Amodel 1/72 Kamov Ka-60 "Kasatka" (Orca)
Kamov is a well-known Russian helicopter manufacturer, and their latest offering places is squarely in the SA-365/Bell 412/Sikorsky S-76 class. Designed to replace the aging Mi-8 helicopter, the Ka-60 "Kasatka" can accommodate up to 16 people in its spacious cabin and can transport them at a much lower cost than the older Mi-8 can. While initially designed for military usage, the clean appearance and the large carrying capacity of the Ka-60 lends itself well to the civilian market. The modular arrangement of the cabin makes it simple to be either a business executive transport, or a cargo hauler, or even a medivac helicopter.
The Ka-60 design started out in the late 1980ís, but due to lack of money in the former Soviet Union, the prototype was not completed until August 1998. The first flight took place on December 10, 1998, while the "official" first flight happened on December 24th. The Ka-60 departs from traditional Kamov design in that it is a single rotor design with a shrouded anti-torque tail rotor similar in appearance to the SA-365 Dauphin. The reason for the single rotor design was to improve high-speed performance, as the more typical coaxial rotor design produces more drag at high speeds.
With the Ka-60 costing about 40% less than the Mi-8 and being 60% more economical to operate, Kamov is well positioned to sell a great number of Ka-60s to former users of the Mi-8, as well as compete directly with Sikorsky, Bell, and Aerospatiale. With testing underway right now, the Ka-60 looks to be a very promising helicopter, both for the military and for the civilian sectors.
The Amodel kit of the Ka-60 is a surprise. The Ka-60 has barely lifted off the ground, and already we have a model of it, and a good one to boot. The kit is molded in white plastic, and has recessed panel lines and some fine detail throughout. With this being a model of a prototype, and one that has just flown, I canít comment on the accuracy of the kit, but it looks a lot like the photos Iíve seen of the real thing.
The cockpit/cabin area has a lot to it, although most of that is in the cockpit proper. There are two seats, an instrument panel, control sticks, collectives, and rudder pedals all provided, and should make the front office look quite busy. The cabin area is Spartan by comparison, with just a floor, bulkheads, and ceiling provided. Since the prototype probably doesnít have anything fitted in the cabin anyway, this should be pretty accurate. If you want to do a civilian or military bird, raiding the parts box will be in order.
The rotor hub is a very complex assembly, with 17 pieces altogether. This should be both strong and look quite good once together. The tail rotor assembly is four pieces, and fits into the fuselage. In dry fitting the fuselage halves together, there is a noticeable step between the halves in the tail rotor opening, so it might be better to leave the tail rotor out until the fuselage halves are together and that seam sanded out.
The clear parts are decent, being slightly cloudy but for the most part usable. The cockpit doors and windows are molded as one clear piece, while the cabin door windows are separate. The cockpit roof is a separate piece, effectively trapping the front windscreen in place. A nice touch to the kit is an open nose exposing the radar set. The detailing on this is basic, so thereís ample room for improvement, but the basics are provided, which is nice.
The decals provide markings for two Ka-60s: the all-black prototype and a camouflaged Russian Army version. The only pictures I have seen of the Ka-60 have been of the all-black version, but Iím sure that the Army version will soon be following. The decals look to be thin and are nicely printed with a matte finish.
Some people donít like prototype models, as the design generally changes as flight tests progress. But prototype models are nice to have, as they give a good idea as to the progression of an aircraftís design. Once the Ka-60 enters mainstream service in armies around the world, and starts flying business executives from city to city, another manufacturer will come out with an accurate production Ka-60. With the Amodel kit, you can show how the design changed or stayed the same. The quality of the kit is such that building it up, while more challenging than a mainstream kit, won't tax many modelersí skills.
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