Stock Split…. Magic words in the financial markets. As a good stock becomes more and more valuable, at some point there will be a stock split. One share will split into two. Theoretically each of the two new shares will be half the value of the older single share. This spring we have seen something analogous in the warship modeling world in the market of photo-etch. One fret, which had been indispensable in the past, has undergone a metamorphosis in which it split into two new frets. However, unlike the model of the two new stock shares, which are half the value of the single share they replaced, the two new frets are twice the value of the single fret that they replaced. And the fret they replaced was no slouch.

Years ago there were few kits of modern Soviet/Russian warships in any scale. The few that were found were manufactured in plastic, primarily the Aoshima kit for the carrier Kiev and a kit for a Krivak frigate in 1:700 scale. Occasionally a new model would trickle in but they were plastic and did not come with photo-etch. However, since it was a neglected field of warship modeling, there was no rush to produce after-market detailing accessories for these kits. That void was filled in 1993 when Loren Perry of Gold Medal Models saw the need, heard the call, and produced GMM 700-09 Modern Soviet Warships Fret. That fret instantly became the alpha and omega of photo-etch detailing for Soviet warship models, as there was no competition. Even though there was no competing products it was still an exceptional value in quantity and quality of the parts produced. 

Krasney Rasvet – Red Dawn
At the end on the 1990s the field of modern Russian/Soviet warship modeling made a tremendous change. First the German firm of H-P Models produced a resin 1:700 scale model of the Kirov nuclear powered missile cruiser or Rocket Cruiser (RKR) in Russian parlance. Five years ago I eagerly purchased a copy of this model from NNT, as the Kirov was the biggest and baddest kid on the block. The aggressive lines, shark like bow and bristling armament and electronics fit, made the Kirov an irresistible subject. However, like the plastic kits that had preceded her, the kit had no photo-etch. All of the wonderful radar arrays were chunky slabs of resin. It was then that I discovered GMM 700-09. This fret was salvation for my build of the Kirov, as it had all of the fine detail of radar arrays and fittings needed to do the Kirov justice. Although the fret did not contain parts designed specifically for the Kirov, the parts were there. Either they could be taken directly from the fret or else they could be easily cobbled together from what GMM had included on the fret. When I did a review of the finished Kirov, I included a side bar on GMM 700-09, which concluded, "If you buy this kit, do yourself a favor and also buy this fret." (Click for Review of the H-P Models Kirov).

Meanwhile, far to the east, there was a new dawn in the field of 1:700 scale Soviet warship models. A new Russian company in Moscow, named Combrig, had started production of 1:700 scale models of Russian warships. Combrig had started with production of the warships of the Tsar but early releases had also included kits for the ASW helicopter carriers Moskva and Leningrad. About five years ago, shortly after I had finished the Kirov, Combrig made the decision to greatly expand their offerings of Modern Russian/Soviet warship kits and produced a Kresta I missile cruiser. I quickly acquired this and again GMM 700-09 provided the photo-etch detail that did not come in the all resin kit. (Click for a review of the Combrig Vitse Admiral Droudz (Kresta I). 


The Big Boys
SovKr0812TopPair.JPG (134292 bytes) SovKr0828TopPairTopPlate.JPG (145969 bytes) SovKr0827TopPair.JPG (151851 bytes) SovKr0813TopSteer.JPG (139231 bytes)
SovKr0815HeadNet.JPG (149065 bytes) SovKr0824KirovECMPlat.JPG (130558 bytes) SovKr0814KirovYards.JPG (141208 bytes) SovKr0823KirovPlat.JPG (121602 bytes)

The field of Soviet warship models has completely changed in the intervening five years. From a neglected void the field of Soviet warship models has become a growth industry, with a tremendous explosion of new models of Soviet subjects. Not only did Combrig continue the rapid deployment of new models in resin, but also there has been a greatly expanded variety of plastic kits. In the last year, there have been no less than 12 new 1:700 plastic kits of the Kirov Class ships, four from Dragon, four from Pitroad and four from Trumpeter, although the Pitroad and Trumpeter kits are substantially identical. With the tidal wave of Kirovs, Gold Medal Models saw the need to completely revise their ten year old GMM 700-09 fret. Out of the old fret two new frets arose, each larger and more glorious than the single fret that they replaced. One of the new frets was devoted solely to Russian carriers and became GMM 700-31, while the other fret was designed for Soviet Cruisers and Destroyers and retained the old stock number of GMM 700-09.

Don’t be deceived. The new GMM 700-09 is significantly larger and significantly finer than the old GMM 700-09. The new product does not merely modify the old fret but in fact is a completely new design. The fret is designed specifically to provide all of the necessary radar arrays and lattice masts/yards for the plastic Kirov, Sovremenny, Udaloy and Krivak models currently available but as you can see from the accompanying chart, they also can spruce up available resin kits.

Modern Russian/Soviet Cruiser & Destroyer 1:700 Kits
Manufacturer and List of Radars
NATO Code Names Used for Class and Radar Names 
Kirov RKR – Dragon, H-P, Pitroad, Trumpeter
Top Pair – GMM 700-09
Top Steer – GMM 700-09, GMM 700-31
Eye Bowl – solid plus
Top Dome – solid
Cross Swords (on three) - GMM 700-09, GMM 700-31
Pop Group – GMM 700-09
Kite Screech – solid plus
Bass Tilt - solid
Palm Frond – GMM 700-09
Slava/Moskva RKR – Combrig (PE included in Combrig kit)
Top Pair – GMM 700-09
Top Steer – GMM 700-09
Front Door – Combrig
Top Dome – solid
Pop Group – GMM 700-09
Bass Tilt – solid
Kite Screech – solid plus
Palm Frond - GMM 700-09
Kara RKR – Combrig
Top Sail – GMM 700-31
Head Net C – GMM 700-09
Head Light – GMM 700-31
Pop Group – GMM 700-09
Owl Screech – solid plus
Bass Tilt – solid
Top Dome (Azov Only) – solid

 

Kresta I RKR – Combrig
Head Net C – GMM 700-09
Big Net – Combrig 61
Plinth Net –
Scoop Pair –
Peel Group – solid
Muff Cob – solid
Bass Tilt – solid

 

Kynda RKR – Combrig, Waveline
Head Net A – Combrig 61
Head Net C (on two) – GMM 700-09
Plinth Net (on two) –
Scoop Pair –
Peel Group – solid
Owl Screech – solid plus
Bass Tilt (on two) – solid

 

Sovremenny – Skywave
Top Steer – GMM 700-09
Plate Steer (on 6th ship & later) – GMM 700-09
Top Plate (on 956A) - GMM 700-09
Band Stand –
Front Dome – solid
Kite Screech – solid plus
Bass Tilt – solid
Palm Frond – GMM 700-09
Udaloy – Skywave
Strut Pair – GMM 700-09
Eye Bowl – solid plus
Kite Screech – solid plus
Bass Tilt – solid
Palm Frond – GMM 700-09

 

Kashin – Combrig (Combrig kits will have PE fret)
Head Net C – GMM 700-09
Big Net – Combrig 61
Head Net A – Combrig 61
Peel Group – solid
Owl Screech – solid plus
Bass Tilt (on 61M ships) – solid
Top Steer (on 61E Provorny) – GMM 700-09
Front Dome (on 61E Provorny) – solid
Krivak – Skywave
Head Net C – GMM 700-09
Eye Bowl – solid plus
Pop Group – GMM 700-09
Owl Screech (on Krivak I) –
Kite Screech (on Krivak II) – solid plus

 


Annotations = GMM 700-09 included in cruisers/destroyers fret: GMM 700-31 included in Soviet carriers fret: Solid the array is covered by a solid dome and no photo-etch is necessary: Solid plus the array is mostly covered but requires minor addition in the form of a few struts: Combrig 61 arrays found on the frets designed for the Combrig kits of the Kashin Project 61, which will be available separately 

If This is Tuesday it Must be Top Steer
As can be seen, the new GMM 700-09 is a very versatile product. In large measure this is because of the wide variety of radar arrays available on this fret. GMM covers the small as well as the large. Of course it is the Big Boys, the big arrays that grab most of the attention. When it comes to big and showy arrays, the GMM Top Pair is hard to beat with its extremely large six-sided forward array. This is the largest and, with 13 parts, the most complex assembly on the fret but it is a world-beater when finished. Don’t let your Kirov leave home without it! Second in the size race is the GMM Top Steer Array with 11 parts. It still has a nice contrast between the angular almost square forward array and the elliptical aft array but is significantly smaller than the ostentatious Top Pair. Slightly behind that in size is the Plate Steer, comparatively simple with only 7 parts. The most modern, the Top Plate, is also the smallest in size. With back and front almost square radars, it is certainly the least showy of the big search radars on the fret and with six pieces, the simplest to assemble. I for one, prefer the larger, showier array. Soviet warship designs are not understatements. They are not conservative in appearance, they are extraordinarily dramatic in their appearance. Whether a Kirov or a Sovremenny modern Russian design is filled with sharp angles and sheers, bristling weapons and sensors. There is not a wallflower among the bunch. Their looks almost yell, "I am a warship! Get out of the way!" This has nothing to do with the effectiveness of any particular system but strictly with aesthetics. Of course this is all academic as the choice of your warship kit determines your radar needs.

The smaller radars are included as well. Head Net C and Strut Pair are the main radar on some ships. The Head Net C is a nice double elliptical array and the Strut Pair of the Udaloy Class is nice but on the small side for someone that likes big arrays. The always popular Pop Group and navigational Palm Frond sets, each found on four of the classes above add versatility and for a touch of the exotic GMM throws in the new Cross Sword array. That is nine different radar systems on this fret and as important as the quantity of systems included on the fret is the quality of the systems. The fret is stainless steel and though slightly more difficult to cut than brass, is remarkably resilient. It takes more than a slight touch to damage it. This is an important consideration when you are working with delicate multi-piece assemblies.


Loren's Bag O'Treats
SovKr0824KirovECMPlat.JPG (130558 bytes) SovKr0816Kirov.JPG (166861 bytes) SovKr0818SovremUdaloy.JPG (146844 bytes)
SovKr0817UdaloySov.JPG (131678 bytes) SovKr0820UdaloySov.JPG (153203 bytes) SovKr0821Udaloy.JPG (148685 bytes)
SovKr0819KrivakUdalSov.JPG (157327 bytes) SovKr0822Krivak.JPG (147017 bytes) SovKr0825rail.JPG (142247 bytes)

The second major area of concentration of the new GMM 700-09 is lattice masts and yards. Most modern warships in any navy use lattice masts, rather than the old pole or tripod. The reason is simple – it is needed from the proliferation of the electronic fittings found on modern warships. The lattice masts of modern Russian designs are as complex as any, if not more so. Some of the masts use a few plastic platforms from the kits and some masts are entirely present in stainless steel replacements. I prefer the later as the thinness and delicacy of a photo-etched platform is more like the prototype than a plastic part that is overly thick. The large Krivak mast is entirely of photo-etched parts and creates an impressive and complex structure. The Sovremenny Class features two different mainmasts. The first six ships had a taller structure with up swept yardarms, while the later ships had a slightly shorter structure of a different design culminating in a pole mast at the top. The yardarms are flat across the top. GMM provides both types of Sovremenny masts on this fret, all in stainless steel for that light airy look. For the Sovremenny the choice of the main search radar depends upon the ship that is being modeled and the year of the fit. Regardless of which ship is chosen, GMM supplies on this fret all three types of search radar and both types of masts for any variant of the class. The Sovremenny has a solid tower foremast with a large platform and a heavy build-up of yards. Unfortunately GMM does not include this forward platform on the fret and you’ll have to use the plastic platform from the kit but the yards are on the fret to add detail and interest to the forward part of the ship. With the Udaloy you get two lattice masts, the tall mainmast and the shorter forward mast. Both masts use the plastic platforms from the kit. Rounding out the mast parade are replacement photo-etch yardarms for the Kirovs to use in place of the plastic structures in the kit for both the main and aft radar platforms. 


Instructions
SovKr0838Inst1.JPG (72969 bytes) SovKr0839Inst1a.JPG (173854 bytes) SovKr0840Inst1b.JPG (149967 bytes)
SovKr0841Inst2.JPG (61609 bytes) SovKr0842Inst2a.JPG (134187 bytes) SovKr0843Inst2b.JPG (121182 bytes) SovKr0844Inst2c.JPG (139285 bytes)

Radars and masts may be the most significant items on this fret but they are by no means the end of the parade. GMM has gone over the Trumpeter and Dragon kits of the Kirovs with a multitude of replacement parts. In some cases, such as the rear platform of the forward tower, two different parts are provided, one that exactly fits the Trumpeter kits and one that exactly fits the Dragon kits. Many of the smaller platforms, braces and support structures for the Kirovs are also included on this fret. Different accommodation ladders for each of the five covered classes is also included. In fact each of the four classes, Kirov, Sovremenny, Udaloy and Krivak have many smaller parts specifically for that class included in this fret.

About 40% of the fret is dedicated to the generic items found in all of the classes. The bulk of this is railing and yet there are custom designed pieces even here that are designed for specific kits with Kirov, Udaloy, Sovremenny and Krivak all having the high sheer bow railing custom designed for the kits. In addition to the special bow railing there are 17 runs of standard railing in four different styles. Most of these runs feature the uniquely Russian curved rail ends. Helicopter safety netting is also included with special designs for the Sovremenny and Udaloy. While the subject is helicopters, GMM has included both extended and stored helicopter rotors. Other parts that can be used with almost any model are inclined ladders, vertical ladder, davit rigging, relief etched water-tight doors in different styles, anemometers, and DF loops.





These photographs are magnified portions of the above photograph. As such they are greatly magnified and some photographs are somewhat grainy. They show the different radar arrays found on the Gold Medal Models Modern Soviet Cruisers & Destroyers Fret GMM 700-09 to show how the pieces look after assembled.

SovKr2009BTopPair.JPG (85634 bytes) SovKr2007BTopPair.JPG (88006 bytes) SovKr2123BTopSteer.JPG (83200 bytes)
SovKr2129BPlateSteer.JPG (91318 bytes) SovKr1999BPlateSteer.JPG (74105 bytes) SovKr1993BHeadNetC.JPG (98193 bytes) SovKr2001BHeadNetC.JPG (75693 bytes)
SovKr2131BStrutPair.JPG (71100 bytes) SovKr2133BCrossSword.JPG (60989 bytes) SovKr2000BTopPlate.JPG (88846 bytes) SovKr1992BTopPlate.JPG (85320 bytes)

Verdict
Five years ago in conjunction with building a resin Kirov kit, my evaluation of the 1993 GMM 700-09 was; "If you buy this kit, do yourself a favor and also buy this fret." With the appearance of the new Gold Medal Models Modern Soviet Cruisers & Destroyers Photo-Etched Fret GMM 700-09, my evaluation has to change. An update is simple. All I have to do is add a few words to my original evaluation. "If you buy any Kirov, Sovremenny, Udaloy or Krivak 1:700 scale kit, do yourself a favor and also buy this fret."

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