Background - The Tarantul missile corvettes were three sub-classes of Soviet/Russian built ships which served in the Russian Navy as well as in those of several
former Soviet-Bloc and Middle East nations. The original class was called
Tarantul II by NATO as the subsequent class (Tarantul I) were built exclusively for export
and were equipped with less advanced sensors and equipment. The
Tarantuls were more seaworthy and had better gun armament and air search radars than the
Osa class boats.

Tarantul III sub-class was built beginning in 1987. They were fitted with a CODAG (COmbined Diesel And Gas) system, comprised of two M-70 gas turbines
(rated at 12,000 hp each) and two M510 diesel engines (rated at 4,000 hp each). This new type of propulsion system was a big improvement over the earlier COGOG
system (COmbined Gas Or Gas) both in terms of serviceability, fuel efficiency and service life. The
Tarantul III boats retained the gun armament from previous
versions, which was comprised of one 76mm AK-176 dual purpose main gun, two AK-630 30mm CIWS guns but were upgraded with four SS-N-2 “Sunburn” ship-
to-ship missiles. The superstructures were redesigned and the angled mast of the previous projects was replaced by a narrow, straight lattice version. The class also
received an improved ECM (Electronic countermeasures) suite and PK-10 decoy launchers. At least 24 of these ships were built for the Soviet Navy before
production ended in 1992.
The Kit - The Tarantul III is the latest 1:350 scale release from Orange Hobby. The model is a full hull kit with a separate transom which must be mated with the
hull. I am not an expert on these ships, but my guess is that this may mean that a different variant may be offered in the future. The hull is hollow-cast, which in some
ways resembles an injection-molded kit. Even the casting runners look like sprues. The inside of the hull has some support bracing to help make it a little sturdier. The
detail in these parts is excellent but there is a thick attachment point on both sides towards the aft that may prove a little problematic to remove and will require sanding
at the very least. The transom part also has some substantial attachment points. Some filler and sanding will be need where the transom meets the hull. The method in
which the hull is engineered may or may not complicate cutting down the hull if you wish to build a waterline model. The hollow casting would make cutting easier
but you may lose some sturdiness to the hull.

The deck is one piece and also has a lot of detail cast into it, with hatch coamings, the breakwater, bollards and other fittings. There is a lip that fits just inside the
superstructure which will help with positioning it accurately. There is support bracing underneath the deck overhangs which will aid in positioning the deck to the hull.
There are some bits of resin flash that needs to be removed but at least the casting runner at the stern is not that thick.

The superstructure is also one piece with door frames, bridge windows, bases for the AK-630 guns and other details. As nicely detailed as this part is, it is
unfortunately marred by a glob of resin on the port side in the corner aft of the bridge housing. I don’t know how difficult this will be to remove and what it will take
to clean up the area underneath. There is also some excess resin inside some of the door frames but since these will be covered with photo-etch watertight doors it
may not be an issue. Again the casting runners look more like sprues from a plastic kit but the attachment points are not as thick as those found on the hull parts.
The smaller resin parts are attached to more traditional casting runners. The AK-176 gun assembly is comprised of the turret, base and gun mount. What is unique is
that a turned brass barrel is imbedded into the resin mount, which saves a step. The other resin parts include the base ring for the AK-176 turret, the AK-630 guns and
base rings, the missile housings and doors, the CODAG doors, the bridge roof and large radome, smaller radomes and sensors, mast parts, anchor, life raft cannisters,
rudders, propellers and other fittings. The parts are well cast with little bits of resin film that will need to be removed.

The kit comes with turned brass parts, the largest of which are the one-piece propeller shafts and fairings which are quite lovely. The barrels for the AK-630 guns and
fitting that sits on the superstructure roof (I honestly don’t know what it is but it looks good) are also included in the bag.
The photo-etch brass is nicely done with relief-etching to add some detail and depth. The fret is sandwiched between clear plastic films which I did not remove for the
photos. The parts include all of the railings, which are pre-measured, parts for the lattice mast, radars, watertight doors, propeller shaft struts, cradles for the life raft
cannisters, cable reels and various other details.

The decal sheet contains markings for two Russian boats, 870 and 874, two styles of markings for the missile housing doors and the Russian naval ensigns. The decals
appear well done with good color registration and there are identification numbers for each decal. The assembly instructions are printed on six pages and are well done.
Each step of assembly is depicted in well-illustrated diagrams with resin, photo-etch and turned brass parts clearly identified. The final page of the instructions has a
painting guide with generic color references and shows decal placement with call outs to the identification numbers.
The Orange Hobby Tarantul III is the only kit of this interesting missile corvette in 1:350 scale. In many ways it resembles an injection-molded kit but the parts are
most definitely resin. The level of detail in the resin parts is good, though there are a few casting issues. With the excellent phot-etch and turned brass parts, it will
build into a very good model. My thanks to
Orange Hobby for the review sample.
Felix Bustelo