Soviet WWII Shchuka (Shch) Class Submarine
Zvezda 1/144, Ref. 9041
The Shchuka- (or Sh-, or even Chrch-) class submarines were medium-sized soviet boats. 111 of them were built in seven different dockyards and were used in anger during WWII. ‘Shchuka’ means ‘Pike’ in Russian. Their numbering reflected their area of operation: the 100 Series operated within the Pacific Fleet, the 200 Series with the Black Sea Fleet, the 300 Series with the Baltic Fleet and the 400 Series with the Northern Fleet. First entering service in the early-1930s, all but two were delivered before the end of WWII. Many were lost at sea, except in the Pacific Fleet because of the lack of action on that theatre of operations. Those that survived WWII soldiered on until the mid-1950s, with two boats given to China.
This is a fine model that reaches us from Zvezda. Its length is 39.6cm and it is made up of 117 parts, of which 116 are the actual submarine while the 117th is the base, taking the shape of some undersea rocks. Pretty original! A decal sheet and a length of nylon thread completes the kit.
The largest sprue just holds the two largest parts, the two hull halves of course. A second sprue holds 6 parts, including the decking and kiosk; the third runner holds all the other parts, including propellers, MGs, internal bulkheads and name plaque.
No flash is to be seen anywhere. The parts are really well moulded, the details are fine (engraved and raised where required); not a single ejection ring will be visible once the kit is completed.
The b/w instruction sheet is clear and precise; options for two variants are offered in the kit, with or without the saw-toothed bow; the full colour painting/decaling instruction sheet offers 4 options: boat 402 first in 1937 with a grey and red hull, then in 1940 in a green and black scheme (a ship that was lost in September 1944); and boat 209 first in 1936 with a grey and green hull and then in 1940 in a green and black scheme.
For submarine lovers, this is a must have, but it could easily tempt and be completed by any other modeller.
Review by Daniel Clamot; pictures by Zvezda and Daniel Clamot.