Hobby Boss 1/700
Soviet Aircraft Carrier Baku

Reviewed by Sean Hert
December 2013
HISTORY

Baku was the fourth Kiev-class carrier laid down by the then Soviet Navy in 1978, but not commissioned until late 1987. All of the ships in this class were designed as a hybrid carriers, with organic anti-surface and anti-submarine strike capabilities in addition to the embarked aviation units. However,Baku was built to a slightly different design from the 3 previous ships, sporting an extensively modified electronics and sensor suite, including a phased array radar and an upgraded weapons fit. Baku has also traded in the 76mm guns and the SA-N-3 launchers for 100mm guns, SA-N-9 SAM VLS, and a pair of SS-N-12's (for a total of 6 twin SS-N-12 Sandbox launchers).

Baku was renamed to the Admiral Gorshkov after the fall of the Soviet Union. After being decommissioned in the mid- '90's, she was purchased by the Indian government and converted to a full aircraft carrier with a ski-jump on the bow(STOBAR - Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery) replacing the earlier SS-N-12 launchers. Re-christened as the INS Vikramaditya, she entered service with the Indian Navy in 2014.

HULL

Baku is built from three major assemblies; a waterline-only hull, flight deck and the monolithic deckhouse. The hull is recessed at the waterline, as if the intent was to include a waterline plate or lower hull, but neither is included. 

The hull has regular portholes and hatches details which look quite good. The stern has both the retractable stern dock and the doors for the variable-depth sonar (VDS). There is a large opening on each side of the hull for boat storage decks. 

The deck well detailed, with outlines to aid in the complicated decals necessary for the flight deck.  The rear of the flight deck part has stepped "terraces" to port and starboard for placing the AK-630 CIWS and BASS TILT (MR-123) fire control. 

One error concerns the six SA-N-9 rotary VLS modules on the port side; these are represented by simplified discs, unlike the shape of the other 18 vertical launch canisters. In fact, they look like the covers for pop-up SA-N-4 launchers.
The deckhouse is quite impressively detailed,  with many vents, conduits, ladders and windows. Like the deck, there are raised guides to aid in parts placement.
SPRUE A

Sprue A has a variety of parts, from the bridge windows and life raft canisters to a reload for a SS-N-12 (with cradle) and the deck crane. The surprising parts on this sprue and the stabilizers and prop shafts; perhaps this kit was intended to have a full hull option originally.  

This sprue also has the platforms, sponsons and walkways for the deckhouse, in addition to the TOP STEER air search radar, KITE SCREECH fire control for the AK-100 guns, and ECM and SATCOM antennas 

SPRUE B
Sprue B continues the mystery of the missing lower hull option, with the halves of a sonar dome and rudders on this sprue.  In addition to these unused parts, the large planar array radars and the large cylinder for the navigation radar are also on this sprue.
There are also two long platforms which run the length of the deckhouse on here, and the two boat storage decks for mounting inside the hull.
SPRUE C x2

The final sprue for Baku is sprue C, which covers the remaining parts for the ship, and the perennial favorites, the weapons. Each sprue has the parts for making three SS-N-12 launch tubes, an AK-100 gunhouse, BASS TILT radars and AK-630 CIWS,  and the parts to make the CROSS SWORD directors for the SS-N-9's.

AIRCRAFT

The aircraft included in the kit are:

  • 4 Ka-27 "Helix" ASW Helicopters
  • 2 Yak-38 "Forger" VTOL Jet Aircraft


KA-27

Yak-38
PHOTOETCH

Hobby Boss includes a fret of photoetch with this kit. This fret has the yards and screen for the funnel, as well as a few other details; these parts are centered on the deckhouse. It is too bad they did not include any photoetched radar antenna replacements. 

DECAL

A nice decal set is included. This set not only has the normal hull markings and a few insignia for the aircraft, but also includes the colorful helicopter spotting locators, and many other flight deck markings. This level of decaling may prove to be a challenge to those with limited decal experience. 

INSTRUCTIONS

A 12 page instruction book, along with a full color poster showing the painting steps is included.

CONCLUSIONS

Years ago, Trumpeter had previously released a 1/700 Kiev; this kit from Hobby Boss does not appear to be descended from that model.  In the past, 1/700 ship model kits were all waterline, but that trend has been changing, so the lack of a lower hull in this kit is unfortunate. The colorful flight deck and decaling will be a nice change of pace for those willing to take on the challenge. 

It will be interesting to see if Hobby Boss follows this kit with an INS Vikramaditya, with some MiG-29K's and Ka-31 AEW helos.   Recommended.

Thanks to Squadron for the review sample. It is listed as #83416, with a MSRP $69.99. Hobby Boss' US importer is Squadron Products.


    ModelWarships.com