Swedish Submarine Class Sjöormen
The first of the modern type of submarines for the Swedish navy was the Sjöormen class, designed in the early 1960s by Kockums, Malmo, and built by that company (three units) and Karlskronavarvet (two units). The class comprised the Sjöormen, Sjolejonet, Sjohunden, Sjobjornen and Sjohasten. With an Albacore type hull for speed and a twin-deck arrangement the class was extensively used in the relatively shallow Baltic where its excellent maneuverability and silent-running capabilities greatly aided the Swedish navy's anti-submarine warfare operations.
The control surface and hydroplane arrangements were the same as those fitted to the latter Swedish submarine classes, and it was these together with the hull design that allowed the optimum maneuverability characteristics to be used throughout the speed range, though they were more noticeable at the lower end. For example, a 360° turn could be achieved in five minutes within a 230-m diameter circle at a speed of 7 kts. underwater. If the speed was increased to 15 kts. the same turn would take only two and a half minutes, which meant the class could easily out-turn most of the Warsaw Pact anti-submarine escorts encountered in the Baltic, as well as most of the NATO escorts.
Sjobjornen was modified and upgraded for tropical conditions 1996-97 and re-launched as Challenger on 26 September 1997 as one of four submarines of the Challenger class on order for the Republic of Singapore Navy. The other vessels comprise Centurion (ex-Sjöormen), Conqueror (ex-Sjolejonet) and Chieftain (ex-Sjohunden) and together form 171 Squadron.
OKB Grigorov is scale model manufacturer based in Europe. Their business was established in 2003 and competes in the 1/72 & 1/350 AFVs, 1/700 & 1/350 Naval, and 1/100, 1/72, 1/48, 1/35 detail sets / conversions categories. Their complete kit subjects are heavily dominated by 1/700 submarines.
The diminutive OKB Grigorov kit of this Swedish submarine is molded in resin (9 parts) and two photoetch sheets that covers the propeller and a stand for the completed kit (4 parts). No instructions or decals came with the kit. You can see how small by comparing the 9mm Luger round to the parts. I would recommend that you wash all the parts to remove any remaining mold release. I used a Czech Master’s Kit H1006 very smooth saw to separate the resin hull from its sprue and then cleaned up the keel with a very small metal file.
First up for me was constructing the photoetch stand. I used a pair of Fiskars sharp-point snips to separate and clean the stand parts. I used a combination of instant cure thin CA and gap filling CA to assemble the kit. Then I brought out my daughter’s Legos and constructed a quick jig to align the stand (see photo). Up next was mounting the sail to the hull. I allowed these two parts to set for a few days and then added the sail diving planes and the four rudders. I drilled a hole through the sale with a carbide drill bit (#80) and then drilled holes into the diving planes where the mounting pins had been. I did the same for the four rudders before carefully aligning each rudder. I had hoped to have the diving planes and rudders movable, but in the end I glued them to keep them in position. I used Tamiya TS-29 Semi-Gloss Black as a primer for the hull. I then used Tamiya tape to create the darker area on the sail and washed the hull and sail assembly with a variety of Vallejo washes. The front of the sail got a dot of Vallejo Metal-Colors Aluminum and the escape hatch was painted Vallejo Red.
Up next, I sanded down the aft end of the hull to match the propeller tail cone profile and then secured the propeller tail cone to the propeller. I used a thinned Vallejo Model Color 70.801 Brass and applied with a brush to the propeller and tail cone.
The entire submarine is less than 3” in length in 1/700. It would be nice to have had decals to depict the Sjöormen at differing points in her career (i.e., the white hull depth markings and the “Sor” in script on the sail), but there are photographs showing none of these markings (maybe they were redacted). This is a fairly simple kit that is just begging to be done in 1/144 or 1/72 as there are additional details that are just not possible in 1/700. I am looking forward to completing another OKB Grigorov Swedish submarine. They also offer a 1/700 kit for the Gotland class and the Näcken class.
My thanks to OKB Grigorov and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great kit.