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PostPosted: Wed 03 May 2017 08:28 am 
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The ‘Kniaz Suvorov' (Prince Suvorov) Battleship was flagship of the 2nd Pacific Fleet when it took part in the Battle of Tsushima in May 1905. The Japanese fleet achieved a total victory against the Imperial Russian fleet, sinking many of its vessels, including the Suvorov. All but 20 officers from her complement of 782 men were killed. From the perspective of the Russians, the battle itself was only the last chapter in a woeful tale which, if you read about it, you might think was made up!

Zvezda is a Russian manufacturer producing a wide range of kits generally available worldwide. Priced at £23.50 (May 2017) from a major UK retailer, I was lucky to pick this one up second hand for £4.50. 1/350th appears to be a favoured scale for battleships of that period, and notably the firm produces a similarly scaled model of HMS Dreadnought for £44.99.

Its 356 parts come in a hard, dark grey plastic on seven gates. No moulding imperfections were apparent, but there was significant flash on two gates holding detailed parts. The kit I purchased did not feature separately bagged runners, but being second hand may have on purchase new. Instructions are by way of four fold-out double sided A4 pages. A brief history of the vessel is presented in 6 languages, with ‘useful advice’ offered in five covering the need to wash the parts before assembly, removal of parts with a sharp knife etc. A full page print showing the parts that comprise the kit immediately precede the 5 pages detailing the 16 construction stages.

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The 'dusty' appearance is due to the toner used in producing the sheet has not wholly 'fixed'.

Each stage is broken down into sub-assembles to the left of a diagram showing how they should be fixed to the overall model together with placement of larger parts, eg funnels. Specific guidance on where the cement used is to be applied is helpfully given. This provides clarity for what appears a challenging build.

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Detail painting guidance is provided throughout the build with Model Master paints (and an unidentified Russian brand) being specified. Decal usage instructions, a general rigging diagram and a vertical/starboard image of the vessel is presented by way of an overall painting guide.

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The parts breakdown is common to that found in other fully hulled ship models, namely port and starboard hull, upon which decks and superstructure are affixed. Many of the large number of smaller parts are quite delicate, in particular the booms and wireless masts, torpedo net supports on either side of the hull, life boats and minor armament. Note that the booms are set against the hull and nets are not provided.

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These more delicate parts were subject to significant flash having built up on the two identical gates. This'll be challenging to remove.

The Suvorov featured a main armament of four 12in (305mm) guns fitted two in each of the fore and aft turrents. These turrets may be dry fitted to enable rotation - no provision is made to allow them to be fixed in place other than permanently. The barrels of the four gun main armament are not drilled out but appear capable of being so.

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Surface detail is by way of both raised and engraved surfaces. The main decks appear to represent wooden planking which is very obvious and quite likely overscale. The superstructure is made up of a series of four sided/curved components which fit over well formed foundation guides incorporated on the decking. Portholes and cabin windows, though not drilled out are featured as recessed detail. No attempt was made to verify their number or placement. Some of the smaller parts, eg the deck to deck ladders, are simply representations, appropriate to the scale. I'd anticipate there being generic photo-etched alternatives available.

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The solid rectangle is the base for the model.

The high parts count is largely made up from the repetitive moulding of common features such as secondary armament, comprising 12 turrented 6in (152mm) guns. As mentioned above, two of the gates are identical providing the majority of the smaller/common parts.

A small decal sheet provides gold coloured decals for the ship mounted name and one for the display base. A printed sheet provides four flags of three types which can be placed as directed by the rigging diagram.

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As is common with this type of subject and scale, some skill will be required to build the model given the parts breakdown and number of detailed components. Removal of flash on the smaller components will be a challenge. Having said that the overall impression given is that a good looking replica may be built assuming the modeller has the skill and patience to deal with its apparent complexity.


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PostPosted: Fri 12 May 2017 16:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue 20 Sep 2016 09:55 am
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If anyone's interested in the history, "The Fleet That had to Die" by Richard Hough is a good and readable account of the entire "action" from the Russian fleet leaving the Baltic Sea.

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