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I needed a change of scenery after a 10 year build on my Endeavour. I couldn't face another long term challange. Months ago I found the Artwox Varyag on the net on an overseas site and liked it a lot, but shipping to Oz is usually a nightmare. I found the kit at BNA Models at a reasonable price and thought that itn would be a nice change as I have not done a plastic model this century. I suppose the advantage of a late 1800's early 1900's kit has the advantage of real photos. Also the aftermarket range of goodies for plastic kits is great, as plastic is a lot more unforgiving than wood. The Artwox kit only has the original Zvesda hull, with their own false deck, wooden deck, resin, photoetch and barrels. The instructions are fairly good but without other references I would be lost. After having done a tall ship model, I now know how important the rigging plans are (the kit has none) and I have orderd the Kagero book. There are some things missing from the Artwox photoetch fret which are included in the Eduard kit and vice versa, so I also got that.
Introduction: Imperial Russian Cruiser: Varyag, (Variag) I am really excited to work on this model, having followed it's development prior to release and finally purchasing one of the last remaining kits in the USA (that I could find anyway). The kit was produced as a limited edition by Artwox Model, who are mainly known for their wooden deck offerings. This kit was their first foray into a full model kit, detailed release photographs can be found here. My interest in this kit was not originally in the actual ship itself, but rather in the type of ship, and the level of detail that the kit contains. What I was really looking for was a super detailed model of SMS Emden of World War 1 fame. However, I quickly came to realize that if I wanted to do anything to the level of detail that I wanted, I would have to scratch build most of it. Emden was appealing for it's operational history, type of ship, and the mission it was designed for. These protected cruisers were at the time not conceived of as line of battle ships, but rather as commerce raiders. Almost akin to the frigates of 100 years before. Emden and her crew played that role to perfection in the Indian Ocean. A highly detailed kit of Emden was not available, but the Varyag was. So, not knowing much about the ship or it's history I sprung for the kit, putting it in my to do pile for a later day. In the interim, I have learned a lot about the ship, it's history, and even it's crew. I plan on doing a more detailed post later on to share some of the better details that I have learned thanks to a Russian co-worker, a museum curator, and good old fashioned research. Some Quick Facts: Built: Philadelphia Pennsylvania, USA, William Cramp & Sons Year Launched: 31 October 1899 Type: Protected Cruiser Length: 425' Beam: 51' 10" Draught: 20' 8" Armament: 12 single mount 6" Rifles 12 single mount 3" Rifles 10 Small Caliber, 1.9", 1.5" rapid fire Rifles 6 Submerged Torpedo Tubes, 15" Service: Russia: 1899 - 1904 Japan: 1907 - 1916 Russia: 1916 - 1918 Fate: Seized by the United Kingdom 1918, ran aground 1920. scraped 1925 The Kit: Whats in the box: as you can see from the photo above, there is a lot in the box! The hull is a casting from Zvezda, the deck is a thick sheet of brass covered by a real wood veneer. Everything else is either in the 248 pieces of resin, 86 scribed brass parts, or in two large sheets of PE. Wood Deck + Some of the resin parts Brass Deck Substrate Scribed brass parts PE sheet 1 PE sheet 2 Hull Detail Kit Short Comings: Though at first glance, it appears that everything you could possibly want to build the kit was in the box, that isn't really the case. For one, there is no stand or mounting contained in the contents. Okay no big deal there. The other, the instructions, though highly detailed, only show you where everything is supposed to end up in the assembly. Not how to put the ship together. So I hope that this log can be of service to others that may have a hard time deciphering the pictorial instructions. The next post will include some history and research about the ship, then I will get into the build itself. Best Regards!