The new Type 056 class of corvettes is being built to replace China's People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) ageing fleet of Type 037 sub chaser/patrol
boats. They are classified as stealth guided missile corvettes and are a multi-purpose design that can be deployed in patrol, escort, search-and-rescue,
surveillance, fishery resources protection, exclusive economic zone protection, electronic warfare, anti-aircraft and anti-surface warfare roles. To date,
a total of 16 have been commissioned, 2 are fitting out and an unknown number are planned. An anti-submarine warfare variant, unofficially referred to
as a Type 056A, fitted with active and passive towed sonars has also been developed, with two commissioned and four fitting out.

The Type 056 is the first Chinese warship with a modular design. It has sloped surfaces and a compact superstructure with minimal clutter to reduce its
radar signature. The corvette is armed with four YJ-83 sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missiles in two twin-cell launchers fitted amidships. It is also fitted
with one FL-3000N short range missile system carrying 8 rounds. One 76 mm gun turret is mounted forward; two 30mm remote weapon system guns
are mounted amidships as well as two triple torpedo tubes for ASW operations. The helicopter deck at the stern can support a light utility Harbin Z-9C
but there are no hangar facilities.

The Kit - Bronco Models has released three different boxings of a Type 056 corvette. My sample is labeled as the Hong Kong Garrison, while the others
are labeled North Sea Fleet and East Sea Fleet. Based on images I have seen, the only difference among the three appear to be the decals but I could be
mistaken. The release of these kits is timely since the first ships were commissioned in 2013 and 2014.
There are approximately 175 plastic parts and injection molding is rather good overall and fairly well detailed. The parts count can be considered on the
high side for a ship this size and that is because a lot of the smaller, individual details are separate parts. Some of the subassemblies, such as the weapons
systems and funnel housing, are broken down into multiple parts. This approach mirrors that of Dragon kits which has its pros and cons. While this may
complicate assembly a bit and increase the risk of losing parts or damaging them when removing them from the sprues, the end result will be a detailed
model. There are injection some injection molding spots and blemishes, but it appears that they will be hidden once the kit is assembled.

The main parts are the full-hull halves done in the traditional port and starboard side configuration. There are openings or indentations for the stabilizers,
rudders and propeller shaft assemblies. Looking at the inside of the hull halves you will what looks like a lower deck about the level of the waterline. This
is basically there to give the hull some rigidity along with the ribs molded into the inside of the hull halves. Now the instructions do not indicate that this as
an option, but I think that cutting the hull below this horizontal “deck” may allow you to convert the model to a waterline version and this lower deck
could be used as a waterline plate. You can see numerous injection molding blemishes along the insides of the hull halves but these will be hidden from
view once the hull is fully assembled.

The next largest part, part M, is the middle section of the ship which is also cleanly molded but with little actual surface detail, however since this ship is
supposed to be stealth, there really shouldn’t be any. This part will fit flush with the hull and rest on top of the foc’sle and flight deck parts. There is a
nasty looking mold part stub but again this will be concealed by the funnel housing subassembly. Parts B79 and B32 make up an inner deck on which the
torpedo tubes are fitted. The problem is that this area will be hidden within the middle section of the ship unless you perform some surgery and open up
the corresponding doors in part M to see them. Another inner deck aft (part C1) that holds the RHIB and several cable drum winches will be mostly
hidden as well but at least be somewhat visible through openings in the stern.
Sprue B has the parts for the 76mm gun turret, the FL-3000N missile system, the funnel housing, aft weapons director mast, RHIB, propellers and shaft
V-struts, the main radar and other smaller parts. Sprue C has the foc’sle deck, the inner winch/RHIB deck, the radar mast structure, the YJ-83 missile
system, the 30mm guns, rudders, stabilizers, propeller shafts and lot of other small parts. Parts for the Harbin Z-9C helicopter are molded in clear plastic
on two smaller sprues. A small display base, molded in black, is provided and rounds off the plastic parts.

The kit comes with a small photo-etch fret with railings, what should be flight deck safety netting, vent grids for the funnel housing, grids for the
openings in the stern, an alternative door for the RHIB stowage area, a generic name plate and a couple of other detail parts. The plus with the photo-etch
is that the railings are pre-measured and designed to fit into the shapes of certain sections of the ship, though they have individual stanchion ends.
However, Bronco once again has made a major flub with the flight deck safety netting – there is no netting! Instead you have what amounts to be the
framework without the actual netting. You will have to seek another source for proper flight deck netting. Bronco made the same error with their Type
052D destroyer kits. Also Bronco missed an opportunity to provide a photo-etch version of the ship’s radar as the plastic part is a bit clunky and over
scale. The fret is sandwiched between two pieces of clear plastic that serve to protect the parts and are supposed to peel off without difficulty and not
leave any residue. My one experience so far with removing this kind of plastic film from some photo-etch, produced by an after-market producer and not
Bronco, resulted in pulling on and damaging some of the finer parts. So you will have exercise care when removing this film. A small decal sheet is
provided with hull numbers for the two ships in the Hong Kong Garrison,Huizhou (596) and Qinzhou (597). Draft markings, flight deck markings, the 76
mm gun warning circle, flags and markings for the helicopter are also on the sheet.

Assembly instructions are provided in an 11 page A4 sized booklet. The cover has the box top art and a brief description of the Type 056 in English,
German and Chinese. The first page has some general tips, a glossary to explain the icons that appear throughout the assembly guide and color
references, when possible, for Mr. Hobby, Hobby Color, Humbrol and Tamiya paints. Apparently there is no match for the hull color. Page 2 has images
of all the kit parts and decal sheet. Pages 3 through 9 contain the actual assembly diagrams which are detailed and clear. Photo-etch parts are shown in a
brass color, in addition to the part prefix of P, which helps make them standout. The last two pages have color painting and decal placement guides for
the ship and the helicopter’s camouflage scheme.
Overall this appears to be a good kit, though a bit over engineered and with some detailed subassemblies that will not really be visible once the model is
assembled. The incorrect flight deck netting continues to be a source of frustration. It should build up into a good replica of the newest class of
corvette in the People’s Liberation Army Navy. If you have an interest in modern navy ships, this model will make an interesting addition to your fleet.
My thanks to Dragon USA for the review sample.
Felix Bustelo
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