|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
After the prolonged testing of a 1970 prototype, the Soviet Union built six Alfa-class boats between 1979 and 1983. These highly automated boats require only small, 30-man crews. Combining a liquid-metal cooled reactor propulsion system with a titanium hull, Alfa-class boats achieve exceptionally high underwater performance, a top speed of 43 knots (80 km/hr) and an operational depth of 2,000 feet (600 m). Most of these submarines have been decommissioned as much due to age as anything else.
Typical of modern submarines, the Hobby Boss kit does not have a lot of parts. There are upper and lower hull sections that will require care in assembling to minimize the seam between the two. The horizontal stabs are molded in the top of the hull as is the conning tower as such. On the underside are two water inlet scoops and the lower fin and rudder. The upper fin also has a separate rudder and the 'elevators' are separate items as well.
One of the kit options is to have all the upper hatches on the conning tower open or closed. If depicting the boat under water, these would be closed. The hatches themselves are photo etch to obtain scale thickness. Another option is to use a photo etch screw. In this case, the plastic blades will need to be removed to attach the p.e. versions. When doing the surfaced version, there are the usual masts to be installed atop the conning tower. This is all finished with a nice display stand that has a photo etch name plate.
Kit instructions are three construction steps with all the various bits clearly shown. Painting instructions are for a single boat in overall black with a lower forward radome in a light grey. Decals are nicely printed and include all the various markings except for the long white waterline marking. This will either need to be painted on or a white stripe decal can be used.
Like all of HobbyBoss' modern sub kits, it is nicely molded and should prove to be a pretty quick and painless build. I was surprised at how small this one is compared to some of the boomer kits I have built in this scale, but it makes sense that an attack sub would not need to be very large. If you like 1/350 submarines, you should have this one in your collection.
Thanks to Squadron Products for the review kit. You can find this one at your favorite hobby shop or on-line retailer.
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