USS Nautilus SSN-571
“Underway on nuclear power.” With those words uttered by Commander Eugene P. Wilkinson on the morning of 17 January 1955, the United States Navy had begun a new era in how submarines (later aircraft carriers, and for a time guided missile cruisers) would be propelled through the waters of the world. The USS Nautilus, SSN-571 was built using a Tang-class hull design, with a revolutionary Westinghouse nuclear reactor providing the steam used to power and propel the boat. SSN 571 was the sixth U.S. Navy vessel to carry the name Nautilus; she was authorized for construction in July 1951, her keel was laid in June 1952, and was launched in January 1954. She was decommissioned in March 1980 after steaming over 500,000 miles, and is currently on display at the Submarine Force Museum.
A recent addition to the IPMS Review Corps suppliers is OKB Grigorov, which started business in 2003 in the European Union. The kit is a simple affair consisting of a hull, two dive planes, two propeller tips and a base that are all cast in gray resin along with two photoetch propellers. Inside the box, the hull was separately wrapped in a foam sheet, and then it and the other contents were enclosed in bubble wrap.
Construction was quick, as one would expect with the limited number of parts. For 1/700 scale, the propellers look close to photos I found online of the real ones on display from this boat. I went with the later all black paint scheme for the submarine and used Badger Stynylrez black primer, which worked beautifully. I was fortunate enough to find some spare numbers that seem to be the correct size for the “571” markings, which I added to the sail. The base received Alclad Gloss Black Primer followed by Polished Brass. I left the propellers their natural brass color, and everything was sealed with Alclad Klear Kote Matte.
As far as my hits are concerned, the moldings are nice and crisp, and the ease of construction make this something that modelers with limited experience with resin can build without too much difficulty. The brass propellers look convincing and were easy to set the blade angles to more closely match those used on the submarine. The solid resin base provides some heft that will keep the finished model from being tipped over when on display.
My only real miss for this release is that I would have liked a small decal sheet for the hull numbers and perhaps something for the base. On my sample, the base did not quite match up with the hull, but I used Tacky Wax to join the two with no issues. The top of the sail has the openings for the various masts closed, so no snorkel, periscope, or other appendages are included, but I have found those to be damaged easily in this scale when dusting the models.
Overall, I would highly recommend this kit to modelers wanting to add this historic submarine to their 1/700 scale collection. Most modelers will have little difficulty assembling the kit, and construction could be as simple as adding the propellers if the forward dive planes were in the stowed position.
I would like to thank the folks at OKB Grigorov 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.