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Heller 1/400 Battleship Potemkin Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review April 2007 Manufacturer Heller
Subject Battleship Potemkin Scale 1/400
Kit Number 100 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Interesting ship subject Cons Lack of color information and incorrect flag decals
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Out of Production

First Look


The “Potemkin” was a pre-dreadnought battleship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. She was built at the Nikolayev shipyard from 1898 and commissioned in 1904. Her name is in honor of Grigori Aleksandrovich Potemkin, a Russian military hero of the 18th century.

The ship was made famous by an uprising. A rebellion of the crew was made against their oppressive officers in June of 1905 (during the Russian Revolution of 1905). It later became viewed as an initial step towards the Russian Revolution of 1917 too.

This is an ex-Heller kit, now long out of production. It is in a Russian model brand’s box. However, the writing on the box is all in Cyrillic Russian and I don’t know what that brand name is. The box is of the tray and lid variety. It is out of very flimsy, poor quality cardboard. I traded a fellow in St. Petersburg, Russia for this kit and it arrived in a very squashed condition.

The kit contains two large trees of chalk white colored parts in a large blousy cello bag. There is a tiny decal sheet in the kit, but it holds four modern Soviet naval flags. These are not appropriate for what the “Potemkin” flew in 1905. However, I did get the correct cloth flag from BECC brand model flags (UK). The correct flag should have just a blue letter “X” on a all white flag. The instruction sheet completes the kits contents.

The instructions consist of a single sheet, folded in half into four pages. This is printed all in Russian only and on very poor quality brown paper.

Page one begins with a profile line drawing of the “Potemkin”. This (I think) is followed by the history of the vessel. At the bottom of the page, on the left corner, is the first assembly step, where the drive shafts and propellers are assembled.

Page two through four give a total of five assembly steps. These are accompanied by blow by blow written instructions of the sequence to be used adding the parts. However, it is all in Russian and of little use to non-speakers of that language. There is no painting or marking illustrations, so we are are on our own there. You cannot even use the box art for help on this, because it shows a photo of the built up model in naked plastic…sigh.

Some of the parts in my kit arrived broken off the trees.

The first large tree holds: the two hull halves, the models cradle stand parts, deck parts, cabin roof, masts etc. (17 parts)

The second tree holds all the rest of the ship’s parts. This may be a cop out, for me, by not saying what everything is. Quite frankly, being foremost an armor modeler, I really don’t know what to call half of these things. You can see, for yourself, what they are in the photo of the tree. (148 parts that haven’t broken off the tree and a handful more that did).

The detail on these parts looks rather good. The molds have stood the test of time quite well and no flash is evident.

I recommend this model of a historically famous battleship to modelers that have had a few other ship models under their belts already. Perhaps Heller will re-issue it sometime. I just wish that this Russian model company had put some color info somewhere in the box or on it and the correct Russian flags (circa early-1900’s) would have been nice.

The finished model, shown on the box lid has some rigging added to it. However, whatever the modeler used for this rigging is way over-scale and thick. It is just a few lines and nowhere near the amount of rigging this ship probably had on it.