Kit No. 7206
Decals: Four versions
Comments: Early Cold War Soviet helicopter
The design bureau of M.L. Mil was established on December 12, 1947. The Mil Bureau’s first craft was the GM-1, completed and test flown in September 1948. It had a steel tube-type fuselage and a boom of light stressed skin alloy. Its rotor blades were metal, but early versions were reportedly metal “skeletons” covered with plywood and fabric. It was the first Soviet single-rotor production helicopter, and was selected for production over two competitors, the single-rotor Yakovlev Yak-100, and the twin-rotor Bratukhin B-11. The first two prototypes of the Mi-1 were destroyed during flight tests, but the third successfully completed the test program in September 1949.
The Soviet Air Force first demonstrated the type in 1951 as the Mi-1 “Hare” at the Tushino Air Show. The Mi-1 and Mi-1 T helicopters were established as reliable craft, and began service with the Soviet Air Force. During production, float equipped and trainer versions (Mi-1 U) were built in quantity, in addition to the standard Russian Air Force and Navy cooperation and liaison craft. They also served civilian and paramilitary uses, including and ambulance version (Mi-15) and a utility transport (Mi-1NKh).
Beginning in 1955, the Mi-1 was built under license in Poland by the Polish state aircraft factory, WSK Swidnik, under the designation SM-1. In the USSR the type was improved. The Mi-1A had a more powerful Ivchenko AI-26V engine, an improved rotor system and instruments. An artillery reconnaisance version, the Mi-1AKR entered service alongside the trainer models, and the Mi-1M featured a longer cockpit and all metal rotor blades. The Mi-1 saw service with Warsaw Pact air forces (USSR, Albania, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Romania) as well as Finland, China, Cuba, Egypt, Iraq, and Syria. Production ended in 1965, with over 2,000 machines built.
MPM’s Mi-1 is a simple kit, injection molded in dark brown and consisting of 32 parts plus a vacuform canopy. Like many of the earlier MPM kits, it is not especially detailed but is of interest due to its historical significance, and the evidence of some refinement in what is a very basic mold. Its age is indeterminate but it has engraved panel lines and appears to be at least 15 to 20 years old — the box and instructions bear no copyright date. The cockpit is very basic, separate pilot and passengers’ seats, and crude engraved detail (a series of depressions for gauges) on the instrument panel. There are decals for four versions, for the air forces of Poland, Czechoslovakia, and two Soviet versions, one a paramilitary organization called DOSAAF, which literally translates as “Voluntary Society to the Army, the Air Force and the Navy.” Finally there is an apparent Soviet Air Force version attached to something called the Air Unit of the Home Office. An unusual kit of an early Soviet helicopter. Highly recommended.
- Encyclopedia of World Air Power; Crescent Books, New York, 1980
- Mi-1 instructions