After spending the best part of a twenty year career studying the Soviet Navy, I still find Russian and Soviet naval subjects very interesting. One of the best designs produced by the Soviets at the tail end of the cold war was the Sovremennyy Class DDG. This class of 20 ships was optimized for the anti-surface mission.
Having served a tour of duty on a Spruance Class DD I can tell you they were everything we weren’t. First, the Soviets believed in being able to see in the dark. The Sovremennyy’s are equipped with four different visual systems that could help them see at night and in bad weather, SQUEEZE BOX, WATCH BOX, TALL VIEW, and the camera in the HAWK SCREECH fire control radar. We had hand-held binoculars and the "big eyes" pedestal-mounted binoculars. The Sovremennyy’s AK-132 is superior by every measure to the US MK 45 5"/54 cal gun. It has a much higher rate of fire that can be sustained due to its water cooled barrels. The AK-132 also has thrice redundant fire control, something the US has never spent the money on.`
The primary weapons system on the Sovremennyy is the 3M80 Moskit (SS-N-22 SUNBURN) missile. Each Sovremennyy is equipped with eight missiles in two quad launchers. When compared to the US Navy’s standard anti-surface weapon, the Harpoon, the Moskit wins in every category. It is faster (Mack 2+), has a longer range, and is extremely hard to react to and kill.
Trumpeter’s 1:350 kit of the Sovremennyy DDG sets a new standard for this scale. The level of detail is astounding. The kit consists of a three-piece hull, seven spues of parts, a fret of photo-etch parts, decals, and instructions. The level of detail for the small parts is the best I have ever seen for a 1:350 scale model. I think Trumpeter panto-graphed down many of the parts from their 1:200 Sovremennyy kit. I recognize several features from the 1:200 scale version in its little brother. This is not to detract from the kit. I was surprised that Trumpeter was able to cast some of the smaller parts in the reduced 1:350 version. This required a very high level of pressure during the injection process, yet I did not find any flash anywhere in the kit. The decals the kit comes with are nice. In all 13 of the 18 Russian ships are represented. Hull numbers, pennants, flags, and the flight deck markings are included as well.
Now for the down side. Most, if not all, of the errors on its big brother are present in the 1:350 version. These are relatively minor, and are mostly errors of omission. The biggest boo-boo is the refueling rig on the kingpost amidships. It as absent. Like the larger version, the kit has a simple kingpost with none of the refueling rig that is on the actual ship. Unlike the larger version, this kit has no railings at all. A photo-etch set will have to be produced. The same parts in the larger kit that would be better done in a photo-etch set would likewise be better suited as a photo-etch set of parts in the smaller kit.
Overall, this is the best kit available in 1:350. I highly recommend it to fans of Russian naval design and anyone who appreciates building a really fine kit.