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Alanger Delta IV kit: In-box review

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Alanger Delta IV kit: In-box review

Postby Tom Dougherty » Mon May 28, 2007 4:29 pm

Alanger 1/350 Delta IV SSBN (K-407) kit. See photos below. This 1/350 scale kit comes in a massive cardboard box, which is long (it needs to be, due to the hull size), as well as very wide and very deep, for no discernible reasons (and could even damage the kit parts from way too much room to rattle around). The vast majority of the box content is air. The color drawing on the box front depicts many freeflood limber holes along the side of the turtleback, none of which are present on the model. A quick check of my Russian references indicated, though, that the Delta IV was missing the many limber holes that made the earlier boats in this series so distinctive (and noisy!). Hence, the box art is wrong (Delta III) and the kit part is correct. The overall length of the hull is by far the most impressive part of the kit! Even in 1/350 scale, it measures 18 1/2 inches in length and 1 3/16 inches in diameter.

All parts are molded in black plastic. The hull is in three basic pieces: very long bottom and top sections (with a large flat cut-out area in the top hull piece) & a separate top section that contains the sail and missile tube turtleback that fits into the flat cut-out area in the top hull section (see photos below). The sail/turtleback horizontal join line section appears to follow a natural hull break point that allows water under the turtleback (See Kevin's photo below), but the forward and aft sections will have to be blended into the upper hull piece to avoid seams in those areas. The tops of the 16 missile tubes (what appears to be a cover or membrane over the missiles) are all visible, and 16 outer hatches are provided, which fit flush with the turtleback. Although one can model the sub with hatches open or closed, no missiles are provided, in contrast to the case with the Dragon Ohio SSBN kit. There are two oblong cutouts on either side of the forward sides of the sail into which one glues two oblong pieces (which in turn have holes for the sail planes). I can't see any obvious reason to mold the sail in such a fashion, except to increase the kit part count (see photos below). Again, it creates some unwanted seams that will have to be puttied and smoothed before painting. Nothing terribly challenging here, just odd choices in kit layout.

Stern planes are molded onto the two very long hull pieces, whereas the upper & lower rudder pieces are separate. The upper rudder has the prominent tube for the towed array deployment. Two 7-bladed skewed propellers (with opposite rotations) are provided, along with a separate top piece for the sail and a set of four masts to install in it. The sail top also earns point for a recessed bridge cockpit detail complete with hatch.

The lower hull also has reactor cooling scoops that need to be installed. Not depicted at all on the kit are the four forward torpedo tubes. Unfortunately, also missing from the lower hull is any sign of the ballast tank flood ports (a nice feature found on the two recent Zvedzda kits of the November 1/350 scale SSN and Hotel SSBN). A simple plastic stand and a pretty decent set of decals (including hull stripes, sail deadlights, draft lines, red & white marker buoys, and other items). Instructions are simple pictorial ones; not a whole lot to assemble here, really. Likewise the painting instructions on the sheet are very simple, with a pictorial layout and paint shade call-outs

Overall, it will build into a physically impressive model, but with some detail shortcomings, as noted above. Probably I would give it a B to B-.

Kit Photos
Image
The box with (wrong) box art!

Image
This year's winner of the greatest empty air to parts ratio box!

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Main hull pieces tree. The bottom of the hull is the topmost piece, the upper hull is at the bottom and has the large notch molded into it. The piece with the sail and the turtleback that fits into the upper hull notch is at center left on the tree.

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Closeup of the sail/turtleback piece (upper) and the top hull piece (lower) into which it inserts.

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oblique close up of the sail. The two oblong notches in the forward part of the sail have kit pieces that fill them in. No obvious reason for this!

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Close up of parts tree. Includes propellers at left, upper and lower rudders, and sail top with cockpit. The two pieces with holes between the rudder parts are the sail pieces that fit into the sail notches in the photo immediately above. The holes are for the sail planes.

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Photo of completed model from the side of the box. The free flood area seam where the sail/turtleback meets the upper hull is visible.
Last edited by Tom Dougherty on Tue May 29, 2007 12:37 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby JWLaRue » Mon May 28, 2007 5:28 pm

Tom,

Excellent report! You continue to amaze me with your knowledge across numerous nationalities and classes of subs!

-Jeff
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Upgraded kit review

Postby Tom Dougherty » Mon May 28, 2007 6:24 pm

Thanks, Jeff, for the kind comments! I've actually enhanced the review with digital photos and commentary.

Tom
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Postby KevinMc » Tue May 29, 2007 7:16 am

Hi Tom,

I'll second Jeff's appreciation for making this post.

With regards to your comment about the missile deck seam "not following any natural hull break", I suspect that this statement is incorrect. As you've noted, the DELTA IV does not have prominent rows of easy-case vents- they've not been completely deleted from this mark, just faired over. This fairing creates a "radial step" in the hull, however in most photographs it lies just below the waterline so unless you're looking at a dry-dock photo you'll be hard-pressed to notice it.

Image

Also, for anyone who's really picky, all the drydock photos I've seen (including the one above) suggest a 5-bladed screw, not 7.

I hope you'll post more photos when you get her complete!

KMc
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Postby Tom Dougherty » Tue May 29, 2007 12:32 pm

Thanks, Kevin! Had not seen a Delta IV drydock photo before. I've corrected the review to reflect your information.

So, one should leave the longitudinal seam on either side and just putty over the forward and stern seam lines where the piece joins the upper hull. The seam looked to me as if it was actually in the pressure hull, being down so low. I can see how it would allow water to flow in from the bottom of the turtleback, but I'm still not sure how they get the trapped air bubbles to vent!

Tom
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Postby Gerwalk » Tue May 29, 2007 3:20 pm

Thanks Tom! What a big box! Now I understand the high shipping price Mr. Gunston charged me for this kit (still waiting for it!!)!!

I agree with Kevin:
5 bladed props... which is rather strange these days but the few photos available show that number of blades.

As for the shape of the turtleback this photo shows a missing plate just where the turtleback begins. Its shape is apparent:
Image

As for the release of air IMO the missiles deck has enough openings to allow the air trapped inside the turtleback to vent:

Image
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Postby Tom Dougherty » Tue May 29, 2007 6:03 pm

Nice to hear from you again, Pablo! Missing the days at MIT?

The huge box is way overkill, about the size of the old Renwal SSBN box. That box needed to be large due to the enormous number of parts in the Renwal "interior" kits. But, when you open the Alanger box up, there is not a lot inside in the way of parts (1 large tree, one small tree & a decal sheet). I would be very concerned about the parts getting damaged as there is a lot of space to bounce around inside the box!

Yeah, looks as if the 7-bladed propellers are wrong. More points off. Interesting that your photo shows the entire lower hull as red. Their painting instructions only has red in selected areas around the bow. (See the box photo of the kit, above). Of the two Russian companies, in my mind Zvedzda gets the nod for accuracy. Their November and Hotel kits are dead on with my research materials (including some November drawings <ahem> "liberated" from the former USSR). I seem to recall that Alanger also screwed up some details on their AKula kit (like the wrong auxilary propulsion arrangement).
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Postby Gerwalk » Tue May 29, 2007 9:13 pm

Tom Dougherty wrote:Nice to hear from you again, Pablo! Missing the days at MIT?

The huge box is way overkill, about the size of the old Renwal SSBN box. That box needed to be large due to the enormous number of parts in the Renwal "interior" kits. But, when you open the Alanger box up, there is not a lot inside in the way of parts (1 large tree, one small tree & a decal sheet). I would be very concerned about the parts getting damaged as there is a lot of space to bounce around inside the box!

Yeah, looks as if the 7-bladed propellers are wrong. More points off. Interesting that your photo shows the entire lower hull as red. Their painting instructions only has red in selected areas around the bow. (See the box photo of the kit, above). Of the two Russian companies, in my mind Zvedzda gets the nod for accuracy. Their November and Hotel kits are dead on with my research materials (including some November drawings <ahem> "liberated" from the former USSR). I seem to recall that Alanger also screwed up some details on their AKula kit (like the wrong auxilary propulsion arrangement).


Hi Tom,
yes I miss that time over there... not only the shipping from PacFront being cheaper! :D

The dry dock photos I've found show an entire red lower hull. I couldn't find any good photos showing the torpedo tubes shape.

Zvedzda kits are much much better. I have the Kursk, K-3 and K-19 and compared to Alanger's Akula they are excellent! Kursk has some issues with hull shape, props, rudders and water intkes but the other two have very little details to be corrected. The problem with Alanger IMO is their abuse of CAD design.

As for the props: I wonder if the photos we have found are old ones and thus reflecting their props during the 80s...

BTW: Did you find any color references on the lower hulls of November and Hotel class (during their early careers)?

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Pablo
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Postby KevinMc » Wed May 30, 2007 7:28 am

Hi Tom/Pablo,

I also have found little in the way of photos that clearly shows all the tubes, but from mentally "assembling" the various photos I've seen I can tell you that their shape is the typical elliptoid (circular opening projected onto a sphere at an oblique angle), and that the arrangement is 2 x 2.

I've tried to adjust this photo to bring out the outlines of the un-obscured tube doors. The lower pair are covered by the flag, but the upper set are partially visible above it.
Image

Looking back on this photo I know it's not overly clear, I can email you the original where it's a bit clearer. I hope this helps...

KMc
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Postby Gerwalk » Wed May 30, 2007 11:32 am

You are right Kevin, elliptoids:

This photo shows the doors much better (hope nobody cares that i reposting these from here (http://www.subpirates.com/viewtopic.php?t=847):

Image

Or this one:
Image
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Postby Gerwalk » Wed May 30, 2007 11:44 am

Zoom in (and adjusting):

Image
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Postby Gerwalk » Mon Jun 11, 2007 9:33 am

Received my Delta last week. As Tom said the box is too big. I think the upcoming Typhoon will need this box but the Delta is too slim for it. BTW: nice photos on the back of the box!!
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