Chinese PLAN Type 091 Class, ChangZheng 5, SSN-405
PLacing antennae, decal/markings, and completing the boat - March 7, 2013
Introduction and What's in the Box - March 4, 2013
This meant for the later boats in the class, the last three, and particularly the ChangZheng 5, that Anechoic tiles were added to reduce noise levels (which also led to a different appearance and paint scheme for the boats over the blue-gray upper and very dark gray to flat black lower portion of the boat before these changes. Now the hull is a very dark gray upper and a hull red lower portion of the vessel and will be shown as such with this model). In addition, the hull was extended to reduce the radiation signature and provide better shielding, as well as to add in the capability to launch underwater anti-shipping missiles. Before this was accomplished, the boats had to surcface to launch their missiles, which put them at a terrible disadvanatge for any modern at sea conflict. In addition, during upgrades, newer and newer Chinese sonars and electronics and weapons system controllers have been installed. In their final configuration, the Han class boats were equated to the nosie levels and capabilities of the Victor II submarines, and perhaps the Victor III produced by the Soviet Union and still used by Russia.
The final three Han class boats are still in service. A follow-on Type 093 class was produced in the mid 2000s and two of those boats were built, launched, and commissioned. But the Type 093 boats did not realize the significant gains the PLAN had hoped for in noise reduction and power plant improvement and so they were discontinued after those first two boats. Now, a third generation PLAN nuclear attack submarine, the Type 095 class is being built, with up to two already launched. The Choinese hope that these latest vessels will approach the U.S. Navy Los Angeles Flight III boats in terms of their accoustics and capabilities, though that remains to be seen.
In the mean time, the three Han boats continue to soldier on as a large part of the PLANs front line nuclear attack submarine force.
Like all modern submarine vessels in this scale, there are relatively few parts (28 enjected molded platic parts, and 10 photo etch parts for a total of just 38 parts). But they do include a nice set of photo etched parts, and some decent decals. And the fit is very, very good. The hull is seperated into two pieces, an upper and lower section, with a seperate piece for the sail. The two main portions of the hull fit together (in a dry fit) about as well as any major hull sections I have worked on in a long time, showing very little or no seam, even in the dry fit.
The kit includes a nice, full color paint scheme showning different views of the vessel. It show the boat in an as-built and initial paint scheme for the Han class before the externsive modification to the last three boats. As stated earlier, instead of the blue/gray upper surface and very dark gray lower, I will paint to the modern scheme as shown in the pictures of the actual vessel, with a very dark gray upper and hull red lower.
Here's how the kit looks out of the box:
The instructions are very short, a single page, but very well done for the parts included.
Putting the two hull halves together was a joy. They fit together very well, as stated earlier. Then it was adding the aft rudders and control surfaces. Here's how that went:
Then it was time to mask of the hull and paint it. This started with masking off the upper portion and painting the lower section in Tamiya acrylic Hull Red. Then, once dried, that lower section was masked off and the upper portion painted in Testor's Model Master Engine gray. Here's how that turned out.
I still have the very narrow walk way to paint in a non-slip very dark gray color. I use Weathered Black for this by FloQuill. In the next installment we will do that as well as assemble the hull and add the screw.
Okay, it was time to paint the initial coat for the various scopes and antennae for the sail (which I used Model Master Gunship Gray) and to paint the sail and the diving planes (Model Master Engine Gray). This included masking off the sail for the small windows with their light frames (Model Master Light Gray) located on the forward part of the sail, characteristic of many Chinese PLAN submarines:
I then painted the access/escape hatches fore and aft (Model Master Insignia Red, which I may change to an orange because they appear more ornge in the pictures), and added the sail. Once dry, I did some touch up paint work around the sail and its small windows.
Next I'll do the detail paint work on the various periscopes and antennae and add them. I intend to show them all in the "up" position. And adding a few more details around the hull. Also will mask off and paint the non-skid walking surface along the top of the hull, fore and aft of the sail. At that point it will be adding the decals and finishing the boat. Hopefully all in the next session.
Well, the antennae were already painted, so it was just a matter of carefully cutting them out (and in this case, since they are so small and slender and using the sprue cutter, or dike, would introduce torque which could bend or break them, I used the exacto knife and carefull scribed a line right along the cut and kept doing it, apllying a little more pressure each time until it came apart. - This is a trick to get those parts off without twisting or bending them). Anyhow, then glueing them on and agaian, Hobby Boss has to be commended because this is amongst the best fit for sail antennae on a 1/350 scale sub I have ever worked with. the small holes and the small pegs all fit perfectly together, with minimal glue required. Godd job Hobby Boss!
Then it was just a matter of putting the decals on (using a coat of gloss coat first to help hide the decal edges). In this case, I decided to nix my carefully masked and painted windows and use the decal that came with the kit. By putting it on, and getting a good adhesion and then using some decal set to get it to "melt" a little into the paint coat, this worked out better. The, letting the decals dry, and then giving it a couple of good coats of dull coat.
Here's all of that in the finished product.
And here are some good close-up shots:
So, now completed, and a very nice representation of the last (and newest by far) Han classss SSN for the Chinese Navy (PLAN). A quick and straight forward (four days start to finish working evenings) build, but very rewarding and a nice finished product.
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) will incluide Mini Hobby's's PLAN Guangzhou, DDG-168; the PLAN Ningbo, DDG-139; and the PLAN ChangZhang5, SSN-405 by Hobby Boss(All of which I already own). If a 1/350 scale model of the PLAN Type 071 LPD, Yuzhao Class, is ever released, I will add one of those, propbably LPD-999, Jinggangshan and 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) will include Trumpeter's, USS Freedom, LCS-1, Dragon's USS Preble, DDG-88 and Hobby Boss's USS Texas, SSN-775. (All of which I already own). 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. Whatever Ford Class coms out, I will build her as the USS Enterprise, CVN-80.
The UK Group will indlude the Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Illustrious (which I already own), two Airfix 1/350 scale Daring Class DDGs (which I also already have), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Type 23 HMS Duke class Frigates (which I already own), and the Hobby Boss 1/350 scale HMS Astute SSN and Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Tragalgar SSN, both of which which I already own. One day, when a 1/350 scale HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier and a 1/350 HMS Ocean LPD come out, I will add both.
The French CSG will be centered on Heller's 1/400 scale Charles De Gualle (which I already own). I have purchased 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 it and add it to the group as well.
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 (which I have purchased), Trumpeters's 1/350 scale DDG-114 Susunami (A Tachanami Class DDG 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 soo as a DDG-115 Akizuki in 1/350 scale is released, I will add it to this group.
The completion of 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's 1/350 Scale USS New York, LPD-21, Cyber Hobbies USS Independence, LCS-2, Acadamy's 1/350 scale USS Rueben James, FFG-57, and andother 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.
Then, finally it will be a complete Russian CSG (centered on Trumpeter's Kuznetsov which is available but I have not purchased yet) the Russian Slava Class cruiser, Varyag by Trumperter (which I own), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Udalaoy DDGs (which I own), Hobby Boss's Akula II class SSN (which I own), and the Russian Alfa Class SSN, which I have already completed.
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 1/400 scale A-4 Skyhoawk 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 Group centered on the Cavour and their Horizon DDGs, a Spanish Group centered on the Juan Carlos and their F-100 AEGIS FFGs, and ultimatly an Australian Group centered on the new Canberra Class LPD and the Hobart class AEGIS DDGs. If they ever build the models, an Indian 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 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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