Falanga 9M17P missiles
The Falanga 9M17P Flite (NATO reporting name of AT-2 Swatter) is a radio controlled anti-tank missile developed by the Soviet Union. It was one of the standard weapons fit of the Hind A and Hind D helicopter gunships used in the Soviet Union, many Eastern Europe countries and others that operated the Hind A and Hind D helicopters. The missiles were normally mounted in pairs on each side of the helicopter. The launch rails usually mounted at bottom of the end plates on the Hind’s stub wings. The missiles were also mounted on several types of armored personnel carrier of the BRDM series.
Eduard’s set provides a full set of four missiles and four launch rails. The missiles are single pieces of resin, while each launch rail is made up of five photo-etch parts. I started with the missiles as they looked fairly straight forward. Be careful removing the missiles from the casting blocks as while there are multiple thin strands running from the rear of the missile wings to the casting block, the thickest two are actually part of the missile and should not be removed. I believe these items are part of the guidance system, either as receivers or to provide a method of tracking the missile. I did have to do a little flash clean-up between these parts and the main missile body on a couple of the missiles, but this was easy to do with a sharp Xacto blade. Once the missiles were cleaned up, I washed them to remove and molding residue and to prepare them for painting. Strangely, the instructions list two different colors for the missiles. On the inside of the instructions in the assembly diagram, the paint call0out is for Mr. Color H302/C302 which is FS 34092. However on the decaling diagram on the front of the instructions, the color is listed a C136 Russian Green. As I did not have any Russian Green, I went with the FS34092 color and in retrospect, I think it is bit too dark and I would recommend using Russian Green.
Once the missile body was painted, I hand painted the engine exhaust section NATO Black and the tips of the extra cylinders were painted Chrome Silver with Clear Red end caps. The paint was sealed with Future and then the four missiles were decaled. As there are only 4 decals per missile, this step went quickly, but be sure to put the decals on the proper side of the missile as other than the band right in front of the exhaust section, the decals are only on one side of the missile. While the carrier film around the three smaller decals seems more than necessary, the decals reacted perfectly to Microsol and Microset, snuggling right down and disappearing. I finished the missiles off with a coat of clear flat.
The next step is construction of the missile launchers themselves. The main part of the launcher consists of a single photo-etch launch rail that has to be folded to shape. I strongly recommend using a bending tool to do this. I used a set of flat nose pliers to bend the first rail, only to discover the rail did not fold evenly and the top rail ended up with a slight curve that I was not able to completely remove. I used a bending tool for the other rails and this was not an issue on any of those.
Once the main launch rail has been folded, the next step was to fold and attach the small box on the right side of the launcher and the rear ignition plate to the top of the rail. These were both easily bent to shape and attached. According to the instructions and the photographs I found on line of the launchers, this stage of the assembly is painted flat black, so I painted the launchers and set them aside. The remaining parts are the ignition wires to the back of the missiles and the wires from the control boxes to the missile mount on the helicopter. These were painted Testors steel and give a nice contract to the black rails.
As this set is designed for the Eduard/Zvezda Hind kit, the instructions tell you to mount two rails on each of parts C3 and C4 from these kits. As I do not yet have either kit, but have several Hasegawa Hind D kits, I decided to see if I could modify the Hasegawa launchers, which is molded as one part for both the launch rails and the mounting piece, to work. Using a fine razor saw and working carefully, I was able to remove the launch rack/brace from under the rails fairly cleanly. I then mounted two rails on each rack/brace using superglue and taking care to ensure the rails are parallel to each other and vertical to the rack/brace. I painted the brace NATO Black as well. Once this assembly had set, I used superglue to attach the ignition wires and the power wires. The whole assembly was then sealed with clear flat.
I then test fit the missiles and as shown in the photographs, the missiles fit very well. As the space between the missiles is pretty tight, I have elected not to glue the missiles on to the launchers until after the launchers have been mounted on the kit.
This is an outstanding set and, with a bit of careful folding, will make an impressive addition to your Mi-24/35 Hind kit. Highly recommended!
Thank you to Eduard and IPMS-USA for the review sample.