My Review and Build of Bronco's 1/350 scale Kit #NB5013,
PLAN YUan Class, Diesel/Electric Submarine

Last updated: November 5, 2014 - Decals, Prop, Antennae/Sensors, Viewing Port, and Complete

The Chinese Yuan Class Submarine

This model is a 1/350 scale model depiction of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Yuan Class Diesel/Electric, Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) submarine.

The Yuan Class submarines (also known as the Type 041, and to some, the Type 039A), are a class of conventionally powered (non-nuclear) attack submarines. They follow the chinese Type 039 Song class submarines.

These submarines are relatively large for conventional, diesel/electric submarines, and have taken the good from the Chinese Song Class, and combined them with the technology and innovation the Chinese derived from the twelve Russian Kilo Class submarines they purchased, and produced a superior submarine for Chinese use.

These submarines include an air-independent propulsion system which some sources indicate was developed by the 711th Research Institute of the China Shipbuilding Heavy Industry Group Corp. In June 1996 the AIP development team hconsisted of a dozen researchers and engineers. By 2008, this effort had blossomed into over a hundred researchers. Chinese sources have not revealed th exact nature of the operations of this AIP engine, and many analysts believe it is most probably based on the Stirling cycle type AIP engine. The Yuan class is the first Chinese production run of submarines in the PLAN to incoprporate AIP. The engine is built by Shanghai Qiyao Propulsion Technology Ltd., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the 711th Institute.

Thirteen of the vessels have been built and inducted into the Chinese Navy todate. A fourteenth vessel, with a number of improvements, including a modified hull and redesigned Sail that has fiared extrusion at its confluence with the hull fore and aft, similar to the sail of the Virginia-class submarine, has been launched and is in trials.

These vessels displace 3,600 tons submerged, and are armed with six forward 533mm torpedo tubes. These are capable of launching indigenous anbd Russian-built torpedoesthe YJ-8X (C-80X) subsonic anti-ship missiles which carry a 165 kg semi-armour-piercing high-explosive warhead, and have a maximum range of 80~120 km.

The Yuan class was desinged to replace the older, aging Romeo and Ming Class submarines still in use with the Chinese Navy.


Displacement: 3,600 tons
Length: 240 feet
Beam: 26 feet
Propulsion: Diesel/Electric (4 Diesel Engines) with AIP, 1 Shaft
Speed: 23 knots submerged, 16 knots surfacesd
Compliment: 65
6 x 533mm torpedo tubes - Torpedoes, YJ-83 (C-803) missiles (approximately 20 weapons) or 36 mines

These are veryx quet vessels and represent a real danger in the littoral waters, or at any choke point. The Chinese have, between the Song, the Kiols, and these Yuan class SSKs, almost forty modern diesel/electrics that they will use to protect their coastal areas, establish bloacking positions at passgaes and straits, and also use in the South China Sea in the event of any hostilities.

The US Navy is aware of the real threat posed by quiet diesl/eletric submarines, particularly those with AIP which means they do not have to surface and recharge their batteries. The US Navy worked with its allies and leased advanced diesel/electric boats for several years to develop the tactics, sensors, and policy for combating such vessels.

The Kit: What's in the Box (November 3, 2014)

Bronco builds excellent kits, including 1/350 scale submarines. They are on par with HobbyBoss in the 1/350 scale submarine areana.

The model has little or no flash or other left-over modling, and is modled in gray, with one clear plastic sprue.

The hull comes in two pieces, an upper and lower half that fit extremely well together, and the sail is a separate, well molded pieces.

There is a single gray plastic sprue that contains all of the antennae and sensors for the sail, and the two pieces for the propelly that will fit on the aft end of the boat.

The clear plastic sprue contains two parts, which are the small viewing windows on the port and starboard side of the forward, upper sail. When apprpritately painted (the supports between windows) they will render a very nice, realoistic look to the boat.

The kit comes in a small box with noice graphics, and there is a small decal sheet containing depth markings for the boat and a Chinese Navy flag. A single photo Etch part is included which is the name plate for the three piece stand that is also included. Here's how everyhting looked out of the box:

THis is going to be a fun build.

The Build - Control plane, intial Hull construction and painting (November 4, 2014)

I started by simply cutting out and arranging the various control surfaces, diving planes, etc. and then adding them to the hull. I then glued the hull together and added the sail:

I then added the reamining control surfaces on the stern, built the stand for the model, and then applied the initial paint to the upper half of the hull. It is a very dark gray, wich the instructions called out for Engine Gray.

In the next session, I will finish the painting of the hull, add the propeller, add the sensors on the sail and the decals, and finish the model.

The Build - Decals, Prop, Antennae/Sensors, Viewing Port, and Complete (November 5, 2014)

I began this session by completing the painting of the hull, painting the lower in Hull Red from Model Masters Acryllic, and then painiting the stand in Flat Black. I then paointed the Propellor and its cap in brass and added them.

At this point it was time to add the sensors/antennae to the sail. There are six of them altogether, so I painted them first (most of the shafts are siver, and the sensors/antennae themselves varry in shades of gray and black). I then added these to the model, and then also first painted (very carefully) and then added the windows in the forward portion of the sail. I also added the name plate to the vessel's stand.

with this, the vessel was completed and I then glued it to its stand and gave it two coats of dull coat and tooke the pictures:

...and here are a few other angles:

A nice looking, and very quick build and a good addition to my PLAN ARG, for use in the littoral waters in conjunction with Chinese Amphibious operations.

Schedule for Future Activities: November 5, 2014

  1. By Dec 01, 2014, Complete the PLAN Amphibious Ready Group centered on the Trumpeter Type 071 LPD-998, with two Type 056 Corvettes, and a Yuan Class SSK.
  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:


...and most of their surface escorts at:


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