CNS Liaoning CV-16 (Type 001) 
by Mario (Moe) Mares 

1/700 CNS Liaoning CV-16 (Trumpeter)

The Type 001 aircraft carrier (A/C)  first came about with the acquisition of the Soviet Navy Kuznetsov-class originally named Riga, named in 1988 (from the re-named, Varyag, in 1990). But only 68% of the ship was completed before the Collapse of the Soviet Union, thus the ship was transferred to Ukraine (where the ship was being built in the Black Sea). But with a cash-strapped Ukraine, the country tried to sell it back to Russia, India, and even China. The PLAN was ‘on-board’ in purchasing the ship, the gov’t of China wasn’t….

 But the PLAN still wanted to buy the ship, so in 1996 Xu Zengping, a former PLAN officer and military basketball player, was asked by PLAN to use his own personal monies to purchase the Varyag and transfer to PLAN. The “cover story” was to buy the ship and convert it as a floating casino, which China had already done with the Minsk, another Russian A/C. Thus in 1998, Xu Zengping went back to Ukraine, to purchase Varyag. With Ukrainian shipyard owners in an “alcohol-drenched negotiation” for the next several days…..and with agreements with Ukrainian officials, Varyag was sold for $20 Million USD ( most A/C cost 2 BILLION USD !!! ) { with additional $40 million to the shipyard for the late pickup }…but this was the “easy part”. Now comes the transfer of the ship to China from the Black Sea!!!

The treaty, Montreux Convention (1936) which regulates the transfer of ships through the Straits of Bosphorus and Dardanelles in the country of Turkey, in which,”….warships of 15,000 tons cannot transfer through”, especially A/C because they weigh More than 15,000 tons.  But there were No restrictions on other capital ships that were termed “ aircraft carrying (a-c) cruiser “ = “Heavy a-c cruiser” was termed by the Soviet Union when that country was building this ship.

For 16 months, with the help of tugs, Varyag was towed around the Black Sea, but in 1999 with bombing of Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia, during their civil war, the Chinese gov’t allowed the Chinese to visit Turkey, spend $$$, and Turkey would counter, by allowing the ship to go through the Straits. Thus beginning the L O N G journey of Varyag thru the Straits of Gibraltar and Not the Suez Canal (in the Suez, ships need to be under their Own power, Varyag could not start her engines due to being too well preserved), around the western coast of Africa, around Cape Good Horn, thru the Indian Ocean and then up the Straits of Malacca, bordering Singapore all done by tug equating to a 17,500 mile (28,200 km) journey that took 20 months to get to Dalian naval shipyard!!!

In the end….. Xu Zengping spent $120 million USD to get China’s first A/C to that country, but One Man did make the purchase of this A/C.

The model itself was Quite some work….The model consists of the ‘Trumpeter’ model “PLA Navy Aircraft Carrier”, and an additional section to build, because I just felt...about eight (8) years ago...the island needed to be Well displayed. The island is from 'DreamModels' but I'm afraid that it is OOP (Out-Of-Production), which is Too Bad, because it is TRULY a fine piece of work. In addition the "little kit" had its own photo-etch (PE), and also had resin ship self-defense weapons. (NOTE: I Wish that 'DreamModels' would produce a Shandong island, but nothing like that exists). The only Major/major problem was that the island was "bowed",  but I shown how to fix this problem.

MUCH work was needed in references, specifically the paint!!! I looked at Several sources to display the "true color" of the hull. Even the aircraft (a-c) of the "test-article" planes was tough, as I looked at 1/72 scale model of the J-15 and showed the color of the plane to be a "brownish" color, but looking at Actual planes, it is not!  Lastly, with the a-c was adding the PE wheels, doors, and pylons (no weapons, since PLAN was Still testing to see if plane would get off the deck, First). Scoring the wings and stabilizers was tricky but Adds to Realism of the True a-c!


Mario (Moe) Mares

Gallery updated 8/14/2023