Mi-24 in quarter scale was long due. In the most popular scale and being the most popular attack helicopter in the World, it was a blasphemy to not have a decent kit in 48th so far. And if you are thinking: "Revell/Monogram was there!" the answer is "No". That was not contemporary kit and with the fact that we have relatively recent toolings of Mi-24 in 72nd and in 35th scale makes it even more irrelevant than it already is.
Zvezda, after an year or so of hints and promises finally got us the treat we've all been waiting for. With the fact that they have the award winning 72nd scale Hind that is constantly being re-packed and re-released and the other fact that they probably have the best source of accurate info about the Hind, hopes are very high for this release. So let's dig into the box of this new Mi-24 Zvezda in 48th and see how the Russians did their homework.
Boxart of the Zvezda Mi-24 in 48th scale is very good. As with all their recent releases, Zvezda managed to make a first good impression with their bright yellow-sided box and the Hind in flight depicted on it. The box itself is rather large and the sprues are loose inside, which was kind of a surprise. The room inside is the exact opposite of what we are getting with some other companies that over-flow their boxes with sprues and plastic bags. And it is not any better either. On both sides of this spectrum the lack of decent boxing ideas is showing vividly.
Inside sprues are packed by more than one in an envelope, with couple of other plastic zip-locks holding the decals, the clear parts and at the bottom - instructions and color profiles. All of this, at first sight not very intriguing nor overly aesthetic, especially considering a box that is at least 30% larger than needed to hold all this. But let's not make any snap judgements.
The instruction sheet that comes with this Mi-24 Zvezda in 48th is not far from what we've seen from the Russian model maker. It is black and white, printed on not very sophisticated paper, looking more rugged and straight forward compared to the modern scale model kits. Of course, that is not necessarily a bad thing, just something that shows a lack of finesse when put side by side with the competition.
The steps aren't many and does not feature much, which shows that the kit is not a giant leap over 72nd scale engineering-wise. On top of that specific description of some of the details is not present, but again - that simplifies the whole building process. Now think of the other perspective - if you are a novice or a kid just stepping into the hobby: the less is more. Which in this case can be considered the up-side.
This Mi-24 from Zvezda in 48th scale is very impressive plastic-wise. Somehow it looks refined and the material - improved. Now this might be the initial excitement talking, but the surface seems crisp, there is no flash and the detail looks very good. This is Zvezda after all and let's not fool ourselves - they are not A-lister when it comes down to scale model production. But for a company that delivers decent kits at very affordable prices - this is a good looking helo. Another point here is that they are delivering Mi-24 in 48th scale which is a beast of its own class and that adds to the statement above.
The lack of rivets in 2020 is somewhat disappointing, but again - this is Zvezda. Finesse is not their middle name and probably never will be. However, this - for every relatively experienced builder - is not a problem. There are plenty of riveting tools and plenty of information on Mi-24 Hind subject that might help solve this minor issue. Besides, even if that wasn't the case and we had plenty of rivets here, experienced modelers would've added something here and there. It is simply inevitable. And if that might be some sort of consolation - there are couple of pilots on the sprues. A nice add-on for those who would present this Mi-24 Hind in-flight.
All jokes aside - plastic is good and the detail is decent too.
Unfortunately same thing cannot be said about the clear parts. Even in 2020, Zvezda clear parts are not good enough. They are neither transparent enough, nor are crisp and impressive. True - this is a helicopter AKA flying tank and clear parts can be easily considered a secondary detail, however there is a trick here. With age, real Hinds show yellow-ish appearance, similar but slightly milder compared to the Soviet airplanes. For example MiG-31. That, with this material would be a challenge to reproduce and unfortunately there is no aftermarket that will help with this Zvezda here. At least not yet. But don't get your hopes up, since for their 72nd scale kit there is still no help on that end.
At first they look cool. Maybe only the sprue frame being bendy hints about the real quality here. But when you look closely - there is huge image bendings, scratches on the surface and in general - soft-ish material with lack of crisp details. Not overly awful, but not very good either. So so.
Here we have some improvement finally. While before with Zvezda one of the biggest let downs were color profiles lacking any color what so ever, here we have something different. It might be only one sheet with depictions on both of its sides, but we have color. And that probably adds to the total cost of the production and might be a tough decision for Zvezda, but this is something that you cannot avoid improving. So Zvezda did it.
Zvezda kits are famous mostly with their price tags. Nobody can beat them on that arena. But that comes with some sacrifices, plenty of which are mentioned above. And a question arises from that - why invest in significantly larger-than-needed box with plenty of colors and not add color profiles? Well, they did it the other way this time. It is not like Eduard Limited Edition Mi-24 re-pack but it is definitely acceptable here. Besides Eduard re-packing this quarter scale beast is probably a matter of time. So we can only hope.
Two sheets of decals are present, packed in zip-lock envelope for extra protection. They seems to be printed by "Zvezda" if we consider the logo on them to be the proof of that. Blue-ish appearance and very thin surface, nothing different from the regular Zvezda that you know and have built. Plenty of aftermarket options are available to substitute that, because let's face it - with this platform, modelers sticking to the OOTB paint options won't be the case. Mi-24 Zvezda in 48th is gem in the scale and its overall existence, so you can count on that plenty of aftermarket decals will show up.
Mi-24 Zvezda in 48th is a precious add on to the quarter scale line. Despite all of the minor let-downs mentioned above, this kit is very good investment. The price beats all that is mentioned above and counter-balance all missed from the Russian model maker. A long road is ahead of Zvezda if they want to became an A-list model maker, but they are definitely going that way. Slowly, but in the right direction. This kit is the living proof of that fact.
Now aftermarket companies have the word next. With photo-etch, resin add-ons, decals and more. We at DN Models will try to dig into this subject with some camouflage masks and canopy sets that will eventually ease up the building process. But there will be plenty of others too, especially improving the kit's minor weaknesses. Overall, this is highly recommended kit that will quickly become a best-seller and hopefully will set the beginning of a new long line of Hind variants in 48th scale. So don't wait too long, because probably plenty are on order already and you might miss to get yours in time!www.dnmodels.com