The Project 1239 Bora-class sidewall hovercraft guided missile corvette of the Russian Navy (NATO designation Dergach), is one of the largest combat sea vehicles with
a catamaran design. A design feature of a sidewall hovercraft hull is two horizontal keels along the whole hull length. An air cushion separates the hull from the water
surface which is combined with maintaining contact with the water surface by means of the sidewalls. The sidewalls provide very low resistance to the motion of the
ship and significantly reduce air loss from the air cushion area. The air cushion can be partially unloaded, called “multimode motion capability”, to increase course-
keeping stability and ship steering performance. This design improves flexibility as the vessel can rest on the keels on a coastal strip or shallow water or negotiate
offshore shoals and approach shores up to a depth of 1 meter on an air cushion. The ship can also go aground on its keels to carry out cargo handling, rescue or special
The Bora-class was designed in 1988 mainly for coastal defense and patrol duties against large and small surface vessels. Two ships were built, Bora in 1989 and
Samum in 1999, and they are currently in service with the Russian Black Sea Fleet. They are the largest military hovercraft in the world, measuring 215 feet long, 56
feet in the beam and a draught of 10 feet with a displacement of about 1,000 tons. With blowers on, they can achieve a speed of over 50 knots on an air cushion and
intermediate speeds with reduced air supply to the cushion zone. The ships are powered by a combined diesel or gas-combined diesel and gas (CODOG)-CODAG
turbine plant. The diesels engines are used for cruising speeds and a combination of gas turbines and diesel engines for full speeds. The traditional propellers and rudder
running gear is supplemented by a pair of steerable pods with propellers on arms that are similar to those on hydrofoils, that are lowered for full-speed running.

Bora-class vessels are heavily armed with two quad MT-206ME launchers for 3M-80E "Moskit" marine cruise missiles, a 9K33M "Osa-MA" type surface-to-air
missile system for anti-aircraft defense with 20 missiles, an AK-100 automatic 100mm cannon and two AK-630 30 mm anti-aircraft Gatling cannons. The ships are also
equipped with sophisticated radars, sensors, fire control and decoy systems.
The 1:350 scale Bora kit is a bit of a departure for AJM Models. Previous releases have focused on World War I and II subjects and this is their first modern naval
ship. Unlike their other kits, a waterline option is not offered but then again then ship is designed to rest on its twin keels so a waterline kit is not really needed. The kit
is comprised of resin parts, a complete photo-etch brass set and decal sheet.
The hull framework is a multipiece affair, made up of 12 individual parts the form what is essentially a box. The largest parts of the hull are the two sidewall keels, parts
02 and 03. The exterior of these parts has some good detail and each has a slot along the bottom fit the resin bilges, which must be carefully removed from the thin
casting supports holding them in shape. Part 04 is essentially the middle support to which the sidewall keels and other parts that make up the frame are attached to. Parts
02,03 and 04 have substantial casting plugs that need to be removed and made a flush as possible for the parts that make up the framework to fit properly. The good
news is that those faces don’t need to be pretty as they will be hidden from view once assembled.

Part 01 is the deck with the main superstructure cast into it. Watertight doors and bulkhead details are cast into the parts and are well done but there are those casting
plugs again along the bottom that need to be taken care of for a proper fit. The deck and superstructure have recesses and openings to accommodate other structural
parts and numerous fittings. Two superstructure parts, the bridge (part 07) and an aft housing (part 13) also have a very good level of detail cast into them, such as
watertight doors, bridge windows and vertical ladders. Like the main deck/superstructure part, they have recesses to fit other parts on to them. They come on casting
runners and will need some cleanup along the bottom for a flush fit into the corresponding recesses in part 01.
The other major resin parts are comprised of the steerable pods and arms, quad MT-206ME land 9K33M "Osa-MA missile launchers, the AK-100 gun turret and barrel,
AK-630 Gatling gun turrets and barrels, radomes, blower housings, directors, sensors and smaller superstructure housings. The smaller resin parts include the life raft
cannisters, bitts, chocks, hatch coamings, smaller radomes, mushroom vents, decoy launchers and other fittings. The parts are generally well done with good detail but
the tinier parts are a little rough. These parts come on casting runners from which they will need to be removed and cleaned up at the attachment point. Several lengths
of brass wire in different diameters and a length of anchor chain.
A good-sized fret of brass photo-etch is provided with the kit. The photo-etch is very well done, with very good detail and relief-etching. Part numbers are etched into
the fret to aid in identification. The photo-etch provides a lot of standard and detail parts. The larger fret contains the railings, hatch covers, AK-100 turrets access
doors, numerous platforms and supports, platform support gussets and other detail parts. The railings are premeasured but have individual stanchion ends which I find
harder to work with.
The decal sheet is quite complete, with a variety of markings. Included on the sheet are the pennant numbers for the hull and deck, draft markings, various emblems,
deck markings, flags, missile launcher door numbers, markings for the watertight doors and other small markings. The decals are well done with good color
The assembly instructions are printed on six pages and are comprehensive. The first page has a breakdown of the kit parts with resin parts having numbers within
ovals and a small image of the photo-etch fret and decal sheet. Photo-etch parts are referenced by numbers within boxes. The bottom of page 1 has the first two
assembly diagrams. The top of page two has the painting and decal placement guide for elaborate camouflage scheme worn by
Bora. The is an enlarged image of the
decal sheet with identification numbers prefixed with a “K” which correspond to the placement guide. Color references are for Lifecolor paints, so some cross-
reference research will be need to match your preferred paint brand. The bottom of page 2 and the rest of the sheets have the rest of the detailed assembly diagrams.
This AJM Models, Bora kit is a very well-done kit that will build into a very detailed model of an interesting ship. There are some minor issues, such as the large
casting blocks on some of the hull parts and underneath the main deck, that are a little annoying. Due to the somewhat complex build and number of small parts, I
would recommend this kit to modelers with at least intermediate skills and experience. For those that prefer 1:700 scale,
AJM Models offers this subject in that scale.
My thanks to
AJM Models for providing the sample kit.
Felix Bustelo
New York