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 533 mm 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 only four now serving with the Russian Navy. Two other ships were completed and sold to China mostly using parts from some of the original ships. Two ships were canceled before construction was begun.
Dragon has released this Sovremenny Class Destroyer in a new
and improved version. The original ship was produced by Skywave
as the Sovremenny and
Boevoy until the
molds were sold to Dragon. Not content to simply reissue the same
old kit, Dragon designed a lower hull option for the kit. This kit
was available until just recently when it was again upgraded, this time
with photo etch to further enhance some of the kits finer features.
|HULL (Sprue A)|
|The kit is molded in the waterline style with a separate lower hull or flat bottom. Most of the superstructure is molded on with a separate bow insert. Due to the limitations of injection molding, the superstructures sides are molded as separate parts. This allows for much more detail, but a few more seams to fill. The one thing that I don't like is the raised helo deck markings molded on the deck, these are an aid if you are painting these markings on, but not if you use the included decals.||Click
|WEAPONS SPRUE (Sprue B)|
|A complete weapons sprue is included with an assortment of Soviet Naval weapon. You wont need them all, but it is nice to have a few extras. The main guns are nicely molded with clean sharp lines. The Helo is nicely molded with deeply recessed windows and some nice surface detail. The propellers are even thin enough to use, but that won't be necessary since they are also provided in photo etch.|
|LOWER HULL (Sprue D)|
|A full lower hull and running gear distinguish this kit from the earlier Skywave kit. A stand and nameplate is also included to mount your ship. Like the other parts, these are well molded. I prefer the waterline option myself, but it is great to have a choice. Many modelers like to show off the graceful lines of the Sovremennys hull, so now that is possible. There are even some new superstructure components for the 965E variant.|
|The big plus in this kit is this stainless steel photo etch fret. This one is relief etches to help the detail to stand out and give it a more 3D appearance. You get railings and radar's as well as some really nice lattice towers to replace the plastic ones supplied in the kit. Another nice item is the helicopter blades. These have some nicely etched blades. The railings are pre-cut to fit the hull so you don't have to measure and fit them.|
|The decals in this set are very good as well. They are produced for Dragon by Cartograf of Italy. They are sharp and well registered and are precut to size with a minimum of excess carrier film. There are hull numbers for most of the Soviet ships and both of the Chinese PLAN ships. Helo deck markings are provided and even some red stars for the Helos.|
|The instructions are an 8 page booklet showing the assembly
in a step by step process that is easy to follow. Very thorough and well
illustrated. These have been further upgraded over the previous version
of this kit with photo etch alternative parts locations noted. The previous
kit had only two pages, Dragon has greatly expanded upon those by
illustrating all the possible subassembly steps.
|I have heard of fit problems with this kit, but I have one partially built kit, and I can say that the fit is very good. I did not find any problems at all with the fit.|
|I have included some views of that kit with no filler yet
applied. You can see for yourself how tight the fit is. This is clearly
a well engineered kit, that doesn't settle for the limitations of plastic
injection molding. Rather than settle for those limits, this kit exploits
them for good measure.
|Dragon USA lists this kit with an MSRP of $21.95 US. A great price, especially when you consider the extras. Dragon has taken a good kit and made it even better. I am pleased to see Dragon, bringing these old kits up to today's standards. Not only are they releasing brand new kits, but they are upgrading many already nice kits to even higher standards.. Dragon is clearly out to be the leader in the 1/700 waterline world.|