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USS Daniel Webster Mikro Mir 1:350 The contract to build Daniel Webster was awarded to the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in Groton, Connecticut, on 3 February 1961 and her keel was laid down there on 28 December 1961. She was launched on 27 April 1963, sponsored by Mrs. W. Osborn Goodrich, Jr., and commissioned on 9 April 1964, with Commander Marvin S. Blair in command of the Blue Crew and Commander Lloyd S. Smith in command of the Gold Crew. Webster was originally built with diving planes mounted on a "mini-sail" near the bow, leading to her nickname "Old Funny Fins". This configuration, unique to US submarines, was an attempt to reduce the effect of porpoising. While successful, the "mini-sail" required to contain the operating mechanism reduced hydrodynamic efficiency and lowered her overall speed. During a mid-1970s overhaul, these unusual planes were removed and standard fairwater planes were installed. She was decommissioned on 30 August 1990 and struck from the Naval Vessel Register the same day. She was converted to a moored training ship (S5W Prototype facility) by the Charleston Naval Shipyard at Charleston, South Carolina. Upon completion and designated MTS-626, she was towed up-river to her permanent berth at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit Charleston. The Model This kit has been out a little while now but this is our first look at it. The kit comes in the familiar coloured top opening box, inside of which the kit parts are safely held in a poly bag. Considering the size of the completed model, there are very few parts, making it a great kit to start with if you thinking of making a selection of submarine models. The grey styrene is not as soft as some short run kits I’ve come across and the moulded details, such as the silo doors, are very nicely moulded. The two hull halves are cut vertically rather than the standard horizontal seen in most other kits. This makes the modelling of a waterline diorama so much easier. If making the model as full hull the two halves are glued together and the join line filled and sanded as necessary. The single piece silo section is then glued to the upper hull, followed by the four part sail assembly, consisting of two sail halves, clear screen for the front of the sail, sail top and internal floor, being attached to the forward end of the silo section. The sail is provided with three periscopes which are fitted to the top of the sail. The forward sail, which was a distinctive feature of this boat is made up from two halves and is fitted with the two forward dive planes, before being attached to the bow. The upper and lower rudders and the aft dive planes are then attached to the rear of the hull, followed by the etched propeller. With the boss in place, the blades must be twisted carefully to shape, which is shown in the instructions, but you might get better results by finding a photograph of them on the internet or your library. Decals The small decal sheet provides the boats ID number, fitted to the fin, its name plate, fitted to the aft section of the missile silos, depth markings and escape hatch and bollard markings. The decals look suitable opaque and in register with very little in the way of carrier film. But still best use on a glossy base. Conclusion As with the other boats released in this scale, this is great looking kit and even though it’s short run, it does build into a really nice model, as can be seen in the Ready For Inspection section on this very forum. Mikro Mir should be congratulated for releasing these esoteric boats. Review sample courtesy of