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Typhoon Class Submarine. 1:350


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Typhoon Class Submarine
Mikro Mir 1:350

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Built primarily for long missions under the polar icecap, the sheer size of the Typhoon, known indigenously as the Akula Class, was simply mind blowing. She was half the length of an Nimitz class aircraft carrier and about 2/5ths its displacement. A submerged Typhoon was said to reach 48,000 tons, while its western equivalent, the almost as long Ohio Class "boomer," displaced "just" 19,000 tons.

The Typhoon's massive tonnage comes from the fact that they were basically two Delta Class submarine hulls mated together and built outward from there. They could carry 20 R-39 SLBMs, each with 10 multiple re-entry vehicle (MIRV) warheads. In other words, this submarine could rain two hundred nuclear warheads down on western cities and military installations in a single barrage. Seeing as the ship was designed with Arctic patrols in mind, she could break through the ice and fire all of her missiles while surfaced if need be. Additionally, she possessed six 533mm tubes that were capable of launching Type 53 torpedoes and SS-N-15 "Starfish" cruise missiles, although these were tertiary capabilities in comparison to her primary mission as a nuclear "second strike" deterrent.

What made the Typhoons even more threatening was that they were among the quietest vessels ever built by the USSR, and they were fast, capable of hitting around 28kts underwater. In effect, tracking these suckers was a top priority for NATO, and especially the US, and it was not that easy for America's silent service to do so. Additionally, these ships were prime targets on America's nuclear hit lists while in port as they could launch their missiles even while tied up to the dock if the orders to end the world as we knew it were ever given.

In the end just six Typhoons were built during the 1980s, and most were withdrawn from service within a decade and a half of their christening. Today a single boat, the first of her class, the Dmitriy Donskoy, is still in service, acting partially as a missile development test boat as she was updated and converted to carry the newest Russian SLBM, the RSM-56 "Bulava."

The two other remaining Typhoons that were still in Russia's reserve inventory are being scrapped as the cost of refitting and operating them is deemed too high. In their place, the more streamlined, efficient and cost effective Borei Class, although not necessarily cheaper to build, and its second generation derivative, which were designed around the RSM-56 SLBM, will solidify its grim role as Russia's primary second strike nuclear deterrent.

Interestingly enough, before the final decision was made to scrap all but one of the remaining Typhoons, the shipyard that originally built them was floating some pretty wild concepts in an attempt to see that they were refurbished and put back into active service. Some of the ideas proposed were to refit the ships as natural gas, oil and cargo transports capable of delivering large quantities of stores to Russia's most northern outposts.

The Model
This is my first look at a Mikro Mir kit in its raw state and I have to say initial impressions are pretty good. The kit comes in a colourful top opening box with what looks like an actual photograph of a Typhoon on the lid. Inside there are four hull sections, two smallish sprues and two separate parts for the fin all in a light to medium grey styrene. Also included are two small etched sheets, a tiny clear styrene sprue and a sheet of decals. On initial inspection the details are nicely moulded, but be aware that this is more like a limited run kit and as such will require a bit more fettling and fitting than a model from one of the larger mainstream manufacturers, it is not a shake and bake. This is particularly seen in the fitting of the hull sections which come in separate bow and stern sections for both upper and lower hulls. Some careful sanding will be needed to get all the parts to fit nicely, but try not to sand too much otherwise you will lose some of the moulded detail. Unfortunately the instructions are little on the small side and I found the easiest way to view them was to scan them into the computer and blow them up, certainly helps with identifying where the smaller parts go.

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The best way to construct this kit will be to glue the bow and stern sections of the upper and lower hulls before attaching the now two halves, (horizontally), together. With the hull sections glued together there are several fittings to be attached to the lower hull, these include the keel strakes, two, what I can only presume are water intakes, each consisting of two halves, the two piece rudder onto which two PE strakes are fitted per side, and two other parts, fitted aft of the water intakes, which I cannot identify.

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Turning the sub over the upper hull is fitted with the tower/fin, which is provided in two halves, is assembled, with a floor section sandwiched between them about two thirds of the way up the fin. The small brass parts that make up the antenna/periscope wells are fitted before closing up along with the clear parts that make up the front windows. The fin is then topped off with a selection of antenna poles and periscopes, and finished by fitting the PE handrails around the base. The upper rudder is of the same construction as the lower and once fitted into position two similarly unidentifiable parts to those on the underside are glued into place, followed by the two bowplanes. The two propellers are each made up of individual PE blades glued onto the styrene propeller boss, which is then completed by the fitting of four small strakes into the front of the boss. Once assembled, the two propellers can be glued into place. The two single piece sternplanes are fitted with inner and outer PE plates before being glued into position aft of the propellers which are then enclosed by upper and lower cowl sections. Finally two rounded plates are fitted to the outside of each of the aft horizontal planes, completing the build. A small stand is provided to mount the model on, or you can provide your own method of display.

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Decals
The small decal sheet provides quite a lot of markings for the submarine, mostly for the individual hatches and openings, but also for the escape/access hatches which are provided as two parts to improve the opacity of the white sections. There are also depth marks for the bow, amidships and stern plus two Russian Ensigns. Although marked MikroMir, the decals have a Bergamot feel about them which may or may not be a good thing. Once again I scanned the decal placement sheet into the computer which helped a lot in identifying where the decals go.

Conclusion
This is a very interesting kit in that it may take a little longer to put together, requiring a little more patience and care with the fit, but at the end of the day you will have a very nice, and accurate model of the imposing Typhoon class submarine. Having seen a couple of completed models they really do stand out from the crowd. Highly recommended.




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Nice review Dave - very informative.

I wonder if those 'unidentified' parts are the retractable thrusters - used for delicate maneouvering in port ??

They aren't present on the Hobby Boss kit - but I suspect that the MM kit is the more accurate.

I was going to get the MM Typhoon - but when the HB version was released, I was attracted by the missile compartments in the latter kit - so plumped for that instead.

Ken

PS - Just looked at some web pics of Typhoons - and those rectangular shapes on the upper and lower hull, just in front of the rudders are, I think, flow straighteners - or a kind of vortex generator??.

They are angled outwards - and are visible in some photos, but not in others - some maybe an upgrade???

Edited by Flankerman
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Hi Dave nice review, have to say mikromir have done their homework on the typhoon whereas sadly hobbyboss haven't, the area forward of the conning tower is correct on the mikromir but not on the hobbyboss, covered in another thread.(which was a surprise as their 1/700 typhoon is correct, go figure?

Having seen this tempted to add the mikromir model to my typhoon collection of Revell & Alanger Typhoons.

All the best Chris

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  • 1 year later...

I am in the process of assembling and cleaning up the hull pieces, and I think this kit definitely doesn't fall together by itself.

Btw, the drawing of the submarine seem to show lots of antennas in the diagram, however only four masts/antennas are found on the sprues (maybe 4-5 missing sort of).

I wish I managed to find a photo of the real bow planes on the internet (I did not), as I want to excavate the hole for the bow planes to try improve things.

I will also use some styrene to thin the two big fins seen at the rear and on the sides near the props.

Somehow, I can't find one of the tiny clear parts, so I'll (the plan is anyway to) scratch build the window frames and fill in the glass with liquid transparent plastic.

I've seen some photos of the typhoon, and I guess there are variants, as one photo show some kind of blob on top of the rear fin, not seen on the kit.

Also, I wonder what kind of plastic this is. Maybe it is just me, but I thought it smelled funny. But maybe it is just me.

In my box, there was two additional parts for the big conning tower (two loose parts), no idea why.

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