Chinese Navy (PLAN) Kunlun, LPD-998, Landing Platform Dock
Last updated: Adding the aircraft, PE Railing, and completing the model - October 20, 2014
Introduction and What's in the Box - October 11, 2014
About the ship:
The Yuzhao Class, or Type 071, Landing Platform Dock (LPD) ships is the first large, modern amphibious ship designed and built by the Chinese Navy (PLAN). Until this vessel appeared, all of the Chinese Navy landing vessels consisted of older style (albeit more modern designs) LAnding HSip Tank vessels with bow doors and limited well deck space.
This vessel was a significant departure and aoption of more western style Amphibious Assault philosopy. in conjunction with the vessels building, a new class landing craft was also developed, specifically for the large well decks that these vessels include. This new landing craft is a Landing Craft Air Cushion and has been clearly inspired by th US Navy LCAC capability.
Yuzhao class vessels have been built by Shanghai-based Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard for the PLAN. The second ship, the Jinggang Shan LPD-999, was launched in November of 2010 and commissioned in December of 2011. A third vessel, the Changbai Shan LPD-989, was launched in September of 2011 and was commissioned in September 2012. All of these vessels are a part of the Chinese Navy South Sea Fleet. Apparnt plans exist for another three such vessels, and the fourth is reportedly under construction in late 2014.
These vessels are the largest indigenously designed combat ship of the PLAN, with a full displacement of over 20,000 tonnes. The cargo capacity is thought to be in the same range as the U.S. Navy Austin class LPD. The Yuzhao Class LPDs can carry a PLAN Marine battalion of 500-800 troops, up to four of the Chinese LCAC or 20+ amphibious armoured vehicles, and their associated logistic supplies. In addition, he vessels are equipped with a large flight deck and hanger. The hanger can accomodate up to four of the large Z-8 tranpsort helicopters which can carry up 30 armed troops to the landing zone on the beach, or behind the enemy lines. Two Z-8 helicopters can operate simultaneously off of the flight deck.
This offers much increased sea lifting capacity and operational flexibility not possessed by the earlier conventional LST landing ships in PLAN service. With its strong self-contained capability the LPD could operate far from friendly shores, projecting amphibious assets over distance of several thousand nautical miles. The large amount of space onboard also allows additional communications equipments to be added for the ship to act as a fleet command and control centre in an amphibious operation.
In addition to traditional amphibious assault, and air-assault roles, the Yuzhao LPD could also be deployed for a whole range of non-traditional missions, like providing a sea-based platform for helicopters to send humanitarian aid to disaster areas and to evacuate casualties and refugees from such an area; or evacuating citizens from conflict zones, or the center piece for a Surface Action Group conducting operations, like the anti-piracy operations in the Arabian Sea.
The well deck docking system is located at the stern of the ship. The floodable bay embarks the air-cushioned landing craft, conventional landing craft, and amphibious vehicles. Flooding of the docking area is achieved by ballasting the stern of the ship, allowing the landing craft to float. As stated, the Yuzhao was designed to embark 4 air cushion landing craft (LCAC). The US Austin Class LPDs also can handle up to four LCACs, but the similar San Anotnio Class LPDs only operate two LCACs, allowing for more psace onboard those vessels for equipment, armor, and troops.
For armament, the ships are equipped with a single-barrel 76mm main gun, which appears to be a copy of the Russian AK-176. The gun is located on the bow deck. There are four Russian-built AK-630 close-in weapon systems (CIWS) as well. The ship is also equipped with four 50-tube 120mm multi-purpose rocket launchers, which could provide firepower against shore targets.
Sensors on the vessel consist of two Type 347G (one front, one rear) I-band radars which provide fire-control for the 76mm main gun and four AK-630 CIWS. The air/surface search radar is the Type 360S E/F-band, mounted at the top of the forward mast
Specifications for the Kunlun, LPD-998 and its sister ships include:
Length: 210 m (680 ft 0 in)
The current ships in class include:
LPD 998 - Kunlun Shan (???) (commissioned)
The kit comes in a large box with LOTS of frets/sprues of grey molded parts, clear modled parts, and photo etch prts.
Trumpeter's mopdels include a lot of detail, and their parts are modled well with little or mno flash of left overs from the injection molding process.. This kit has 12 frets/sprues of grey modled platic parts, two stprues of clear modled parts and a total of seven sperate photo etch sprues for a lot of detail in h epho etch...actually, an amazing number of photo etch parts.
The clear spreus include the two Z-9 helicopters that are included. The photo etch contains railings, ladders, sensors, grills, vents, etc.
The hull is in three pieces. The entire length of the hull is included in two pieces, left and right sides. The third piece is the end piece at the stren that has the oepning for the well deck.
Lots of detail too.
It has the full length well deck, which will accomdate up to four LCACs...and, OBTW, it included small kits for all four LCACs that you can put in there, and the ends and walls of the well dck or modled in som detail with the walkway along each side which you can add railing to...althoughhe railing included does not cover the well dec.
The hanger off of the flight deck is also molded in detail with walkways that ou can add railing to...but, as with the well-deck, the railing included doe snot have the railing for those spaces.
The model has a very decent decal sheet with one rather significant (at least to me) caveat. The decals for the LCAC only include enough decals for the single LCAC, even though four LCAC models are included. Other than that, the decals are very nice and include all the other decals for the vessel and the Z-99 helos.
One thing missing from this model which Brinco and Gallery include in their amphibious ship models, are the vehicles. The PLAN will use their amphiibious armor and carry tanks and other vehicles on those LCACs...but no vehicles are included at all.
The paint scheme, as usual, is excellent from Trumpeter. Full color varous views of the vessel, the LCACs and the helos.
Finally, the instructions are well done as is always the case for Trumpeter. INtuitive, yet deailed graphical represrntations of putting the model together...and done in detail.
I intend to show the vessel with two LCACs, one inside the well deck about 1/2 way back and another emerging fom the well deck (the one emergine with be the one with the decals). I will show the well deck door open to accomodate this.
I will show the haner open, with both Z-8s on deck preparing to take off. I believe I have a Z-9 helo left over from another model which I will show in the hanger.
Here's how veryhting looked out of the box:
This looks like it is going to be an excellent build. I am looking forward to it and have had the model almost two years waiting to get to it. After I am done, I will move right onto Bronco's San Antoino Glass LPD to compare to this Chinese vessel and the Gallery San Antonion clas svessel I just compelted. All three of them look very good.
I painted the various parts making up the well deck. It is long and takes up over half of the length of the lower inside of the hull. I then added some left over 1/350 scale photo etch railing to the well deck for anout the first 1/3 on either side starting at the stern and going forward.
I then glued them together, and then began painting the parts for the LCACs and starting initial construction.
Once this was done, I then assembled the LCACs I intend to use for the kit. I will use two of the four provided. I decided not to add a lighting system for the well deck because it is easily seen using a flashlight. I will save tha lighting systems for the carrier hanger decks, and also the well and hanger decks of the very large Wasp Class LHDs.
As stated, the decals only included markings for a single LCAC, so that one will be the one I use that will be seen coming out of the well deck.
I painted the hull in the Model Master's Light Gray I use for the above water line hull and vertical surfaces for PLAN ships. The landing deck was painted in Model Master's Gunship Grey and the weather decks are all being painted in Model Master's RN Medium Gray. I did all of this painting and then put the hull togther, adding the completed well deck. It went together very nicely and with judicious use of rubber bands and clamps to help hold them in place.
I then built and painted the hanger deck and dry fitted the LCAC into the well deck.
With that complete, I then began building and adding the various deck houses which included the forward gun deck, the bridge, and the two exhaust/funnel houses, as well as the flight control deck hous on top of the hanger. The bridge has the wiondows all modled into the structure itself, which is nice. I considered scratch building a bridge deck in there and adding 1/350 scale personnel, but decided against it. I then painted the windows onto the flight control section. This was somewhat painstaking, but they are recessed into the modl wll and a very small brush and a steady hand worked out just fine.
Once completed and added to the hull, the vessel is really taking shape.
In the next session I will add all of the armament and the main radomes, sensors and life rafts.
Got a LOT Accomplished over the last several evenings.
First, I started with installing the various weapons/defense systems. This included all of the following:
1 x AK-176, 76mm main gun
The 76mm gun and two of the chaff launchers are located forward, two more decoy/chaff launchers are located amindships, and the four 30mm CIWS are located on the main deck house, two of over the aft end of the hanger, and two more more forward, aft of the bridge and main mast. Each of the weapons is a mini assembly consisting of three or four parts. In order to place the gun, it required that the warning decal be placed before hand, so I added the decals to the main weather decks while I was at it.
Once this was completed, I went ahead and placed the other major decals (not including the decals for the helicopters) on the vessel. These included particularly the landing deck markings. There are two spots for large helos to land and operate simultaneously. I have found that placing the decals in such areas (because there are usually a lot of them, including some that it is best to cut into two or three pieces so as to be able to place them without them tearing), that placing them and allowing them ample time to dry before placing more, is the best policy. If you get too impatient, then it is bound to be reflected in torn, not accurately placed, out of alignment decals to some degree or another.
At this point I began placing the various details all aorund the main decks. There are a LOT of them with this kit, as is normal with Trumpeter's 1/350 scale vessels. All of these details make for a much more realistic vessel.
Radars, domes, life rafts and their holders, numerous sensors, pulleys, winches, davits, air intakes, numerous sensors, life buoys, blast shields, search lights, horns, etc., etc. Outside of the deck houses, the main mast, the armament, etc., there were well over 100 such parts to be added to the various decks. I painted them all in their various colors first (either the medium gray of the decks or the ligh gray of the hull, but also using gunship gray for the cabling for the pulleys, white for the life rafts, orange for the life buoys, silver for the search lights, etc). The varrious contrasts for these smaller parts add a lot of realism to the vessel.
I also masked off and painted the lower hull in the Model Master Acrylic Hull Red that I use for PLAN vessels.
While doing all of this, I also added a lot of the photo etch detail work for the vrious compnent asseblies (ie the large crane, the main mast, etc.) that are included in this kit.
For example, the large crane on the forward end of the flight deck, on the port side by the hanger, was quite an assembly itself and included small railings and ladders. The kit inlcudes two access stairways that can be folded down from auxillary decks on the port and starboard side. They can be shown stowed or extended. I extended the one on the port side. It has a lot of detail and allows access to the ship from the water level. There are other ladders and stairways that were also placed on the deck in various locations. The main mast had a lot of detail, including a number of ladders that allow for access to its various levels and sensors.
That's pretty sweet. I then painted and added the propellers to the shafts on the after end of the vessel, below the waterline and forward of the rudders.
The ship is pretty much complete now. I will add the Photo Etch railing and the aircraft, but we are gettoing very close. Some pics to show this off a bit:
That Chinese LCAC certainly fills up every bit of the well deck width!
In the next session I will add the Photo Ecth Railing and the aircraft to the Kunlun.
Okay, this vessel is going to include two Z-8 troop transport helicopters for the Chinese Navy (PLAN). The kit comes with the option for the AEW variant of the Z-8, but I did not see any reason to add that type of helo on the deck of an amphibious assault vessel which will have its space at a primium for carrying troops. So, the two are both troop trasnports. Each helicopter is a miniature model itself with ten or elven parts. I glued them together and added the initial coat of paint, and then painted the rotors, landing gear, and added the decals. Then...added them to the deck in the two landing sports.
Now, I needed to complete the railings for the vessel. The kit includes pre-cut photo etch parts for each railing and this is very nice. The railing is also delicate (which I like) and this requires caerful handling...but makes for a very nice look. I used to use the metal glue for these PE parts, but found that the plastic glue sets faster and once dry, if you add enough to give a good coat on the attach point, it holds it in place very well. So no more photo etch supoer glue.
With all of that complete...and having completed all other areas of the vessel, it was time for the two coats of dull coat. This is critical because it takes off the "sheen" that the small amounts of glue used for the railing and other small pieces...including the glue on the deck for holding the helicopters in place. The glue is transparant, but it does have a more glossy sheen to it. The dull coat gives an overall consistant appearance to the finish of the model.
And here are quite a few close ups and other angels:
...and finally, here are three comparison pictures of the finished 1/350 scale models, the PLAN LPD, Kunlun, LPD-998 by Trumpeter, and the US Navy San Antonio LPD, USS New York, LPD-21, by GAllery Models..
Very nice looking vessels and the side by side punctuates the fact that their basic layout and function are completely similar.
Schedule for Future Activities: October 20, 2014
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:
...and most of their surface escorts at:
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