Soviet Submarine Project 705K Lira (NATO Name Alfa)

Published: March 26th, 2020     
Product Image
Box Top
Reviewed by: Scott Hollingshead - IPMS# 34786
Scale: 1/700
Company: OKB Grigorov
Price: $22.27
Product / Stock #: 700 07
Product provided by: OKB Grigorov

Developed following the concept of a titanium-hulled design first seen in K-162, Project 705, or the Lira class, was a small, streamlined double hull design which was built to operate at depths in excess of 2200 feet, and allegedly deeper than 3600 feet. The submarines of this class (seven in all) were 265 feet-9inches in length, 31 feet at the beam, and had a draught of 26 feet-3inches. The liquid metal reactor and two steam turbines could propel the boat at a speed of 20 knots surfaced, or 42 knots submerged. The weapon options included a loading of up to 18 torpedoes or 21 missiles or 36 mines, and the crew compliment was a mere 31 sailors. In addition to the main screw for propulsion, two small propellers were also present for emergency operations as well as slow, quiet maneuvering.

A fairly recent addition to the IPMS Review Corps suppliers is OKB Grigorov, which started business in 2003 in the European Union. This kit is a simple affair consisting of a hull, two control surfaces, three propeller tips and a base that are all cast in gray resin along with the three propellers and two dive planes on a small photoetched fret. Inside the box, the hull was separately wrapped in a foam sheet, and it and the other contents were enclosed in bubble wrap.

Construction was quick, as one would expect with the limited number of parts. For 1/700 scale, the propellers look close to photos I found online of the real ones. I went with the an all black paint scheme for the submarine and used Badger Stynylrez black primer with a little gray primer added, which worked beautifully. I painted the propellers with Tamiya Titanium Gold, which looked close to what I found in online photos.

As far as my hits are concerned, the moldings are nice and crisp, and the ease of construction make this something that modelers with limited experience with resin can build without too much difficulty. The brass propellers look convincing and were easy to set the blade angles to more closely match those used on the submarine. The solid resin base provides some heft that will keep the finished model from being tipped over when on display.

My only real miss for this release is that I would have liked a small decal sheet for the hull markings and perhaps something for the base. I used Blue Tack to join the submarine to the base, just in case I want or need to remove the boat at some point. The top of the sail has the openings for the various masts closed, so no snorkel, periscope, or other appendages are included, but I have found those to be damaged easily in this scale when dusting the models.

Overall, I would highly recommend this kit to modelers wanting to add this historic submarine to their 1/700 scale collection. Most modelers will have little difficulty assembling the kit, and construction could be as simple as adding the propellers if the forward dive planes were in the stowed position.

I would like to thank the folks at OKB Grigorov for providing this kit to the IPMS-USA Review Corps for assessment, and to Phil Peterson for leading the Review Corps, and allowing me to perform this review. I would also send out kudos to all of the folks behind the scenes at the Review Corps who help Phil with his efforts, and as always, my sincere appreciation goes out to all the folks who take the time to read my comments.

  • Kit contents
    Kit contents
  • Assembled kit
    Assembled kit
  • Right side
    Right side
  • Stern detail
    Stern detail
  • Left side on base
    Left side on base

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Alfa class (Lira Project 705

One comment. In his research in Russia and as published in the subsequent book "Cold War Submarines", Norman Polmar discovered that the diving depth of the Project 705 submarines was 400 meters (1300 ft.). The use of titanium was due to weight considerations, not to increase diving depth. The small 705 subs used the strong but lighter titanium in place of steel to preserve reserve buoyancy margins. The Alfa's were fast (41 (kts.) but we're quite noisy at high speed, although probably more difficult to detect at lower speeds. Two (K-64 & K-123) suffered serious leaks of the liquid metal (lead bismuth) primary coolant in their reactors. The liquid metal coolant would solidify at normal temperatures, and had to be kept liquid at pierside by either auxiliary steam systems or running the reactor at minimum output. Certainly an interesting concept in submarine design, but fraught with technical problems

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