The Peresvet class of pre-dreadnought battleships was based on the Royal Navy’s Centurion class of second-class battleships. The British ships were designed to
counter commerce raiding armored cruisers. However the Russians intended their ships to instead support the Imperial Navy’s armored cruisers and thus sacrificed
armor protection and armament for speed and range. According to V. M. Tomitch, the
Peresvet class was in some ways considered a prototype of the battle-cruiser
design, which also focused on speed and range instead of protection and large caliber guns.

Oslyabya was the second of the three ships in the class to begin construction, laid down in 1896 at the New Admiralty Yards in St. Petersburg. Though she was
launched in 1898, problems at the shipyard delayed her completion until 1903. She measured 434 feet 5 inches (132.4 meters) in length overall, with a beam of 71
feet 6 inches (21.8 meters) and a draught of 26 feet 3 inches (8.0 meters).
Oslyabya was designed to displace 12,674 tons but actually displaced 14,408 tons. The
class was designed for a maximum speed of 18 knots but she reached 18.33 knots during her sea trials. Her main armament consisted of four 10-inch/45 caliber
guns fitted in two twin turrets forward and aft. Her secondary armament was comprised of eleven 6-inch/45 caliber guns fitted in casemates along the sides of the
hull and one at the bow. The smaller caliber armament consisted of twenty 75mm, twenty 47mm and eight 37mm guns. The ship was also fitted with five 45cm (18-
inch) torpedo tubes with 2 submerged.
After her commissioning, Oslyabya was sent to the Mediterranean Sea, from where she was hastily recalled to home waters to become part of the Second Pacific
Squadron that was formed under the command of Vice Admiral Zinovy Rozhestvensky to reinforce the First Pacific Squadron based in Port Arthur. She departed
Libau on October 15, 1904 as the flagship for Rear-Admiral D.G. Felkerzam, where she was part of the Second Battleship detachment of the Squadron. Thus began
an epic 18,000 mile arduous journey, during which Port Arthur fell to the Japanese. The decision was made to steam for Vladivostok instead and the fleet left
Camranh Bay, French Indochina on May 9, 1905. Enroute, Felkerzam died of cancer on May 25, but Rozhestvensky ordered his passing to be kept a secret from the
rest of the squadron.

The Russian ships were spotted by the Japanese Fleet on the morning of May 27, as they entered the Korea Straits heading for Vladivostok. Within 15 minutes of the
beginning of the Battle of Tsushima,
Oslyabya was heavily damaged with her forward turret, foremast and forward funnel smashed and a gaping hole in her bow.
The severe damage forced the gravely wounded ship to fall out of line to starboard. Now vulnerable,
Oslyabya was engaged by six Japanese armored cruisers at
short range and the heavy caliber gun fire opened up additional holes along the waterline causing more flooding. She capsized with her screws still rotating but
remained floating long enough for two destroyers and two smaller vessels to save whatever crew members had surfaced or were still clinging to the hull. Thus
Oslyabya became the first Imperial Russian warship to be sunk in the Battle of Tsushima, with a loss of 470 of the 772 officers and crew.
The Kit - Oslyabya is one of the three 1:350 scale kits Peresvet class that Combrig has recently released to expand their catalog of Imperial Russian Navy ships. The
kit is comprised of resin and photoetch parts and depicts Oslyabya as she appeared in her short and fateful career.The model comes as a two-part hull giving you the
option of either a waterline or full hull model (a waterline only version is also available).The upper hull casting is overall well done with a good amount of detail,
including mooring bitts, skylights and hatch coamings on the deck and gun ports doors, access doors and hatches and portholes along the hull sides. The bitts have
the more accurate hour glass shape, rather than the straight posts used by most other manufacturers. The deck has wood planking, but this time around there are
butt ends rather than typical long straight runs. The latter has been a common criticism of other
Combrig kits, so it is good that they have taken it and corrected the
issue with at least this kit. The deck has several areas with recessed outlines for the separate deck housings and structures, gun mounts and various fittings. These
serve as an aid, showing where the corresponding parts are to be glued to the deck. Barbettes are present for the fore and aft 10-inch gun turrets. At the end of the
upper deck, there is a section that is slightly lower and without planking to which a deck platform is to be fitted. Along the lower edge of the upper hull there are
sections of excess resin that will need to be removed.

The lower hull is a simple affair with bilge keels and captures the slight raw bow well. The opening to fit the middle propeller has some resin film that will need to be
removed. Now this may be a nitpick, but there are no recessed outlines to mark the exact locations for the propeller v-struts and shaft fairings, so you will have be
extra careful to line them up evenly. I prefer building waterline, so this is not an issue for me. Like the upper hull, there is some excess resin along the lip of the lower
hull that will need to be removed before mating the two parts and most likely a bit of filler will be needed to hide any seam.
Three resin casting wafers contain various decks, housings, structures and platforms. The first wafer has the aft upper deck extension, with proper planking, the
bridge deck, aft deck platform and the foremast fighting top. The second wafer has the housings which are the bases for the funnels, the bridge, a pair of
skylights and three small housings. The last wafer has the tops of the funnel base housings, the catwalk the goes around the funnels connecting the forward and
aft platform decks, the admiral’s walk, citadel roof platforms, upper mast platforms and roofs for skylights found on the second wafer. The details are very good
on these parts, with the housings having doors and windows.

The next largest parts are the three prominent funnels, which are well detailed with deep openings and good cap aprons. The two 10-inch twin turrets are also well-
done with their oblong shape and gun commander and aiming cupolas on the top. A total of 14 boats of 6 different types are provided. Among the 14 is a pair of
small torpedo boats, each with a separate small casting runner of parts with a single torpedo tube, funnel, searchlight and base and small guns. There are additional
parts in photo-etch for these. These torpedo boats are mini-kits themselves. The steam launches have a small boiler and funnel part cast separately next the hull on
the runner. The other boats have details such as planking, thwarts and rudders.
The smaller resin parts come on several casting runners and include the citadel/armored conning tower, forward side bulwarks, 10-inch gun barrels for the turrets,
6-inch gun barrels for the hull casemates, 75mm gun mounts, 47mm gun barrels and mounts and 37mm gun barrels and mounts. Other parts include certain
sections of the masts, propellers, rudder, propeller shaft fairings and struts, searchlights and their mounts, cowl vents, galley vent, anchors, anchor windlass parts,
capstans, boat davits, boat cradles, storage lockers and small deck structures, a pair of mooring bitts and sundry deck and bridge fittings. The parts are generally
very well cast, need little, if any, clean-up and must be carefully removed from the casting runners. As you can seem in the photos, a very small number of the
more fragile parts broke during shipping.

Combrig provides a large photo-etch brass fret with ship specific parts that is produced by North Star Models. Now in a way this is a step back as other recent
releases included a complete set of railings with the photo-etch. This photo-etch is more like those found in
Combrig’s earlier kits. To be fair, some railing is
included: for the admiral’s walk, the pair of torpedo boats and two searchlight platforms. However, the modeler will have to use after-market photo-etch railing for
the rest of the model. The fret does provide inclined ladders and additional parts and details for the torpedo boats. The brass also has shields for the 75mm and
47mm guns, small platforms, pilothouse front , boat cradles, Imperial eagle crests, skylight details, anchor chain, various platform support in different sizes, hand
wheels and other small detail parts. The brass has some relief etching which is good and there are part numbers etched into the fret that are referenced in the
assembly instructions. The photo-etch comes sandwiched in clear plastic film to protect the parts.
The instructions come on nine pages and unfortunately are again a step back in some ways but are improved in a couple of spots. More or less they are in the
Combrig format. The first page has plan and profile drawings which provide a basic rigging diagram and statistics in English. Page two has the standard
resin parts layout with and image of photo-etch fret. The subsequent pages have the assembly diagrams with some pages having smaller insets which focus on
certain sub-assemblies that are identified for reference in the larger assembly images. One inset provides the metric dimensions for cutting the certain mast
sections, the yardarms, funnel steam pipes, boat booms and some davits. Photo-etch part numbers are referenced throughout, which is an improvement, as is
showing the completed underside of some subassemblies which have complex support parts. What is missing is an illustration of the fully assembled model
including the placement of the different types of boats. The flipside to the last page of the instructions is blank, so there was a readily available spot for this
Overall, Oslyabya is a good release from Combrig. In one way, Combrig took a step forward with improved planking and more detail in some assembly guide
illustrations but at the same time they took a step back by omitting ship railings and a helpful illustration from the assembly instructions. Still this is a welcome
addition to modeling a 1:350 scale Imperial Russian Navy fleet. You can purchase this kit from
Free Time/Pacific Front Hobbies, which is the sole source for
Combrig kits in the United States.
Felix Bustelo