AMP 1/350 Shch-303 Submarine
In 1930, the Soviet Union began the process of developing a viable submarine force. The first submarine under this new proposal was the Type Shch Class, of which there were four series. The Shch-100 series were for the Pacific Fleet, the -200 for the Black Sea Fleet, the -300 for the Baltic Fleet, and the -400 for the Northern Fleet. The Shch Class was the second most numerous Soviet submarine during the Second World War, with over 80 built. Designed for littoral operations, the Shch Class saw extensive operations in the Baltic Fleet, with around 35 lost on all fronts.
Most of the survivors were scrapped by the mid-1950s, although two Shch Class submarines went to China along with two S Class submarines, forming the beginning of a submarine branch of the Chinese Navy.
This is the first injection-molded kit that I know of for the Shch Class Series III submarine. Molded in a light gray plastic, with details provided on a small fret of photoetch, the kit has recessed detailing. A decal sheet provides the minimalist markings found on these subs.
Construction is fairly simple, but will require some careful planning and cleanup. The main hull is made up from three pieces: two main side pieces and the upper decking. This upper decking is narrow, with an overhang where the sail goes, making it a bit tricky to hold it all together. I would recommend adding a couple of small spaces between the two main hull pieces to keep the proper spacing, and add strength while fitting the upper decking. This decking piece is probably going to be the most problematic with regards to fit and taking time with it will reduce the amount of filler needed.
The sail is also made up from three main pieces: two sides and a deck piece. The sail on the Shch Class submarines is an interesting layout, with the deck gun on an elevated platform in front of the main sail. This is all part of the deck piece, requiring it to be carefully sandwiched between the two sail sides. Two periscope pieces complete the sail assembly, and aside from some slight thinning of the sail edges, there won't be much to do here.
The remaining assembly is with the small details. The lower fin/rudder is separate, as are the dive planes. The rear dive planes include the propeller shafts, with the propellers provided in photoetch. I would recommend twisting these slightly, and scratching up a pair of spinner caps to improve the appearance of the propellers. Other photoetch details include braces on the upper hull and sail, as well as the deck gun. The latter definitely needs to be replaced, as even in this scale, the flatness of the photoetch is very apparent.
Finishing is simple, with the lower hull painted in black and the upper hull in gray. Decals are included for the various flood vents and the access hatches on the upper deck, as well as the red crosses for the crew hatches. A bit of rigging from the bow to the stern will finish this model.
Given the recent 1/350 WW2 submarines that have come out, seeing a Soviet addition available presents a great companion piece to those of other navies. The box side indicates that we will see another Shch Class submarine soon, as well as an S Class and K Class, so we should be inundated with Soviet WW2 submarines now. The AMP 1/350 submarine kits are available from Scale Model Kits.