by: Andy Brazier [ ]
The Kamov Ka-50 Black Shark (NATO reporting name: "Hokum A") is a single-seat Russian attack helicopter with the distinctive coaxial rotor system of the Kamov design bureau. It was designed in the 1980s and adopted for service in the Russian army in 1995. It is currently manufactured by the Progress company of Arseniev. The Ka-50 is unique as an attack helicopter in that it is the world's first and only single seat attack helicopter, the first coaxial attack helicopter, and the first attack helicopter with zero-zero ejection seat.
Two sprues moulded in grey plastic, one clear sprue holding a total of 93 parts, a A4 folded sheet for the instructions, A4 sheet for the paint and decal guide and finally the smallish decal sheet all contained in a lidded box.
External detail looks to pretty standard fair for Hobby Boss nowadays with some nice recessed panel lines and the obligotary recessed rivets adorning panels and hatches. The plastic on this kit is rather thickly moulded, something which I didn't notice on their AH-64 Apache kit.
There is no flash present but unusually for Hobby Boss there are plenty of sink marks in places that will be seen. There are four in the cockpit area, one in the nose wheel well bay, one in each of the exhaust tubes and three on two of the four rotor gear hubs. Most will be pretty easy to clean up but some such as the rotor hubs and exhausts might be a little tricky considering the size and positioning.
The cockpit has some raised detail for the instrument panels and surprise surprise for Hobby Boss the seat has moulded on harness's. A small control stick finishes the cockpit detail off.
The rotor system is made up of 20 parts and is fairly well detailed, but could be a little troublesome to assemble considering the small size and complexity. The rotor system should be movable once complete as the main shaft has a poly-cap to fit onto it.
The undercarriage looks to be a fragile affair, especially the main gear as the glue point is very small, and is debatable if it will hold the weight of the finished helo. The nose gear should hold alright as it has two glue points underneath the cockpit tub assembly.
Weapons provided for the kit are twelve laser-guided Vikhr anti-tank missiles, which are in their launch tubes, two rocket pods and the side mounted 30 mm Shipunov 2A42 cannon . The missile tubes and rocket pods fit on two weapons pylons on the stub wings on each side.
The clear canopy is rather thickly moulded for the frames but the actual glazed parts are nice, thin and quite transparent with little distortion present. Unlike the Apache kit the frames don't have a frosted look to them to ease painting.
As stated the instructions are printed on an A4 size sheet which has been folded in half. Their is no build step guide but a series of black and white line drawings. The build sequence is pretty straight forward with interior and some exterior colours given along the way.
Painting and Decaling
Two schemes are given, one a Russian Air Force Ka-50 No 22, Black Shark, which has a White underside a Black uppers. This version has the shark-mouth nose art. The second machine is also for the Russian Air Force, and is No 21 and features a camouflage scheme of light Blue lowers with a Sandy Brown and Red Brown uppers. Ob both schemes the rotor blades are Black with Silver leading edges. All the colours given are for the Gunze Sangyo Aqueous Hobby colour and MR Color range of paints.
The decals are in register, thin and crisply printed. The one worrying thing about them is the size, some are only a little bigger then a full stop, so could be quite difficult to apply.