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HobbyBoss 1/700 scale Soviet aircraft carrier Baku

Kit:83416 // Scale:1/700 // Price:$69.99
HobbyBoss, from Squadron Products, 877-414-0434
Clean molding with fine detail and no flash; logical assembly sequence; good fits
Clear plastic brittle, difficult to see if not painted before assembly; errors in decal directions
Injection-molded, 334 parts (52 photoetched metal), decals

The HobbyBoss 1/700 scale Soviet aircraft carrier Baku was the fourth in the Kiev class but was outfitted with an extensively modified armament and electronics configuration — sufficient to be put in its own class by the time it was commissioned in 1988.

Renamed Admiral Gorshkov after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the carrier was sold to India in 2004. Now called Vikramaditya, it is being modified to become a full-deck aircraft carrier.

The kit comprises four styrene sprues plus one-piece superstructure, hull, and flight deck. In addition, there are six clear-plastic sprues for Ka-27 helicopters and Yak-38 jets (four of each). 

The instructions are a 12-step, 12-page set plus a five-color page for decal placement and painting.

The molding is clean with no flash and very few sink marks. 

The waterline hull fits snugly with the one-piece deck. The one-piece superstructure had a slightly concave warp that prevented a good fit with the deck. I added a small sprue brace internally to spread the footprint, correcting the problem to produce a nice, flush fit.

The well-detailed superstructure, with phased-array radar panels, occupies the first five steps (with 23 subassemblies). Follow the instructions as closely as possible, because the finely detailed radar suite and sensors are added step by step. Adding multiple decks at the same time will cause clearance issues.

The instructions were error-free, omitting just one part (A34 in Step 3.2, but easy enough to find on the A sprue). I found it best to paint each deck as it was applied, since the following step would cover most of the work area. Have your fine tweezers ready; many parts are smaller than the head of a pin.

The next six steps (with 15 subassemblies) deal with the waterline hull and a flight deck. The assembly is straightforward as you install 12 missile canisters (along with one missile on the reload rail), two styrene and photoetched-metal cranes, life-raft canisters, and boats. The placement of 50 life-raft canisters on the port side and 121 on the starboard side takes a bit of time, but the instructions are clear and result in a high level of detail.

Steps 12 and 13 create the aircraft. Molded in clear styrene, each Ka-47 requires 10 parts to complete (with an option of extended or stowed rotors); each Yak-38 comprises five parts. The result is a good-looking air group.

Decaling this model takes a while because the flight-deck decals are in multiple, overlaying sets. So, it’s best to provide plenty of drying time between applying them. Of the 106 decals provided for ship and aircraft, 86 are for the flight deck. Fortunately, the decals are easy to work with and show fine attention to detail.

This is not your average 1/700 scale kit with lumps and bumps denoting landing gear and radar pods, but, rather, a finely detailed plastic model enhanced with just a bit of photoetched metal. If I were to upgrade the kit, I would add more photoetched-metal railings and another air wing.

The model’s dimensions scale out exactly, the detail is fine, and the fits are mostly good. Still, after a 78-hour build, I would recommend this one to experienced modelers.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the April 2014 FineScale Modeler.


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