Russian Akula Class Submarine
The Russian Navy has 14 Bars Class project 971 submarines known in the West as the Akula Class nuclear-powered submarines (SSN). A number of Russian Akula class submarines are deployed in the Pacific region. The submarines were built by the Amur Shipbuilding Plant Joint Stock Company at Komsomolsk-on-Amur and by Sevmash at the Severodvinsk shipbuilding yard. Seven Akula I submarines were commissioned between 1986 and 1992, and three Improved Akula between 1992 and 1995. The improved Akula I and Akula II are also designated as Project 971U and Project 971A respectively.
The Akula Class submarine was deployed for the first time in 1986 by the Soviet Navy. Three Akula II submarines, with hull length extended by 4m and advanced machinery-quietening technology, have been built. The first, Viper, was commissioned in 1995, the second, Nerpa, in December 2000 and the third, Gepard, in August 2001. The Akula II submarines are 110m long and displace up to 12,770t. They have a maximum speed of 35kt submerged and a maximum diving depth of 600m. The oldest submarine, Akula I, is likely to be removed from service by 2015, while the Gepard Akula II is expected be withdrawn from service by 2025.
Construction of Akula II began in 1991, but it was suspended for a period of ten years due to lack of funds. So far only three Akula II submarines, with advanced machinery-quietening technology, have been built.
The Indian Navy signed an agreement with Russia to lease a new Akula II submarine, the SSN Nerpa, for ten years. The vessel was completed at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur shipyard and commissioned to the Russian Navy in December 2009. The submarine, renamed INS Chakra was recommissioned by the Indian Navy in April 2012. Initially, the Akula II submarine was scheduled to be delivered to India in August 2007. However, the induction was postponed to 2009 due to recurred delays caused by the installation of new systems and technologies on Nepra and due to an attack on the latest series of Schucka-B or Akula-II Class Russian-built submarines. Delivery was further delayed due to a fatal gas leak causing the deaths of 20 crew members during sea trials in November 2008.
The model comes in a very attractive top opening box with an artists impression of the one of the class under way on the surface. Inside there are the two hull halves, split horizontally at the waterline with the sail moulded into the upper half. The curves of the sail are very well done and looks pretty accurate for shape. The moulding is very nice on each half, but as with other submarine releases from HobbyBoss a lot of the detail is a little too fine and could be obliterated by too thick a coat of paint. The rest of the model is contained on a single sprue of grey styrene and a small etch sheet. The styrene sprue contains the diveplanes, rudders and various periscopes/ sensor masts.
Construction starts with the joining of the two halves, after which the forward diveplanes and sensors just foreword of the sail are attached. On the review sample there is a slight bowing of the upper hull but it should take much to get the mating surfaces to adhere correct with just some masking tape. The teardrop shaped variable depth sonar housing on top of the upper rudder is in two halves, when assembled the rudder can be attached and the whole item fixed to the rear hull, followed by the rear diveplanes and lower rudder. The two strakes on the underside of the hull just aft of the sail position are also made up of two halves. The modeller has the option of using the injection moulded propeller or the etched version also supplied. This will have to be careful shaped to give the scimitar blades some resemblance of the real thing. After fitting the propeller boss can be attached.
The etched brass sheet contains the nameplate, screen for the sail command position and doors covering each of the mast silos.
The decal sheet is very nicely printed and in good register. Decals are supplied for the depth markers, hatch and hull markings, but not the emergency hatch marking which will have to be painted.
This is another very nice submarine kit from HobbyBoss and whilst simple the art of these is in the painting. It will certainly build up into a sleek and yet quite menacing looking submarine. The way the hull is split will allow easy use in a seascape. Highly recommended.
Review sample courtesy of