Zeus, seated on his throne on Olympus, could not have been faster in casting a thunderbolt to his supplicants below, than was Peter Zeus Hall with his brass bolt of the Kirov Class Cruisers brass photo-etch fret. This fret is the latest brass photo-etch product from White Ensign Models and is designated WEM PE 751.

Last month and this month, many of the discussions on the message board concerned the new releases of Kirov Class missile cruisers (RKR) in plastic from Dragon and Trumpeter. Which brand and ship to get? No matter which one you purchased, you still had one insurmountable problem, no photo-etch. The kits were so new that whichever kit you bought, you would have to settle for plastic radar parts that looked like slabs of bacon, rather than delicate arrays.

Dragon or Trumpeter, it doesn’t matter to Mad Pete. Kirov or Admiral Ushakov, Ushakov or Pyotr Veliky, Kalinin, Yuri Andropov, Admiral Nakhimov or Frunze, none of this mattered to Mad Pete. Totally absorbed in his own world, he was determined to cover all possibilities with this fret. Further, he has clearly achieved his mission end state. This fret covers the brass parts needed for any 1:700 scale model of any of the four ships of the Kirov Class and amazingly, it is available only a very short time after the release of the kits.

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No need to consult Ares about this fret, one look shows you that it has all necessary parts to put the Kirovs on a wartime footing. This 8-Inch by 3-Inch fret is roughly divided into half for railing, one quarter for sensor arrays and one quarter for other ship’s fittings. However, it is the sensor arrays that steal the show. White Ensign Models has been producing outstanding brass photo-etched products for ages and yet did not have any that concerned 1:700 scale models of Soviet/Modern Russian warships. Earlier this year WEM had stated that Peter Hephastus Hall was hammering out a fret for Soviet radars but later WEM stated that frets would address specific ship models, rather than be a generic fret. Crouching over his forge of molten metal, Peter prepared this release with incredible speed, which was undoubtedly significantly increased by the prior research Pete had conducted earlier.

Top Pair, Top Steer & Top Plate
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With the sensor arrays provided by the WEM Kirov Class fret, Poseidon himself will be envious of any of the Kirovs equipped with WEM PE 751. When any particular radar is mentioned, it includes all of the necessary supports as well as the array itself. The three largest arrays are the Top Pair, Top Steer and Top Plate. Top Pair (MR-800 Flag or Voskhod) is the three-dimensional C-F band long-range search radar. This assembly consists with back to back Top Sail and Big Net radars with a range of 500 km (300 miles). WEM has replicated this in five pieces on this fret. Top Steer (MR-700 Fregat) is a S band three-dimensional long range search radar used as a backup for the Top Pair and is represented with six brass parts on the fret. Top Plate (MR-750 Fregat-MA) is an E band phased array three dimensional radar with back to back arrays, represented with four parts in the fret. 

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You will use two of these three arrays, with the exact composition to be determined by the specific ship being modeled. Top Pair and Top Steer are on Kirov (Admiral Ushakov) and Frunze (Admiral Lazarev) while Top Pair and Top Plate are used on the Kalinin (Admiral Nakhimov) and Yuri Andropov (Pyotr Veliky). The last three ships, all except Kirov/Admiral Ushakov, carried a number of Strut Pair (MR-320M Topaz) S band, back to back Strut Curve radars mounted on the forward tower. Those of course are also included by WEM.

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The differences among the ships, especially the Kirov and the following three cruisers, are not limited to the sensor arrays carried. There are significant variations in the fittings of the forward tower/mack, aft superstructure and bridge. White Ensign Models clearly lays out the differences per ship and provides all the necessary parts for any variation. There is plenty of lattice-work to go around with forward antenna gantry, comms antennae, walkways, struts, supports, V tube lattice mast, footbars, platforms, crane rigging, flight deck safety net and an assortment of other detailed ship’s fittings for the Kirovs. Additionally WEM provides new rotors (folded and extended) and tail fins for replacement of the thick plastic parts of the KA-27 helicopters. With all of these parts, some are replacements for the thick plastic parts provided in the kits and the others are additional parts to replicate fittings not found in the kits.

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To super detail your Kirov Class cruiser, you’ll need the railing provided by WEM. The Kirov and her sisters are big ships and need a generous supply of railing to adequately model them. WEM PE 751 gives it to you with 13 long runs of railing in three different styles, four runs of 4-bar railing, five runs of 3-bar railing and four runs of 2-bar railing. WEM also provides tailored bow railing for the kit, as well as smaller runs of railing for a specific platform. A copious amount of vertical ladder as well as five inclined ladders round out the fret.

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Athena could not provide more information to use this fret and assemble the components. The four pages of instructions have modules that zero in on the specific differences among the ships. As usual with White Ensign Models, everything is readily identified in the instructions by text, number and drawing. Just go through the photographs of the WEM instructions to see the comprehensive nature of the instructions. 

Brass vs Plastic Parts Comparison
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There is no need to ask the Oracle of Delphi about the White Ensign Models WEM PE-751. It contains all of the exactingly created brass detailed parts for any of the 1:700 scale plastic kits that have been released of the largest of the Rocket Cruisers. As such, it is a must for any modeler who wishes to go "Beyond the Box" in modeling these unique and very dramatic warships.

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