My Review and Build of Pit Road 1/350 scale Kit #JB05,
Soryu Class SSK, JS HAKURYU S-503

Last updated: Periscopes, Sensors, Decals, and Complete - September 13, 2013 <-- Click to go directly there

Introduction - The Soryu Class Diesel Electric AIP Attack Submarines:
The Japanese Maritime Self-defense force is constantly upgrading its vessels to ensure that they remain state of the art and effective. They have a very robust naval ship building industry and strive to ensure that their warships are up to date and capable. This applies equally to their sirface combatants and their submarine force.

In 2005 the JMSDF laid down the first vessel of a new class of diesel/electric submarine to be called the Soryu. This new class would be a replacement for the seven Yashio class submarines that were built in the 1980s and early 1990s, and a compliment to the eleven Oyashio class submarines built from the mid-1990s to mid-2000s. The first in class, the Soryu, was laid down in 2005, launched in December 2007, and commissioned into the JMSDF in March of 2009. Since that time, five other vessels have been launched and four of them commissioned. The JMSDF plans to build a total of nine of these vessels at two shiyards.

They are similar in size to the earlier Oyashio Class, but are eight feet longer and displace 200 tons more. They also have some very critical and distinctive improvements.

These vessels are the first Japanese submarines to have an Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) System, They are using the Swedish Kockum Sterling AIP system which is being licensed built in Japan. The AIP allows the submarine to avoid surfacing to "snorkel" air for its diesel engines. The Stirling engines use liquid oxygen and diesel to drive their generators for either propulsion or to charge batteries. This allows these boats to operate very quietly on electric power for much longer periods of time.

In addition, the Soryu class employs an "X" configurtion for its rudders. The X shaped rudder configuation provides four control surfaces, along with two dive planes mounted on the sail, which enables much better manueverabilty, sharp turns and the ability to operate very close to the ocean floor. This manueverability in conjunction with the AIP propulsion means that the Soryu class submarines are much more maneuverable and have greater endurance than earlier model Japanese submarines.

Finally, the entire hull of the Soryu class is covered by advanced acoustic tiles that absorb and negate sonar, which adversaries use to locate submarines. This allows the submarine to be even more stealthy and dangerous.

As a result, the Soryu submarines are recognized as among the most quiet and manueverable diesel/electric submarines in the world. When you add to this their very advanced sensor suite, their highly automated and effective combat mangement system, and their weapons fit, the Soryu boats are also amongst the most deadly. Specification for the Soryu class include:

Displacement: 4,200 tons (full)
Length: 275'
Beam: 29' 10"
Draft: 27' 11"
2 Kawasaki 12? 25/25 SB diesel engines
4 Kawasaki Kockums V4-275R Stirling AIP
3,900 hp (2,900 kW) surfaced
8,000 hp (6,000 kW) submerged
Speed: 20 knots submerged, 13 knots surface
Endurance: 6100 nautical miles at 6.5 knots with AIP
Compliment: 65
- ZPS-6F air search radar
- Hughes/Oki ZQQ-7 Sonar suite:
--- 1 bow-array
--- 4 LF flank arrays
--- 1 Towed array sonar
- ZLR-3-6 ESM equipment
- 2 3-inch underwater countermeasure launchers forAcoustic Device Countermeasures
Armament: 30 weapons
6 HU-606 533 mm tubes
- Type 89 torpedoes
- UGM-84 Harpoon
- Mines

Overview - Hobby Boss 1/350 Scale Submarines and what's in the box:
Pit Road builds very good 1/350 scale model vessels. This kit of the S-503, Hakuryu, Soryu Class diesle/electric submarine of the Japanese Maritime Self-defense Force (JMSDF) is no exception.

This is a very well molded model with several innovative techniques built into the molding to ensure a very good fit, with a lot of rich detail.

The model comes molded in gray styrene plastic, with the stand in flat black in one piece. The hull is molded in four pieces, two lower halves and an upper hull that fits lengthwise on top of those two pieces. These parts fit extremely well together, even in dry fit. There is a lower section that ties the two lower halves together through tongue and grooved inserts between those three parts that allow an almost seemles fit. The upper section has tabs that fit down into this so that it too provides an almost seemless fit.

The two lower halves of the hull are free, and there are two sprues for the other halves, the conning tower/sail, and the various antennaes, periscopes, and sensors for the sail. Also included are the four pieces of the distinctive "X" shaped rudders on the aft portion of the boat and the two dive planes on the sail. All six of these pieces have very nice and sturdy tabs that fit into the hull very snuggly to ensure a good fit and a strong bond with the glue.

Altogether there are 32 pieces to this model, but do not let that fool you. Though the model is sure to go together quickly and relatively straight forwardly, if done properly, and painted correctly, this model will make for a very well detailed and accurate 1/350 scale model of the Soryu class. The acoutic tiles on the hull of the vessel are exceptionally well molded, as are the sonar panels on each side of the hull toward the bottom. The propellor is very well detailed and molded and the various periscopes and sensors on the sail are also very detailed and well modled as well.

An instruction set comes with the kit that is logically laid out and intuitive. Also included is a very nice full color painting guide right in the instructions, and a very nice set of high wquality water-slide decals, with 18 decals. Though the kit comes wth the large "503" numbers seen on the sail when launched and in intial trials, in operation those numbers (as shown in the operational photos above) are not there and I will not include them on this build.

The Build - Initial hull construction and painting - September 12, 2013

I started this model by simply putting together the hull as mentioned above to form a very secure, and almost seamless fit. I then added the "X" configured rudder arrangement with those four surfaces, the dispenser for the towed array, and the two dive planes on the sail. I glued the top of the sail containing the attachment points for the perisoppes and sensors and then glued that to the hull and the geared propuslor unit to the aft of the vessel where the propellor will attach. I then spray painted the resulting assembly in Model Master's flat black. Here's how all of that turned out:

Okay, that's a good start, and looking good too. I hope to finish this by the 14th, in the next two days, and expect it is going to look very nice indeed.

The Build - Periscopes, sensors, Decals, and complete - September 13, 2013

This morning I got up and painted the srcew, and all of the various periscopes and sensors for the sail. After they dried, I placed them all and then prepared the decals for placement. As stated, I am leaving off the large pennant number on the sail. This was used during the launch and christening ceremony and during trials, but once they are commissioned, like most modern submarines, these vessels go to sea without such obvious identification.

I then added the various decals, let them dry, and then carefully added some Testor's Decal Set to each one to soften them up and allow them to adhere better to the surface of the vessel. to the vessel.

Once this was complete it was time to do the touch up painting and then add the dull coats of paint. After letting this dry for an hour or so, I then glued the vessel to its stand, let that dey and then took the final photographs:

Amd here are some close-ups:

So that completes my Japanese Self-defense Force (JMSDF) Haruryu, S-305 Diesel/Electrik AIP submarine. Looking very nice:

And she goes very well with the other two vessels of the Japanese Carrier group I am forming up:

SCHEDULE for Future Activities - September 13, 2013

  1. By Oct 15, 2013: Complete a JMSDF a Kongo AEGIS DDG.
  2. By Dec 01, 2013: Start the French Carrier Group centered on Heller's Charles de Gaulle with two DDGs and an FFG.
  3. By Jan 15, 2014, Start the Russian Carrier Group centerd on Trumpeter's Kuznetsov with two DDGs and an SSN.
  4. By Apr 01, 2014, Start the US Navy Amphibious Ready Group centered on the Gallery USS Wasp with an LHD, an LPD, a DDG, a SSN and a LCS.

The completion of the PLAN Carrier group, centered on the already completed Trumpeter's 1/350 scale PLA Navy's Aircraft Carrier CV-16, Liaoning, (in addition to the other escorts already completed) included Mini Hobby's's PLAN Guangzhou, DDG-168. I recently pre-ordered a 1/350 scale model of the PLAN Type 071 LPD, Yuzhao Class, announced by Trumpeter and due out in October, 2013. I will end up adding two of those, propbably LPD-998 Yuzhao and LPD-999, Jinggangshan, add the PLAN- DDG-139, Ningbo, and the PLAN DDG-115, Shenyang, along with the PLAN Weifang, FFG-550 and thus build a PLAN ARG.

The completion of the US Carrier Strike group, centered on the completed Tamyia's 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-65, (in addition ot the other escorts already completed) included Trumpeter's, USS Freedom, LCS-1, Dragon's USS Preble, DDG-88 and Hobby Boss's USS Texas, SSN-775. When a 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-80 (or any Gerald R. Ford Class) is released from Trumpeter, Tamiya, Dragon, or whomever else, I will add it to this group along with another AEGIS Cruiser. Whichever Ford Class coms out in 1/350 scale, I will build it as the USS Enterprise, CVN-80.

The US ARG will include Tamiya's 1/350 scale, USS Iowa, BB-62 (which I have already completed), Trumpeter's 1/350 scale USS Iwo Jima LHD-7, Gallery's 1/350 scale USS Sommerset, LPD-25, Bronco Models 1/350 Scale USS New York, LPD-21, Cyber Hobby's USS Independence, LCS-2, Acadamy's 1/350 scale USS Rueben James, FFG-57, and another Flight IIA US AEGIS class detroyer based on Trumpeter's 1/350 scale USS Lassen, DDG-82...all of these models which I already own.

The UK Group is (as shown) featuring the Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Illustrious as its centerp[iece until a 1/350 scale Queen Elizabeth carrier is released. When that happens, I will add that carrier to the group as its centerpiece. The Roylal NAvy CSG will also include two Airfix 1/350 scale Daring Class DDGs (one of which is already completed), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Type 23 HMS Duke class Frigates (one of which is already completed), and the Hobby Boss 1/350 scale HMS Astute SSN (which is also already completed) and Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Tragalgar SSN. One day, when a 1/350 scale HMS Ocean LPD come out, I will use tt to start building a Royal Navy ARG.

The French CSG will be centered on Heller's 1/400 scale Charles De Gualle (which I already own). I have purchased the 1/400 scale Heller French De Grasse, D612 DDG, which is an ASW DDG, the French Duquesne, D603 DDG which is an anti-air multi-purpose DDG, and the French Aconit F713 FFG and Gueprattet F714 FFGs, both of which are Lafayette class frigates. These five vessels will round out my French CSG. As soon as a French Robin class nuclear sub, like the French Perale S606 SSN is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale, I will add that to the group. Also as soon as the Forbin D620, Horizon class anti-air DDG is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale, I will purchase two of them and replace the De Grrasse and Duquesne with them, and then save those two for when a Mistral Class LPD is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale so I can create a French ARG with those vessels.

The Japanese JMSDF group will be centered on Fujimi's very finely detailed, 1/350 scale Hyuga, DDH-181, which I own. It will be escorted by Trumpeter's 1/350 scale DDG-177, Atago, an AEGIS class DDG and the JMSDF, DDG-174, Kongo class (which I own), Trumpeters's 1/350 scale DDG-114 Susunami and DDG-111 (both of which are Takinami Class DDGs which I own), and by the 1/350 scale SS-503 Hakuryu (which I own), one of Japans new, very modern and capable AIP Diesel Electric submarines. As soon as a DDG-115 Akizuki in 1/350 scale is released, I will add it to this group. Should a 1/350 scale Osumi Class LPD be relased, I will buy two of those vessels and create a JMSDF ARG.

Then, finally it will be a complete Russian CSG (centered on Trumpeter's Kuznetsov which I own) the Russian Slava Class cruiser, Varyag by Trumperter (which I own), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Udaloy DDGs (which I own), Hobby Boss's Akula II class SSN (which I own), and the new Yasen class Russian SSN which I own in 1/350 scale. Some time in the more distant future when a 1/350 scale Russian version of the French Mistral class comes out (which is building in real life right now), I will add two of those and build a Russian ARG.

Recently I purchased Heller's 1/400 scale Foch, the Clemceau Class carrier that was sold to the Brazilians in 2000 and in 2002 was refitted and became the Brazilian CV, Sao Paulo, using steam catapaults. I will build the model as the Sao Paulo and thus start a Brazilian group, though the Type 22 DDGs and the FFGs the Brazilians use are not available at present. I have however purchased a set of 1/400 scale A-4 Skyhawks and S-3 Trackers to build a suitable airwing for the Sao Paulo.

Then, again, once the models are available, I'd like to build an Italian Carrier Strike Group centered on the Cavour and their Horizon DDGs, a Spanish Carrier Strike Group centered on the Juan Carlos and their F-100 AEGIS FFGs, and ultimatly an Australian Strike Group centered on the new Canberra Class LPD and the Hobart class AEGIS DDGs. If they ever build the models, an Indian Carrier Strike Group centered on either the Vikramaditya or their new ADS Carrier, the Vikrant, and their Kolkata class DDGs and Shivlak class FFGs would also be nice.

Years more worth of work!

You can see all of these actual carriers, read their histories and specifictions at my site:


...and most of their surface escorts at:


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