The 4 ships of Gaidamak class (alternately known as the Vsadnik class) were originally classified as “torpedo cruisers” but later reclassified as destroyers. They were two-funnel ships with a high forecastle and a straight stem.
The first two ships,
Gaidamak and Vsadnik were built by Krupp Germaniawerft in Kiel, Germany. The last two, Amuretz and Ussurietz were constructed in Helsinki with material supplied by Krupp. All ships were launched in
1905. The ships were originally fitted with two 11-pounder main guns and six 6-pounder secondary guns. Two of the 6-pounders were fitted in sponsons below the bridge and the forecastle was recessed to allow the guns to
fire forward.  Shortly before World War I the sponsons and recess were removed and the main guns were replaced with larger 4”/60s. Up to 25 mines could be carried on a platform fitted at the stern. During World War I all
four ships were stationed in the Baltic but saw no significant action. Following the Russian Revolution the ships became part of the Red Banner Baltic Fleet and took part in the Russian Civil War. After the Revolution the
Amuretz was renamed Zhelesniakov. During the 1920s she and her sisters were reclassified as gunboats and later disarmed and became a training ship.  She survived World War II and was eventually scrapped in 1947.

Specifications
Displacement
:        570t
Dimensions:        235’ 9” x  23’ 6” x 7’ 10” or 71.9m x 7.2m x 2.4 m (length /beam/draft)
Machinery:        4 Schulz-Thornycroft boilers, 2-shaft VTE, 6500ihp
Speed:        25 knots maximum  
Fuel:        205 tons coal
Armament:        2-11pdr (later 2-4in/60),6-6pdr(later 4-6pdr), 3-18in  torpedo tubes,  25 mines
Complement:        99

(Sources:  
Conway's All The World's Fighting Ships, 1906-1921 and the Russian website Photo Archive of Russian and Soviet ships of the Navy )
This kit is the latest release from the Czech resin kit producer Artillery Models and represents the ships in their World War I fits. The model is full hull with upper and lower sections. Since I prefer waterline models,
having separate top and bottom sections is a plus to me. There is a little bit resin overpour along the edges of the hull parts that need to be removed but otherwise the two sections mate cleanly. The upper hull is very
well cast with a good amount of detail included, such as bitts, chocks, capstans, the breakwater and portholes. Some deck housings, companionways, the torpedo tube bases and numerous cowl vents are all integrated
into the hull. A few of the smaller vents on the forecastle deck broke off during shipping but the pieces were still in the packaging and they can be glued back into place. The next largest piece is the lower bridge which
is integrated with the aft section of the forecastle deck. This needs to be fitted and blended into the upper hull. The next set of parts include the funnels, torpedo tubes,  and the 4-inch guns. These parts are well cast and
are provided on runners which will require careful removal using a razor blade or saw.  The funnels are hollowed out somewhat rather than solid castings. Smaller parts include boats, searchlights, anchors and some
bridge and deck fittings. For those planning to build a full hull model the propeller shafts, struts and hubs are on separate runner. A neat little addition is resin display pedestals if you wish to build the model full hull.
These can be painted brass or gold to make them look like metal.

The photo-etch for this kit is nicely done with relief-etched details and is quite extensive. Several structural elements such as the flying bridge, pilothouse, aft searchlight platform and the mine platform are provided. The
open pilothouse adds a nice bit of detail and lets that parts fitted in there to be visible. Also included on the brass fret are railings, ladders, deck and skylight hatches, 6-pdr guns and shields, funnel caps and ladder rungs,
boat and handling davits, propeller guards, propellers, rudder and various other items. Nameplates in Cyrillic writing for the
Amuretz and Vsadnik are provided and are to be fitted to the hull at the forecastle break. The
railings are provided in two styles. One section has canvas covers and is to be used on the bridge and searchlight platforms. The open railings have individual stanchion ends and not a bottom runner. My personal
preference is for the latter style and I may decide to substitute the kit railings. Corresponding part numbers are etched into the runners. Instead of decals, a paper flag sheet is provided with the Tsarist naval ensign as
well as Flag of the Navy of the Republic and a red pennant. The kit instructions are series of photographs of a built-up model with lines indicating the corresponding part numbers. Solid numbers represent resin parts
while hollow numbers correspond to photo-etch parts. A keyed map of the resin parts is included as well various views that focus on specific sections of the model. Due to the size of the model I think this approach is
effective. Templates are not provided for the masts which would help the modeler make them from brass rod. A rigging diagram of some kind is also omitted. Overall my impression is that this is another quality kit of a
rather obscure subject from
Artillery Models. This kit can be purchased directly from Artillery Models via the Fly On-Line Shop website (http://shop.fly814.cz/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=35_113). The hope
is that some other retailers will carry their line of kits in the near future.
Felix Bustelo
Paladin of Penn Station

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