USN Benjamin Franklin Class SSBN
SSBN-641 USS Simon Bolivar

1/350th scale model kit
By Blue Water Navy

In-box review by: John Sheridan

The Ship:

Keel laid down by Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co., Newport News, VA, 17APR63;
Launched: 22AUG64; Sponsored by Mrs. Thomas C. Mann;
Commissioned: 29Oct65 with Cdr Charles H. Griffiths [B], Cdr Charles A. Orem [G] in command;
Decommissioned and struck from the Navy List 1OCT94;
Disposed of through SRP at PSNS 8FEB95.

In March 1966 the USS SIMON BOLIVAR (SSBN-641) joined SubRon18 homeported in Charleston, SC and commenced making Polaris deterrent patrols. SIMON BOLIVAR returned to Newport News Shipbuilding in February 1971 for overhaul and conversion to C-3 Poseidon missile capability. With overhaul completed in May 1972 SIMON BOLIVAR resumed making deterrent patrols as a member of SubRon16 from Rota, Spain.

In October 1974 SIMON BOLIVAR returned to Charleston and SubRon18. The ship was awarded the Battle "E" for fiscal 1974 and also awarded the Providence Plantation Award for most outstanding FBM in the Atlantic fleet. SIMON BOLIVAR was also awarded the Battle "E" for 1975 and 1976. In February 1979, following her 40th patrol, SIMON BOLIVAR entered  Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, ME for overhaul and conversion to C-4 Trident missiles. Upon completion of overhaul SIMON BOLIVAR returned to her homeport of Charleston in January of 1981. She continued to make patrols  while being refit from Kings Bay, GA and was awarded the Battle "E" for  fiscal 1982. SIMON BOLIVAR did a Trident test shoot in the summer of 1983.

SIMON BOLIVAR was decommissioned and struck from the Navy List 1 OCT 94 and subsequently disposed of through SRP at PSNS 8 February 1995.

Benjamin Franklin Class SSBN Data

7325 tons (surf.), 8251 tons (submerged)

Max Speed
16 kts (surface) 21 kts (submerged)
Length 425 feet
Crew 14 officers 126 Enlisted
33 feet 
Test Depth 700 feet
Power Plant   

S5W Pressurized Water Nuclear Reactor,
2 geared turbines at 15,000 shp to one shaft 

Armament 16 tubes for Polaris A3
4 Torpedo Tubes

Recommended Reading

subbookcover3.jpg (497739 bytes)

subbookcover1.jpg (602347 bytes)

subbookcover2.jpg (481702 bytes)

The Kit:

The 1:350th scale Blue Water Navy kit of the SSBN-641 USS Simon Bolivar is a multimedia kit consisting of Resin, White Metal, and Photo-etched parts. 

The resin parts consist of the hull which a solid one-piece chunk of resin with all the detail cast in. Hatches, access-ports, and other openings are scribed into the hull. The hull has a large casting plug on the keel that will have to be removed and sanded smooth. The dive planes and scopes  are made of White Metal and require a light sanding to fit in their place. Several choices of propellers are offered in photoetch brass. The propeller you use is determined by the time period you wish to display the model.  The instruction sheet is a one-page two-sided affair that clearly shows where the parts go. A decal sheet with hull numbers, pennants, and rescue markings round out this kit. 


This is a great kit for a person who is looking for a simple, yet very detailed resin kit to build. Those who have never built a resin kit would find this kit to be an excellent first-time kit to build. I would highly recommend this, or any other Blue Water Navy submarine kit to anyone

ssbn641_side.jpg (100246 bytes) ssbn641_top.jpg (53239 bytes) ssbn641_whitemetal.jpg (18400 bytes) Usn_ssn_fret.jpg (36536 bytes)