Background - Suchena was a Russian built torpedo boat that was identical to the German built Abo-class boats. According to “Conway's All the World's Fighting
Ships, 1860-1905”,
Suchena and her sister Yanchihe had a straight stem and stern and were armed with two 1-pounder revolvers and two 15-inch torpedo tubes
fixed at the bow. The
Abo-class had the fixed torpedo tubes, but instead had a rounded stern, four 1-pounder revolvers and were shorter by about a foot and a half.
Suchena and Yanchihe were built at the Nevsky Shipyard at St. Petersburg and launched in 1887. Suchena and Yanchihe were a modular construction for ease
of transportation. They were broken down into eight completed sections which could be joined together. After completing their trials, both boats were disassembled
and shipped to Vladivostok where they were reassembled. Later on both boats were renamed with numbers;
Suchena became Torpedo Boat No. 202 and her sister
No. 201. Both boats saw action in the occupation of Port Arthur and the Boxer Rebellion. When the Russo-Japanese War started, No. 202 (ex-Suchena) was part of a
torpedo boat squadron based in Vladivostok. This squadron conducted raids against Japanese shipping.. On June 15, 1904,
No. 202 was part of a small squadron of
torpedo boats that conducted a surprise raid on the Japanese naval base at Genzan. Vice Admiral Kamimura’s armored cruisers were based at Genzan but they left the
day before the raid. Instead, the raid resulted in the sinking of a schooner and the destruction of piers, stores and army barracks.
No. 202 survived the war and was
stricken in 1911.
The Kit - This kit is the one of the newer releases from Combrig and one of a new series of Imperial Russian Navy torpedo boats in 1/350 scale. The kit is very
complete with well-cast resin parts, full photo-etch and good instructions. As this is a fairly simple boat the parts count is rather low. The model comes as a two-part
hull giving you the option of either a waterline or full hull model. The upper hull casting is overall well done. There is a good amount of detail cast into it, such as
mooring bitts, hatches, skylights and portholes. The twin fixed torpedo tubes are well represented at the bow. Now the kit’s stern is rounded and not straight, which
contradicts Conway’s, but I wouldn’t think
Combrig would get such a feature incorrect. I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt as they probably had
access to better references. There are recesses in the hull to fit the funnel, gun mounts, cowl vent and other small details. The bottom edge requires some clean up
and removal of some excess resin. The bottom hull is also well done and also requires some clean up along the edges.

The remaining parts all come on casting runners. The two largest are the funnel and the skeg for the propeller and rudder. The funnel is cast with the base at an angle
so it will sit with the swept back profile. Another small runner has the two 1-pounder revolvers attached to the bases and separate shoulder supports (these are also in
the photo-etch). These will need to be carefully removed from the runner. The last runner of resin parts includes the cowl vent, boat, binnacle, alternate single 1-
pounder guns with separate bases, propeller hub, cable reel insert and some other small parts. Please note that there are some parts on the runner that are not to be
used for this model so take a close look at the instructions. My guess is that this runner may be used in some other yet-to-released kits. Overall the casting of these
small parts is very clean.
The photo-etch provided with this kit provides railings (hooray!) and various fittings and structural parts. The propeller and rudder are provided for those who wish
to build a full hull model. Other parts include various platforms, anchors, ship’s wheels, running lights, shoulder supports for the guns and the cable reel. The railings
come with individual stanchion ends, which I find a little harder to work with. The brass has a minimal amount of relief etching but it serves its purpose.

The kit comes with a good set of illustrated instructions, comprised of five pages, in typical
Combrig style. The first page has a basic profile and plan drawing, the
ship’s specifications and images of the resin parts and photo-etch fret. The following pages have clear assembly diagrams showing the placement of the resin and
photo-etch parts. Page three has some detail insets showing sub-assemblies and a close-up view of the area in front of the forward conning tower. However there
are no templates or dimensions provided for the three masts you will have to make with brass rod. These “self-made parts” guides are a common and helpful feature
Combrig kit instructions. The last page has a clear view of the fully assembled upper hull being mated with the lower hull. While I wouldn’t follow that assembly
sequence, it is good to have that final view. There are no painting instructions provide which is unfortunate. The one image I found online, which I used for the
banner and
Combrig for the box label, shows Suchena in a different pre-war color scheme. The hull looks black and the funnel yellow with a black top but I don’t
know what the deck and conning towers were painted. Decks were typically painted a reddish brown so perhaps this is color? If someone has an answer or an
educated guess, please share it modelers on the Steel Navy message board. During the Russo-Japanese War, Russian ships serving in the Pacific Fleet were usually
painted an overall olive green.
Overall this is a good kit and it is a nice addition to the Combrig line of Imperial Russian ship of that era. It is good to see some of the smaller combatants
represented in 1:350 scale. Due to the minimal parts count and somewhat basic photo-etch, this may be a good choice for a first resin ship model kit. You can
purchase this kit from
Free Time/Pacific Front Hobbies, which is the sole source for Combrig kits in the United States. My thanks to Combrig Models for the
review sample.
Felix Bustelo