After reading Steveís excellent build review of Vladimir Monomakh (Click for Review of Vladimir Monomakh by Steve Backer), I was inspired to finish mine. I wonít go into the history as it was covered in Steveís review. Iíll just concentrate on what I did differently from Steve. The main difference that I did was to open the gunports, since I judged that is will actually be easier to align all of the guns with them opened than to try to drill the holes for them. Besides they look much more interesting this way, due to the top deck being separate Iíve opened up the gunports in the solid part of the hull as well and since the aft 4.7-Inch guns were placed in the captains saloon, Iíve opened up that whole area and in a fit of insanity scratch-built a table and some chairs. Iíve built the gunport covers from the 0.05 styrene sheet, though since then, I found other material that works even better, photo paper from Alps printer. Iíve replaced all of the barrels on the 6-Inch and 4.7-Inch guns with hypodermic tubing. One of the drawbacks of the kit is that all of the guns provided are the same 6-Inch while the ship carried four 6-Inch and four 4.7-Inch guns on her gun deck. Since 4.7-Inch guns were noticeably smaller, Iíve scratch-built them. There were sixteen 47mm guns on the real ship, but only twelve are provided by Kombrig, so I got four more from my spares box. Six 37mm guns came from WEM Askold PE set.
Iíve scratch-built the masts from brass rod; through Iíve used a too thin rod. It was very hard not to over tighten them and I actually had the forward mast collapse under tension from the rigging. At least I assume that that was the cause, since everyone in the house swears on their life that they didnít touch it. The rigging and ratlines were made from stretched pantyhose. Ratlines were made on a jig. I cut out a square in a piece of styrene then glued the vertical lines to it and after that glued the horizontal lines to it (to the sides not to the vertical lines. Once everything was dry, I carefully glued the vertical and horizontal lines to each other, being careful to dab any excess super glue right away. Once they were dry I cut them out as I would from the PE and glued them to the ship tightening later with a match.
The fighting tops were a mystery as Steve said, but as there are no photos of her during her voyage to Tsushima, that Iíve been able to find, I decided to go with the Kombrig drawings. There should be splinter shielding around them not railings, but it was too hard to do so I went with railings. According to the text, the middle mast was hacked off just before leaving for Tsushima, so the correct paint scheme in this configuration would probably be black with yellow funnels. When the hull was unpainted some irregularities were seen in her main deck, but after paining they disappeared.
To complete her boat load, Iíve used two of WEMís Russian 36-foot pinnaces. The imperial eagle on the bow and the shield it is on, were printed on Alps printer. Overall it is an excellent kit. I plan to build one more backdating it to the original layout with sails and full rigging. The only word of caution is that unless you are planning to backdate her to her original configuration (like me), donít bother getting the book mentioned in Steveís Review. There is nothing there that is useful for the 1905 version of Vladimir Monomakh.