|The Kit - Albacore is the latest kit release from Blue Ridge Models and their third in a series of 1950s - early 1960s Cold War US Navy submarines. This simple but detailed little kit appears to be another
winner from this label. The kit can be built in one of her three final configurations after her 1960 rebuilding when Albacore was fitted with the “X”-shaped tail fins. The kit is packaged in a box fitted with a
bed of foam inserts. While the hull and bag of kit parts where not fitted in between sections of foam (like the previous releases), the packaging was still good enough to protect the kit. The assembly
instructions were placed on top of the parts and there is no photo CD included with this kit. The layout of this kit is very similar to the previous two submarine kits. The main part is of course the full-hull
which is cast very well with excellent details and no major issues. The limber holes, ballast flood grates and various hatches are well depicted. Since this sub was not armed, there are no torpedo tube doors.
While there are hard to see in the photos and barely visible on the hull, there are little indentations along the deck edges which serve as a guide to drill openings for the photo-etch stanchions. The casting
runner in this kit follows a different approach from their previous sub kits. The casting runner is attached more traditionally with two tabs rather than small plugs. However, instead of being attached along
the keel, the runner is attached to the side of hull in an effort to minimize fouling up the details along the keel that would occur sanding and cleaning up after the runner is removed. Since the spots where the
runner meets the hull are smooth, any required clean-up would not damage any underlying detail. Still there is a bit of uneven casting along that side of the hull that needs to be taken care of and it does run
across a small bit of detail. The outline of the sail is present in the deck to fit that part.
The sail is cast as a separate part rather than integrated into the hull. Again this part is done cleanly and with nice details such as the large auxiliary rudder. The top of the sail has indentations that mark the
locations for the periscopes, antennas and radar mast. A quick dry fit shows that the sail needs to be sanded down a little along the bottom after the runner is removed to make it flush with the deck. A little
filler will be needed hide a very thin gap. The smaller parts include the short and long dive planes for the x-shaped tail configuration, periscope, antennas, radar mast and radar, winches, chocks and propeller
fairings and hubs to model one of the last three fits (Phase III, IVa or IVb). Naturally, which of these latter parts to use will depend on the Phase you will choose to model. These parts are also well cast but
need a little more clean-up to remove wisps of resin film. An interesting, and I dare say exciting, extra provided with this kit are resin die-forms to be used to bend the photo-etch propellers into a proper and
uniform shape. I think this is an ingenious idea and should minimize effort, improve consistency and eliminate possible errors in judgment that could occur when bending brass propeller blades. A total of
three different die-forms are provided to accommodate each style of propeller provided with the kit.