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On 6/8/2019 at 9:24 PM, MigMan said:

Incredible work Sean.....1985 was a tough year to be an Angolan chopper pilot.

 

Hi MigMan, and welcome to the forum! :hi:

 

By way of an introduction (of sorts), this is the man who whose incredible library I am forever borrowing books from. He is busy with a wonderful collaborative book about a Cuban MiG pilot who flew three tours in Angola, and as a result is rapidly becoming an expert on many aspects of the Angolan "Bush War". The helicopter losses the Angolans suffered at the end of September 1985 is one of his major fields of research, and the abbreviated story I will share with you is only possible because of this effort. Thanks Lionel.

 

To set the stage, here is a map showing the conflict area. Mavinga (bottom right) was the FAPLA/Cuban/Soviet objective at this stage. They were flying Mi-8/17's with supplies and Mi-24's as escorts from Cuito Cuanavale (just off the map, top left). Navigation in this flat region is challenging, so the choppers followed the rivers to get to the infantry brigades. A team of South African reconnaissance soldiers from 32 Battalion were monitoring the airbase at Cuito, and they were able to notify the South African Air Force when the choppers took off. The SAAF had Impala's stationed at Rundu in Northern Namibia, ready to scramble once the Hips and Hinds were on the way. It was going to be tough for the chopper pilots...

 

sd-34-14-mavinga-angola-XL.jpg

 

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In the meantime, some more of the model :whistle:

 

I have basically completed painting the inside of the machine. Here are a couple of photo's before I close it up, and one can probably no longer see much of the interior! 

 

IMG_8573-XL.jpg

 

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The decals in the cabin are from the Linden Hill airframe stencil data set.

 

 IMG_8579-XL.jpg

 

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I think the extra depth to these cabin walls was worth the effort.

 

IMG_8582-XL.jpg

 

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And here the more fiddly bits. 1:35 seems a little delicate in comparison to 1:32...:rolleyes: 

 

IMG_8593-XL.jpg

 

IMG_8595-XL.jpg

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

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Thanks for the welcome Sean, great to be here to see your work. Really looking forward to see how the Hind comes together.

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Thanks Kev, really enjoying your Buchon progress by the way!

 

Craig, I see you are also keen to get the shape of your models correct. Thanks for looking in.

 

As the FAPLA forces got bogged down on the approach to Mavinga, their casualties mounted and supplies ran out. With the lines of communication stretched to the limit, the helicopter flights became critical, more regular and predictable. In the meantime the Impala crews had been training to do their deadly work on Puma helicopters, and they were ready to go.

 

IMG_8597-X2.jpg

 

On the 27th of September, two Impalas took off from Rundu armed only with their 30mm cannons and carrying drop tanks. They flew at extremely low level all the way to the Lomba river in order to avoid radar detection, visually located and shot down a Mi-24 each. The Angolans had no idea why the helicopters failed to return to Cuito Cuanavale.

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Posted (edited)

I have assembled all the bits for the cockpit and cabin in the meanwhile. The Trumpeter design for these modules is very clever, and they attach to the fuselage sides on strong tabs that make the alignment simple. The Eduard IP is super neat and a worthwhile addition to the kit. Matching the colour with Tamiya acrylic was relatively simple - XF-2, X-14 and X-15 mixed in proportion till it looked right.

 

IMG_0082-X2.jpg

 

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The cabin blue/grey is done with straight XF-23. The added detail is hardly visible even without the fuselage in place, but wouldn't stop me from adding it just for the sake of knowing it is there. :ph34r:

 

IMG_0110-X2.jpg

 

IMG_0112-X2.jpg

 

IMG_0119-X2.jpg

 

Time to glue some more stuff together...

 

Sean

Edited by Madmax
Too many very's

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Excellent work and I love the background story. I built this kit as a Mi-24P (using upor conversion) and I agree with you that it is a very well engineered kit and a pleasure to build (just like the Hip). I wish the same Trumpeter team would tackle the Mi-28 or the Ka-50/52.

 

Quite a feat of navigation for the Impalas to fly at low level to intercept moving targets which were probably also flying quite low.

 

Looking forward to the next update.

 

Cheers,

 

David

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Thank you gentlemen!

 

I am glad to hear that the story has some appeal. You are quite right about the low level navigation David - it literally took years of training in what we knew as "tactical navigation" to get it right. GPS wasn't available to the SAAF, so the whole discipline was based on heading and time.

 

1985 was a turning point in the Angolan conflict. The campaign was known to the Angolan forces as "Operation Second Congress", and saw a massive increase in Soviet and Cuban involvement. They intended to take UNITA off the map. Unfortunately however they were now trapped near the Lomba bridge and casualties were on the increase. Soviet advisors at the front were no longer spectators, and they wanted to get out. The South African communications intelligence teams intercepted radio conversations arranging for the choppers to airlift the Soviets to safety. The helicopters had just become first prize! 

 

advisor-L.jpg

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The main undercarriage is a complicated multi-triangular structure, and is well represented in the kit. All I felt needed adding was the hydraulic piping.

 

IMG_0130-XL.jpg

 

The nose gear is equally well done, but the wheel-well is a little sparse as it is quite visible. Some structure was added as well as an uplock and its plumbing.

 

IMG_0146-XL.jpg

 

The engines are really nice, and I have seen a couple of beautifully detailed builds with them exposed. This will not be one of those however and it is really just the exhausts that will be visible. On that note, it took some effort to carve away the locator pins so that the exhaust looks smooth on the inside. If that seems like too much effort, covers for the exhaust are a good idea.

 

IMG_0151-XL.jpg

 

The USPU-24 gun mount got some re-shaping and an ejector chute. The gun itself is from the Master Mi-24 set and is a huge improvement to the kit. The pitot assembly is equally impressive as you will see later in the build.

 

IMG_0159-XL.jpg

 

Before joining the fuselage halves, I attended to creating the illusion of the fuselage offset angle. I simply want the apex of the canopies offset to port, so I sanded this lip as thin as I dared, and built up the canopy frame with styrene on the starboard underside. As far as the stance of the chopper on the ground, I made the starboard gear leg a little shorter than the port one by cutting back the oleo. It is probably just going to look a bit cockeyed now, but I know what I wanted to achieve. OCD you know :blink:!

 

IMG_0138-XL.jpg

 

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I noticed that some of the detail around the exhausts don't quite represent the real thing, and I am toying with improving the panels as marked with pencil. Had I been smart, I would have bought the full Eduard Mi-24 set which includes exterior details like these panels to correct proportions! The exhaust shroud is accurate for some versions, but cut back from what I can see on the Angolan ones - easily achieved.

 

IMG_0162-XL.jpg

 

Just before I break out the glue, here is a glimpse of the exhausts painted up and dusted with pigment.

 

IMG_0168-XL.jpg

 

Cheers,

 

Sean

 

 

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