My Review and Build of Bronco 1/350 scale Kit #NB5015,
Vanguard Class SSN, HMS Vengence, S31

Last updated: Missiles, Masts/Sensors/Periscopes, Decals, Complete - September 26, 2015

Introduction - The Vanguard Class Nuclear Attack Submarines:
In 1980, the British governmnet determined that they needed to replace their ballistic maillis submarine fleet of four Resolution class SSBNs that they had operated since the 1960s which had used the Polaris sub-lauinched nallistic missiles. With the advent of the new Trident missiles in the US, Great Britian wanted to move to using those missiles because of their greater range, their greater accuracy, and their ability to MIRV into more independently targeted weappons.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the time wrote to US President Carter to request a supply of Trident I (C4) missiles on a similar basis to the arrangement the UK had with the Polaris missiles for the United Kingdom's next generation ballistic missile submarines. This deal had not been made by the time Carter left office, and in 1982 Thatcher wrote to US President Ronald Reagan to request the UK be allowed to procure the improved Trident II (D5) missiles, which had been accelerated by the US Navy. An agreeement was signed in March 1982to do this, and under the anew greement, the United Kingdom made a 5% research and development contribution to the Trident D5 progam.

The keel of the first boat, HMS Vanguard, S28, was laid on September 3, 1986. She was launched in 1992 and commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1993. Three more vessels, the HMS Victorious, S29, HMS Vigilant, S30, and HMS Vengence, S31, followed and were commissioned in 1995, 1996, and 1999 respectively.

These are the largest submarines ever built by the United Kingdom. Each displaces 15,900 tons and is 492 feet long and has a beam of 42 feet. Each submarine has sixteen launch tubes for Trident D5 SLBMs, each of which has a range of over 6,100 miles and can carry up to eight independently targeted warheads.

These vessels also have four 21-inch torpedo tubes for heavy-weight Spearfish torpedoes for self defense against enemy submarines or surface vessels if needed.

But these boats are not meant to engage enemy vessels or be found by them. They are extremely quiet and they lurk in the deepes, furthest places in the ocean in case they are ever needed.

These vessles now provide the only nuclear deterrence capability available for the UK, and have been doing so since 1993. Next to the US Navy Ohio class SSBNs, they are considered the most quiet and most effectve SSBN vessels on earth.

In 2006, the process for determining how to replace these vessels was initiated. Each vessel is expected to serve between 25 and 30 years, meaning that in 2028-2032 the first replacement vessel would need to be available. At the time (2006) England's Prime Minister told the government that it would be "unwise and dangerous" for the UK to give up its nuclear weapons on ballistic missile submarienes. A plan was outlined at the time to spend up to 20 billion on the next generation of submarines for Trident missiles. The plan called for the number of nuclear warheads to be cut by 20% from 200 to 160 weapons. The plan stipulated that although the Cold War with the Soviet Union had ended, the UK needed its weapons, because current onad other nuclear threats would emerge in the future.

In September 2009, the new Prime Minister confirmed that a reduction to three submarines was under consideration. But in February 2011, the Defence Secretary stated that four submarines would be needed for the UK was to retain its current capabilities. In May 2011 the British government approved the initial assessment phase for the construction of SSBN submarines, paving the way for the ordering of the first long-lead items and preparations for the main builds. The new submarine class will retain Trident II D5 missiles, will incorporate a new 'PWR3' nuclear reactor, and will also incorporate new technologies developed for the Astute-class nuclear attack submarines (SSN).

The cost for four new boats ia estimated to be 1520 billion at 2007 prices, and they too will have a projected life span of 25-30 years

Specifications/Chharacteristics for Vanguard Submarines: Displacement: 15,9000 tons submerged
Length: 492 feet
Beam: 42 Feet
Draft: 39 feet
Propulsion: 1 x PWR2 Reactor
- 2 x GEC Turbines
- 1 x Shaft w/Punp Jetr propuslor
- 2 x retractable aux propulsion motors
Speed: 25 knots submerged
Crew: 135 personnel
- 16 x Trident II D5 nuclear missiles (up to 8 warheads each)
- 04 x 21inch torpedo tubes for Swordfish heavy torpedos

Introduction and What's in the Box - September 25, 2015
Broncos builds excellent 1/350 scale, plastic injected modled models all types. They have an excellent fit with very little oif any flash or other modling residue. THeir submarines by nature do not have many parts, but usually include nice, small sets of photo etched parts, and they build-out into very nice looking and accurate representation of the boats they are meant to depict. To my knowledge they make the only 1/350 scale injected modled plastic kit of the Royal Navy's Vanguard Class of nuclear attack submarines in 1/350 scale.

The Bronco kit comes in a nice box, that is well built, and contains a very nice image of the boat on its cover, as well as images of the model on the side panels. The hull is made up of two pieces, and upper pieces, and a lower section. The sail is a separate single peice on the sprue. The horisontal and verttical control surfaces can be modeled to move, and the two forward dive planes are provided and can be shown either retracted, or in place.

There is a single srpue of plastic pieces which include the foreplanes, the diving planes, the sail. The plastic sprue also contains the three piece propuslor assembly and all of the masts and sensors for the boat, as well as some deck mounted fixtures.

There is also a photo etch sprue that contains some small pieces, and the name plate. The decal sheet contains the depth markings for the hull, and a few other markings.

The instructions are very intuitive and straight forward and in full color. They include an excellent paint scheme for the boat., also in full color.

Here are the pictures of this:

The Build - Contol surfaces, diving planes, hull, and propulsor - September 25, 2015

I started by building the horizontal and vertical control surfaces that fit on the stern of the boat. The horizontal ones have to be in place before gluing the two hull pieces together. I did this, and then added the sail and the vertical control surfaces, as well as the dive planes forward on the vessel.

I then painted the overal vessle in the flat black it is paointed in.

At this point I built the propulsor unit on the stern of the vessel. This is made up of four parts. The propuslor is an excellent innovationn that was later added to the existing Royal Navy Trafalgar SSNs and also to their new Astutue Class SSNs. The device has also been adopted on the US NAvy Sea Wolf SSN submarines and the newer Virginia class SSN submarines.

With the hull painted and having the sail, the control surfaces, dive planes and propuslor attached, the vessel is almost complete.

She is looking very good. In my next session I will add all of the masts and sensors, add the decals, do any touch up paint, and then complete the mnpmodel.

The Build - Missiles, Masts/Sensors/Periscopes, Decals, Complete< - September 26, 2015

I started this session by building the two Trident II D5 missiles that came with the kit and their hatch covers. I then placed these on the vessel, one all the way down in its tube and the other coming out of it.

I then added painted and added all of the masts, sensors, and persicope on the sail.

The kit comes with the decals that mark the vessel. These are marker lines for the side facing sonars, depth marks, and hatch covers. They went on nicely.

I then did touch up work on the vessel, painted the sonar dome on the bow, and then added the two coats of dull coat finish to the vessel and she was complete.

Here are the finished photos:

So there you have her. The Royal Navy Banguard Clas SSBN in 1.350 scale. she is a beautiful boat.

Oh...she's a little dust, but here is the Royal NAvy Asuste Class SSN in 1/350 scael (a very modern and excellent class) next to the Navguiard class for comparison.

Planned Builds:

  1. By Oct 16, 2015, Complete RAF Typhoon in 1/72 Scale.
  2. By Oct 30, 2015, Complete RN Merlin Helicopter in 1/72 Scale,
  3. By Nov 27, 2015, Complete French Rafael M in 1/72 Scale.
  4. By Dec 31, 2015, Complete USS Hornet, CV-8 in 1/350 Scale.

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 was completed and is centered on Heller's 1/400 scale Charles De Gualle, R91. I also built the 1/400 scale Heller French De Grasse, D612 DDG, which is an ASW DDG, and the French Aconit D612 FFG and Gueprattet F714 FFGs, both of which are Lafayette class frigates. These four vessels 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 CSG. One day, when the models come out, I will purchase two 1/350 scale Mistral Class LPDs 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.

The completion of the 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, a Trumpeter 1/350 scale Udaloy DDG, Hobby Boss's Akula II class SSN, the new Yasen class Russian SSN, and the Zevzda Oscar II SSGN, all in 1/350 scale.

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 built the model as the Sao Paulo and thus started a Brazilian group. I will need to find a 1/350 scale Type 22 DDGs and the FFGs the Brazilians use which are not available at present. I did purchased a set of 1/400 scale A-4 Skyhawks and S-3 Trackers and built those as 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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