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Zvezda 1/350 K-266 'Oryel' Soviet Attack Submarine Build Review

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review August 2003 Manufacturer Zvezda
Subject K-266 'Oryel' Soviet Attack Submarine Scale 1/350
Kit Number 9010 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Easy build Cons Weapons bay doors Molded as one piece
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $39.98


If you're wondering if this submarine looks vaguely familiar, it should - you watched one being raised from the ocean floor after a tragic accident caused a complete loss of boat and crew. Designated as Oscar II by NATO, the K-266 is one of ten submarines in this class:

  • K-148 - Krasnodar
  • K-119 - Voronezh
  • K-410 - Smolensk
  • K-266 - Oryel
  • K-186 - Omsk
  • K-132 - Belgorod
  • K-172 - Chelyabinsk
  • K-442 - Tomsk
  • K-456 - Kasatka

and of course:

  • K-141 - Kursk

Designed as a ship-killer, these vessels were equipped with deadly anti-ship missiles that could be launched from underwater. If you're a battlegroup commander, this is one submarine you don't want anywhere near your ships (like there is a good type of adversary submarine...)!


Zvezda has released the Oscar II in 1/350 scale so as to be compatible in scale with many of the DML and other surface combatant and submarine models on the market.

Molded in black styrene, this kit is about as simple a build as they make - two hull halves, the conning tower parts, missile bay doors, fins and propellers. Nevertheless, the model has more significance given the Kursk tragedy as well as the ominous reminder that there are another nine Oscar IIs available.


The model is molded in black styrene and is essentially made up of top and bottom hull halves, four main parts for the conning tower, two large doors to cover the anti-ship missile tubes that are arrayed down either side of the hull, and the usual array of fins and propellers to round out the kit. The fit of the hull halves is great, just make sure the mating surfaces are clear and flash-free. The conning tower will also go together smartly with a little sanding and dry fitting before gluing.


After the events that led to the tragic loss of the Kursk (the Oryel's sister ship), I noticed from all of the press coverage and underwater footage that the missile doors evidently opened in sections rather than the long single door on each side as depicted in the kit. With that in mind, I decided to modify the doors to open only one section and leave the remaining doors closed. This modification took only a few seconds.


Assembly of the kit was quick and straightforward. I did test-fit each piece before assembly to ensure that there wasn't a bit of subtle flash or molding tree remnant that was going to make this project difficult. The only real 'fit' problem was the 'deck' that fits inside the conning tower to serve as a mounting base for many of the antennas and masts that are optional in this kit.


In addition to positionable missile bay doors along either side of the boat, you can pose the various antennas and sensor masts deployed or stowed and the bow planes extended or retracted. While I did get the floor into the conning tower with a little trimming, I decided later to pose the boat with all of the major antennas and masts stowed.


Painting the model was about as difficult as assembly. The submarine is overall flat black (when not wet) and I used Tamiya NATO Black for this as it is not as black as Flat Black. The sonar bay cover is flat aluminum as indicated by the instructions and the propellers are brass. I did dry-brush the internal structure of the missile bay door and the missile tube covers a neutral grey to bring out the molded-in details.

Well I can confirm that this kit is a quick build and represents a very powerful combat vessel in the current Russian Navy. If you want to add the Oscar II class attack submarine to your 1/350 fleet, this Zvezda kit is just what you're looking for.

My sincere thanks to Squadron Mail Order for this review sample!