Veteran Models in Taiwan has been producing finely detailed multi-media aftermarket replacement parts for ship modelers for quite some time. Nicely crafted, their parts are a significant upgrade to model warships. They started in 1/350 Modern USN systems and have since branched into other Navies. Now they are offering modern Soviet/Russian systems.
If you have noticed Soviet and later Russian ships are busy, some would say crowded, with sensors and weapon systems. While functional, none of these are elegant in design, and the number of each provides redundancy to ensure survivability and reliability. Each one is hodge-podge of small detail not easily duplicated in the ejection molding process, no matter how sophisticated the molds. So Veteran Models move into this area is welcome by at least this modeler.
The Kashtan Close in Weapons System (CIWS) is one of those systems – more functional then elegant it reminds me of a less refined ED 209 or a boss in Wolfenstein! The Kashtan uses a similar principal to the USN CIWS or Dutch Goal Keeper, where the weapons are married to the fire control radars in a single mount. But like those purely gun systems, the Kashtan includes an anti-missile missile like the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM). The Kashtan has two 30mm cannons and two sets of short range missiles. The result is a Rube Goldberg contraption which has replaced the AK-630 systems on Russian ships.
This offering comes in the standard oversize matchstick box which I love. Included are sufficient resin and brass details to make 4 early Kashtan close in weapons system (CIWS) and 1 late Kashtan system. You will need two sets (8) of the early systems for the Trumpeter Kuznetsov carrier and 2 late systems can outfit a newer Udaloy or Udaloy II destroyer, for instance.
The Kashtan is a complex system to effectively create in the injection molding process, but Trumpeter has a done a good job. This set is light years beyond that in detail. It is a true multimedia kit with resin, etched brass and turned brass (gun barrels). Unlike other Veteran Models sets, this one takes some patience and experience with small parts to assemble; it truly is a small kit. Working slowly, I found everything fit well, though what I think are shell collectors under the Gatling guns, does not have an intuitive fit. Also the missile tubes are not a positive lock when they stack. But the brass gun barrel fit snuggly in place, ensuring alignment. The hardest part was the small brass details, especially the brackets for the radar feed horns. I only got one in place, before declaring victory. The end result was a realist looking ED 209 (err Kashtan).
So another great set from Veteran Models that will go a long way to improving the detail on the Kuznetsov model. As I stated this is not a drop in replacement, but if you are building that carrier, you are used to adding fine detai. Thanks to Veteran Models for offering this set.
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