belt detail.  Also, the single piece canopy prevents building the kit out-of-the-box with an open cockpit, though that could be a blessing in disguise.  Various ejection pin marks are present on the cockpit sidewalls and inboard missile tube launchers and will necessitate expending some time to clean them up. Also, while the recessed rivet detail is nicely executed in its own terms, the skin of the 1:1 scale Mi-28N is covered in a lot of prominent raised rivets, and clearly, Revell of Germany made some choices to simplify the level of external surface detail.  Also, the lack of alternative markings is a disappointing, considering that the Mi-28N has been in service for more than a decade, but the only decals in this new issue kit are that of the prototype some 15 years ago.  At least for me, the current overall gray scheme worn by Russian Havocs is far more serious looking than the earlier three-tone camouflage scheme that comes in the box.  

The Revell of Germany’s Mi-28N gets a passing grade of “fair” as it will build into a decent replica of the Havoc, but its level of detail is inconsistent, especially with the forsaken cockpit interior.  Some aftermarket parts are out there and can certainly increase the accuracy and detail of this kit.  NorthStar Models produces some resin wheels, an old Eduard photoetch detail set is out there if you can find one, and Begemot does a decal sheet for the Mi-28A/N.  All of these can open up further possibilities for your 1:72 scale Havoc.
           
Sincere thanks to Revell of Germany for the review sample. You can find them on the web at http://www.revell.com/germany.

Haagen Klaus
Scale Modeling News & Reviews Editor
Detail & Scale

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