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In-Box Review
K-19 the Widowmaker
K-19 Soviet Nuclear Submarine Hotel Class

by: Kenny Loup [ GATOR ]

Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

The Original Ship History:

The Hotel class is the general NATO classification for a type of nuclear-powered submarine that was originally put into service by the Soviet Union around 1959. In the USSR, they were produced under Project 658. These vessels were the first Soviet subs to carry ballistic missiles, and were based off the November-class submarine design. In order to fit the missiles on-board, the hump of the conning tower was extended toward the rear of the vessel.

The K-19 was the first Soviet nuclear submarine carrying ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads launched in 1961. Construction of K-19 began 17 October 1958. The boat was christened 8 April 1959. Traditionally Russian vessels are christened by women but K-19 was christened by a man. The bottle of champagne bounced off the boat without breaking, which the crew took as a bad omen. The boat was completed 12 November 1960, and commissioned 30 April 1961.

Various accidents:
- On 4 July 1961, under the command of Captain First Rank Nikolai Vladimirovich Zateyev, K-19 was conducting exercises in the North Atlantic close to Southern Greenland when she developed a major leak in her reactor coolant system.
- On 15 November 1969 K-19 collided with USS Gato (SSN-615) in the Barents Sea at a depth of 60 m (200 ft).
- On 24 February 1972 a fire broke out onboard K-19 while the submarine was at a depth of 120 m (380 ft) some 1300 km (800 miles) from Newfoundland. A total of 28 sailors died in the fire. The boat surfaced, and surface warships evacuated the crew except for 12 men trapped in the aft torpedo room.

The submarine was decommissioned in 1991 and in 1994 transferred to the naval repair yard at Polyarny. In March 2002 she was towed to the Nerpa Shipyard, Snezhnogorsk, and Murmansk to be scrapped. It was announced in October 2003 that scrapping would start soon.
The kit, box, and what’s inside:

The kit is packaged in an open lidded box with a medium weight top and a heavy corrugated cardboard bottom. Upon opening the box, I found a large instruction sheet, two pedestals for the base, decals and to my surprise, only one sprue.

Sprue detail

The entire model is contained on one sprue. On it is the nicely molded hull halves, the two piece deck, and the three parts that make up the sail, dive planes, periscopes, screws and the name plate. Despite its low parts count, the detail is well done and the pieces are virtually flash free. The deck pattern is somewhat faint, but it is there and can be brought out with light scribing and dry brushing.
The Decals

The decals sheet offers the modeler the choice of two boats, K-19 #294 and boat #271. Included are the decals for the distinctive silver bow of this unique submarine. My decals arrived some what yellowed. Hopefully this is an exception as this the first kit I’ve had from Zvezda.
The Instruction Sheet

The instructions come to the modeler on a large, single sheet with the submarine history and parts layout on one side and the assembly steps and painting/decal guide on the reverse side. They are clear and parts location is quite precise. Model Master colors are called for in the painting guide, so color matching with other brands should be easy.
Highs: Nice moldings with flash free parts. Good overall fit.
Lows: Yellowed decals. Soft details in the deck. Sanding and filling will be needed where the deck meets the hull.
Verdict: The Zvezda K-19 is a simple yet well detailed kit that offers the beginning modeler good detail in a not overly complicated kit. Experienced sub builders have a solid kit in which to add any level of super detailing they wish. This kit is recommended to
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:350
  Mfg. ID: ZVE9025
  Suggested Retail: $17.95
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Feb 20, 2007

Our Thanks to Dragon USA!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Kenny Loup (gator)

I was the kid that his dad would say "Hey, there's a war movie on." and come running. As a kid, I dived head first into military history. We would always have to stop at the USS Alabama on our way to Florida. I also got to visit the Seawolf Park and the Alamo on vacation, too. All things I want ...

Copyright ©2021 text by Kenny Loup [ GATOR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


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