I'll have to admit, I already started working on the hull of this model. As the aftermarket parts are mainly focused on adding details -- and replacing the turret outright -- I could feel safe in progressing in this project.
One of the generalities about Eastern European model manufacture is that the level of technology and finesse is not on par with the West (including Japan and China). That being said, ofttimes it isn't necessarily bad, but may require more work. For example, in the West, the lower hull is often a single piece, using multi-part molds and slide molds (that is, multi-part molds that use sliding sections to de-mold the components, and allowing details on more than two sides). However, the Skif kit like a lot of Eastern European kits has the hull built up from multiple components. Usually this isn't a problem, just a bit more work...
Well except in the case of this kit.
Upon construction, I discovered that both the hull floor as well as both hull sides were warped, with the floor bowed upward, and the hull sides bowed outward. It took a lot of patience and gluing to get the lower hull to assemble correctly. What I did was remove the locating pins on both sides of the lower hull, and used liquid cement to glue the forward and rear portions of the hull sides first. Once the glue had cured sufficiently, I started gluing the hull floor, going a bit at a time. Nonetheless, the plastic still had a tendency to pull away, so I ended up reinforcing the glue join with a dab of cyanocrylate glue instantly cured with accelerator (you can see where I did this in the top-down photo below).
The rest of the construction was much less painless. The upper hull was slightly warped as well, but fortunately rubber bands came to the rescue here.
Much of the detail on this kit is a little soft, so I am awaiting a set of Eduard photo-etch to add general details on the kit. Sadly, the model is missing the light guards on the forward hull, and the Eduard set is necessary to recitfy this, either on their own, or as patterns for styrene rod or metal. Finally, the Eduard set adds important details to the spare fuel drums (not shown in the photos).
The next phase of this build will be either the turret or the Eduard details, whichever comes first!