Trumpeter 1/200 Shenzhen (Type 54 "Luhai" class) -Shenzhen comprises the one-ship Luhai Class and was commissioned in 1999 as the second generation of indigenously designed Chinese warships, after the two ship Luhu destroyers, Harbin and Qingdao. Not counting the two Sovremennys bought from Russia, she is also (for the moment) the most recent Chinese destroyer to enter service. A second ship was apparently canceled in favor of newer designs and the first vessel in two new classes of Aegis-style DDGs is currently on builderís trials.
Specifications (as built):
Length- 490 feet; Displacement - 6,600 tons; Speed - 29 knots; Crew - 290
Armament- 16 C-802 (Sunburst) SSMs in mid-ship box launchers, 8 cell Cortale SAM system with recessed reloader unit, 4 dual 37 mm AA guns, 1 dual 100 mm cannon, 6 torpedo tubes, anti-submarine mortars and decoy launchers.
Although the kit comes with a KA-28 helicopter, this appears to be wishful thinking on the part of Trumpeter. Photos Iíve seen show it equipped with the Z9 Dauphin.
At the time she entered service, there was considerable speculation in Western circles that Shenzhen was a stop-gap design until the Chinese could come up with a new generation of weapons systems more on par with the USN, such as long range VLS SAMs. This was assumed in part to the large open deck area in front of the bridge and to the fact that Shenzhen carries essentially the same weapons and sensor array (twice the SSMs) as the previous Luhus on an extra 1500 tons displacement. This has turned out to be exactly the case The ship recently left service for a major refit affecting virtually all systems, which should give modelers the opportunity for a new kit from Trumpeter or countless more hours of scratch building.
Shenzhenis my first attempt at a large-scale surface ship using advanced techniques. I originally bought the kit as an understudy for the Trumpeter Sovremenny kit, which it matches closely size, but with only 250+ pieces. The Shenzhen represents a transitional point for Trumpeter, between less detailed motorized kits intended for the Chinese domestic market and those designed for more discerning hobbyists. Although surface detail is very good, a lot of small items that one would expect to appear in 1/200 scale were either left off or stylized, and I ended up doing a good bit of scratch building. There was of course, no dedicated PE set for the kit. My choices were Tomís 1/200 set for lower railings, Aber (a Polish company) for inclined ladders, and bits and pieces from the original Trumpeter Sovremenny PE set for the lattice masts and upper areas, where the length between stanchions on the Tomís set would not look as good. Fortunately for me, there is a minimum of rigging required.
Contrary to most photographic evidence, PLAN ships are painted a light green color, which does not show up well in pictures. I myself had the strange experience of making a ship tour of DDG Qingdao in Everett, Washington several years ago and then seeing photos taken by Haze Gray and Underway the same day, which seemed to show the ship in a completely different color. Let this be a lesson to anyone attempting to paint their kit based solely on photos. I ended up using a mixture of Tamiya IJA green and Model Master light gray at a ratio of about 4:5, which seems to simulate the shift in hues depending on lighting conditions fairly well. One final note of interest - PLAN destroyers are named after cities. Shenzhen is the large coastal metropolis directly opposite Hong Kong.