Akula Class Attack Submarine

Published: January 17th, 2014     
Product Image
Box Top Artwork
Reviewed by: Dave Koukol - IPMS# 46287
Scale: 1/350
Company: Hobby Boss
Price: $26.99
Product / Stock #: 83525
Product provided by: Squadron

Background

Code-named "Akula" by NATO and Project 971 Shchuka-B (Shchuka-B, 'Shchuka' meaning pike) by the Russian Navy, this nuclear-powered attack submarine was first deployed by the Soviet Navy in 1986. In all, 15 Akula class attack boats have been built, spanning 4 distinct subclasses, with the original 7 commissioned between 1984 and 1990, six upgraded boats between 1991 and 2009, and one-each offshoots in 1995 and 2001 respectively.

The Kit

Hobby Boss launches another winning submarine kit in the form of the Russian Akula Class Attack Sub. Measuring about 12-1/2 inches long, its 2-piece full hull exhibits fine engraved surface features and an integral faired sail. The single sprue of crisply-molded parts includes periscopes and antennae, dive planes, rudder, towed sonar array housing, hull-mounted sensors, and stand parts -- over 50 plastic parts in all. The PE set features parts to enable building of surfaced (open bridge and raised periscopes, snorkel and masts) or submerged (with all protrusions retracted) configurations, stand nameplate and optional screw blades. A sheet of decals is provided for a single boat, and includes waterline stripe and draft marks.

The Build

By now, my youngest son is the self-proclaimed "World's Largest Hobby Boss Sub Fan." That said, he was insistent on putting his hand and heart into this review. Having already built several of Hobby Boss' earlier subs with great success and to great acclaim, Camden (8) had the box out of my hands and on the bench within minutes of me snapping the contents pictures.

Only a few minutes more elapsed before he had the hull halves together and rudders, towed sonar array, and dive planes going onto the hull. Upon letting the Tamiya Extra Thin Cement cure during his sandwich and milk break, Camden then promptly tackled the finer detail with some of the "fiddly bit" sensors and other protrusions from the hull with dad's coaching and trimming with the sharp hobby knife. A while later, and with courage mustered, the lad tried his hand at PE for the first time. Skeptical of his abilities at first, he quickly learned how to hold and bend the bridge shield with tweezers, and to gently place and align the pesky little periscope and antennae doors atop the sail - with dad's coaching, of course. By this time, we both needed a break, as degree of tedium and an 8-year old's attention span (along with Dad's patience) are inversely proportional.

Painting and Finishing

Following some Wii for Junior and chores for Dad, we re-engaged the Russian attack boat armed with a can of Krylon White Indoor/Outdoor primer with the objective of providing an undercoat before masking with pinstriping tape to create the waterline stripe (Dad knew the skinny waterline decals would be a stretch for the lad). True to its claim, the Krylon was dry in minutes, but we waited a good hour before masking. Following some hands-on training in masking over compound curves, Camden laid down a couple light coats of Wal-Mart flat black spray paint over the upper 2/3 of the hull. After some errands, and an hour later, we were masking over the black to create our black/hull red demarcation line, followed by a couple of passes of Wal-Mart Red Oxide spray paint on the sub's underside. After a break for supper, we masked over the red and applied an acrylic gloss over the black to facilitate decal application.

Allowing the acrylic gloss some extra time to cure, we set the boat aside for a couple of days to pursue other modeling and household projects, then came back to apply the decals, which went on well using the MicroScale system. Once fully set, we applied a couple of coats of 50/50 Future/Model Master Acryl Flat Clear using the airbrush, then removed the tape from the lower hull and installed the periscopes, antennae, and prop.

Conclusion and Recommendation

As the Akula sat on his bench, it was evident that Camden was very pleased with his effort, as was Dad. Another Hobby Boss sub ready to join his fleet with a maiden voyage scheduled to Blizcon 2014!

Unsurprisingly, we both HIGHLY RECOMMEND this kit for modelers of all skill levels, although we recommend juniors or beginners either skip the PE or enlist some experienced help. For a kid, the model fits the attention span and captures the imagination. For the adult, it's a great chance to introduce the hobby, advance a young modeler's skills, or to just enjoy an easy build for themselves.

Thanks to Squadron for the review sample and to IPMS/USA to for the opportunity to share the experience with our fellow modelers.

  • Instructions and Painting Guide
    Instructions and Painting Guide
  • Decal Sheet
    Decal Sheet
  • PE Fret
    PE Fret
  • Main Sprue & Stand
    Main Sprue & Stand
  • Hull Halves
    Hull Halves
  • Sail Detail
    Sail Detail
  • Basic Construction Complete
    Basic Construction Complete
  • PE Parts Installed
    PE Parts Installed
  • Finished Model Port Side
    Finished Model Port Side
  • Finished Model Aft Side
    Finished Model Aft Side
  • Finished Model Starboard Side
    Finished Model Starboard Side

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