Trumpeter 1/700 Kuznetsov

Reviewed by Chris Banyai-Riepl

History

The Kuznetsov Class aircraft carrier was constructed at Nikolayev South Shipyard on the Black Sea in the Ukraine. The Admiral Kuznetsov was launched in 1985, and is the only aircraft carrier in the Russian Navy. The Admiral Kuznetsov supports strategic missile submarines, surface ships, and maritime missile-carrying aircraft of the Russian Fleet.

The Admiral Kuznetsov has the capacity for 16 Yak-141s, 12 Sukhoi Su-33s, and up to 24 Ka-27 helicopters. The ship also has the SS-N-19 anti-ship missile system consisting of twelve launchers, as well as the SA-N-9 SAM system, with 24 vertical launchers containing 192 missiles. Additionally, to counter submarine forces, the ship has an RBU-12000 system with 60 anti-submarine rockets.

The Kit

Trumpeter has been putting out some great naval subjects, but for the most part they have been sticking to US ships. With this release they cross over to the Russians in a dramatic way, with what I believe is the first kit of the Admiral Kuznetsov in 1/700 scale. All the quality and detail that we have seen on Trumpeter's other ship kits is present here, with over 600 pieces making up the foot and a half long model. Molded in light gray plastic, with red plastic hull pieces and clear aircraft, this kit can be built in either full-hull or waterline versions. The waterline version can be displayed on the included vacuformed water base.

The construction of this kit is fairly simple, with no real hidden areas to worry about. The instructions start out with the addition of all the extra sponsons and elevator details on the main hull. The back of the stern is separate as well, allowing for sharper detail than if it had been included with the main hull. The one piece main deck is a perfect fit onto the top of the hull, with very positive location making it nearly impossible to misalign this piece. Deck detailing includes separate life raft canisters, cranes, blast deflectors, and antennae.

Moving to the island, this is split into layers, with separate decks separating the main assemblies. Starting at the bottom, Trumpeter has done something interesting with the main island piece. Split into right and left halves, with a separate top, this piece also has a separate front and rear endcap. Falling on natural seams, these pieces both cover the main seam of the two halves and provides sharper detail than otherwise would be present. Very nice engineering, Trumpeter! The bridge is made up of five pieces, and the upper island gets similar treatment as the lower, with the flat array antennae on the fore and aft ends being separate pieces. The usual extra details such as antennae and cranes round out the detailing on the bridge, which then fits positively onto the main deck.

As this is an aircraft carrier, it just would not be complete without a complement of aircraft. Trumpeter, perhaps realizing that there are not many 1/700 Russian aircraft available, has provided a large number of planes to build up and place on the deck. All of these have separate vertical fins and separate landing gear, with the helicopters being a bit more complex. The helicopters are split into right and left fuselage halves, with a separate tail piece, landing gear, and engine nacelles. Two options for rotors are included, either folded or extended, and either option consists of two pieces. The aircraft included are the Ka-27, the Ka-29, and the Ka-31 making up the helicopter fleet (two each of those, for a total of six), six MiG-29s, six Su-25s, four Su-33s, four Su-33UBs, and six Yak-141s. As mentioned earlier, these are molded in clear, so that allows the modeler to carefully paint around the canopy for added realism.

Conclusion

This is a beautiful model of a ship that would make an excellent counterpart to the many kits of US carriers that are out there. The extensive air force included will ensure that the flight deck is appropriately busy, and the generally simple construction could make this an ideal model to break into the world of ship building. My thanks to Stevens International for the review sample.

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