by: Rade Marjanovic [ ]
A new kit from Russian company Zvezda appeared recently on the market. It is a bit of a departure from the period of their usual recent models in sea-going vessels. It is a kit of the most modern class of Russian SSBNís, the Borey. There are already four kits (to the best of my knowledge) present on the market, with two being in the same scale as Zvezdaís offering.
Borey (russ.; NATO Dolgorukiy class, after the first vessel of the class) is the latest class of Russian ballistic missile nuclear submarine. This class is intended as a replacement for already venerable subs of Delta III, Delta IV and Typhoon classes. Class was named after Boreas, Greek god of cold, northern wind.
Although these subs will serve as a replacement for more classes, Borey are much smaller in volume than Typhoons, and also have smaller complement. The purpose of that is the reduction of costs for construction and maintenance. First work on the design of this type started in mid-80s. The keel for the first vessel was laid down in 1996, while together with the construction of the sub, the development of new ballistic missile type Ė Bulava for it was undertaken. During the construction of first three units, there were some changes in the design, so starting with the fourth vessel, all the following subs of the type have 20 vertical launch tubes for Bulava rockets (each rocket can carry 6-10 independently guided warheads) instead of 16. It means that each Borey II vessel can carry maximum of 200 independently guided warheads Ė that being equivalent to whole nuclear stockpile of UK.
Type: Ballistic missile submarine
14,720 t (14,488 long tons) surfaced
24,000 t (23,621 long tons) submerged
Length: 170 m (557 ft 9 in)
Beam: 13.5 m (44 ft 3 in)
Draught: 10 m (32 ft 10 in)
1 ◊ ОК-650В nuclear reactor
1 ◊ AEU steam turbine
1 ◊ shaft and propeller (pump-jet)
Submerged: 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Surfaced: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Range: Unlimited; (1yr ) endurance restricted by food stores
Test depth: planned 450m (1,400 ft)
Complement: 107 total crew
20 (955А Borei II), 16 (Project 955) ◊ RSM-56 Bulava SLBMs with 6-10 MIRVed warheads
6 ◊ 533 mm torpedo tubes
RPK-2 Viyuga cruise missiles
Within the box illustrated with sub in surface sailing, there is the strong cardboard box containing the model, instruction sheet, stand and decal sheet. The stand is cast as one-piece gray plastic and represents surface of the rough sea (or rocky seabed, whatever the association may be) and that kind of stand comes with all newer (by date of publishing) sea-going vessel models from Zvezda. The model itself is cast in black plastic, spread over four trees. Model of this type of sub in this exact scale was already present on the market (Bronco and Hobby Boss). All three models have completely different disassembly, meaning completely different break on parts, especially for the hull. Broncoís model has three-piece hull (deck and two part lower hull, divided by length). Hobby Boss model has two-piece hull divided along the waterline. Therefore, both Hobby Boss and Bronco models can be built as either full hull or waterline. Zvezda however didnít leave this option available and hull has five parts in total; two side halves, deck and the bow part that also comes as a two part build. Among the parts there are several hull reinforcement rings. The model has 100 parts, and upon finishing assembly one gets a model of roughly 50 cm in length.
What is interesting though, is that constructors of the model allowed besides two vertical launch tubes, the torpedo loading bay doors to be left opened, bow diving planes, as well as periscope and other sensory equipment on the sail to be extracted. Parts are flash free, with nice detailing and panel lines. First glance shows that there is not supposed to be any bigger issue with assembly of this model. Decal sheet has waterline markers, depth gauge markers, markers for hatches as well as crest and name of the submarine. The painting requires only nine paints, given in Zvezda and Humbrol palettes, which is standard for this company. The only minus of this kit is that there is no dedicated PE fret, for example with propeller and some smaller, more delicate parts, although the plastic parts in question are not much falling behind after photo etch ones. The accuracy of the model is not comparable to the real deal, although by the number of parts and the fact that the company is Russian, they probably had the access to the best publicly available plans of the sub, therefore making the most accurate one.
I only shortly addressed the issues mentioned in the comment section of the comment section of the Broncoís review by Evgenij here on Model Shipwrights, and to me it seems that people from Zvezda read the comment section as well as the issues pointed out there seem to be fixed. Again, I donít have other two kits (Bronco and Hobby Boss) nor any precise drawings to be the judge. The photos Iíve seen seem to point out that this one is the most precise of the trio. The only part that to me seems to be problematic in terms of precision is the bow deck section which is somewhat rounder on the photos than on the model.
While there are already four kits of this sub class present on the market, to me it seems that this one is the most accurate one. However there are few drawbacks on this kit as well, as no kit is perfect (except maybe Flyhawk ones in my opinion). As already mentioned, a photo etch fret being added to this kit would be a bonus. While there is some issue regarding accuracy with the bow deck section, I leave you with the possibility of the slight size issue of some parts, as I donít have extensive documentation nor the required specific knowledge to delve into that.
I would like to recommend this model to all submarine lovers. I also wish to thank Zvezda