The Buyan class (Project 21630) corvette is a very versatile warship that was designed by the Zelenodolsk Design Bureau. The design incorporates stealth features to
reduce the radar cross section and provides a flexible open architecture to facilitate making modifications to vessels based on future requirements. The
Buyan class
can operate in both deep and shallow waters, which enables the vessels to conduct maritime patrols along the 200-mile maritime economic zone of Russia as well as
littoral and river missions such as delivering troops to land.

Buyan class corvettes were built by JSC Almaz Shipbuilding in St. Petersburg and serve in the Caspian Flotilla. Astrakhan, the first ship in the class, was
commissioned into the Russian Navy in January of 2006, followed by
Volgodonsk in June of 2012. Completion of the last ship in the class, Makhachkala, was held
up due to delays with the installation of the 100mm gun mount. She was finally commissioned into the Russian Navy in February of 2013, almost seven years after her
keel was laid down.
The ships have a length of 203 feet (62m), a beam of 31 feet (9.6m), a draft of 7 feet (2m) and a displacement of approximately 500 tons. Each vessel can
accommodate a crew of 29 to 36. The
Buyan Class is powered by a combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) propulsion system, consisting of two Zvezda M520 radial
56-cylinder diesel engines driving two pump-jet propulsors. The propulsors provide high maneuverability, with reduced noise and running vibration, generating a
maximum speed of 28 knots and range of 1,500 nautical miles.

A single A-190 100mm cannon in a large turret is fitted on the bow deck. A pair of AK-306 30mm close-in weapon systems are fitted aft of the main superstructure.
The ship is also armed with A-215 Grad-M naval multiple launch rocket system capable of firing up to 40 122mm rockets against onshore targets. A four-tube 3M47
Gibka naval missile launcher firing Igla or Igla-S anti-aircraft missiles provides the air defense. The ship also houses gun mounts for 14.5mm and 7.62mm machine
The electronics on the Buyan class are comprised of the Pozitiv-M air/surface search radar, MR-231 navigation radar and 5P-10 Laska shipborne radar gunfire control
system. Two PK-10 shipborne decoy launching systems are mounted on either side of the stern behind the superstructure.

The Kit - I love the smell of fresh resin in the morning!  And you can’t get much fresher than Combrig’s 1:350 scale Astrakhan kit. As of this writing, this kit has
not been released, but Steel Navy was fortunate enough to get an advanced sample for review. The down side is that the assembly instructions were not ready and as
a result will not be part of this review.

The kit is packaged with a two-piece hull for a full-hull or waterline-hull option and is comprised of resin and photo-etch parts with a decal sheet. While the ship is
designed with stealth features this doesn’t mean that the upper hull part is devoid of detail. On the contrary, the part captures the stealthy profile of the
Buyan class
with the detail we have come to expect from
Combrig. The bridge has recessed windows, recessed outlines for watertight doors and there is some detail to the
superstructure parts or at least as much as a stealth design will allow. The decks have mooring bitts and chocks, breakwater and hatches. There are numerous
openings to fit the smaller resin parts. The bulwarks at the foc’sle deck are solid but they should have some openings to run mooring lines. If you wish to add them,
be prepared to break out the pin vise and micro drill bits. The lower is very shallow and has the back end for the two propulsors and recesses along the sides to
accommodate the photo-etch bilge keels.
Most of the smaller resin parts come attached to casting runners, except for five parts in a thin casting wafer. The prominent gun turret is very nicely represented
along with the 100mm gun barrel. The other larger parts include the Pozitiv-M radome, mack, AK-306 30mm turrets, the base for the A-215 Grad-M launcher and
what I think are the propulsors (without the assembly instructions for reference I may make mistakes in identifying some parts). The parts in the resin casting wafer
include extensions to the upper deck (the “L” shaped parts) and what appear to be platforms for the mack.

The smaller parts include the A-215 Grad-M rocket tubes, parts for the 3M47 Gibka naval missile launcher, illuminator for the 5P-10 Laska radar, MR 231 radar, life
raft canisters, barrels for the AK-306 30mm turrets, anchor, PK-10 decoy launchers and a variety of other fittings. The casting is very clean and the parts will need
only a little bit of attention at the joint after they are detached from the runner.
The photo-etch brass, designed by North Star Models for Combrig, is also well done with some relief etching. The fret contains pre-measured railings, ladders, blast
shields around the A-215 Grad-M launcher, bilge keels, doors and hatches, anchor chain, mack platforms parts, machine guns, jack and ensign staff and other parts
that I honestly can’t identify without the aid of the assembly instructions. A small decal sheet, which is a welcome first for
Combrig, provides hull numbers, ship
names in Cyrillic, stars in white and red and the Russian naval ensign. As you can see, there are more hull number pairs than needed for the three ships in the class.
Based on photos that I have seen, some of the ships wore different ones at various times over their careers, so the sheet will allow you to model any ship in the class
at any point in time.

As mentioned before, the assembly instructions were not completed at the time that I received this sample, so I cannot make an assessment. However, based on the
Combrig has made to the instructions in recent releases, I can speculate a little that they will be clear and thorough. The only omission, based on past
examples, will be painting instructions.

Combrig takes a welcome break from 1:350 scale Russo-Japanese War and World War I era ships with a modern naval subject and it does not disappoint. I hope that
other modern Russian and Cold War Soviet subjects will be released in the future, in particular a
Buyan-M (Project 21631) missile corvette variant. My thanks go to
Combrig for sending this pre-release sample.
Felix Bustelo