February 2020

Kamov Ka-27PS Helix

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Kamov Ka-27 Helix

Russian Federation Naval Aviation, Northern Fleet, 2018.

Zvezda 1/72  with  various markings from spares box

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The Ka-27 Helix first flew in 1973.  Intended as a replacement and upgrade from the Soviet Navy’s Ka-25 Hormone, its more powerful engines drove broader chord contra-rotating blades to overcome some of the Hormone’s power limitations, whilst maintaining its compact onboard footprint and steady hovering capabilities.  

Widely deployed on Russian frigates, cruisers and carriers as well as operating from ashore in ASW and SAR roles, the Helix has seen considerable export success, in both military and civil environments.  Upgraded versions entered service with the Russian Federation Navy as recently as 2016 and a modified Ka-29 naval assault variant can carry up to 16 troops as well as rockets and guns.

Building the Zvezda Kit:

As with my previous Zvezda kit build (a Su-24) this is a nicely engineered model, albeit a little short on detail and a little bit generic in its versions and markings.

Nevertheless, it assembles easily with the sole exception of the very complex rotor head assembly (mine still turns, but not very smoothly!).  I reduced the size of the rivets on the tail assembly (my reference pictures don’t show them as particularly prominent) and added detail to the instrument panel and seats.   

When completed, the main rotor head sits very high, making storage of the kit difficult and leaving it vulnerable to damage, so I left mine removable. Unfortunately, the assembly does not sit particularly securely well in its mounting, tending to angle back at the least provocation. As a result I added a plastic card base to try and secure it more effectively.

Decals are very generic, for “yellow 22” of an undefined Russian Navy unit and with no additional information forthcoming from Zvezda. The decal paper is of the disappointing “blotting paper” variety and the decals look to be over scale and crudely printed with no stencils or other detail. Furthermore, the white naval ensign is not very white, exacerbated by its transparency.  

In the end this was the only decal I used It worked well), substituting some smaller spare numbers and some more modern Russian stars (with the blue borders).  In sum, this is a reasonable, if simplified kit, of slightly questionable accuracy, but an enjoyable build nevertheless.