My Review and Build of Trumpeter's 1/350 scale Kit #4530,
The PLAN DDG-171 Haikou, Guided Missile Destroyer

Last updated: June 10, 2012 Complete <-- Click there to go directly there

Introduction and what's in the Box (May 21, 2012)

This model is a 1/350 scale model depiction of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) DDG-170, Lanzhou, which I am building the sister ship, DDG-171 Haikou. These are the Chinese most advanced area air-defense and all-purpose guided missile destroyers using an AEGIS-like battle management system with four Phased Array Radars (PARS), a vetical launch system (VLS) for 48 medium to long range guided anti-aircraft and anti-missile missiles, and that sophisticated battle management system. The PLAN has currently built and launched six of these vessels with at least two more building. The vessels also include eight anti-shipping guided missiles, two 30mm Type 730 Close in Weapons Systems (CIWS), six torpedoe tubes and a deck and hangar for one medium sized anti-submarine warfare (ASW) or search helicopter.

There are approximately 350 parts on eight sprues. One sprue is a photo etched spru with fifty parts with sensors, the webbing around the helo deck and several personnel. The hull comes seperately and must be built as a full hull. The entire main deck comes seperately as a single piece as well. Although I intended to build the full whole version in any case, I was surprised that this model did not offer a waterline version as most newer Trumpeter models do. The main gun can be built to elevate and rotate.

The pieces are well molded with very little or no flash. There are lots of finely detailed and small plastic parts for every sensor, weapons system, chaff/decoy systems, antennae, sensors, life rafts, and parts that you can imagine. I was a little disppointed in that the bridge windows were not cut out and available as clear or smoked plastic, which means they will have to painted in

The instructions are very nicely done with easy to understand steps and a lot of detail. There is a full color painting scheme provided for correctly painting the vessel. As this is part of my PLAN Aircraft Carrier strike group, the paint scheme will be the same as that of the carrier in major colors.

The decal sheet is also well done including all of the markings necessary to depict either the Lanzhou or the Haikou vessel, including a nicely done landing area for the helo.

The model came in a very nice, heavy cardboard box with nice graphics.

Lots of material, with the seven plastic sprues and one PE sprue, decals, clear plastic helo with balck rotors and landing gera parts. Instructions, paint scheme and decals.

Very well designed instructions with detailed, yet easy to follow steps for building the model.

The Build - Painting the Hull and Main Deck and verious bridge, housing and other deck parts (May 24, 2012)

I masked off and painted the upper hull in the same light gray as the PLAN Carrier, and then let it dry opvernight, after also painting numerous deck housing and bridge parts the same. Basically all verticle parts will be light gray.

I then painted the main deck and various deck parts flat gray, which for testors is relatively dark. All decks will be that same color.

The next day I masked off and painted the lower hull in Testors Hull Red, also to match the PLAN Carrier. Here's how all of that turned out:

The Build - Forward Main Gun, VLS, and CIWS, Aft Helo Hanger (May 25, 2012)

The Main gin can be built to tutn on its mount and for the barrel to rais e and lower its elevation, I built the model to do this. All decks are painted in TEstors flat gray. All major side housings and the VLS and gun mounts are painted in Testors Light Gray. By painting the gun covering in off gray, and the CIWS in black, as well as the mount for the VLS missile reloader in a ghost gray, contrast can be added that is realistic and pleasing to the eye.

I detailed the hanger with various poieces of equipment, and also cut the door to be shorter than the two provided. The long door covered the entire hanger which would have completely hidden the inside, but the shorter one was half height and also covered most of the opening. I wanted one 3/4's open and so carefully cut the 1/2 height door and removed a middle portion of the roll-up structure and then glued it back together again and painted the rull-up structure of the door with steel by testors.

This is how all of that turned out.

The Build - Forward Main Structure, port and starboard fairings, Aft VLS and CIWS(May 26, 2012)

Continuing, I build the main forward deck housing with its PAR radars. This was not a straight forward process as the parts had to be build with very little support and they tended to want to move as far as their angle was concerned. This ocvcurred several times with this model as will be pointed out where the joints could have benefited from either holes and pins, or stronger flange attachements that held them at the right angle. But, with careful attention, I was able to get them fitted properly, just be aware that this type of thing on this model can sometime test your patience and you need to work slowly, methodically, and with attention to detail. I painted the windows high up on the main deck housing using a weathered black, which is not quitre as dark or uniform as a standard flat black. I find, in the absence of cut out windows with smoked clear plastic inserts, that this provides a better glass solution.

I then built the aft housing around the hanger. This is not as bad in terms of fit and maintaining correct angles as the forward housing, but it still has the same issues and care must be taken.

Part of this issue with the fit now came was fitting the faired side panels along the side of the vessel to the sid of the center deck, to the main deck housing just discussed, and to the after housing around the hanger. Unless these pieces are positioned just right, a good seam along the side of the vessel is difficult to maintain and some sanding, putty, and careful alignement or realignment may be in order.

All in all, it worked out nicels and is seen in the following pictures.

The Build - Forward Main Mast, Amidships Engine Exhaust and mast housing (May 27, 2012)

The main mast has many small pieces for antennae and sensors. They need to be cut off the sprues carefully and then handled carefull to be able to be properly placed. Attention to detail and patient, painstaking placement is the key here to build the mast and properly prepare it for the placement of all of those pieces. I found it easier to build the main structuire (this section) and then paint and place the smaller pieces later, many of which were small intricate assemblies of their own.

I then build the Engine Exhaaust structure and the two funnels for the Gas Turbine Engines. These were painted in the weathered black I use, inside and out. I painted the exhaust panels on the sides of the structure using steel.

The Build - Forward main deck and mast detail/Equipment/sensors, Amidships Mast, sensors and ASW Missiles, Aft Sensors and details (May 28, 2012)

The details for the vessel at this point, particularly for the masts, are intricate, and as stated above, many of them involve fairly detailed assemblies of their own. In addition, there are some inconsistanceies between the model configuration and the actual vessel. I have not placed those yet and intend to build them as seen on the vessel. For example, the antennae that are located on the exhaust structure are not cioncluded. There are four of these that need to be painted flat black. Also, the intricate antennae that are on the secondary housing are far too thick and configured towards the very initial configuration of the first vessel, DDG-170, LAnzhou. Since initial launch, this has changed and has a different configuration and much thinner more delicate antennae. I intend to build these as they now exist.

Actual Mast and Antennae Configurations of DDG-171, Haikou

Other than that, the life rafts, the sensors, the antennae, blast deflectors, and particularly the intricate and highly detailed anti-surface missile luncher quad packs were all built. Thoe quad packs are relatively difficult to put together. The joining of the parts is not too sturdy and you have to spend time, be patient, and put them together carefully and then let them dry and get strong before proceeding. when you do, the results are ver nice indeed.

A bow on view of the model to this point is starting to look pretty impressive:

The long Memorial Day weekend here in the states benefited me because on two of those days I was able to spend many hours working as opposed to my normal routine of spending a couple of hours each evening after work.

But, there's still lots to do. Building the various antennae and sensors mentioned above to the correct configuration. Building and placing the chaff and decoy lanchers. Building and placing the cranes and ship launches on each side. Building and placing the entire prop, propeller, and rudders, and then all of the photo etched railing and sensors (that came with the vessel and additional after market parts) to complete the realism of the vessel.

The Build - Completing Comms, adding the Photo Etch railing, completing the props and rudders, and painting the helo landing area (June 4, 2012)

Well, over the last week I was able to paint, cut and add the photo etch railing. I did not by the specific railing for this model by Tom's Model or Gold Medal, I used left-over three bar railing from other vessels, notably the Kuznetsov. That was all that was really needed as the ship came with the curved railing to block the openings just aft of the main gun, and the helo raling/netting around the helo deck.

I created the antennae and sensors for the comm and sensor areas that were defiicient, though I may buy the specific Photo Etch kit in the end for the large sensor array amid-ships. Also completed and installed the props and rudders as well as the two ships launches and their cranes.

I then started masking off and painting the straight line markings for the helo landing area. I decided to do this because the vessel includes one large decal for the entire thing, and my experience is that with such large decals, it is very difficult to get a good finish on the whole surface of the "clear" areas of the decals. So I will mask and paint the straight lines, and cut out the circle as close to it alone as possible and place it in the appropriate position. Here's the start of that:

Finally, another larger picture of the whole vessel from a pleasing view to show overall progress:

I am looking at completing the PLAN DDG-171 Haikou within the next several days...well ahead of the current schedule.

The Build - Completing the Model (June 10, 2012)

After masking off and painting the landing area rectangle, I then built and painted the KA-27 ASW helicopter, building it with its rotors in the stowed positon, as it is being moved out of the hangar and onto the Helo deck preparing for take-off.

I then spray painted the model in gloss coat, applied the decals for Pennant Number 171 for the Haikou, and did the same for the helo. Once the decals dried, I did some touch up painting and other grooming, and then spray painted the model in dull coat for the final finish.

Here are twelve good pictures regarding how she looks now, completed as of June 10, 2012:

Now it's on to Tamiya's 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-65, which I have had and now waited to build for over 20 years.

SCHEDULE for Future Activities as of January 4, 2012

  1. By Jan 15, 2012: Complete the USS Lassen, DDG-82.
  2. By Feb 15, 2013: Complete PLAN Xuzhao (FFG-53) and Huangshan(FFG-570).
  3. By Mar 15, 2013: Complete Cyber Hobby's USS Independence, LCS-2
  4. By May 01, 2013: Complete entire PLAN Carrier Group.
  5. By Jun 15, 2013: Complete Entire US Carrier Group (Just the CSG).
  6. By Jul 01, 2013: Start the UK Carrier Group Centered on Airfix's HMS Illustrious.
  7. By Aug 15, 2013: Start the JMSDF Carrier Group Centered on Fujimi's JMSDF Hyuga.
  8. By Oct 01, 2013: Start the French Carrier group centered on Heller's Charles de Gaulle.
  9. By Nov 15, 2013, Start the US ARG centered on the USS Iwo Jima and USS Sommerset.
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 ot 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. If a 1/350 scale model of the PLAN Type 071 LPD, Yuzhao Class, is added, I will add one of those, propbably LPD-999, Jinggangshan.

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 Bunker Hill, CG-52 and USS Freedom, LCS-1 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) comes out from Trumpeter, Airfix, 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 own and should arrive in January 2013), 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 to this group.

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 comes out, I will add that to the group. Also as soon as the Forbin D620, Horizon class anti-air DDG is available, 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 becomes available, 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, and Trumpeter's 1/350 scale USS The Sullivans DDG-68,

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 bacame 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.

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.

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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