Hobby Boss 1/350 PLAN type 033 Submarine

KIT #: 83515
PRICE: $19.99 SRP
DECALS: Multiple options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Includes SH-5 Maritime Recce seaplane


The Romeo class (Project 633) is a class of Soviet diesel-electric submarine, built in 1950s. The origin of the Romeo class can be traced to the World War II German Type XXI Elektroboot U-boat. At the end of World War II, the Soviets obtained several Type XXIs, from which they were able to obtain certain key technologies. These technologies assisted in the design of the Zulu- and Whiskey-class. Further improvements on the design led to the Romeo class.

Only 20 of the Soviet Union's originally intended 560 were completed between October 1957 and the end of December 1961 because of the introduction of the nuclear submarine into the Soviet Navy.

By today's standards, the Romeo class submarine is considered obsolete, but still has some value as training and surveillance vessels.

Under the 1950 Sino-Soviet Friendship and Mutual Assistance Treaty, the Soviets passed to China (and later to North Korea) the documentation necessary to produce ROMEO submarines in 1963. The Chinese variant is known as the Type 033 ROMEO. A total of 84 Type 033 submarines were built in China from 1962 to 1984, plus several exported to other countries. The Chinese Type 033 incorporated some improvements over the original ROMEO, including noise reduction of at least 20 dB. Sonar on board was also continuously upgraded: the original Soviet sonar was first replaced by domestic Chinese Type 105 sonar, which consequently was replaced by H/SQ2-262A sonar built by No. 613 Factory. A single Type 033 was modified to carry 6 YJ-1 (CSS-N-4) SSM, this variant is called Type 033G Wuhan.  Today most of the Type 033 subs have been retired or preserved, with few remaining for training purposes.


Submarines are generally simple kits and in terms of parts for the submarine alone, this is true. So Hobby Boss has decided to add something interesting to this one in the form of the Harbin SH-5 seaplane. Two of the four sprues are devoted to this aircraft and these are in clear plastic. I know this is done to provide the modeler the ability to have clear fuselage windows, but with nothing inside and this small scale, I think I'd have preferred standard styrene for this.

Nonetheless, it is done and well done it is as well. The aircraft has the option of raised or lowered beaching gear and carries four ASM missiles. You also can use photo etch or the plastic propellers on this one. Thanks to the hollowed out fuselage halves, there is room for the nose weight you'll need.

On to the submarine. This has one sprue with the hull halves and the other with the sail structure and all the bits that fit there. Of course, you can model this with the main periscopes raised or lowered and there are optional etched screws as well. Photo etch is used for what I guess is a boarding ladder placed aft as well as rails for the upper portion of the sail. The dive planes can be molded extended or retracted. As with all of Hobby Boss' submarine kits, it comes with a display stand and p.e. name tag.

A full color painting guide is provided  using a variety of paint brands so you should be able to find what you need locally. There are a considerable number of serial options for the submarine and for the aircraft there are four different serial options. I'm not sure where you'd find decent photos for other than the box art sub serials, but perhaps the Internet will provide for those who seek. Decals are nicely printed and the modeler will need to paint the white waterline on the sub or find white stripe decals of an appropriate width.


Another excellent kit from Hobby Boss as their range of subjects keeps expanding as time goes on. I'm quite pleased to see these Cold War diesel subs making an appearance as they were an important part of our history.



June 2011

My thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. This is now at your favorite retailer so drop by and pick one up.

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