Smer's 1/72 Mil Mi-2 "Hoplite"

By Chris Banyai-Riepl


In the early 1960s, the Soviet Union started to modernize its light and medium helicopters. This was facilitated by the design of turboshaft engines, whose design resulted in similar performance to existing reciprocating engines, but were much lighter. The Mil design bureau decided to upgrade their existing Mi-1 and Mi-4 helicopters to use these new engines, resulting in the Mi-2 and Mi-8, respectively. As more work was done with the engines, the Mi-2 ended up becoming a completely new design, with only the basic dimensions being shared with the Mi-1.

The Mi-2 first took to the air in September of 1961 and quickly found its way into Soviet service. Early on in the Mi-2 life a license agreement was reached with Poland for building the Mi-2, resulting in over 5200 Mi-2s being built by WSK-Swidnik. The Mi-2 became a very successful helicopter in the Eastern Bloc countries, serving in over 10 countries worldwide. Many can still be found flying today.

The Kit

Helicopters seem to be getting a nice covering in the model world these days, and this kit of the Mi-2 is most welcome. Molded in light gray plastic, with one tree of clear, the parts are crisply molded and feature recessed panel lines, although the panel lines are a bit deep. The surface of the parts has a slight texture to them, but that should disappear under a coat of paint.

The construction is pretty straightforward, with a simple interior being made up of a cockpit floor, rear bench seats, two front seats, a decal instrument panel, and two control sticks. With the large windows on this model the interior could use some extra detailing, and to help in this area I recommend tracking down the Zlinek issue that covers the Mi-2.

Interestingly the fuselage is separate from the tail boom. An initial test fit shows that while some cleanup will be needed on this joint, it should pose no problems. Alignment will be by eyesight, though, so make sure you use a slow-setting glue to give you time to get everything lined up right. There's a lot of extra bits and pieces to be fitted to the main fuselage, including the somewhat frail landing gear. Once together, though, it should prove sturdy enough for this model. No mention is made in the instructions, but in looking at this chopper from the side, I'm guessing that you'll want to try and fit some extra weight in the nose to keep it on all three gear.

The rotor is nicely done, with separate blades and a somewhat decently detailed hub. There is no droop molded into the rotor blades, so you'll want to use your favorite method to bend those down and get that characteristic droopy look.

The decal sheet offers some interesting examples of the Mi-2. The first one, of course, is a Czech example finished as shown on the boxtop. The second example is a Hoplite from the Slovakian Air Force, finished in a three-color camouflage of two greens and a brown. The third example is a bit more colorful than the other two. Finished in Luftwaffe markings, this Mi-2 has a gray engine section, a white bottom, and the rest painted in dayglo orange. Definitely an attention getter!


If you're into building helicopters you'll definitely want to pick this kit up. Out of the box it will build up nicely, while with a little attention to the interior and possibly opening up of some of the doors will quickly turn this kit into a show stopper.

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