Converting the Hobbyboss PLA Navy Type 031 Golf Class to a Soviet Navy Golf

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  • petero
    Junior Member
    • Apr 2006
    • 22

    Converting the Hobbyboss PLA Navy Type 031 Golf Class to a Soviet Navy Golf

    I've just received this kit, and I'd like to build it as a Soviet Golf. From the limited references I have, it appears that the major difference is the number of missiles, the PLAN Golf having two versus the Soviet's three. That should be a simple modification if I show the tubes closed, and not much more difficult if they're open. Are there any other major differences that I'm missing?

    Also, are there any aftermarket decals for Soviet subs that would work on the Golf?

    Thanks!

    Peter
  • tom dougherty
    Senior Member
    • Jul 2005
    • 1354

    #2
    The Chinese Golf was originally a Golf I which was converted for test firings of the larger diameter Chinese missiles. Hence the tubes were enlarged and the number reduced to two tubes, with some moving and realignment of the tubes in the sail. So it is not a simple proposition of adding a third tubeto make a Russian Golf; the two tubes are not in the same positions as two of the three Golf missile tubes would be. Not an easy conversion without some plastic surgery.

    Your best bet is the new L’Arsenal 2.0 Golf submarine kits to come out this Fall. They have a Golf I, a Golf II and several other variants including one off conversions for various purposes. They also have the Chinese Golf conversion These will be resin kits, and the test shots look great. See the latest issue of the SCR (Sept. 2020) for a photo of the kits.

    Not a lot in the way of aftermarket decals for that era. Not a lot in the way of markings on those submarines either. Do you want to do a Golf I or Golf II?
    Last edited by tom dougherty; 09-01-2020, 10:37 PM.

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    • petero
      Junior Member
      • Apr 2006
      • 22

      #3
      Thanks for replying, Tom, and I appreciate your expertise. I'm not averse to styrene bashing, but waiting for the L'arsenal kits would be much better. I have their Ranger 8 lunar probe, and the workmanship is outstanding. Do you know if L'Arsenal will include the "horn and hoof" launch platform and missile with their Golf I? That is particularly interesting to me because it's the same type of launch support system the Soviets used for their original R-7 ICBM, and is still used for the Soyuz booster.

      Do you have any additional photos, diagrams or information on the "horn and hoof" system? I'm interested in learning more about it. It must have made for a relatively slow launch process, similar to the US Regulus SLCM. I'm a Regulus fan, and I have in my stash the Blue Ridge Growler and Halibut and a 3D printed Tunny conversion, as well as a built Pit Road/Combat Sub Grayback.

      Peter

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      • tom dougherty
        Senior Member
        • Jul 2005
        • 1354

        #4
        Yes, the Golf I launcher system will be included in the kit, so you can display it with the missile erected for launch. You are correct, it is similar to the “tulip” R-7 launcher system. This supports the rocket in an upright position and peels back upon launch in a passive, counterweight system. An added difficulty with the surfaced launched R-13 was timing the launch so that the missile was vertical; tough to do in a system rolling and heaving on the surface. This contributed to the poor accuracy of the missile.

        The system is described in a couple of books I have on the early Soviet missile systems ( not exactly best sellers). I also had an opportunity to speak with Sergei Khrushchev, who worked for the Chelomei rocket organization. We spoke about several early rocket programs. The R-13 and R-21 were from designs from the Yangel bureau. As mentioned in my article this month, they both employed toxic and corrosive liquid fuels.

        Regulus I was always an interim program, with the original intent to replace it with Regulus II. The Regulus II would have been longer range and had internal guidance rather than theRegulus I TROUNCE radio system. Regulus II was cancelled and the money moved to the Polaris program. Polaris was moving much faster than the original deployment projection of 1963-64, so the Regulus II became superfluous. The Permit class subs were reordered as SSNs, rather than Regulus II launchers. The whole Regulus development program came and went in the mid-1950’s, even though the patrols with Regulus I went into the early 1960’s.

        I have all of the kits you mentioned. Now that I am retired, I want to get to all of them, with the exception of the Tunny.

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        • petero
          Junior Member
          • Apr 2006
          • 22

          #5
          That's great! In that case, I'll just build the Chinese Golf as is and wait for the L'Arsenal Golf I. I was also able to Google larger images of the horn and hoof system and R-13, so I have a better idea of what they look like. Meanwhile, I've got your 3-part Azorian article from SCR (and an earlier one), and I should get David Sharp's book too. I've read a few books about Azorian already, but that was probably 10 or more years ago, so I'm sure there's more information now.

          When I built Grayback, I scratchbuilt several Regulus Is, since the kit only included a Regulus II. The BRM Growler includes Is, but I'm not crazy about the flat PE wings, so I'll probably make new wings for them. On a side note, I'm surprised BRM markets it as the Growler or Grayback, since they weren't sister ships.

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          • tom dougherty
            Senior Member
            • Jul 2005
            • 1354

            #6
            I’m not too happy with the photo etch wings, either. Back in the late ‘90’s, I had built a Japanese Torpedo/Combat Subs resin version and the Regulus I had in scale, cast resin thicker wings. And yes, Grayback and Growler look superficially similar but they were built at two different shipyards, and have distinct external differences (like limber holes).

            The book and documentary film I was involved in were out 10 years ago. The film is “Azorian the Raising of the K-129”. Used to be on Netflix, possibly still is. The book was the Michael White/Norman Polmar one published by Naval Institute Press. What information we could not obtain at the time is in Dave’s book.

            Dave was a senior project engineer on the Glomar Explorer. He saw the entire operation first hand. We hope his outstanding book will become a feature film by Ridley Scott sometime soon.
            Last edited by tom dougherty; 09-02-2020, 07:50 PM.

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            • tom dougherty
              Senior Member
              • Jul 2005
              • 1354

              #7
              And then there is this, the R-13 horn and hoof launcher on the Golf I.

              Click image for larger version

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              • petero
                Junior Member
                • Apr 2006
                • 22

                #8
                Yes, that's one of the books I had, and I remember seeing the film also, possibly on Discovery/Science/History Channel. Unfortunately the book is gone. When I moved a few years ago, I winnowed my library from about 2,000 volumes to about 500 so it would fit in my new house. Thanks for the launcher drawing too!

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                • tom dougherty
                  Senior Member
                  • Jul 2005
                  • 1354

                  #9
                  Here is a drawing of the assembly instructions of the planned L’Asenal Golf I launcher for the R-13 missile.

                  Click image for larger version

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                  • petero
                    Junior Member
                    • Apr 2006
                    • 22

                    #10
                    Thanks, Tom, that looks great! It's exactly what I'd expect from L'Arsenal.

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                    • petero
                      Junior Member
                      • Apr 2006
                      • 22

                      #11
                      Tom, do you know if L'Arsenal is stll planning to release their Golf series? I don't see anything on their website.

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                      • tom dougherty
                        Senior Member
                        • Jul 2005
                        • 1354

                        #12
                        Right now, L'Arsenal is doing 3-D printing of naval accessories. Items like radar, missile launchers, etc. for use with other manufacturer's kits. They have not released a new complete model in 4+ years. Although I was shown test shots back in 2020, no kits have been issued.

                        I did caution them against releasing some of the one off Golf class modifications (like the modified R-28 missile test version). I think a good Golf I and Golf II would do it. Sales of the variants c=would probably be counted on the fingers of one hand. That said, I have my doubts at this point as to whether the kits will ever emerge. Vaporware at this point.

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