New Cyber-Hobby USS Virginia
the JAG USS Virginia Class Kits
A Comparison

by Jon Iverson 
I recently picked up the new USS Virginia from Cyber-Hobby.  My pre-conceived notion was that it was simply a copy of the JAG USS Virginia class resin kit that has been out for a number of years (which I have had in my kit stash for an equal number of years).  I was surprised to find out that this is not the case!  So, I decided to write a very short, high level review of the differences. 

Here’s what I found out:

A disclaimer:  The purpose of this article is not to determine the accuracy of either kit, but simply to note the differences of the kits.
Of course, the obvious difference is that the Cyber-Hobby kit comes with a lower hull whereas the JAG kit does not.

The Cyber-Hobby kit comes in the usual Cyber-Hobby box, whereas the JAG kit come in the familiar round tube jam packed with the hull and parts: 

Click the images on the right for the in-box reviews of each kit.

The JAG kit is cast in the usual style – with most of the superstructure parts cast integral with the hull.  With the Cyber-Hobby kit, the hull is devoid of superstructure parts cast on whatsoever.

The hull:  The Virginia class had a length of 585’.  The Cyber-Hobby kit measures out to 10 1/16” (586.98’) whereas the JAG kit measures out to 10 1/8”(590.62’)  – a difference of 1/16” or 3.65’ when scaled up to 1/1.  No big deal in my mind.

The beam of the Virginia class was 63’.  The extreme beam of the Cyber-Hobby kit is 1.078” (62.88’) and the JAG kit is 1.175” (68.54’)  - keep in mind the JAG kit has an extra boom on the port side that the Cyber-Hobby kit does not incorporate into their hull.  This accounts for the extra beam dimension. Again, this is not really an issue to me.  The dimensions are fairly close overall.

Tumblehome:  The JAG kit incorporates a slight tumblehome amidships that the Cyber-Hobby kit does not have: 

Additionally, the Cyber-Hobby kit is narrower at the bow and stern than the JAG kit: PICTURE-04
The bow knuckle on the Cyber-Hobby kit sweeps upward while the knuckle on the JAG kit is much more horizontal in nature:

Additionally, of note, the bow of the Cyber-Hobby kit seeps up at more of an angle and is taller as compared with the JAG kit:

Here are the superstructure parts comparisons.  I will let the pictures speak for themselves:

Cyber-Hobby vs. JAG Bridge:

Cyber-Hobby Superstructure parts on trees: PICTURE-08
The JAG superstructure cast on the hull: PICTURE-10
Here are the smaller parts:  [JAG small parts])
Of note, the boats for the JAG kit are much nicer (Cyber-Hobby boats top, JAG boats on bottom): PICTURE-16
Photo Etch:  The JAG kit’s PE set is more extensive and a finer representation of the parts that can only be replicated by photo etch: PICTURE-17
Decals:  The decal sheet for the JAG kit has the respective markings for ostensibly all the members of the Virginia class.  The Cyber-Hobby kit is specifically for the USS Virginia and is completely different in warning circle and other markings: PICTURE-18
Instructions:   The JAG kit has the usual exploded view with kit parts and the Cyber-Hobby kit’s instructions are what one has come to expect from a Cyber-Hobby plastic kit – step by step instructions to build the kit.  I did not take pictures of the instructions as nearly everyone who owns a Cyber-Hobby kit or a JAG kit knows what these instructions look like.


My pre-conceived notion that the Cyber-Hobby kit is a direct copy of the JAG kit has been completely debunked.  The Cyber-Hobby kit is clearly different.  Of course, if two manufacturers are attempting to replicate the prototype of any ship, there should be similarities as there are between the Cyber-Hobby and JAG kits.  However, with major differences such as the forward and aft hull beam dimensions, differences in knuckle patterns, tumblehome, photo etch and decals lead me to believe separate research was performed to produce the Cyber-Hobby kit.  Could the excellent JAG kit have been used as an impetus for Cyber-Hobby to produce a plastic version?  I don’t know, but the differences lead me to believe after Cyber-Hobby did research, they came up with their own conclusions as to what the ship looked like and moved forward to produce their own version.

For those of you who have the JAG kit, invest the money, get the Cyber-Hobby kit and do your own comparisons.

More of Jon Iverson's work.
Updated 10/15/2010