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Tsesarevich Battleship 1917 Kit

Trumpeter 1/350 Tsesarevich Battleship 1917 Kit First Look

by Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2014 Manufacturer Trumpeter
Subject Tsesarevich Battleship 1917 Scale 1/350
Kit Number 5337 Primary Media Styrene, PE
Pros Nice detailing Cons Nothing noted
Skill Level Experienced MSRP (USD) $89.95

First Look

Tsesarevich Battleship 1917 Kit
Tsesarevich Battleship 1917 Kit
Tsesarevich Battleship 1917 Kit
Tsesarevich Battleship 1917 Kit

The Imperial Russian Navy commissioned the building of a new class of battleship which was built in France in the late 1900s. This first of class battleship was named Tsesarevich (Successor, prince who is first in line for the Russian throne) and was the basis for the Borodino-class. After commissioning, the Tsesarevich was assigned to the Pacific fleet where it would participate in the Russo-Japanese War. Based in Port Arthur, Manchuria, the Tsesarevich was the flagship of the First Pacific Squadron. On 8 Feb 1904, the Japanese Navy conducted a surprise attack in Port Arthur with three Russian ships torpedoed, one of which was the Tsesarevich. Even though she was taking on water, the Tsesarevich attempted to sortie only to run aground due to the internal flooding. She was refloated and repaired by early June though a number of her guns had been removed to provide shore batteries for Port Arthur.

The First Pacific Squadron led by the Tsesarevich sortied out of Port Arthur in an attempt to break the Japanese blockade. After several engagements, a shot hit the superstructure of Tsesarevich sending shrapnel through the conning tower which killed the Admiral in command and damaged the ship's steering. The squadron's second in command led a charge on the Japanese fleet to buy time for Tsesarevich to fix her steering. While the rest of the squadron would return to Port Arthur under the cover of darkness, Tsesarevich and her destroyer escorts attempted to run north to Vladivostok, but the battle damage increased her fuel consumption as well as cut her speed, forcing the ship to seek shelter at the German port of Tsingtau where she and her escorts were interned for the rest of the war.

The Tsesarevich was transferred to the Baltic fleet in early 1906 and she was reconfigured with the removal of her fighting top and a cut down superstructure. While not actively used during the early part of World War 1, the Tsesarevich would become the Grazhdanin (Citizen) after the Bolshevik Revolution and after several less-than-effective engagements with the German Navy, Grazhdanin was set aside in 1918 and scrapped in 1924.

Trumpeter has produced this interesting piece of Russian history in the Battleship Tsesarevich as she was configured about the time of her coming under new management and being renamed 'Citizen'. The kit is molded in the usual light gray styrene and presented on eleven parts trees plus five frets of photo-etched details. Among the features and options in this box:

  • Full-hull only with two heft internal bulkheads to provide structural strength
  • 12" main guns have hollow-cast barrels
  • Winch and windlass enhanced with photo-etched details
  • Photo-etched railings and ladders
  • Display base provided with name plate
  • Nice lifeboats
  • Detailed utility boats

Given the smaller size of this early battleship and the overall layout of the kit, this will make a nice project for the modeler wanting to try their hand at photo-etched details. While the kit will look okay without all of the photo-etch, the design of this kit will make use of the photo-etch a little easier to apply and allow you to develop the skills to tackle some of the more intimidating projects that may be on your to-do list.

This is a nicely engineered kit that offers lots of details but won't take up much room on your shelf. It will be interesting to see if Trumpeter issues the 1903 configuration of this ship with the fighting tops, masts, and full gun armament.

My sincere thanks to Stevens International for this review sample!