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Zvedzda Hotel Class SSBN - "In box review"

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Postby Tom Dougherty » Mon Oct 31, 2005 10:04 pm

OK, gang, just received my Zvedzda 1:350 scale Hotel Class SSBN kit. Yes, it's the same class as the infamous K-19 of movie fame. The kit itself looks to be relatively simple & straightforward: a total of 33 pieces, with left & right hull halves, with separate flat forward & after deck pieces. Dry fit seems OK; the hull pieces have some round higher "dimples" along the sides that look to be left over from injection. The hull pieces have both limber holes and lower ballast tank openings (not commonly found on most models- a plus for sure!). The limber holes are evenly spaced, whereas the limited information I have seems to indicate they should be spaced in pairs. There are also left & right sail halves with a separate one piece top. The missile doors atop the sail are modled closed, and look incorrect, as they have deep, angled grooves between the doors that I have not seen in any overhead photos of a Hotel. Also, the forward top of the sail where the masts and cockpit are located should have a slight elevation relative to the missile door area. It doesn't. Looks like a bit of scratchbuilding on the sail will be in order. Sternplanes and propellers look correct. Props have 6 blades, and the number & shape match a drydock photo I have. Rudder (represented only as a scribed area) is too short in length. Nice little anchor is provided. Decals include the buzz number & a set of silver decals that will represent the sonar windows on the bow and the upper deck Feniks sonar. (These sonar windows always looked to me like silver duct tape was placed over them). There is also a decal to represent the sail deadlights, which have white trim. Instructions are in several languages, and the English was transliterated from Russian, and is somewhat stilted but understandable. Overall, I'd give it about a 75-80% grade. Certainly the only show in town for this class of submarine. Overall, not too bad.
Tom




Edited By Tom Dougherty on 1130816340
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Postby Mylo » Mon Oct 31, 2005 10:22 pm

Tom,

Love the review. It's information like this that can really help us make an "educated purchase".

Looking forward to your build thread on this Hotel.

Myles.
"I don't have anything else planned for this afternoon." - Lt. Col J.O.E. Vandeleur

A Bridge Too Far (1977)
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Postby Dolphin » Mon Oct 31, 2005 11:13 pm

Good concise detailed review. Thanks Tom. Can you share here that Hotel in dry dock photo?

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Postby Gerwalk » Tue Nov 01, 2005 8:20 am

Thanks Tom. I'm waiting for mine to arrive.
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Postby Mandrake » Sat Dec 03, 2005 11:53 am

The missile doors atop the sail are modled closed, and look incorrect, as they have deep, angled grooves between the doors that I have not seen in any overhead photos of a Hotel. Also, the forward top of the sail where the masts and cockpit are located should have a slight elevation relative to the missile door area. It doesn't. Looks like a bit of scratchbuilding on the sail will be in order.


I am not sure that the missile doors and sail top are inaccurate. Some of the Hotel photos I have indicate that this configuration may of been present on atleast some Hotel subs.
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Postby Tom Dougherty » Sat Dec 03, 2005 6:19 pm

I have found a drawing which shows the deep "grooves" in the sail between the tubes, but can find no photos of that configuration. Where did you obtain these photos? Almost all the photos I have show the doors as curving hatches that follow the tops of the sail, when you can make out any details at all. Most are grainy "SovPhotos" of bygone years. The Hotels were not exactly prime photo material, given all the technical problems.

Steve-the photo of the Hotel in drydock is in my article on the HENs in the SCR about 2 years back.
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Postby Mandrake » Thu Dec 08, 2005 10:56 am

I am also familiar with that drawing you mention. The photos I refer to are nothing special, all very much in the public domain. Perhaps the most obvious example is the picture below of K-19 pictured after the 1972 incident where a fire broke out onboard.

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Save and zoom in

I suspect they are present on other photographed examples but simply not apparent unless viewed almost right angles at a relatively shallow angle.

There is existence is also supported by the fact that they do appear on some Golf subs:

Image

Image

Bear in mind ofcourse that they the Golfs and Hotels share their missile systems to a large degree.

I would also be very interested in the drydock photo you mention however I am not a subscriber as yet and even if I was there does not appear to be any back-issue order service currently available.
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Postby TMSmalley » Thu Dec 08, 2005 3:23 pm

Here's that drydock photo from Tom's March 04 article.

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Postby Mandrake » Thu Dec 08, 2005 7:01 pm

Great photo, thanks Tim!
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Postby TMSmalley » Thu Dec 08, 2005 7:42 pm

I was the one who laid out Tom's article for the SubCommittee Report and I still had the image :;): Tom is the sleuth who found it!
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Postby Mandrake » Thu Dec 15, 2005 12:04 pm

Came across something rather interesting on Globalsecurity.org

Satelite Imagery of Polyarny Naval Base in 1967 shows a submarine with what appears to be the above described grooves in the sail:

Image

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/russia/polyarny9.htm

The caption(s) indicate that it is a Hotel II SSBN, however looking at the relative size and position of the sail I think it is actually a Golf, what do you guys think?
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Postby Gerwalk » Thu Dec 15, 2005 1:18 pm

Groovy! The grooves are there (I mean: in that photo) no question about it. The position of the grooves is not exactly the same as in the line drawings of the Hotel class:

Image

I'm not sure the sub in the photo is a Hotel. The shape of the aft sail looks more like a Golf than a Hotel.

In this photo of the K-19 the grooves are not present:

Image
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Postby Gerwalk » Thu Dec 15, 2005 1:25 pm

This is from a National Geographic animation of the construction of K-19 (grooves!):

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Postby Mandrake » Thu Dec 15, 2005 8:38 pm

Gerwalk wrote:This is from a National Geographic animation of the construction of K-19 (grooves!):

Image

Note also that the Hotel submarine featured in the movie K-19 also has these grooves. It IS therefore no suprise that the National Geographic programme featured them as it was made in the wake of the film.

Though the real sub used in the film was actually a Juliett it was heavily modified to capture the appearance of Hotel, most notable in the construction of a new sail.

What little evidence that exists tends to lean towards the grroves being a feature of some Hotel II submarines. However at the time of the infamous reactor incident in 1961 K-19 would of still be a Hotel I class sub, the upgrade not being recieved until between 1963-1967, which compromises the accuracy of this feature being present in the movie and documentory.
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Postby Gerwalk » Fri Dec 16, 2005 8:31 am

Yesterday night I checked the K-19 book (NatGeo once again) which has a photo (is from the same series of photos were the one posted above comes from) taken from a plane that clearly shows that the grooves weren't there at the time of the accident.

BTW: that Julliet is the one the Saratoga Foundation has in Providence, RI. It's worth visiting it!
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