The Project 1265 Yakhont class is a group of minesweepers built between 1971 and 1995 for the Soviet/Russian Navy with some units exported to
Soviet allied navies. These ships were categorized as base minesweepers. NATO gave this design the code name “Sonya”.

Designed as a successor to the Project 257 Vanya class, these ships were built of treated lumber sheathed in fiberglass and equipped with new sweeps
and improved sonar. These ships were also fitted with an explosion-proof central operations area where all key systems could be controlled remotely.  
Yakhonts were initially fitted with a pair of twin 2M3 25mm guns forward and aft. On some ships the forward 2M3 was replaced by a twin AK-
230 30mm, with some units replacing the aft 2M3 with another AK-230.  Some ships have two single AK-230s fitted or a twin forward and single aft.  
The total number of units built is hard to confirm as some ships were decommissioned and replaced with new builds with the same hull number.  
According to one source, 72 ships were built and according to another, the number is between 90 and 100.  Units were exported to Ukraine,
Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Cuba, Syria and Vietnam. Currently 26 ships are active with the Russian Navy with 14 in reserve.

Combrig has simultaneously released kits of a Yakhont class minesweeper in both 1:350 and 1:700 scale. This in-box review will examine both kits.
Both versions are comprised of resin and photo-etch parts.
The 1:350 Scale Combrig Kit - The 1:350 scale kit is packaged as a water-line/full- hull kit with an upper and lower hull. The upper hull casting is
very well done with a good amount of incorporated detail, such as mooring bitts, hatches and portholes. The upper deck is outlined with a recessed
groove which is basically the demarcation for the reddish-brown deck area. The very large and prominent rectangular opening in the deck is for the
bridge superstructure.  There are some other shallower recesses to fit smaller resin parts, such as the funnel and gun mounts. The casting is very
clean and requires only some sanding of a little excess resin along the bottom which is needed only if you wish to mate the upper and lower hulls. The
lower hull has openings to fit the running gear and requires filler to smooth out some blemishes in the casting and some clean-up to remove excess
resin bits along the edge. Mating the hull sections will require some filler to hide the joint.

The next largest part is the bridge structure, which is very nicely detailed with recessed windows, running lights and some water-tight doors.  
However, based on some photos I have seen, there is a small oversight regarding other doors on the second level. There should be doors accessing the
bridge on both the port and starboard sides and another starboard further aft. Ironically the bridge doors are present in the image of the part in the
assembly instructions. It’s a shame that this was somehow missed since an effort was made to have a lot of detail cast into bridge structure part.   
Doors are not provided in the kit’s photo-etch, so if you want to add them you will have to get them from another source. The big block of resin at the
bottom of this part is supposed to go into the opening in the upper hull for a good tight fit. You may wish to sand a little off the bottom just to even it
out and ensure a flush fit.
The next largest parts are the sweep deck bulwarks, minesweeping winch, funnel, 2M3 25mm guns mount, AK-230 single and twin mounts and bases,
lockers, windscreen for the bridge roof and some other fittings. The parts are generally very well cast, need little, if any, clean-up and must be
carefully removed from the casting runners.

The smaller parts include the rudders, propeller shafts and struts, propeller hubs, boat and davits, cable reels, life raft cannisters, anchors, sweep
buoys and crane, gun barrels and various sundry fittings. Again the parts are well done, require little clean-up and have to be removed from casting
A small photo-etch fret is provided which includes the parts for the mast, stowage rack for the sweep buoys, the side housings for the minesweeping
winch, boat cradles, ladders, propellers, radar and other details. No railings are provided, so you will supply your own. No decals are included for the
hull numbers which is a minus. Russian ship numbers have a rather unique font so generic numbers will really not do. It would have been helpful if a
small set of decals was included with this kit.

The instructions come on four pages in the usual
Combrig format. The first page has a small plan and profile drawing, the ship’s history in Cyrillic and
the specifications in English. Page two has the standard resin and photo-etch parts layout. Page three has diagrams for the major sub-assemblies, such
as the mast and gun mounts. The last page has a general assembly diagram, showing where all the parts and sub-assemblies are to go. A small inset
focuses on assembling the running gear if you decide to build a full-hull model. The illustrations are fine and rather straight forward, but I think an
illustration of the fully assembled model would have been helpful to confirm where everything should go.  No painting instructions are given but there
are several color photos on the internet that will help guide you.

The 1:700 Scale Combrig Kit - You can really call the 1:350 scale and 1:700 scale kits “Me” and “Mini-Me”, as they are nearly identical except for the
scale. The one major difference is that the 1:700 scale kit is water-line only, so there is no lower hull and running gear parts.  The detail is just about
the same and all the resin parts from the waterline up in the 1:350 scale kit are produced in the smaller scale. The photo-etch is the same, sans the
propellers, and the instructions are the same, with the exception that the inset showing the running gear parts is omitted. The observations and
criticisms I made about the large scale kit also apply its diminutive counterpart.
Whatever your scale preference is, you will not go wrong with either version of this kit. If you are into modern Soviet/Russian ships, you will need a
Yakhont in your fleet to keep your naval base clear of mines. 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 for providing this review sample.
Felix Bustelo