When one hears the name Kalashnikov, the AK-47 rifle immediately comes to mind and not a high-speed, multipurpose amphibious landing craft. However Kalashnikov
Concern, which is the largest arms manufacturer in Russia, developed the
BK-16 craft for the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. The BK-16 is truly a
multipurpose vessel as it can be utilized for a variety of missions such as coastal patrol, personnel transportation, coastal landing operations, fire support, counter-piracy,
counter-terrorism and other special operations. The
BK-16 was introduced at International Maritime Defense Show in 2015 and according to a Kalashnikov press
release, deliveries to the Russian military began in July of 2016.

The hull and superstructures of the
BK-16 are made from aluminum alloys which provide strength with a reduced weight. The vessel is compact, with a length of 54
feet, width of 13 feet, draft of 2.8 feet and a height from the waterline of 14 feet (16.45m x 4m, x 0.87m x 4.33m). The vessel is operated and controlled by a crew of
two from a bridge located on the upper deck. The bridge features large windows which provide a 360° view. The passenger compartment in the lower deck seats up to
18 members and is equipped with two windows on both sides. The engine room houses a pair of 780hp engines that can give the
BK-16 a top speed of 42 knots. The
engine room is located at the aft end of the boat and is accessible through two hatches in the deck. The standard speed is 30 knots for a cruising distance of 400 miles
for up to 24 hours.
The BK-16 is equipped with Kalashnikov’s Modul Boyevoy Distantsionno Upravlyaemiy (MBDU) remote weapon station (RWS), which has options for a 7.62mm
machine gun, a 12.7mm machine gun, AG-17 30mm automatic grenade launchers and 40mm grenade launchers. The boat can also be armed with Kornet anti-tank
guided missile system and mine countermeasures. The craft is equipped with navigation and communications systems, a loud speaker, search lights, antenna mast,
and radars for improved surveillance and target acquisition. The front section of the upper deck facilitates launch and recovery of light reconnaissance unmanned
aerial vehicles (UAV). UAVs provide increased situational awareness and the ability to engage targets effectively over land and sea.

This new kit is a collaboration between
North Star Models and Combrig in that the kit is designed and produced by North Star for Combrig. You get two complete
BK-16 combat boats in the box with two-piece hulls to give you a waterline option. The hulls are tiny, measuring only about 1.85 inches (47mm). The upper hull is
essentially the entire boat above the waterline and incorporates the passenger compartment with its windows, the engine access hatches and other details. The upper
hulls come on casting blocks that will need to be removed and the bottoms clean up if you wish to mate the lower hulls. There is a depression forward to fit the
bridge structure. The lower hulls have sharp lines and circular depressions to attach the resin propulsion jets on the stern. The lower hulls also come on large casting
blocks that will require a razor saw to remove. The bridges are made from a clear resin, which is an interesting choice of medium. The clear resin will emphasize the
windows that surround the bridge but will make masking the part to paint a bit of a challenge, especially give the tiny size of the part. It is a bit hard to see in the
photos, but there is a good amount of detail in the part. They come on casting blocks and will need to be carefully removed and cleaned up.
The smaller resin parts include radomes, propulsion jets, life raft cannisters and what I am presuming are the either the 30mm or 40mm grenade launchers. The
smaller parts are nicely cast with good detail and come on a casting runner with side tabs that help protect the parts and keep them from breaking off. The actual
attachment points for the parts are minimal which makes it easy to remove them. Each boat has two photo-etch frets each with parts, which are comprised of
railings, support for the grenade launcher, parts for the radome mast, windshield wipers, mooring bits, life raft cannister stowage racks,  steps, aft platform and
supports, propulsion jet brackets, machine guns (again not sure if they are 12.7mm or 7.62mm MGs), whip antennas and other small details. There is a good amount
of relief etching for details and for folding points and part numbers are etched into the frets. Some of the photo-etch parts are almost miniscue, given the size of the
model and a bit fiddly. In several spots where there are embarkation points to the boat, the railings are 3 individual lengths that you attach to other railings or to a
bulkhead. This photo-etch is not for the meek-hearted.

The assembly instructions are printed on two pages. The first page has some background on the
BK-16 in Russian but the specifications are in English. The resin
parts are broken down with part numbers but with no description. The part numbers are referenced, along with the photo-etch part numbers, in the assembly
diagrams, though they are not differentiated like on other instructions. This really shouldn’t be a problem here as the resin parts are pretty obvious and are given the
highest numbers. The diagrams are a combination of subassemblies and more general assembly steps and all are very clear. Unfortunately, there are no painting
instructions for the disruptive camouflage scheme applied to these boats, which is a major omission in my opinion. Yet even with color call outs, painting the scheme
on a 1.85 inch model will be very challenging.
Combrig’s BK-16 kit will build into highly detailed miniatures of these new powerful multipurpose boats. Due to the size of the models and the somewhat
complicated photo-etch, I would definitely recommend this kit to experienced modelers. The only real negative is the lack of painting instructions for the disruptive
camouflage applied to these boats. My thanks to
Combrig for providing the review sample.
Felix Bustelo