When the Lira (Lyre)-class (NATO reporting name Alfa ) submarine entered Soviet service in the early 1970s, it was an advanced design in the role of a fast attack submarine. Its lead-cooled nuclear reactor propelled it to submerged speeds of more than 40 knots, making it an effective interceptor.
HobbyBoss has molded this all-new 1/350 scale model in light gray plastic. Also provided is a small fret of photoetched-metal parts and a single set of decals.
As with most submarine kits, the major assembly is quite simple. The main hull is two pieces: a top and bottom part. The fit is good, but the join still requires some attention with a sanding stick.
After the hull construction comes installation of the diving and rudder planes, as well as the various periscopes and masts. The kit provides the option of having the periscope/mast doors open or closed. These are provided as photoetched-metal parts, and they are tiny; they take careful attention to install properly. It would be nice if optional plastic parts for these would have been included.
This choice does exist for the propeller, which is both molded in plastic and photoetched in metal. So, you can choose easy assembly or, with the metal, a little more complexity and a more-to-scale appearance.
I painted my Alfa with Tamiya spray-can paints, following the kit’s color guide and painting the submarine completely black. The cover art shows a red lower hull, but references vary on this issue.
Decals are given for one ship. The decals applied well with the assistance of decal solution.
My Alfa was completed in a quick five hours. It was a fun build, one I can easily recommend to beginning builders as well as old salts who want to add this sleek, speedy sub to their collection of 1/350 scale maritime models.
Note: A version of this review appeared in the April 2013 FineScale Modeler.