The Soviet Union built a great many Project 1124 "Albatros" small antisubmarine ships. Designed to operate in pairs the class was built in five series. When the type first appeared it was given the NATO Code name Grisha. The initial series was identified as Project 1124 without any letter suffix. Subsequent series were given a letter suffix after the number in order to identify the particular series in which the ship belonged. So far Combrig has produced kits for the first two series produced by the Soviet Union. (Click for photographic review of the Combrig Project 1124, "Grisha I")
The next series was designed specifically for service with the KGB. The Committee of State Security (KGB) called itself the sword and shield of the Communist Party. Espionage was only one part of its duties. The KGB was also responsible for boarder security for the largest country in the world. Not only did this mean boarder guards on land, but also security for the sea frontiers of the Soviet Union. To this end the KGB received 17 Project 1124P "Grisha II" class ships. They were given the mission of Boarder Patrol Ships (PSKR) as part of the Maritime Boarder Service. All were built at Zelenodolsk between 1973 to 1976.
The Project 1124P "Grisha II" vessels are readily differentiated from the other series of the class by their armament. Instead of having one twin 57mm gun mount aft and a SA-N-4 antiaircraft missile mount forward, the Grisha II deleted the SA system and added a second twin 57mm gun mount forward. This of course, doubled their gun armament for their coastal patrol duties at the expense of minimum AA capabilities. Another interesting aspect of the KGB ships was that they all received names, most of which were traditional Russian warship names. Most of the other series’ ships received only numbers.
With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the class (1124P) were transferred to the Federal Boarder Guard (Naval Forces of the Federal Boarder Guard Services). The new service was assigned the following missions: 1. Defend Russia’s boarder. 2. Defend Russia’s Economic Exclusion Zone (EEZ). 3. Provide fisheries protection service. 4. Provide protection for the resources of the far North and the Russian continental shelf. The service still continues to evolve to pick up missions similar to the USCG. Officers are trained in the Russian Naval academies and most enlisted men are conscripts. In wartime the service would fall under control of the Russian Navy.
As of 2001, six of the seventeen Project 1124P ships were still employed with the Boarder Service. They were Korund, Malakhit, Nadezhnyy, Predaniy, Premernyy and Provorniy. Sapfir was lost in a storm in 1987. Izumrud & Zhemchug in the Black Sea and Rubin in the Baltic were stricken on January 31, 1991. Izmail and Dnepr were transferred to the Ukraine in April 1994. Reshitelnyy was scrapped in Turkey in April 1999. (History from Combat Fleets of the World 2000-2001 and Warships of the USSR and Russia 1945-1995 by A.S. Pavlov.)
Combrig now has the first two series of the Grishas available in 1:700 scale. The Izumrud, Project 1124P, offers the opportunity of building a model of a ship that served with the KGB or if modeled as the Izmail or Dnepr warships that served with the new Ukrainian Navy. Either way, it will make a unique and very different addition to any modeler’s 1:700 scale fleet.