|The very fast and elegant protected cruiser
‘Novik’ was built for the Imperial Russian Navy by Schichau in Germany
as a cruiser. At an impressive 25 knots Novik was for a while one of the
fastest ship in the world . Laid down in Feb 1900 she commissioned in May
At 3060 tons the 361 ft long ship was armed with 6 x 4.7 in , 6 x 1.9 in, 5x 15 in TT as well as 2 x 1.5 in the centrally placed mast’s fighting top.
Crewed by 340 officers and men, the machinery produced 18’000 horsepower, via three shafts this produced an impressive 25 knots; making her one of the fastest ships of her time .
Novik partook in various engagements during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. After the Battle the Yellow Sea ( where the Russian fleet tried to break the Japanese blockade of Port Arthur ) The attempt failed and most of the fleet returned to harbour, however some ships did escape, later to be interned in neutral ports.
Novik along with the battleship Tsessaravitch reached the German port of Tsingtao, however not wishing to be interned Noviks commander Nikloai von Essen decided to use the ships high speed to outrun the Japanese fleet and endeavour to reach Vladivostock.
Pursued by the IJN cruisers Tsushima and Chitose, Novik was cornered coaling in Aniva Bay , Korsakov on the island of Sakhalin.
After an engagement during which Novik sustained a number of hits resulting in considerable damage and being outgunned by the two IJN cruisers; on 07 Aug 1903 her commander ordered the ship to be scuttled so as to render her unsalvageable.
The Japanese Navy , who had been impressed by her power and speed seized the vessel as a prize of war , raised and repaired her.
Renamed Suzuya and re-commissioned the ship served in the IJN until being scrapped in 1913.
|Combrig produce the kit of Novik after some earlier ‘first
generation’ kits of the near sister-ships Izumrud and Zhemchug
The newer Novik kit sadly was in some ways a retrograde step; both in dimensional accuracy and detail features that were present on the earlier kits but missing on the more recent offering.
To achieve a reasonably accurate model many hours were spent puzzling out small details by poring over plans and photos both on-line as well as in printed Russian monographs of the ship
Fortunately ‘North Star Models’ offer a dedicated PE set for Novik—which enabled the kit starting point to be built as a fine model.
Much of the detail is alas overscale –especially portholes and funnel handrails among other things; however the gunshields and platforms are excellent--as is the very lovely PE wheelhouse and under-bridge braces
|The hull casting is correct in its length and beam dimensions
as far as I could ascertain.
The kit incorrectly has timber decking on both the bow and the stern
which I pared away with a blade. ( A)
These were removed with a blade and the area pared flat and faired.
|The four gun sponsons on the hull sides were a bit clunky compared to photos and plans, some patience with a blade soon had them looking lighter and more in keeping with photos.|
|The bulwarks on the Novik kit are rendered rather thickly
and would take away delicacy and lightness from the model...
These were pared away using a micro chisel and Stanley blades until an acceptable thickness was reached without breakage.
|The inaccuracies in the kit kept on compounding…
All the deckhouses on the real ship had curved corners, alas not on the kit. Easily rectified as the deck is lino—so any scraping could be carefully rectified using a micro-chisel to pare flat.
|For some light relief I moved on to the main armament of
the six 4.7 in guns in shielded mounts.
The kit guns were not actually that bad in outline aside from a rather over-thick barrel , no aperture in the fwd shield and general thickness. I have successfully reworked shields like this in the past but having very thin and sharp PE items (from the North star fret). I refined the guns past the point intended by North Star ...by removing the base plate of the shield --which clearly is not present in photos of the real gun mounts
(Key to photo)
A - PE shield from North star models with ( easy but incorrect baseplate
|The kit supplied funnels were too small in height, diameter
and depth!!! I was fortunate in having an elderly Izumrud kit ‘spare’,
which supplied the correct shape ‘blanks’, as these were completely solid.
The hollowing out was done using a mini drill with initially two drill shafts sunk in deep, then a round headed burr cutter--finishing off with a parallel -sided reaming tool and a sharp blade for the top; altogether a fraught business--as one slip could spell disaster!
|The cast cowl vents in the Novik kit were too small as
well as the incorrect shape. The elderly Izumrud kit again came to the
The vents in the Izumrud kit were poor in that they were all solid…However very much the correct outline shape!
They merely had to be hollowed, a ring of fine wire added, backfilled with CA and sanded to shape.
The single large square-mouthed cowl for the fore-deck was carved and hollowed from a solid block of resin
|Tediously the drilled portholes--while spacing matches
photos and plans fine were are not in a straight line--having a few dips
and wavers when viewed at acute angles from fore and aft.
After some filling and re-drilling I endeavoured to disguise any minor
anomalies with some self-made porthole ‘eyebrows’, as well as to give some
plasticity to the plain white hull sides.
I tried a few and to my eye they looked a bit clunky and overscale.
so I did it the hard way...
1) Copper wire from an earphone speaker cable stripped,
2) form a spiral of copper wire on a drill shank
3)cut into circles and...
4) cut again just under halfway across
5) apply with thinned matt enamel varnish
At this stage I also added better proportioned rubbing strakes made of copper wire to replace the coarse cast on versions removed earlier.
|The inside of the weather-deck bulwarks on the real ship had hammock stowage boxes; these were completely missing on the casting. I made new items of styrene strips laminated, the hollow void being simulated with some fine decal stripe.|
|The aft bulwark had supporting stanchions around its inside perimeter. I simulated these with small strips of stretched sprue to form a hollow triangle; these were later in-filled with thinned white glue and painted.|
|Some of the PE highlights from the North Star Models PE fret was the
exquisite aft gun platform, along with the PE wheel-house and bow decorations
as well as the hawse-pipe lids with chain cutouts!
With the major surgery completed I was able to turn attention to the finer details such as the myriad of small vents everywhere.
|The two searchlight towers fwd and aft were scratch built from slivers of resin and styrene.|
|The through draught exhaust vents were made from the tip of a wooden cocktail stick that had been soaked in CA, then shaped and finally drilled through.|
|The single mast was made of copper tube , the searchlight
platforms and fighting top were made using the excellent PE components
from the North star fret.
With the addition of the PE pierced davits and ships boats from a variety of my spares box sources the ship was nearing completion. The model was painted using Humbrol enamel paints, the deck being Matt 70 but lightened; the funnels being painted in Revell Matt 15. The ship was set in a sea made of watercolour paper, the exact methodology of which can be read here. Despite the mediocre starting point I enjoyed the build of Novik. Her slim lines and almost Yacht-like appearance make a welcome addition to my collection .
of Jim Baumann's work.