Mil Mi-8/17/171 Hip...

...Yellow Series 6142, from MMP Books

Title:  Mil Mi-8/17/171 Hip

Author: Jakub Fojtik

Publisher:  MMP

ISBN:  978-83-65958-28-0

A new addition to the Yellow Series of softcover books from MMP tackles the subject of this well established Russian helicopter design, the Mil Mi-8/17/171, with the NATO reporting name 'Hip'.
The book starts with a bit of background on early post-war helicopters in Russia, leading in to the design of the Mil-8, which had one or two challenges in its' early days. The first prototype flew way back in 1960, and first configured as a civilian VIP transport. It provides the development story, including the later problems around 1991 when the Russian economy collapsed and domestic orders dried up, but they were able to capitalise on export sales, which proved to be very successful. It also explains the difference in production between two factories, of Kazan and Ulan Ude. Over the years it details the changes in main and tail rotors, in engines, armaments, cockpit instrumentation and more. The early models has distinctive clamshell doors at the back of the cargo compartment, while in the latest models these have been exchanged for a flat ramp, while the nose profile has changed as well. Other chapters look at the various modifications carried out by many of the foreign customers of the different variants, and a host of detailed colour photos showing us a whole variety of different special purposes that the Hip has been used for. There are military and armed versions, along with Jamming and Electronic warfare, civilian search & rescue, oil platform and VIP transport and many others. One of the pictures which struck me in particular was a Vietnamese Civilian example fitted with huge orange buoyancy bags for emergency water landings (sadly it crashed in 1996 apparently). With so many military customers there is a very interesting variety of camouflage patterns to be seen, and these compare to some of the bright civilian colours. There is detail on Hydraulic, Electrical, Oxygen and many other systems as well as a long list of all the export customers, which countries bought them, when, which variants and how many year by year. If all this wasn't enough, modellers will also enjoy the 9 pages of excellent colour profiles at the back of the book. There are some scale plans distributed through the book as well.
This is a detailed and highly illustrated book which show so many variants of the 'Hip', which has now been in production for over 50 years, and with orders to keep the factories busy for some years to come yet. A very successful helicopter design, and one that has proved to have plenty of flexibility as well. An excellent addition to this Yellow series from MMP.

Thanks to MMP Books, who kindly provided my review copy.