Building amodel of the cruiser 'Novik' in 1/700 by Jim Baumann

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 1901.

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)
There were some oddities such as ‘aztec ‘ steps as well as some mightily overscale rubbing strakes running along the length of the hull. (B)

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. novik-model-005
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 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 )
B - PE shield from North star models with base cut away
C - NNT 12 cm WW2 German barrel
D - NNT 12 cm WW2 German barrel with the back cut off to simulate breech block lid...
E - Mounted in North star PE cradle- ( nice--but very fiddly tp gain adhesion)
F - Mounted on L'arsenal PE ( spares box) USN catapult wheel as base plate mount
G - Mounted on L'arsenal PE ( spares box) USN catapult wheel( with nice relief detail)
H - Completed mount ith additional bits and 2 x tiny hand wheels

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 rescue…

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.
( photos of the real ship show the shadows cast by the Rigoles ( eyebrows) )
The North star PE set has some very tempting eyebrow-and-Porthole-built-in-combine PE pieces included.


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. novik-model-025
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. novik-model-027
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.

novik-model-030 novik-model-031 novik-model-032 novik-model-033 novik-model-034
The two searchlight towers fwd and aft were scratch built from slivers of resin and styrene. novik-model-035
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. novik-model-038
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 .

novik-model-1183 novik-model-1187 novik-model-1188 novik-model-1192
novik-model-1195 novik-model-1197 novik-model-1205 novik-model-1209 novik-model-1210
novik-model-2001 novik-model-2003 novik-model-2004 novik-model-2005
novik-model-2006 novik-model-2007 novik-model-2008 novik-model-2009

More of Jim Baumann's work.
Updated 2013