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Found 3 results

  1. Finally decided on this one, despite having amassed a small hoard of reference material on escort carriers, which was the other option. I've always been quite taken by the pointed flight decks of the Hermes and Eagle, and the fully enclosed and flared bow is particularly striking to my eye at least. Unluckily for Aoshima, Flyhawk released an (apparently) much better kit at about the same time, but this one caught my eye at the LMS and I figure it's better to buy local. The plan is to be pretty lazy and build it OOB from the instructions, in the hope that it might free up some time for a second build in this GB. A little background for those who know as little about her as I did at 9am this morning (apologies for any errors for those who actually know what they're talking about, I'm very happy to be corrected). HMS Hermes was the world's first carrier to be built as such 'from the ground sea up', rather than as a conversion. Owing to the experimental nature of ship based air operations at the time, the RN didn't have a great idea what they were doing, and construction took until 1924 with many changes of configuration along the way. Some artefacts of the bygone era remained though, including the rather anachronistic 5.5" anti-ship guns built into her side in a style evoking the pre-dreadnaughts, along with a massive battleship-style gunnery control tower to direct them. The open stern and quarterdeck is also a result of intial designs being focussed on recovering seaplanes straight in through the aft hangar doors, with a flexible deck that could extend below the waterline. Her small size and lack of petrol storage limited the size of her air wing, and she saw wartime service in the Med and Indian Ocean before her sinking in April 1942, when caught without her aircraft, and trying to flee Trincomalee in anticipation of the raid on Ceylon by the bulk of the Japanese fleet carriers. The kit is for her configuration at her sinking in 1942. The later wartime camouflage appeals to the modeller as both adding visual interest and being easier to 'hide behind'. A certain part of me would prefer her in a pre-war configuration on the China Station, but I don't have the aircraft for that, nor I suspect the skill at pulling off those acres of white paint. Still, having avoided work most of the morning by looking at various sites and the flyhawk instructions, it doesn't seem to be a massive change in configuration, since it seems that most of her planned wartime refits were never started. EDIT: Right so a first foray into the box and what to do we have? First impressions are actually pretty good. I had expected (given the unflattering comparisons with the flyhawk kit that I'd seen made; along with some similarly unflattering comments about Aoshima ship kits of the past), some vague outlines with a few simple nondescript styrene dumplings to stand in the correct position for various guns, masts and whatnot. Really though it looks a fair bit better than that. The satisfyingly deep box has a nice picture of a PE fret on the side, but my Kanji-fu wasn't up to realising that it's an advert for the upgrade kit. Not that it would've changed my purchase but heyho. You can just see a big metal plate under the box which is clamped to the waterline base for some stability. A nice touch. The hull detail is a little textured but sharp enough. Print sharpness, gate design and so on seem pretty good to me at first glance. Guns are always a bit of a weak point in 700 scale ships but these little 5.5" and 4" look pretty sharp for IM styrene. What I suspect are Oerlkons to the right are a little marginal, but I think I have some nice Starling resin ones, or indeed some leftover PE origami versions from IBG destroyer kits. A random solitary pair of swordfish included on these frames. Some madcap slide moulding went into the crane, which is hard to believe was cost-effective, but it looks pretty nice for styrene. Then oddly there are two copies of a frame from their Ark Royal kit. From what I can make out, they don't seem to be used for much more than a few lowly carley floats in this kit. The detail looks a little less sharp on these and the gate design is noticably less well defined. Still, lots of nice serviceable 4.5" turrets, directors, octo pompoms, quad .50cals, anchors and outriggers. Possibly my perspective on this kit is somewhat influenced by the unholy reaction of asian-scottish genes to the sight of free stuff. Roundels look a little fried eggy. I think I might have some better AM ones lying around. The final bag contains a couple of frames with 4 more swordfish; two folded and two unfurled. I also have a copy of Flyhawk's WW2 Royal Naval Aircraft I (only partly obtained with this build in mind). The Flyhawk stringbags have some excruciating looking PE props and struts, where the Aoshima are rather simpler, and while the plastic also looks a little better, the comparison is not horrific from Aoshima's perspective. Flyhawk to the left, Aoshima to the right. Given my history with these nutty flyhawk superdetailed addons, the Aoshima ones will probably look the better once I'm through with them. 13 pieces for a wee 1/700 aircraft is getting pretty silly. So looks pretty good so far, I'm raring to go but with the weekend comes kids, kids' birthday parties, playdates and all the excurciating things that go with it. Still in the post are some Eduard crew figures that I've never tried before, and some more reference material. Andy
  2. Dear Friends The 11,000 t HMS Hermes has the distinction of being the first purpose-built aircraft carrier in the world. She was laid down in 1918 but had a protracted development that did not see her commissioned until 1924 (The Admiralty wanted to learn from trials with Argus and Eagle). One of the concepts of the time was to operate float planes which were to be recovered by more or less motoring into the hanger from the stern! Another throw back from an earlier era was her spotting top to control her 5.5” guns in ship to ship battles. Nevertheless, with the island to the right and her flared and enclosed bow she looks remarkably modern. A drawback of the small carrier was a relatively small aircraft fuel storage and struggling to accommodate larger modern aircraft. Nevertheless, in August 1939 she took onboard 814 NAS and her Swordfish and this is how I imagine that her Swordfish might have looked before camouflage took over in the FAA. Admittedly the ship might have been in home fleet grey by then too, but most of her previous career had been spent in light grey scheme of the Far East. Her main wartime claim to fame was ironically in an attack by her Swordfish on the Vichy French Battleship Richelieu in July 1940. Sadly, Hermes was annihilated by practically the entire Japanese dive bomber fleet that had attacked Pearl Harbour when she was spotted fleeing modern day Sri Lanka on 9th April 1942 by a Japanese carrier task force. This is the excellent 1/700 Flyhawk kit boxed as for 1937 which includes the Swordfish. Apart from using brass rod for her masts and yards, together with Eduard 1/700 RN and carrier crew members it is practically out of the box. Rather than decals I used masking for the deck markings. I used Mig’s oil brusher paint to weather her deck from aircraft landings. I hope you can see, if you look carefully, A Swordfish with folded wings on the stern hanger deck waiting to go up to the flight deck? I hope you can spot some seamen populating the 'goofers gallery' Andrew
  3. Looks as if the Hermes is about to sail into the sunset for the last time... http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/defence/falklands-flagship-set-for-her-final-voyage-1-7182343 My uncle served aboard her during the Falklands War; we were on the dock side in that large crowd when she returned....
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