A recent addition to the IPMS Review Corps suppliers is Mikro-Mir, whose kits remind me of what I am used to seeing with limited production manufacturers. This is not a negative comment, but more of a heads up that some building experience is required to end up with a nice finished model at the end of construction. The overall assembly of this kit was relatively easy with 23 plastic parts and 11 photoetched parts included. Modelers with some experience will enjoy this kit, which represents a one-off design that was the fastest submarine produced to date.
Project 661, also known as the Anchar-class to the USSR, and by NATO as the Papa-class, was a nuclear-powered submarine meant to launch guided missiles at surface ships during the Cold War. Directions were given to develop this submarine with all new technologies, which led to delays in her construction. The hull was made of titanium and two V-5R reactors providing steam to two GTZA-618 turbines that propelled the submarine powered her. Her record speed was 44.7 knots, which translates to an amazing 51.44 miles per hour. Nicknamed the “Golden Fish”, she would be the basis for the later Alpha and Sierra-class submarines.
Initially referred to as K-162, the submarine would be redesignated K-222 in 1978. The submarine was laid down in December 1963, was launched in December 1968, was completed in December 1969, and was eventually stricken in March 1989. Displacing 6750 tons, she was 106.9 meters (350.72 feet) long, 11.5 meters (37.73 feet) at the beam, and had a draft of 8.06 meters (26.44 feet). She could carry 10 Ametist Surface-to-Surface Missiles along with a dozen 533TT torpedoes and had a crew of 80.
Upon opening the box, you will find the aforementioned 23 plastic parts on three sprues along with a photoetch fret, instruction sheet, and decals. The construction was relatively easy. I had some gaps to fill between the two hull halves, which I did by using Squadron Gray Putty. Although not difficult, you will need to decide which holes to open in the base, as they are pre-marked, and then measure out and drill corresponding holes in the hull.
I had issues with constructing the propellers for this kit as Mikro Mir provides a short, rounded hub along with five photoetched blades for each prop. Although the instructions show angling the propeller blades in opposing directions, which is correct, there are no markings on the hub to aid in the assembly process. I assembled one, and realized that it was not up to my standards. Fortunately, for me, and this review, I had a photo etched fret of submarine propellers in my submarine parts bin, and I wish that I knew where I bought them. I had two of the correct propellers available, so I angled the blades, and added a hub that I formed from styrene rod to match photos of the real submarine.
I painted the hull using Tamiya Hull Red and Stynylrez Black, the same black that I applied to the base, while the propellers received Vallejo Brass, and the four masts were painted with Model Master Lacquer Silver. I sprayed the submarine Alclad Gloss Kote prior to adding the decals, which set fine with Micro Set, but I top coated them with Micro Sol out of habit with no issues to report. The submarine was finished with Alclad Matte.
As far as my hits are concerned, the moldings are good for an interesting subject that I was not familiar with prior to starting this build. The photoetched radar for one of the masts is also a nice touch for this scale. The included decals are thin, and could actually be set in place using only Micro Set, or a similar product.
My only real miss for this release was the propeller design with the individual blades, which I mentioned were a problem for me. Perhaps there is a better way to assemble them than the way that I attempted. Pay attention when adding the dive planes as my sample did not have markings on the hull for where part 3, 7, 11, and 12 needed to be added, but any internet photo will aid you in getting them installed correctly.
Overall, I would highly recommend this kit to modelers wanting to add the fastest submarine ever built to their 1/350 scale collection. Most modelers will have little difficulty assembling the kit, but there are some filling, sanding, and drilling required as well as the use of photoetched parts, which require some experience to get through.
I would like to thank the folks at Mikro-Mir for providing this kit to the IPMS-USA Review Corps for assessment, and to John Noack for leading the Review Corps, and allowing me to perform this review. I would also send out kudos to all of the folks behind the scenes at the Review Corps who help John with his efforts, and as always, my sincere appreciation goes out to all the folks who take the time to read my comments.