The Kara-class was a further development of the Kresta-II design, with gas-turbines replacing the steam plants of the previous classes, resulting in major modifications to the layout of the midships section.
Although larger than the Kresta-II cruiser and with significant anti-air and anti-submarine capabilities, these ships are classified as destroyers rather than cruisers by the Russian Navy. The fourth unit was modified during construction as a test ship for the SA-N-6 SAM system, which replaced the aft SA-N-3 SAM system.
Sources disagree as to the current status of this unit. Only one ship [the Kerch, which was the Russian Black Fleet flagship until 1997] remains in service, but it may not be deployable. There is considerable disagreement among various sources as to the construction chronology of the units of this class (From http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ship/row/rus/1134_2.htm).
|Building the Combrig Kit
If you have read any of my previous build reviews of Soviet-era Combrig kits, this kit is more of the good and the bad that mark this line.
|On the good side, Combrig is supplying kits of ships that
are otherwise unavailable in 1/700, and which are unlikely to appear in
that scale otherwise. Basic parts fit is generally good, with adequate
instructions and a 1/700 top and side view of the ship. Prices are
comparable with other unique resin kits and the kits are available fairly
widely online. Out of the box, a modeler with some resin experience
can build a decent ship model; a modeler willing to scratch build details
and add lots of PE will be rewarded with a very nice finished piece.
The down sides of these kits include lack of any surface detail (deck hatches, piping, hatches, port holes, life gear, hoses, etc.) and no photo etch (PE). The photo etch omission is more obvious on this ship than its brothers, in that resin radars just do not look anywhere near as cool as their photo etch evil twins.
|Resolving the Photo Etch Issue
As you can see, the resin radars look pretty weak compared to PE. While the Gold Medal Models' (GMM) 1/700 Soviet warship PE set has most of the detail parts for this ship, a much better choice here is the WEM 1/600 Moskva set, originally designed for the Airfix kit. The WEM set is relief-etched, and much, much finer in detail than the older GMM sheet. You also get **all** the radars needed for the Kara, plus nice railings, ladders in two styles and detail parts for the helo.
You can read a review of this set here.
The maker appears to have used mold release, so be sure to wash all the parts in dish detergent before starting to assemble them. The resin is somewhat brittle, so use caution with your knife. Most of the parts are on sprues and easily detached. The ones molded onto flat sheets of resin are a bit hard to free up by sanding, as the resin carrier sheet is thicker than most.
The ship is best built in subassemblies, especially if you are using PE parts that will get bent and mangled while handling the kit.
I suggest the following: hull and main deck, bridge unit, fore mack, aft mack, weapons and helo as separate items and then bring it all together for final assembly.
Painting is straightforward. WEM sells enamel colourcoats as needed, or you can use Tamiya Acrylic Sky Gray XF-19 cut about 2:1 with flat white for the main hull. The deck color on these ships seems to vary in photos from almost orange to almost brown, so you have some flexibility. I blended Tamiya Acrylics Flat Brown XF-10 with Orange X-6 and a very small amount of Flat Red XF-7 to taste.
|Specifications (from www.fas.org)
Builder: Shipyard 445, Nikolayev, Ukraine
Displacement (tons): 8,200-8,565 tons standard, 8,825-9,700 tons full load
Speed (kts): 34
Propulsion: 4-6 gas. Turbines, 96,000-120,000 shp, 2 propellers
Missiles: 6 x 4 Fort (SA-N-6) Total: 24, 4 x 2 Storm (SA-N-3) Total: 80, 2 x 2 Osa (SA-N-4) Total: 40, 24 S-300MPU/SA-N-6 Fort/Grumble SAM [on Azov].
Guns: 2 x 2 AK-726 DP (2x76 mm), 4 x 6 AK-630 gattl. AA (6x30 mm; 6'000 rds/m/mount). Also 2 x 12 RBU-6000 ASW RL (R: 3'000 m), 2 x 6 RBU-1000 ASW RL (R: 1'200 m), Helicopter KA-25
|Photos and More Information|