The Mi-24 helicopter monograph (by Krzysztof Barcz, Dariusz Warszawski) is the third book in Kagero's new TOPSHOTS series. The book covers two variants of the Russian built helicopter gunship, know in NATO nomenclature as Hind, used by Polish Air Forces: D and W. Just as other books in the series it is printed in a convenient 16.5 cm x 23.5 cm format in full color, with English main text, bilingual (English/Polish) photo captions and includes small decal sheet with markings in three scales.
The book contains 40 pages (while text on the cover suggests that there are 44 pages in the book, four of them are actually cover pages and two of them are blank) with 145 high quality color photographs and 14 drawings (most of them from technical manuals plus excellent color cockpit instruments diagrams). Just as in other books in the series also here we find information on the cover that the book is English publication with Polish summary, but it is slightly misleading as the only Polish text included are photo captions (bilingual English/Polish). The introductory paragraph on the first page is printed in only English and includes basic information about the helicopter development and history of its service in Polish Air Force.
First few pages of the book contain overall photos of several Polish AF gunships in three different painting schemes. Remaining pages are filled with excellent quality photos all various details of Mi-24 airfcraft in many views : both cockpits, troop compartment, various avionics bays and access panels, antennas, probes, sensor stations, landing gear wheels, struts and bays, enigines, main and tail rotors, tail boom and tail planes, chaff/flare dispensers, machine gun, wings, pylons and various armament. Also shown are close-up shots of colorful emblems of several Polish AF helicopter squadrons.
On page 16 is a small table with the most basic technical data on Mi-24 helicopter, but it is not indicated if these numbers are for D or W variant, and I would expect that there are some differences at least in weight.
With the book we get a small decal sheet printed by Techmod. The quality of printing is very high with Polish national white and red checkerboard insignia in perfect register. Markings for 3 gunships are provided, with side numbers 727, 459 and 277. We only get white numbers, Polish checkerboards and "Uwaga smiglo!" (caution rotor!) stencils - all other stencils must be sourced from the kit decals. Also the yellow arrow to go underneath the "Uwaga smiglo!" stencil must be painted on as the decal contains only black text. All markings are repeated in three scales: 1/72, 1/48 and 1/35. I must admit that three helicopters chosen for decals are not the most interesting ones. All are shown on photos in the book and all are in standard Russian grey/green camouflage with blue underside. They don't have any unit emblems or additional markings on them, so are actually quite "boring" in my opinion. I would prefer to see decals for one of other helicopters shown on photos in the book, as there are some really nice and colorful additional markings visible on some of them. Camouflage patterns for featured helicopters are not given, so modelers must use photographs as references. Patterns on Mi-24 helicopters are not strictly standardized - while general layout is similar on most machines, the exact shapes of camouflage lines vary. For the "727" machine we can find several shots from all sides, so reproducing pattern of this helicopter is easy. But for other two featured aircraft we only get single photos with only one side visible. No information is given to identify the colors used on Polish AF helicopters and modelers must use photos as only reference to match the proper shades to use with provided decals.
Excellent book, with high quality reference photos is definitely a "must have" item for every modeler building Russian gunship helicopter models. Included decals are very nice addition, although selected markings are not very interesting and more information about colors and camouflage patterns could have been provided.
Many thanks to Kagero for the review sample!
Kagero books are distributed in the US by MMD-Squadron.