by: Jessica Cooper [ ]
The Resolution class was a class of four nuclear ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) built for the Royal Navy as part of the UK Polaris programme. Each submarine was armed with up to 16 UGM-27 Polaris A-3 nuclear missiles.
The class comprised Resolution, Repulse, Renown and Revenge. They were built by Vickers Armstrong in Barrow-in-Furness and Cammell Laird in Birkenhead between 1964 and 1968. All four boats were based at HM Naval Base Clyde (HMS Neptune), 40 km (25 mi) west of Glasgow, Scotland.
The Resolution class was the launch platform for the United Kingdom's strategic nuclear deterrent from the late 1960s until 1994, when it was replaced by the Vanguard-class submarine carrying the Trident II.
Two pairs of the boats were ordered in May 1963 from Vickers Shipbuilding Ltd, Barrow in Furness and from Cammell Laird and Co. Ltd, Birkenhead. The option of buying a fifth unit, planned as Ramillies, was cancelled in February 1965. Traditional battleship names were used, signifying that they were the capital ships of their time.
Vickers Armstrong in Barrow-in-Furness constructed Resolution and Repulse and Cammell Laird in Birkenhead constructed Renown and Revenge. The construction was unusual in that the bow and stern were constructed separately before being assembled together with the American-designed missile compartment.
The design was a modification of the Valiant-class fleet submarine, but greatly extended to incorporate the missile compartment between the fin and the nuclear reactor. The length was 130 metres (430 ft), breadth 10.1 metres (33 ft), height 9 metres (30 ft) and the displacement 8,400 long tons (8,500 t) submerged and 7,600 long tons (7,700 t) surfaced. A Rolls-Royce pressurized water reactor (PWR1) and English Electric Company turbines gave them a speed of 25 knots (46 km/h) and they could dive to depths of 275 metres (902 ft). Sixteen Polaris A3 missiles were carried, in two rows of eight. For emergencies there was a diesel generator and six 533-millimetre (21 in) torpedo tubes located at the bow, firing the Tigerfish wire-guided homing torpedoes. The submarines put to sea with a crew of 143.
According to former head of the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors R.J. Daniel, the Resolution-class SSBNs possessed five features that were envied by the US Navy: the machinery loading hatch, automated hovering system, welded hull valves, standardized valves, and raft-mounted propulsion machinery.
(History adapted from the pages of Wikipedia.)
Mikro-Mir have truly come to the rescue of fans of submarines, kitting boats that major producers would fear to touch. This model is the first appearance of a Resolution in 1/350 scale. The mouldings betray its limited run origin, but the fine engravings can easily stand up to the best in the business. In fact, they're so fine that a thick coat of paint could easily obliterate them.
The sprue attachments will need some careful cleanup, especially those on the hull halves.
In contrast to many submarine kits, the hull is separated in port and starboard halves rather than top and bottom. A separate casing for the missile section goes on top of the hull, and the rudders and aft dive planes fit to the stern. The screw is constructed from two plastic hub parts which sandwich the etched brass blades. The blades have a rather complex shape so careful bending is in order after assembly.
Submarines don't typically have much superstructure. The fin comes in two halves, with optional tops. One allows for the periscopes and masts to be displayed extended, and the other has everything buttoned up in the dived configuration. The boat's bow planes may be shown folded as they were on the surface, or extended for diving. The deck mounted sonar dome is a little crude; it could benefit from some careful shaping of its upper end to match photos. All of the dive planes and rudders are butt joins, and may benefit from drilling and pinning for strength.
As for the accuracy of the model, don't compare the model to drawings or published measurements. When assembled it looks like a Resolution.
Decals and markings
Resolutions came in any colour as long as it was black. The painting guide shows a thin white line halfway down the hull which will be a challenge to mask. Several temporary paint schemes were worn during service, one of the most interesting being the temporary white markings applied to Repulse during trials with the USN's DSRV in 1979.
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