During World War II, the Soviet Navy had possibly the strongest MTB fleet in terms of sheer numbers, with 269 units officially commissioned by June 1941. The most numerous of Soviet-built MTBs
were the
G-5 class. The G-5 was an improved and enlarged version of the Tupelov designed Shya-4 class and the first boats were built in the early 1930s. They had a whaleback upper hull and a single
step hydroplane lower hull. The hulls were made of duraluminium, which saved weight but was also highly corrosive in salt-water. The boats needed to be taken out of the water frequently to treat the
hulls with anti-corrosives. The boats were originally fitted with a single 7.62 mm machine gun, which was upgraded to a 12.7 mm DShK machine gun in later models. Some later boats were fitted with
a pair of DShK guns, with some carrying a mount in a tub in the forecastle and one on top of the wheelhouse or in a rotating turret behind the superstructure over the torpedo tubes and on top of the
wheelhouse. Some boats carried 82 mm ROFS-82 or 132 mm ROFS-132 rocket launchers in fixed mounts above or behind the wheelhouse. Two torpedoes were carried in troughs in the rear deck
which was similar to British WW I CMBs.

About 295
G-5 boats were built and were broken down into Series 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11.  Series 7, 8 and 9 boats measured 62.75 by 11 by 2.25 feet. The latter two series measured 62.50 by 11.50 by
2.75 feet. A total of 155  Series 7, 8 and 9 boats, about 20 Series 10 and 120 Series 11 boats were produced with the majority of construction completed before the outbreak of hostilities with
Germany in June of 1941. Four
G-5 boats were sold to the Spanish Republican Navy during the Spanish Civil War, with two surviving the war and taken over by the Nationalist forces. During World
War II, 73 Soviet ships were lost in action and 31 were scrapped after being damaged beyond repair. The Finnish Navy captured two boats in 1942 and at least one was captured, repaired and used by
the Germans. After the war, some boats were sold to North Korea.

The Kit - North Star Models has produced a number of good quality photo-etch fittings and upgrade sets for ship models and now they have released their first full resin and photo-etch brass kit. For
their first endeavor the selected a small subject in 1/350 scale but small doesn’t mean it lacks detail or features. This kit contains parts to build one boat from these 3 variants:

1.        G-5 AKA (with rocket launchers in a fixed mount above the wheelhouse and two DShKs – one on the bow of the boat, the second on a rotating turret behind the superstructure, above the
torpedoes )
2.        G-5 Series 10 (two DShKs – one on the bow of the boat, the second on the wheelhouse)
3.        G-5 Series 11 BIS (two DShKs – one on the wheelhouse, the second placed on a rotating turret behind the superstructure, above the torpedoes)

The main part of the kit it the one-piece full hull, which is well cast.  It captures the unique profile and shape of the hull with some subtle details.  The hull is attached to a casting plug on the stern
which needs to carefully removed with a razor saw and will most likely require some clean up.
Two versions of the wheelhouse are provided, one for the rocket launcher fit and one for machine gun fits. Both appear well cast with some detail that will be augmented with some photo-etch. The
wheelhouses must be removed from the casting runner with a razor saw and cleaned up along the bottom. Sandwiched between the wheelhouses on this runner are some smaller parts, which include
the optional aft DShK turret, a muffler, some vents and some kind of canister. Resin part 12, as identified in the instructions, was missing from my sample and may have broken off inadvertently during
packing. It is rail that juts out off the stern between the torpedo troughs and it appears to be a rectangular beam which can be easily replaced with some plastic stock. The smaller parts need a little bit
of clean-up. There is a smaller runner with five additional parts included with the kit. These parts are the base for the rocket launcher, a cover for the forward gun tub (used with the AKA and Series 11
versions), a search light, a part used with the canister on the larger runner and another canister that is not identified in the parts breakdown in the instruction. This part is referenced in the assembly
instructions and is used only with the Series 11 build.  A pair of torpedoes round out the resin parts.  

The small photo-etch fret is crammed with numerous parts done with fine relief etching. Some of the parts are optional and depend on which version you will build. Some of the common parts include
the forward deck skylights and hatch, grab railings, rudders and running gear, torpedo rudders, bridge windows, torpedo rails and supports, DShK machine guns and mounting rings, mast and other
parts. The optional parts are those that are used to construct the rocket launcher and the armored bridge window covers for that version of the boat. The photo-etch is fine and delicate; the frame for
the rocket launcher was slightly bent which can be remedied. There are four pages of illustrated instructions are printed on a folded sheet of paper and cover in fairly good detail the specific steps
required to build the different variants. While it is not shown in the instructions per se, the rocket launcher rails, the machine guns and the propeller shafts need to be folded together. The instructions
also show that some brass wire, which is not provided with the kit, is needed to make the exhaust pipe which was fitted along the portside edge with the resin muffler and some photo-etch fasteners.
Overall this is a good debut kit from
North Star Models and shows the detail and quality I have seen with their photo-etch fittings and upgrade sets. It is great to see the G-5, which was the backbone
of the Soviet MTB fleet, available in this scale and it will make a nice companion to the Coastal Forces kits from
White Ensign Models. Due to the fiddly parts and delicate photo-etch, I would
recommend this kit to a modeler of intermediate skill. I hope that
North Star Models will produce additional kits, maybe a D-3 class MTB or some other small combatant.
Felix Bustelo
Idol of the Islanders