Trumpeter 1/200 Sovremenny
Review by Felix Bustelo

 The Sovremenny (Project 956) class of guided missile destroyers was designed for anti-ship operations and to complement the anti-submarine capabilities of the Udaloy class of destroyers. While primarily an anti- ship unit fitted with the Moskit missile system in two quadruple launchers, the Sovremennys also have anti- aircraft, anti-sub and shore bombardment capabilities. These ships, commissioned in 1985, are roughly the size of the United States Navy Ticonderoga class Aegis cruisers. In addition to the Moskit launchers, the Sovremennys also carry two Shtil surface-to-air missile launchers, two twin AK-130-MR-184 130mm turrets and four six-barreled AK-630 artillery systems. Anti-submarine defense is provided by two double 533mm torpedo tubes, two six barrel RBU-100 rocket launchers with 48 rockets and a Ka-27 helicopter.

 While as many as 28 Sovremenny destroyers were planned, there are fewer than 12 of the newer units in active service currently. Two unfinished ships, Vazhniy and Aleksandr Nevskiy, remained at the St. Petersburg shipyard. One of these ships was completed and sold to China and the other is to follow. Two ships were cancelled before construction was begun.

 This new kit from Trumpeter has created quite a stir among ship modelers and for good reason. First off, at 1/200 scale this is a huge model. The hull measures almost 31 inches (780mm) long and about 3.5 inches (90mm) wide. I am more accustomed to working in smaller scales, so the size of this kit surprised me even though I expected a large model. Also, this kit is all new molding. It has been alleged that Trumpeter copies and in some cases re-scales other manufacturers kits but apparently this is not the case here. There is also a marked improvement in the quality and detail of the molding when compared to some of the previous offerings.

 This kit huge only in terms of size but also in terms on the number of parts, which total 827 in plastic and 54 in brass (this number counts the 16 lengths of rail as one part each). The hull is a one-piece full hull and it is done quite nicely. The only problem is that there is a seam that runs from the tip of the bow, down along the keel and up the transom. Another seam is evident in the area around the prop shaft, which is almost square and gives the appearance that this section was fused into the rest of the hull. All of this can be easily cleaned up and sanded smooth. The inside of the hull has cradles for a motor and for batteries, so this kit can be built either as static or as a motorized model. While the kit gives you an option for motorizing, the necessary components are not provided and will have to be purchased separately. This is not a problem for me as I intend to build her as a static model.

 The deck comes in three sections: the raised foc'sle deck, a larger forward portion of the main deck and a smaller aft section. Personally I would have preferred to have the main deck as one piece but I guess it was split into two to gain access to the motor and batteries if you decided to go that route with the model. The joint where the foc'sle and forward part of the main deck meet can be easily hidden and most of will be covered by the bridge structure and the Moskit missile launchers. The joint between the two main deck sections may not be that easy to hide. The decks are basically bare of any molded in details with the exception of the weapon jettison tracts, which are well done. All of the smaller parts that are normally molded into the deck, such as the bitts, chocks, vents, capstans, cable reels, lockers, et al, are molded as separate pieces. The decks have shallow openings into which all of these fitting are to be glued into as well as guides for the superstructure and main armament subassemblies. This approach makes painting the decks much easier but does contribute to assembly time. Then again, the time normally spent masking the deck fittings and touching them up with a brush probably offsets the time spent glue these into place. In the long run, the model will have a much neater look if these parts are added separately.

 Assembly of the superstructures are very similar to that of Heller kits, in that each side and deck are individual pieces that need to be put together. The level of detail molded into the superstructures, as well as all of the kit's parts, is excellent. One detail that is particularly striking is the series of vent grills in the funnel sides. 

The Sovremenny's weapon's system are also well done. The Moskit launchers can be modeled with the tube doors opened or closed or in any combination. The kit also includes with actual missiles to store in the open tubes. Now how's that for a bit of realism! Some modelers may wish to replace the barrels of the AK-130-MR-184 guns with brass rod or tube as they kit versions appear to be a little out of scale, although this is not entirely necessary.

 The kit comes with a rather unique Ka-27 Helix helicopter, unique in the sense that all of the parts are molded in clear plastic. I frankly do not know the reason for this, but I guess that canopy and window will look more realistic in clear plastic once the rest of the helicopter is painted. While on the subject of windows, the portholes in the hull and the bridge and superstructure windows are backed with a thin plastic film. This gives you the option of either painting them in or easily opening them up and later using Krystal Klear (or a suitable "glazing" medium) to make "glass panes".

 This kit comes with some brass photoetch parts, which is the first time that I have seen this included with an injection molded kit. Two sprues of railing (16 lengths in total) and two additional frets containing parts to assembly the radar mast, helicopter deck safety nets, jack and ensign staffs, three ladders (not enough for the kit) and a boarding ramp are provided. Each photoetch part, with the exception of the railings, is also included as a plastic part, so you can choose which version you are more comfortable working with. The photoetch radar mast parts appear a little to thin for scale and the plastic versions perhaps a tad to thick, but I would opt for the brass components. The rails have little stanchion ends sticking out along the bottom. I would clip these off and use the bottom rail to glue them on to the deck. What I cannot understand is why photoetch versions of the radars were not produced. The folks at Trumpeter went through the trouble of developing some photoetch but the parts that could have benefited the most from this they omit.

 The decal sheet comes with pennant numbers and Cyrillic names for five ships, flight deck markings, flags, markings for the missile launcher doors, emblems for the stern and superstructure and markings for the helicopter. According to the instructions, pennant numbers are provided for the Sovremenny (618), Otchayanny (684), Otlichnny (434), Osmotritelnny (755) and the Bezuprechnyy (430). The Soviet Navy was notorious for changing pennant numbers seemingly at whim, so I cannot confirm the accuracy of the pennant numbers. Some of the sources I looked do not have a key to the pennant numbers and some others appear contradict each other.

 The instructions are provided as a very detailed and comprehensive 20-page booklet. The first three pages have images of the 16 plastic and the four brass part sprues as well as the hull and deck sections. The following blow-up assembly diagrams are clear and logically laid out, showing part and decal placement as well paint color instructions. The last page has a plan and profile view of the ship, which summarizes placement for the larger decals and the color painting instructions. All color references are for Gunze Sangyo Mr. Color paints. 

This is quite an impressive kit, which out of the box, will build into an equally impressive model. The scale of this model will allow some modelers to go absolutely mad with additional superdetailing. While the kit does come with some photoetch parts, both White Ensign Models and Tom's Modelworks are developing a brass detail set for this kit, which will include their own versions of some of the parts included with the kit's brass as well as parts omitted, like the radars. My recommendation is to get one if you have the space to display it. My thanks to Nauticus Models for providing this review sample.

Click on thumbnail for a full-size picture