by: Darren Baker [ ]
From the start I need to state this will be an impartial review, because I have a real soft spot for Kamov's ASW Helicopters and upon seeing a kit had been released in 1/48 of the Ka-27 Helix was already pleased. Personal reflections will be left to the last paragraph however and the focus is on what you get for your hard earned money.
Kit Number 81739 Arrives in Hobby Bossís usual strong, stout box, the art work is decent though not exciting, showing the Helix in the hover mode with its sonar buoy partially deployed. The box gives dimensions as 280mm long with a rotor diameter of 331.5mm.
Inside the box is divided into two, the bulk of the larger sprues in one side. The clear sprues are wrapped in foam, the decals, smaller sprues and a small sheet of photo etch are held in the smaller tray. Also in the tray is a 40mm long length of metal rod. This is topped off with Hobby Bossís usual clearly presented instructions and a double sided colour sheet showing markings and colours for either a Ukraine or Russian machine. All items except the instructions are bagged.
Sprue A, the largest contains the parts for the fuselage sides amongst other parts and these exhibit fine engraved lines as well as raised hinges and rivets where appropriate.
Sprue B, floor and roof parts as well as nicely moulded consoles for the cockpit and sonar operator. The kit has decals for the cockpit instruments and roof mounted cockpit panel, but none for the rear cabin equipment. You will need to sand off the raised detail on the cockpit console to use the decals.
Sprue C, internal racking and rear cabin parts. The cabin area is well appointed with details. There appears scope to add extra details to both the cockpit and rear cabin. The cockpit entrance into the rear cabin is slightly simplified and pictures of this area are easy to find on the net. The rear crew area is more of a problem to get information on as most pictures are of civil/emergency versions rather than the ASW version. As provided by Hobby Boss the area is still pretty busy and more than acceptable.
Sprue D, tail parts and external under belly parts, once again showing well defined but in scale details both raised and engraved.
Sprue E, rotor head parts. On this sprue part E54 needs mentioning as it has gear like teeth on the inside of the cylinder. These mesh with part E12, E13 and the metal shaft separately bagged, to ensure (if correctly assembled) the twin rotors contra rotate.
Sprue F contains 6 clear parts. The use of these will necessitate masking as the doors are moulded completely including the windows rather than being inserted into a separate plastic part. The bulged cabin windows are faithfully replicated and the whole sprue is crystal clear.
Sprue G is repeated 3 times, concentrating on the rotor blades. These have the correct profile for rotors at rest showing a small amount of droop.
Sprue H is duplicated twice with seats and landing gear parts. Once again there is potential to add details such as seat belts and brake line, sadly no crew figures are included, which is pretty much the norm these days.
The brass sheet of photo etch has 4 small grills.
I always find the Hobby Boss instructions clear and these look to be no different. I'm looking forward to assembling this model and hope it will be a simple OOB build. Although the fact that a simple gearing system has been included to allow the co-axial rotors to work correctly does make me want to investigate adding a suitable small motor to the kit. This would have to be incredibly low powered, low geared as the gears included in the rotorhead will soon wear or more likely strip off their teeth but it might be a bit of extra fun to do, we shall see. Already alternate after market decal sheets are available if you fancy something different.
Over all a well presented compact kit, but at £49.99 RRP some might feel it is slightly expensive for what appears a small helicopter. However the Ka-27 Helix is a stocky beast, larger in reality than its shape would suggest and the level of detail included makes me look forward to getting to grips with it.