My Review and Build of Bronco's 1/350 scale Kit #NB0543,
Chinese Navy (PLAN) Type 056 Corevette

Last updated: November 16, 2014 - Helicopter, PE Railing and completing the model.

The vessel (November 6, 2014)

This model is a 1/350 scale depiction of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Type 056 Corevette, Datong, pennant number 580.

The Chinese have been very busy modernizing their Navy over the last 10-15 years. They are also increasing their capability, tonnage, and their ability to maintain their forces in the "blue" water oceans around the world. This is a huge change over their historically large, but antiquated coastal force.

They have had scores of light frigates and corvettes that were used to patrol their littoral waters. But these vessels have been out of date for some time.

So, in addition to the new, modern, and very capable multi-role guided-missile destroyers (Type 052C/D) and guided-missile frigates (Type 054A) they have been rapidly building over the last few years, three years ago a new light firgate or corvette ws introiduced.

This is the Type 056 corvette/light frigate. They are a modern, stealthy, multi-role design. They are about half of the displacement of the new US Navy Littoral Comnbat Ships, and not as fast...but they are also more heavily armed, carry a smaller crew, and have impressive speed and manueverability capabilities.

These vessels carry a 76mm main gun (the US Navy LCS carries a smaller, 57mm gun). They carry four large, long range anti-surface mssiles (the US Navy LCS carries none). They are equipped with a close in, anti-missile, missile launcher with eight cells (the US Navy LCS carries either an eleven cell anti-missile launcher, or a 21 cell launcher depending on the variant). The vessels also contain a landing deck for a light to medium sized helicopter, with no hanger facilities. By comparison, the US Navy LCS have much lager landing decks and full hanger facilities for up to two medium sized helicopters...and in the Independence class case, can carry the large MH-53E anti-mine helicopters if needed.

The Chinese have embarked on a very impressive building prograam for these vessels, constructing them at four separate yards. The first was launched in March 2012, two and a half years ago. Since that time, twenty three vessels have been launched. That is an impressive rate of almost ten per year. Sixteen of the twenty-three are in commission with the others either on trials or fitting out.

The Chinese are expected to build in excess of forty of these vessels, and perhaps as many as sixty. Here is a list of the current builds:

582 Launched by Hudong, May 2012, Commisisoned February 2013 into the East Sea Fleet - Active
596 Launched by Huangpu, June 2012, Commisisoned July 2013 into the Hong Kong Garrison - Active
584 Launched by Wuchang, July 2012, Commisisoned July 2013 into the South Sea Fleet - Active
580 Launched by Liaonan, August 2012, Commisisoned May 2013 into the North Sea Fleet - Active
583 Launched by Hudong, August 2012, Commisisoned June 2013 into the East Sea Fleet - Active
597 Launched by Huangpu, August 2012, Commisisoned July 2013 into the Hong Kong Garrison - Active
585 Launched by Wuchang, October 2012, Commisisoned October 2013 into the South Sea Fleet - Active
581 Launched by Liaonan, November 2012, Commisisoned August 2013 into the North Sea Fleet - Active
587 Launched by Huangpu, January 2013, Commisisoned January 2014 into the South Sea Fleet - Active
586 Launched by Hudong, February 2013, Commisisoned January 2014 into the East Sea Fleet - Active
589 Launched by Huangpu, May 2013, Commisisoned June 2014 into the South Sea Fleet - Active
588 Launched by Hudong, June 2013, Commisisoned August 2014 into the East Sea Fleet - Active
592 Launched by Wuchang, July 2013, Commisisoned June 2014 into the South Sea Fleet - Active
590 Launched by Liaonan, August 2013, Commisisoned March 2014 into the North Sea Fleet - Active
591 Launched by Liaonan, August 2013, Commisisoned July 2014 into the North Sea Fleet - Active
595 Launched by Wuchang, November 2013 for the South Sea Fleet, in Sea Trials
593 Launched by Hudong, 20 November 2013 for the East Sea Fleet, in Sea Trials (ASW variant)
594 Launched by Huangpu, November 2013 for the South Sea Fleet, Fitting out (ASW variant)
598 Launched by Hudong, May 2014 for the South Sea Fleet, Fitting out (ASW variant)
599 Launched by Huangpu, May 2014, for the South Sea Fleet, Fitting out (ASW variant)
503 Launched by Wuchang, May 2014, Fitting out
504 Launched by Liaonan, June 2014, Fitting out
-?- Launched by Hudong, October 2014, Fitting out

By comparison, the larger US Navy LCS vessels began launching from two yards in 2006, seven and a half years ago. Since that time, eight have been launched.

The specifications for the Type 056 Class corvettes include the following:

Displacement: 1,450 tons
Length: 292.5 feet
Beam: 36 feet
Draught: 13 feet
Propulsion: 2 x Chinese diesel engines
Speed: 28 knots
Complement: 60
- 1 x AK-176 76mm dual purpose main gun
- 2 x 30mm H/PJ-17 autocannons
- 4 x YJ-83 (C-803) anti-ship missiles
- 8 x HQ-10 FN-3000L anti-missile launcher
- 2 x 3 533mm torpedo launchers
- 2 x 3 324mm torpedo launchers
- 2 x 15 Type 946 decoy launchers
- 2 x 18 Type 726-4 decoy launchers
Aircraft faiclities:
- 1 x Z-9 ASW Helicopter (Pad w/No hanger)

The Kit: What's in the Box (November 6, 2014)

I will build two of these corvettes to ct as smaller excports for my Chinese Navy Amphibious Ready group centered ultimately on two of their Type 071 LPDs. Those vess3els will also have 2-3 Chinese destroyers in escort too.

As for the kit itself, Bronco is developing into a larger and larger provider of 1/350 scale maodern naval vessels. In pure numbers they do not rival Trumpeter, but their quality is as good.

This kit is no exception.

The kit comes in a large box (as large as some larger models, even though the vesselin 1/350 scale is fairly small). There are three sprues modled in gray with the hull and most of the fittings and deck houses for the ship. The main deck house is a single piece that is separate from the frets. There are two clear plastic sprues for the helicopter, and then one photo etch sprue with various sensors and the railing.

The hull is in two pieces. No water-line option with this kit. There is quite a bit of detail on the deck below the flight deck, and on the torpedo launching deck, forward of the helo deck. I will cut the doors out of the hull (this, strangely was not provided for) to show that detail.

Altogether, 176 plastic parts, and 24 photo etch patrts for a total of 200 parts. Impressive for such a small vessel, and be aware, there are a LOT of very small detail pieces included with this kit, and the details for two of the decks apart from the main decks are impressive for such a kit. it will be fun building them and detailing them...and making sure they can be seen.

The decals sheet is nice. not too many because of the sixe of the ship, but nonetheless, the pennant numbers and the helo pad markings as well as the hull markings ar eall nicely done. You can either build pennant number 580, the Datong, or 581, Yingkao. I will be building both, and building them together, simultaneously.

The paint scheme, as usual, is excellent from Brinco. Like Trumpeter modern kits, there are Full color views of the vessel with all of the paints called out.

Finally, the instructions are well done as is always the case for Bronco. Even more descroiptive in general than Trumpeter. I like the way they show and depict the PE parts within these Bronco instructions. Intuitive, yet deailed graphical represrntations of putting the model together

I will place the Z-9 ASW helos on the landing decks.

Here's how everything looked out of the box:

This will be a fun and relatively quick build for these two like the two Type 054A FFGs I built, or the two Lafayette FFGs...but

The Build - Inital hull construction (November 7, 2014)

The hull comes in two pieces, left and right sides. I started off by cutting out the access doors on the port side of each vessel which will show the aft equipment deck, and boat launch dech. i then glued the halves together.

Once this was done, I pinted the upper hull in the typical PLAN this case, Model Master Light Gray for the vertical surfaces.

That's all I had time to do in this first session.

I expect in the next session I will finish the various stabilizor fins, rudders, shafts and supports for the lower hull. I will then paint the lower hull and hoefully get the weather decks for the vessel painted and the principle deck houses built and added to the each ship.

Nice stuff.

The Build - Hull completion, aux deck details, main deck houses, masts & sensors, weapons (November 10, 2014)

This was a very busy session. It was three days, with two of them over a weekend, so I was able to sepnd quite a bit of time verus working after work.

I started by painting all of the various small parts in their apporopriate colors, while triminning them down to a single attach point on the sprue. The light grays, the flat grays, the gunship grays, whites, etc.

At that point, while they dried, I completed the lower hull, adding the rudders, shafts, and supports as well as the stabilizor fins in thier modeld plastic color. I would paint them all later, alongwith the lower hull, using acrylic hull red.

I then began building the main deck house/bridge, which also included the better part of the main mast. I then built the funnels/engine exhaust house for each vessel. These vessels are small compared to the larger FFGs and particularly the DDGs, so even the main deck house assemblies are made up of some very small pieces.

Once these were completed, I painted the lower hull in Acrylic Hull Red.

At this point, before I could glue the upper hull/main deck house to the lower hull, I had to complete the auxillary decks which are detailed on these models.

This included the deck below the flight deck which included equipment for the Towed Sonar and the ship's launch. It also included forward of the flight deck where the torpedo launchers are located within the ship. Both of these decks will be viewable through openings in the ship. In the ship launch case, through the open door where it can be launched. For the equipment for the towed array, through openings along the aft sides and at the stern. And for the torpedo launch areas, I inted to cut out the access door to that deck from the flight deck so you can see inside.

Once these decks and their various sub assemblies were completed, I added the bow deck where the main gun will be located, and then glued the main deck to the hull. Once that was dry, I then glued the bridge/main mast and the engine exhaust to the main decks of each vessel.

Then it was time to start building and adding the rest of the weapons. As shown above, the topedoe launchers had already been added onto their auxillary decks forward of the flight deck on either side. This left:

1 x 76mm main gun
2 x Dual Anti-surface missile launchers
2 x 30mm autocannons
1 x eight cell anti-air missile launcher

These assemblies have a number of very samll pieces. I was a little surprised that some of the pieces were not molded into single pieces...but they designed the injection modling as they did. For example, on the 30mm autocannons, each stanchion to either side of the gun itself is made up of two very small parts which must be glued together. They could easily have molded these as single part. The gun itself is then added between them once they have been glued together and added to the mount.

In order to do this, it was necessary to allow each of these small parts to dry as they were added. So, I created a sort of assembly line where I took the missile launcher (which also has some verysmall parts), the anti-surface missile launchers, the 30mm auto cannons and the 76mm main gun, and began adding the smaller parts which needed time to dry to each one, and then move on to the next sub assembly to do the same thing, until I had finished the intial parts on each. By that time, with only a short amount of further drying, I was able to start the process over for the next small parts to each assmbly.

In this manner I was able to build up all of the weapons assemblies in a fairly short (it still took hours) amount of time.

Once this was done, I added the main gun and the anti-air missile launcher first, then added the anti-surface missile launchers along with a lot of sensors and equipment to the main mast and to the engine exhaust house. I also added the secondary mast and its sensors.

Finally, I aded the two 30mm autocannons to either side of the main deck, just aft of the bridge.

This is looking very nice. There are still a lot of details to add all along the decks. Lots of equipment, antennae and other sensors. Then there is also the photo etch railings, grilles, safety nets, to add. Finally the props and the Z-9 ASW helicopter and then the decals.

Probably two more good session before these kits are completed...hopefully by next weekend.

The Build - More Details, antennae, sensors, life rafts, and decals. (November 12, 2014)

This session was fille swith adding a myriad of small details to the various decks.

The tie downs on the bow. Small antennae, searchlights, and sensors over the bridge. The life raft assemblies on the port and starboard sides amindships. More antennae and sensors on the after deck house.

All of these small details add significant authenticity and realism to the model...but they are small and have to be handled delictly to keep from damaging or losing them.

Seeing these from an overall standpoint shows how the overall vessels are really looking good.

This pretty much completes the overall structure of the the two vessels. So I decided to go ahead and add the decals.

For thois model this is relatively straight forward in terms of numbers. The pennant numbers for 580 and 581 were added. The warning stripe around the main gun were added. I split this into two pieces (since I had already added the guns and in order to keep them from tearing), and added them.

Then it was time for the landing deck markings. These come in a single decal, and the various stripes are single extensions. Long experience has taught me that such pdecals with several exteensions like this are almost always prone to break and tear, so I cut the decals into theree poeces and added them. Even then, since these are realtivey small when compared to a larger destroyers markings, or those of a large amphibious ship or carrier, I had some tering.

But ultimately they went down nd the various piecves were aligned and they turned out fairly well.

Now, those look like very effective Type 056 Corvettes.

My next session will be the last. I will add the helos and the photo etch railing and then apply the final dull coats and take the completion pictures.

The Build - Helicopter, PE Railing and completing the model. (November 16, 2014)

In this session I built the single ASW helicopter, a Z-9, that I intend to place on one of the corvettes.

these vessels have no hanger facilites, but they do have a landing deck form which a helicopter can operate, be refueld, be rearmed and prosecute submarine contacts.

A section of two of these vessels would likely share the ssame helicopter when needed.

I also added the PE railing to the vessel. This railing is all cut to fit. You just have to bend it approriately to fit the section in question.

I was going to show separate pictures of all of this, but decided, since it would be seen in the completion pictures as well, just to go straight to those completion pictures. So here they are:

Then five more, with close ups, and individual pics of the 580.,

And that completes the two models of the Type 056 multi-purpose patrol corvettes for the Chinese Navy (PLAN).

Schedule for Future Activities: November 16, 2014

  1. By Dec 01, 2014, Complete the PLAN Amphibious Ready Group centered on the Trumpeter Type 071 LPD-998, adding two Type 056 Corvettes.
  2. By Mar 15, 2015, Complete the US Navy Amphibious Ready Group centered on the Gallery USS Iwo Jime, a 2nd LPD, USS Somerset, LPD-25, a CG, a DDG, and another LCS.
  3. By Mar 16, 2015 Go back and start finishing the rest of the DDG and FFG escorts for each CSG and ARG group.

The completion of the PLAN Carrier group was 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 was 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 completion of the UK Group featured the Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Illustrious, R06 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 Royal 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 is centered on Heller's 1/400 scale Charles De Gualle, R91. 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 D612 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 completion of the Japanese JMSDF group was centered on Fujimi's very finely detailed, 1/350 scale Hyuga, DDH-181. 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 Kirov Class nuclear battle cruiser (CGN), the Peter the Great, by Trumpeter (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), all 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:


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