This class of two units was conceived as enlarged and improved  versions of the Borodino class; they were  laid down  well prior the 1905  Battle of Tsushima of the Russo-Japanese War and therefore  their building schedule was somewhat protracted as a result of  the design  being much altered because of lessons learnt  during the final for the Russian  navy catastrophic  battle of the abovementioned conflict. Launched in late October 1906 Andrei Pervozanny   went down the ways as one of the largest  Pre-dreadnought Battleship, flush-decked  and  distinctive  with a full length armoured hull that had  no scuttles at all and a pleasingly pronounced sheerline. She was completed, eventually, in July 1910----by which time technology and the coming of the Dreadnought era  had overtaken her. 

The 12" guns were housed in French style turrets with the then  un-usual  maximum elevation of 35 degrees. The distinctive cage masts were of a unique design and the two sisters were the  only non-USN ships to carry them. The cage masts were later cut down  to below funnel height and pole masts stepped within. The two ships were in appearance virtually identical, the main distinguishing features being the goose-necked  boat cranes carried by Imperator Pavel I  as opposed to the derricks found on Andrei Pervozvanny. Neither ship had a noteworthy fighting career during World War 1 in the Baltic, Andrei Pervozvanny  being sunk  in the British  attack on Kronstadt by   Torpedo-motor boats on 18 August 1919. She was raised, repaired and put back into service in 1920, at the end of the Russian Civil war she was laid up and scrapped  in 1925.

LOA  460 feet               Beam  80 feet                  Draught   27 feet

Displacement      17,400 tons normal     18,580  full  load

4 x 12in             14 x 8in           12 x  4.7 in     4 x 3pdr   3 x 18 in TT

18,000  ihp   =  17.5 knots

Crew  933 officers and men

Building the Model
This is an early  Kombrig kit and the very first to contain any PE parts--these being  essential for the cage masts. The hull was cleanly cast and appeared to be spot on dimensionally. The distinctive sheerline was well captured and the proportions matched drawings and photos I had .   Many hours of close examination of the numerous photographs in  excellent Russian Monographs on both imperator Pavel I and Andrei Pervozvanny evetually yielded a few more minor  differerences  between the sisterships; namely the  arrangement of the aft companionways and the cable reel disposition as well as deck vents and hatches. The first hurdle to overcome was the  removal of all the  numerous cast on ' aztec' stairways as well as creating the undercut  and new decking extension  area   at the aft superstructure. Having established a methodology to proceed it was achieved by grinding away at the casting with  a motor tool. 

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Another problem was the complete lack of any representation of the cross-planking so common to  many Russian Capital  ships of that era.   I  chose to score the deck using a blade, using masking tape as a guide to assist in keeping the cuts parallel; this was arduous with the superstructure and other deck fittings cast in place....! Thereafter all the  solid splinter shielding was cut away and construction could begin in earnest.  I installed the new aft armoured tower and  extension deck  made from styrene sheet from a paper pattern  over a new bulkhead and later  furnished the solid splinter shielding of paper. There are 17 inclined stairs around the ship- I used the WEM versions with the angled handrail supports-I had to 'pull' the handrails whilst holding the treads of the stairs to achieve he correct steep angle with the handrail supports vertical....The beautifully cast one-piece turrets had the aft doors added ( Ho scale PE signal ladder!) along with the flares to allow the high elevation to which  blastbags were affixed to the ship later in her career made from wire and putty. 

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At this stage the hull was showing sign of  hogging movement in the varied  temperatures of my workroom-so the hull  was  promptly screwed down to my usual stainless steel plate- problem cured! The ship also had  a number of cable reels -all of varying sizes-some suspended from the deckhead-all different sizes! Careful study of photos established their locations and comparative dimensions. I made all these by wrapping fine copper wire of various sizes around appropriate size styrene rod, sealing with  CA glue and once cut to size  fastening to pieces of fine handrail as the brackets--some of the larger reels had  etched discs added. The photos show the small aft reel before paint and some of the vertical; and suspended reels  at the aft end of the superstructure. All of the deck detail was added using circles of wire( wound around suitable size l drill shank) for coal  scuttles and  deck lights, brass and styrene rod for vent pipes as well as paper and PE hatch covers etc. The fwd conning tower and platforms  were next. I sanded all the platforms down to an acceptable thickness and then to  give a crisper edge to the them wound  RC Cammet self-adhesive  vinyl tape around them-this was secured permanently by  running a bead of CA between the underside of the platform and the vinyl tape

The most  distinctive features of this ship are of course the cage masts. The PE supplied by Combrig is not stainless steel--it is too soft for that-it is more akin to pewter or perhaps a nickel silver derivative. As such it is quite soft and easily damaged. The cage masts required careful handling to prevent twisting or buckling. I started rolling the flat etch pieces on a pad of paper using a needle-pointed file so as to achieve a tapered roll. Once the edges started curling I found some paintbrush handles of suitable diameter and taper and using my fingers persuaded the two edges to meet! I then re-rolled using the needle file on a hard surface to ensure the two edges met square. The starfish platform came from the PE supplied, the open braces were stretched sprue while  the tops were made of  copper tubing furnished with the roof supplied on the PE fret having first glued in the pole masts! --The entire procedure was quite fraught! 

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The masts when first painted looked heavy and over-scale. I  attempted to create the shadows of the side-members of the original mast construction by   first  running a pointed pencil along all the vertical edges of the cage-then dusting the entire mast in fine ground pencil lead brushed on and off with a stiff paintbrush. Thereafter it was dry-brushed using the ships base colour. This resulted in more 3-D effect and the individual components of the mast seemed less obtrusive so that once finished off with yards and nav lights (styrene rod) etc the overall effect was pleasing. The aft compass platform was made using some PE fret for the base  structure and a  PE WEM  radar served admirably for the  perforated floor. The  cranes  supplied in resin were dimensionally fine but lacked the delicacy I sought-the PE supplied item were a step in the right direction but still nowhere near fine enough for my liking! So I constructed some custom items  using  GMM IJN PE, nickel-silver wire and stretched sprue.

The Andrei Parvozvanny  was unusual in  having only  two searchlights-these were however  mounted on a  wheeled dollies  and moved athwart-ships  on curved rail-tracks-one each fwd and aft. I made the tracks by stretching sprue and bedding it in brushed-on thinned matt varnish; this allowed me to position the sprue so that the  tracks were parallel and ( mostly!) symmetrical. Once the railings had been installed the remainder of the build proceeded smoothly and without any real problems. I chose to add the sounding platforms later-these were made as open rectangles of railing glued on, then the existing railing was cut away and lastly the 'floor' of the platform was created  with the surface tension of  thinned white glue spanning the gap between the railings and hull sides. When dry this was painted from underneath resulting in very neat   colour demarcation twixt rail and floor. Anchor  chain was installed into the drilled out hawse pipes and checkchain/cablestopper were made of black stretched sprue.

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The  kit funnel caps were supplied in the form of PE -this were very over-scale and I felt unable to bend them into the hemi-spherical shape required anyhow. So I made my own using stretched sprue and a circle of copper wire - the end result was far more delicate and the correct profile in plan and side elevation. Whilst on the subject of funnels... it is worth noting that many  drawings, sketches and line illustrations show the fwd funnel to carry a steam pipe on the aft face -examining all the photos I had I was unable to establish  this as being existent. As neither of the kit funnels  had any steam pipes  at all it was not an issue-- they had to be fabricated anyway! I chose for the stern section to use some PE davits from the  WEM Askold set; because of the hullís tumblehome I had problems with adhesion of the PE items due to the minimal contact surface--I cured this by cutting shallow notches by rocking a large Stanley blade into the hull.

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The ships boats  were  sharpened up a little with a blade, portholes drilled where required and the open boats furnished with oars made of brown  stretched sprue with the ends flattened with pliers. The webbing strapping for the boats swung outboard in davits was made of brown sprue flattened  by rolling a heavy  metal cylinder over a thick ceramic tile-this could then be applied using  liquid poly cement ,the strapping then conformed exactly to the hull profile and had a sharp kink at the gunwhale! The cast-on  anchors had early on in the build  been cut away and replaced  by WEM  items; the ships crests were simulated using  scrap brass relief etched  PE. The  almost finished  model had been earlier mounted on a  calm sea of artists embossed watercolour paper  and after  adding about 70  crew members from GMM  around the ship she was  flat-coated  and ready   for rigging with stretched sprue.  This was done using the usual mix  of Black for standing rigging and antennae; brown  for signal halyards. This  gives a overall lighter  effect than rigging  all the vertical signal halyards in black also as  I had done in the past.

 

Possibly the most arduous part of the build was rigging the radio antennae. This was made of stretched sprue using some 1/350 handrail PE longitudinals as spreaders; the sheer fragility of this assembly was compounded by having to make 4 identical sets to install in very close proximity to each other. The model was painted using my own concoction of Humbrol No 1 and white-broadly equating to a richer shade than Humbrol 28. The lino covered decks were painted in WEM Colourcoats corticene washed with light grey.

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In conclusion a most satisfactory model of a very esoteric subject . The model presented no major issues and as far as I could ascertain there were no glaring inaccuracies.

Jim Baumann

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