Hobby Boss 1/700 USS Los Angeles SSN-688

KIT #: 87014
PRICE: $5.90 from www.greatmodels.com
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Drew Pratt


When does a boat become a ship?  Technically, any vessel over 60 ft in length is a ship, unless they are submersible.  Thatís why subs are boats.  Submariners refer to a boatís class by the class boats number.  That is why the Los Angeles class is simply the ď688 boats.Ē  Instead of a long winded article on the history of the 688 boats, I suggest an online search.  This will bring more than you could ever need to know about these remarkable, steely-eyed monsters of the deep.


A brief note of introduction:  although I enjoy aviation history, I will build anything that holds my interest more than 10 minutes, (A D D, maybe?).  I built this kit for a coworker who was a torpedo man on the Salt Lake City.  When I got the kit, my first reaction was: ďWow, this is tiny.Ē  In 1/700 scale, the finished length is only a little over six inches, perfect for the space challenged.  The kit is simplicity in itself, top and bottom halves, sail, a pair of dive planes, screw, choice of bridges and a three piece stand.  Thatís what you find on the two gray sprues in the box. Hobby Boss did a better job on the parts map, so I used theirs.


Not much to it: glue the halves together and address the seam.  Next is the sail.  Choose a bridge.  I chose the diving bridge since the scope and aerials are so out of scale. For the seam I used super glue. Something that works for me is to leave a little sanding dust, and then run liquid cement down the seam, capillary action keeps the cement where I want it and it dries fast. The panel lines are recessed and straight, quick swipe with the hobby knife and presto, allís good.


Have I mentioned how simple a build this is?  Primed with rattle can gloss black, antifouling red lower hull, panzer grey sonardome and a gold screw. The black and red are cheap rattle cans of enamel I had knocking about. (Some store no name.). The panzer gray is Tamiya acrylic. The rest are Testors ľ oz square bottles. Since Iím doing a specific boat, I covered the name and painted over it on the stand, but left the scale.  With only six or seven decals, the hard part was waiting for the paint to dry! I used gloss paint, so no gloss coat needed.  Since I could find no photos of numbers on the sail, I skipped them.


All thatís left is to secure the model to its stand and add the dive planes and screw.  A little touch up to the paint and after that a coat of Testors dull coat to seal the decals. 


Whether you are looking for a small simple kit with great fit and low parts count, an affordable diorama possibility or just something different, you canít beat this great kit. For me I am honored to have built this kit for a friend so he can share his adventures with a future generation. 

Remember, when you are all out of wine, all thatís left is port.

Editor's Note: On a personal note, when I retired in 1993, I chose to have my retirement flag flown over, on, and under the water (so to speak). Over was Blue Angel #2, on was the USS Valley Forge, and under was the USS Salt Lake City.



Google searches and Google images for SSN 688 and SSN 716.

Drew Pratt

April 2010

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