Before starting to build the model, I spent some few hours comparing the model kit parts with the photographs I have. It is clear there have been many variations of equipment fitted during the life of this class of vessel, and there are differences between individual ships. Sorting out just what applies to any one ship at any particular time is tricky, but perhaps the best way is to select a subject for which there are a number of photos taken at the same time, such as the ones of Bespokoiny (620) on Mikael Jarnesen’s site here. Inevitably, there will be areas on the ship not covered by any of the photos available to you. However, more pictures and other references will turn up as you progress with a model. Break the project down into a series of subassemblies so that if anything is unclear you can put that particular item aside while doing a bit more research, and get on with something else in the meantime. It is always worth asking for assistance on any of the ship modelling forums if you do get stuck. SMML or www.modelwarships.com are both excellent for this sort of advice.
Make a note of the areas of the model that you feel need improving or replacing. For example a great many pipes and fittings are moulded in relief on the kit parts. I think these would look better reproduced with wire or plastic rod, so part of my preparation will include carefully removing the moulded detail. Reading kit reviews will often highlight assembly problems, missing or incorrect details, so incorporate these comments into your plan. Study the kit components to see if anything is warped or mismoulded. This particular kit has been designed with motorisation features, particularly a removable deck, so dealing with this will be the first major job to tackle. My model will be cut for waterline display, but a full hull representation will also need some extensive cleanup around the propeller shafts. Consider what model making techniques you want to use. For example, if you want to tackle resin casting, there are many items which could be remodelled or scratch built, then replicated by moulding and casting them. You may prefer to scratch build everything, or use the kit components as supplied. If replacement masts are needed, they could be photo etched or built from plastic or brass strip. It depends entirely on your skills, the time you have available, and in some cases how much money you want to spend on the project. The methods I will be using are just those I chose to use. I am always keen to learn so if you have any suggestions or comments, send them in.