Samek 1/700 Resin Soviet Flotilla Leader Tashkent
By Bob Pearson
Arguably the most handsome ship of the Second World War, the Italian designed and built Tashkent was to have a short, but exciting life. Although the communist Soviet Union had fundamental differences to the fascist Italy, this did not stop either side from conducting business with one another, and many ships were to be the result of this partnership - including the subject of this review, the flotilla leader Tashkent.
During the First world War, Russia had moderate success with its (for the time) large destroyer Novik. When the Soviet navy began to rebuild, they therefore decided to build large destroyers, aka Flotilla Leaders. The first design, the Leningrad class were an unsuccessful design being poor sea-boats and also suffered from technical difficulties which resulted in their being employed in second-line duties when war came. The next design was to be both designed and built in Italy - this was the Tashkent. Laid down in 1937, the Tashkent was launched on 21 November 1937 and commissioned into the Soviet Navy in May 1939.
As built, Tashkent carried three single 5.1" guns in single mountings, but these were soon replaced by twin mounts. Additional weapons included: six 45mm AA, eight 20mm AA, six 21" torpedo tubes and up to 80 mines. This was on a displacement of 2,893 tons (3,200 tons fully loaded) with dimensions of 458' OA and a beam of 45'. On trials (and with no armament carried), Tashkent allegedly reached 44.2 knots.
During the 'Great Patriotic War', Tashkent was mainly employed as a fast transport, making over 40 round trips to Sevastopol; he (Soviet ships are 'he') also conducted numerous fire-support missions, carried 19,300 passengers and 2,538,000 kg of freight. On June 28 1942 he was bombed by German aircraft and managed to reach the port of Novorossisk where he succumbed to another raid on 2 July 1942. The wreck was partially scrapped by the Germans after they captured the port. When the Soviets retook Novorossisk they salvaged two of the 5.1" turrets and used them on the new destroyer Ognyevoi.
Models of Soviet ships of the Second World War are few and far between, therefore I was excited to see this kit in a listing of Samek models. Samek is a Czech company that produces an extensive line of resin Second World War ships that most other companies seem to avoid.
The kit comes packaged in a sturdy box (which, when turned over and painted, will make a nice display base) with a most attractive colour illustration of the subject. Opening the box revealed it to be securely held in place by crumpled newsprint, with all parts in individual bags. All parts are nicely molded from a tan coloured resin with no evidence of air-bubbles in my sample. There is flash to all parts that will require cleanup. The forward superstructure in particular will require a careful touch here as the bottom has an excess of material.
The hull is well done with basic details molded in. What I assume to be hatches are shown as large projections these could be removed and replaced by suitable PE from one of the aftermarket suppliers.
Moving on to the various platforms, Samek is to be congratulated on how finely they have molded the splinter shields around these items.
All weapons will require work of some sort. The 5.1" turrets will need barrels cut from length of round stock (which is supplied), while the secondary armament is portrayed in this kit by a smaller diameter of stock on a pedestal. I would recommend replacing these with suitable accessories from one of the Skywave detail sets. The ships boats also fall into this category. They all are slab-sided and flat-bottomed. Either reshape to the correct profile, or replace with suitable spares from the scrap box.
The instructions are in English, and include a history of the ship (partially used in this review), two view General Arrangement drawing, step by step sequence of construction, and an exploded view of all the parts.
In three words I like it. The Tashkent, with addition of some PE rails, replacement of the secondary weapons and small boats will make an interesting addition to my collection of Second World War destroyers (now numbering 15 in various stages of construction).
I acquired this kit through Lubos Vinar at VAMP MAIL ORDER. He doesn't have it listed on the VAMP website, but he can supply them to those interested in them. He does mention that it may take a little while as he must special order them.
Type VII Destroyer