Hobby Boss 1/350 USS Virginia (SSN 774)
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Comes with display base|
Attack submarines are designed to seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; project power ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and Special Operation Forces; carry out Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions; support battle group operations, and engage in mine warfare. Background
With the number of foreign diesel-electric / air-independent propulsion submarines increasing yearly, the United States submarine force relies on its technological superiority and the speed, endurance, mobility, stealth, and payload afforded by nuclear power to retain its preeminence in the undersea battlespace.
There are three classes of SSNs now in service. Los Angeles (SSN 688) class submarines are the backbone of the submarine force with 43 now in commission. Thirty-one Los Angeles class SSNs are equipped with 12 Vertical Launch System tubes for firing Tomahawk cruise missiles.
The Navy also has three Seawolf class submarines. Commissioned on July 19, 1997, USS Seawolf (SSN 21) is exceptionally quiet, fast, well armed, and equipped with advanced sensors. Though lacking Vertical Launch Systems, the Seawolf class has eight torpedo tubes and can hold up to 50 weapons in its torpedo room. The third ship of the class, USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23), has a 100-foot hull extension called the multi-mission platform. This hull section provides for additional payload to accommodate advanced technology used to carry out classified research and development and for enhanced warfighting capabilities.
The Navy is now building the next-generation attack submarine, the Virginia (SSN 774) class. The Virginia class is tailored to excel in a wide range of warfighting missions. The Virginia class has several innovations that significantly enhance its warfighting capabilities with an emphasis on littoral operations. Virginia class SSNs have a fly-by-wire ship control system that provides improved shallow-water ship handling. The class has special features to support special operation forces. The torpedo room can be reconfigured to house a large number of special operation forces and all their equipment for prolonged deployments and future off-board payloads. The class also has large lock-in / lock-out chamber for divers. In Virginia class SSNs, traditional periscopes have been supplanted by two Photonics Masts that house color, high-resolution black and white, and infrared digital cameras atop telescoping arms. With the removal of the barrel periscopes, the ships’ control room has been moved down one deck and away from the hull’s curvature, affording it more room and an improved layout that provides the commanding officer with enhanced situational awareness. Additionally, through the extensive use of modular construction, open architecture, and commercial off-the-shelf components, the Virginia class is designed to remain state of the practice for its entire operational life through the rapid introduction of new systems and payloads.
After the delightful build of the Hobby Boss HMS Astute, I expect the same from this kit. Hobby Boss have been providing some very nice submarine kits to enthusiasts and this one continues that trend.
Parts intensive this one is not. Probably a dozen plastic pieces and an equall number of photo etch ones makes up this kit. The hull is in an upper and lower sections with the sail taking up the lion's share of parts. There is a nice blade shroud and diffuser arrangement for the rear. Photo etch is used for some sensors along the sail as well as a railing for the bridge area. The kit includes a display stand and a nicely done photo etch name plate to go along with it.
Instructions are brief thanks to the low parts count. There are hull markings for one submarine and my experiences with Hobby Boss decals are quite good so no worries there. The sub is black and black-grey, making for little contrast between the two shades, despite what is shown on the box art.
This is probably about as close to a weekend build as you'll get, including painting. Of course, it will take me two weeks to build, but that is me. Modern submarine fans will be very pleased with this one.
Thanks to Squadron Products for the preview kit. Get yours today at your local retailer.
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