Friday, July 28

Read n' Reviewed: AK Interactive & Aces High Magazine's new Hind Special - Walkaround & Modelling Guide

AK Interactive's aircraft modelling magazine "Aces High"  has launched a new book focused on showcasing the Mi-24 Hind in model form and in real life. Editor Daniel Zamarbide has been really busy, and it shows - from the work he and his team have turned in. See a little more of what to expect in today's review...
Read n' Reviewed: Aces High Magazine - Hind Special
140 pages.
Price: 14.95€
The Mil Mi-24 (Russian: Миль Ми-24; NATO reporting name: Hind) helicopter gunship has long been a favourite of this modeller, and I suspect that I am not alone, with its large size, menacing "double bubble" (pinched from the words in this very book) canopy, large wings packed with rockets and missiles and that triple barreled rotary cannon on the nose (also the eight man assault team in the rear cabin)  - so what's not to like?

A favourite then, with modellers, this aircraft has been very well documented formerly in a groundbreaking series called "Lock On" from Francois Verlinden. This book gives the reader a lot of great quality pictures of walk-arounds of all of the areas of the Mi-24 hind "E" version of the helicopter. When this new book from the Aces high Branch of AK Interactive came out, we were naturally curious as to whether this book could offer anything new, and whether it could top this Verlinden book we all held so dear.
The driving force behind the book is no doubt Maciej Goralczyk & Kristof Pulinckx with the "Aces High" Editor Daniel Zamarbide in charge of the model making and a cast of other collaborators this book has had more than a few people involved in its inception. It promises on the cover "Walkaround, Step by Step guide on construction, painting and weathering" Shall we see what's inside? We have read it - so to show you properly first let's look at this new title in physical form before we walk thru the book.

The book weighs in at a considerable one hundred and forty pages. The glossy softcover thick card features some great rendered artwork of what would be a great artwork for any Hind model, while the insides open up to pages of a decent quality thickness and feel. This book is broken up into two main sections. Like it says on the cover, this book is mainly filled by both a walk around section, and then a modelling section of the book. Of note to you, this book is more about the images and step by step builds inside, it is best to now go through what is in the book as its pages unfold.

The first introductory pages set the scene for this book and details not only the history, development and variants of the Hind but also where this aircraft fought in the past and where it is currently at war and in service. About the only thing, I would add here is a picture of these variants, especially the "glass bottle" Hind "A", as it is not shown anywhere else in the book.
There are two pages next, with each of them filled wth two coloured profiles each on them of interesting and colourful Hinds, Armenian and Cuban Hinds, as well as two striking "Tiger Meet" aircraft of the Czech Air Force, make for some thought provoking schemes for modellers.

We then go straight into the walkarounds of the Hind. Now there are no guides in text form, but the pictures provided are in startlingly very good quality and size - they are large and detailed, well lit and taken by people with some great access to these helicopters as we will see. We start off by looking at a Mi-24 Hind "D".

These pictures take up just over seventy pages of the book and that is a large whack of real estate in this publication. Lucky for us, this interesting intereting and a valuable asset to model makers and aircraft enthusiasts and it is on top quality when you compare it with other vehicle walkarounds, the pictures are taken by someone with access to not only the outside, but the cockpit(s) the interior cabin, wheel wells, and the immense engines which are displayed closed and opened up for inspection just like you could display them on your model.

Not only a walk around of one single aircraft, we see a Mil 24V  and a Mil 24P variants. The differing physical conditions of repair in each of these aircraft are interesting as we cover all corenrs, nooks and crannnies of the helicopter. You get to see the details of each of these several times in new in the Mi 24P's case and rather distressed in the older two Hinds. great for those who want differing points of reference.
Reference of the cockpits, interior cabin for crew and both types of machine gun and twinc cannon are gold for enthusiasts and model makers.The Mi 24P's newer features like the twin, static cannons and variousos interior and exterior changes are a very handy reference.
 Something aimed specifically at the modellers is next.  Aces High's Editor Daniel Zamarbide shows us his take on the Trumpeter kit of the Hind in 35th scale. This man is a tremendous and generous modeller, who does some very nice step by step model expose's so we were eager to see what his part in the book came up looking like.
We see the kit, from concept and planning, with the added ground work and Russian jeep to be added, with the construction of the models not skimped upon in the coverage of many pictures. There is a little more room for supporting text I felt, and Daniel could have added a bit more here, but his photos and model tell the story here in this part.
 I love it that a book from AK Interactive, a company that sells paint for the main part, is not at all focusing on selling paint or products in this book, and it never feels like that. The whole construction process is shown here in a lot of details, along with the additions that Daniel has made to upgrade and to update the kit. From the seats and interior cockpit to the cabin/ crew compartment to the overall major construction and adding of minor exterior detail is shown before Danny gets the outside layer of paint down. It's great to see the actual plastic construction of the kit being treated seriously.
The painting of this kit's exterior is deceptively simple it seems, but quite effective. It's a nice guide to what you could tackle with your own kit. with a typical Soviet scheme wich will be popular with a majority of modellers. We see a detailed rotor assembly and weathering of the mechanical, wheel bays and weapons load out of the helicopter. While there is not a lot of text, there are heaps of step by step pictures to illustrate how to make your own just like it.
The elements of humanity to bring something more to this story is also shown, with the Hind Pilots and the Jeep that they probably used to get them tot he aircraft are added. Daniel super details these as well
The groundwork is seen in a step by step guide, with the form work to make the levels of the diorama, the soil and earth, grass and flock for the scarce vegetation, the asphalt and signage to further set the scene. This layering of elements are part of what makes a good modeller elevate in status to the next level in the believability of the scene and subjects. 
 ...And at the end of all of the adding of these elements what a wonderful and original scene focussing on a beautifully built hind is the result.
 As an additional section to Daniel's model, we see a Hind in quite an unusual scheme of the Hungarian Air force's spectacular Mi-24D "Csőrike" Hind. Coloured like a bird, this aircraft is real, and in this amazing redition of the scheme over seven pages is truly worth adding in here.
 The pencil sketch to act as a guide to the painting and whole shading and weathering process are here, in a smaller section than the other build, but a very informative SBS article that is great to see, but I would have the balls to take on. However, your "kahoonies" may be bigger or fuller than mine, so this is a great way to take your own version on.
...And that about rounds out this book. Not a lot of reading at all, but a LOT of visual stimulation, pictorial reference and modelling inspiration are to be had here. Although it would be more than helpful to have some text to support the walkaround gallery, would that then affect the size of the large format pictures? Probably yes, and these large format pictures are some of the outstanding features of this book.

Would more text int he build help? Again maybe yes, but what we have here is already extensive, and more than inspiring enough to satisfy this aspiring Hind builder.

Our third thought on this book - on seeing this book's contents we did think "will it be as good as Verlinden's "Lock On" book? on the Hind" Well that answer is yes it is, and in the way modelling always seems to move on and improve, this book could be seen as an upgrade and update on what was already a great and valuable asset to my modelling bookshelf.

Can we see more books like this please AK? Let's hope so...

Adam Norenberg

Thanks to AK Interactive for sending this book out to us to read and now review. This book is available so don't hover about - get yours from AK Interactive's distributors worldwide or directly from their website if they have sold out.