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K-335 Gepard, Russian Akula III SSN, Bronco Kit #NB5020 OOB Review & Build

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  • From: Idaho, USA
K-335 Gepard, Russian Akula III SSN, Bronco Kit #NB5020 OOB Review & Build
Posted by Jeff Head on Friday, October 3, 2014 5:12 PM
My Review and Build of Bronco Model's 1/350 scale Kit #NB5020,
Gepard, K-335, Akula III Nuclear Attack Submarine

Last updated: Masts/Sensors, touchup, Complete - Septmeber 29, 2014

Introduction and What's in the Box- September 28, 2014

About the ship:
This model is a 1/350 scale model depiction of the Russian Akula III class Nuclear attack submarine, Gepard, K-335.

The Akula nuclear attack submarines (SSNs) were built by the Soviet Union beginning in the 1980s as an asnwer to the US Navy's Loa Angeles class submarines that were built throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The Soviet Union, and then later, the Russian Navy, built a total of fifteen of these boats in three batches. They were called Akula I, II, and II. Six Akula I SSNs were built and put in service by the Soviets. Seven Akula IIs were built and put in service by the Soviets and then the Russians. One Akula III was built and put in service by the Russian Navy.

The Gepard, K-335, is the only Akula III class submarine in service. It was built after the fall of the Soviet Union by the Russian Navy, being laid down on September 23, 1991 at Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk; was renamed Gepard on February 22, 1993; was launched on September 17, 1999; and was commissioned in January 2002, well over ten years after its construction started. It was the last Russian Akula vessel put in service for the Russian Navy.

Six other Akula IIs were started by the Russians. Of those, three of the hulls were later used to build more modern ballistic missile submarines. Of the three remaining, one, K-152, Nerpal, was contracted for completion and funded by the Indian Navy, and ultimately completed and commissioned in 2009, and then leased to the Indian Navy for ten years, with an option for a second ten period, as the INS Chakra in 2011. A second, similar vessel which is laid up incomplete, is said to have been contracted by the Inidans for completion like the Chakra.

The Akula II design increased the length of the Akula I desing by three meters and increased the displacement by 700 tons. The Akula IIs had significant quieting measures added to them, and they updated their . sonar system/suite with the MGK-540 Skat-3 sonar system.

The Akula III project increased the length of the original Akula design over that of the Akula II. Notably, the very large towed array that had been housed on top of the vertical rudder of the Akula I and II SSNs was removed, and replaced with a much more compact and modern towed array housed within the hull of the vessel. In addition, the sail was enlarged somewhat and set up somewhat higher with less gradual fairing into the hull as a result. Finally, the Akula III benefitted significantly from the sell to Russia by Japan of nine axis CNC milling equipment from Toshiba which had originally been developed by the Norwegian firm, Kongsberg Vaapenfabrik. This allowed the Russian to make the Akula III significantly quieter than previous Akula vessles, matching the quietness of the Improved Los Angeless Class boats that were later produced by the US Navy in the 1990s.

All Akulas are double hulled submarines which allow them to have significantly more reserve buoancy than single hulled vessels. it also imparts significant strength to them allowing them to dive deeper, and be more resistant to light weight torpedos. Conversely, these designs also require more poer to allow them to operated at depth and at speed.

The Akulas, including the Akula III, K-335, Gepard, are heavily armed with four 533mm torpedo tubes and four 650mm torpedo tubes. They carry in excess of 40 weapons of all varieties including heavy weight conventional torpedos, short range rocket powered super-cavitating torpedos, conventional and nuclear cruise missiles, and mines. Twelve Granite missiles are usually carried for the 4 650mm torpedo tubes.

Specifications of the Pepard, K-335, Akula III:
Displacement: 12,770 tons
Length: 110.8 m (360 ft)
Beam: 13.6 m (44 ft)
Draft: 9.7 m (31.5 ft)
- 1 x OK-650M Thermal nuclear reactor (190 mW)
- 2 x 410 shp auxiliary motors
- 2 x 750 shp diesel generators DG-300
Max Speed: 33 knots submerged, 12 knots surfaced
Operating depth: 520 m (1,700 ft)
Test Depth: 600 m (1,950 ft)
Compliment: 73 personnel
- 4 x 533mm torpedo tubes (28 weapons)
- 4 x 650mm torpedo tubes (12 weapons)
- 3 x SA-N-10 Igla-M SAMs launched from the sail

The Kit:
The Bronco kit is well done. Brnco produces great 1/350 scale model kits, particularly for submarines.

They always have an excellent instruction booklet that includes a full color patining scheme and include the paint stock number for several paint manufactureres. The instructions are always intuitive and well laid out.

This kit comes with a full length hull split into three pieces, a single piece for the upper hull, and two pieces for the lower hull. Except for the very forward part of the sail, the entire sail is molded directly into the upper hull section.

There are a lot of details, and options including the compartments for the auxillary propulsion units on either side. I intend to show one of them open. In addition, the control surfaces on the vertical rudders and horizontal surfaces can be built to move, which I intend to do.

There are two sprues of grey modled parts and the stand included. In addition a small prue of photo etch metal parts is included with the nameplate and straps for the sides of the sail for personnel to hold to when the vessel is surfaced.

All in all, there are 60 parts to the model.

The kit also includes a nice set of water-slide decals. It includes 32 decals.

Here's how all of that looks out of the box:

   The Build - Buidling the hull and adding the control surfaces, painting the hull - September 28, 2014

The hull went together quickly and fit well. Once it was glued together I began adding all of the control surfaces as well as the compartment for the auxilliary propulsion.

Once that was completed (and dried) I painted the entire hull in a flat black, and then masked off the lower hull and painted it in in Ensignia Red.

She's looking good. I will next work on the masts, decals, and completion in the next session.

The Build - Adding the masts/sensors, the aux propulsion, decals, and completing the model - September 29, 2014

In this session I began by adding all of the small doors for the masts and sensors on the sail. As is my custom, I intend to show them all open and deployed. Once that was completed, I painted the various sensors and then added them to the sail.Eight masts altogether and here's how that went:

With that completed and dried, I built the stand and then added the decals to the vessel. Submarines are always nice to build because they come together quickly and look really great. Anyhow, once the decals were set, I added two coats of dull coat to the model and then took pictures of her in her completed state. Here's how the look:

And here are three pics of close ups. The sail and a couple of angles of the open aux power.

So, that's the Russian Navy, Akula III SSN, the Gepard, K-335 in 1/350 scale. Onward and forward!

SCHEDULE for Future Activities - September 29, 2014
  1. By Oct 15, 2014, Start the US Navy Amphibious Ready Group centered on the Gallery USS Wasp with an LHD, an LPD, a DDG, a SSN and two LCS.
  2. By Dec 01, 2014, Start the PLAN Amphibious Ready Group centered on the Trumpeter Type 071 LPD-999, with a FFG, and three DDGs.
  3. By Jan 15, 2015 Go back and start fleshing out 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, R06as 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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