Reviewed by Peter Van Buren
Build Up Review of the Combrig 1/700 Grozny Class Rocket Cruisers,
Project #58/58.1, NATO Codename "Kynda"

The Ship

According to, the Kynda class surface warfare cruisers, deployed during 1962-1965, were among the first of the modern Soviet warships. 

Initially laid down as destroyers, on 29 September 1962 they were redesignated as Rocket Cruisers. Only slightly longer than the Krupnyy and Kildin destroyer, they had significantly more firepower and could launch 16 SS-N-3b SLCMs and 24 SA-N-1 surface-to-air missiles, and also had six 21-inch torpedo tubes.  The excessive top-weight of the design prompted the decision to build the larger Kresta class, and only four were built. 

Three of the class were stricken 1991-1993. Admiral Golovko was recommissioned from reserve in 1995 to serve as the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, though by mid-1997 the Black Sea Fleet flag had transferred to the Kara class Kerch and Golovko probably had been deactivated. 

The kit depicts the Varyag, laid down at the Northern Yard, Leningrad on October 13, 1961.  Originally named "Soobrazitelny," he was renamed Varyag in 1962 and left for the Pacific Fleet from September 23, 1965.  He was decommissioned on April 19, 1990 to be scrapped 

The Basic Build

There are really two ships you can build here: the basic build out of the box and the detailed ship that can be brought out with photo etch and some extra work.  Let's tackle them one at a time.

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The parts separate easily from their resin backing sheets or sprue.  With the backing sheets, you will need to sand carefully, as the platforms, boat davits and other parts are quite thin.  Wet sand, check your work frequently, rotate the parts as you sand to avoid wearing through one end and go slow and you will have no problems.  The resin on my kit was a bit brittle, another reason to slow down.

Same for the spure parts- the brittleness of the resin suggests that a razor saw or light scoring with a knife will work better than trying to cut through the part with a single mighty blow from the old Xacto.

Several deck house-like pieces are not used in the build, so save yourself some time and discard them early after consulting the instructions.

The basic ship parts go together fairly well. 

The funnels, some platforms and the bridge piece need extra sanding or filling with super glue to mate them seamlessly with the deck.  The supports for the SSM launchers are molded on to the bottom of the launchers and are not separate parts as shown on the instruction sheet.  The SSM launchers have an obvious front (more cone-like) and back (flatter) side, so take care.  While the instructions show the launchers pointed forward and aft as if preparing for launch, many photos of the ship in transit show them aligned port-to-starboard.  The fit of the aft, lower, main gun is tight against the aft deck house; you may need to sand it a bit or mount it slightly off center.

Someone with a little patience and some resin experience will be able to build a decent model of this ship without too much trouble.  The paint scheme is straightforward, with standard Soviet ship grey hull and superstructure, orange-brown decks and black on the backs of the macks, most likely to hide soot stains.  I added a thin hint of red with a white stripe boot topping.

The kit comes with the helo and life rafts shown, but not decals, photo etch or wire for antennas.

A word on the brush v. air brush question on decks.  I prefer the thin coat of paint an air brush can lay down, and so use it, with appropriate masking of the deck houses, on the larger areas.  That said, masking too many narrow areas is no fun, so I also use a brush.  To each his/her own, but that is what I have done with this ship.

Adding Detail

But wait- there's more!

Soviet ships were covered in antennas and radars, and this busy, complex look is worth aiming for.  This ship was a predator, designed to drop nuclear missiles onto a U.S. carrier battle group in defense of the homeland.  Some extra work, some photo etch and a little more time can do him justice.

Replacing the radars with photo etch is an obvious move to enhance this kit.  The molded half moon shapes are good enough for some, but the look of this ship really requires more.  Unfortunately there are no really good PE sets designed specifically for this ship.  Gold Medal Models makes a Soviet PE set, though it is getting a bit long in the tooth and suffers from a lack of relief-etching.  WEM offers a superb PE set for the Airfix Moskva that has lots of radars and other details, including those for the included helo.  The downside is that the PE is 1/600 scale and because it is designed for the Moskva, you'll end up with a lot of unused items if you build another ship with it.  I ended up using bits from both sets with some miscellaneous PE thrown in where needed.

PE railings also add a lot to this kit, with its many platforms.  I added railing also to the tops of the SSM launchers, based on photos of the real ship.  Don't forget antennas, made here with 0.3mm brass wire.  I drill small holes in the deck with a Number 80 drill, color the wire with a black permanent marker (paint thickens the wire too much) and then super glue the antennas as one of the last steps in building the kit.  If I install the antennas too early I just end up bending and mauling them.  Same for the flag staffs at the bow and stern.

Rigging is fine fishing line, unpainted for this scale.  I attach it to one end with a tiny drop of super glue and with a super glue accelerator, then stretch it tight with tweezers and glue the other end.  I'm experimenting with putting a tiny drop of accelerator on the attachment point, then a tiny drop of glue on the line, then pulling the two together.  This seems to result in tighter lines, but the jury is still out.

The flags are from Gold Medal Models' decal set.  For a few dollars you get a whole sheet of world flags, in sizes suitable for 1/350 and 1/700.  I think they add a nice touch of color to a finished ship.

I added "generic" PE hatches to the deckhouses; experts on Soviet hinges and handles please address your complaints on a postcard to somewhere else

Ship's Armament

Main Gun 4 x 76mm/59 cal AK-726 in two twin mounts aft

AAW 28 x 37mm V-11 in 14 twin mounts

4 x 30mm/54.3 cal AK-630 (installed during overhauls on Grozny, Varyag, Admiral Golovko)

SAM 1 Volna twin rail launcher with16 V-600 Volna/SA-N-1 Goa missiles 

SSM 8 launchers in two mounts with 16 P-35 Progress/SS-N-3B Shaddock missiles 

ASW 2 x RPK-8 Zapad/RBU 6000 12 tubed forward, 96 mortars total 

Torpedoes 6 x 21" in 2 triple launchers with Type 53 torpedoes 

He carried a crew of 25 officers and 279 enlisted men.

Photos and More Information