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  1. HMS Upton Atlantic Models 1:350 The Ton class were coastal minesweepers built in the 1950s for the Royal Navy, but also used by other navies such as the South African Navy and the Royal Australian Navy. They were intended to meet the threat of seabed mines laid in shallow coastal waters, rivers, ports and harbours, a task for which the existing ocean-going minesweepers of the Algerine-class were not suited. The design of the class was led by the shipyard John I. Thornycroft & Company, and drew on lessons learnt in the Korean War, and numbered 119 vessels. They were diesel powered vessels of 440 tons displacement fully laden, constructed of wood and other non-ferromagnetic materials. Their small displacement and shallow draft gave them some protection against pressure and contact mines, and allowed them to navigate in shallow inshore waters. Primary armament was one Bofors 40 mm gun, although the South African variants also had an Oerlikon 20 mm cannon behind the funnel. RN vessels also had the same but they were gradually removed and an M2 Browning machine gun mounted midships. Sweeping equipment was provided for moored mines and magnetic mines. Many of the class were converted to minehunters by the incorporation of active rudders and the installation of the Type 193 minehunting sonar and associated equipment, including a very welcome enclosed bridge (the exception being HMS Highburton who retained her open bridge until de-commissioning in the 1970s, this actually becoming a source of manliness to her crew when meeting other Ton crews). These vessels only retained mechanical "Oropesa" sweep capability. The class served as patrol vessels in Borneo, Malaysia, Northern Ireland and Hong Kong. The minehunters played a significant role in the Suez Canal clearance after the Yom Kippur war. They also provided the backbone of the UK's Fishery Protection Squadron (4th MCM). Five of the class in Royal Navy Service were permanently converted to patrol craft for service policing Hong Kong's territorial waters in 1971. These vessels, comprising HM Ships Beachampton, Monkton, Wasperton, Wolverton and Yarnton had their minesweeping gear removed and were fitted with a second Bofors 40 mm gun aft of the funnel. They also received new pennant numbers: Beachampton P1007, Monkton P1055, Wasperton P1089, Wolverton P1093 and Yarnton P1096. It was originally planned to name the ships after insects, with names like Red Ant, Green Cockchafer and so on, but this plan was abandoned and the Royal Navy ships of the class were given names of British towns and villages ending in "-ton", hence the name of the class. With the rundown of the Royal Navy fleet in the 1960s, many were sent to become base ships for the Royal Naval Reserve allowing reserve crews to get to sea for short periods without a lot of effort to organise a crew of significant size. Some of these had their names changed to reflect the RNR Division they were attached to. The RNR vessels lasted until the introduction of the River-class minesweepers in 1984. The remainder of the RN ships paid off in the 1990s. The Model As with all the other Atlantic Model kits this one comes in a sturdy cardboard box, although admittedly somewhat smaller than normal in this case. Inside you are met with a box full of polystyrene chips, amongst which you will find a bubble-wrapped two piece hull, a bag of resin and metal parts, a sheet of etched brass, a CD containing the instructions and a small, but well filled decal sheet. As usual Peter has cast his magic and produced another superb resin model. The two piece hull is free from blemishes, pin holes or other imperfections other than the moulding pips on the mating surfaces of the hull sections. The detail included on the upper hull section is superb, with some of the finest bulkheads that can possibly be moulded. The detail continues on the small bridge and funnel sections of the superstructure, with only the small pour marks on the underside of each that requires any work, take care not to remove the locating pips though. The other parts made from resin are the buoy storage rack, complete with six buoys, two Gemini boats and the main sweep winch. The white metal parts include the 40mm mount, 40mm barrel, four sweep paravanes, or Oropesa as they are known, the hawser reel, the stern frame and towing bit, the anchor windlass, three liferaft canisters, and the propeller A frames. Some of the metal parts will require a bit of clean-up to remove the small amounts of flash attached to them. There are three short lengths of styrene rod provided, the two round section rods for the propeller shafts and a square section for the interior of the boat crane. The rest of the detail is provided on the etched brass sheet and includes funnel badges for the Hong Kong Squadron, a full set of railings, the anchors, jack and ensign staffs, boat deck, radar reflector fins, stern gear, buoy rack frame, sweep winch frame, boat derrick, propellers, funnel badges for the 1st MCM Squadron, mast, yardarms, mast platforms and their braces, sweep crane jibs and hand wheels, sensor cross, rudders, Oropesa cradles, radar mounting frame, radar antenna, stern sweep cradle guides, lifering ejector racks, signal lamps, DF antenna, plus vertical ladder stock and anchor chain. Construction begins with the modeller deciding how he would like to show the model off, either full hull or waterline. If full hull then the lower hull is joined to the upper hull and the joint filled and sanded as required. The 40mm gun is assembled from the white metal mount and barrel, whilst the life ring ejector racks, life raft racks and navigation radar mounting are folded to shape with the navigation radar antenna then fitted to the mounting. The 40mm gun, bridge section and funnel section are glued to the upper hull, along with the main sweep winch. The bridge section is then detailed with the various railings, DF antenna, vertical ladder, and fitted with the navigation radar and life raft ejector rack. The foredeck is fitted with the appropriate lengths of railing and further detailed with the anchors, their chains, the jack staff, two liferaft racks, which are fitted with two of the metal liferaft parts and the etched crane, complete with hand wheel. The mast is made up of two halves, which, when joined together are fitted with the three mast supports, and the various yardarms, platforms, braces, sensor cross array and the sensor panel, which is fitted to the base of the mast. The complete mast assembly is then glued into position behind the bridge. The Oropesa are paired up and fitted into the etched stowage racks, whilst the buoy rack is fitted with the etched frame, which contains the buoy arms which are in turn fitted with the radar reflector plates. The whole buoy rack assembly is glued into position over the main sweep winch, with the Oropesa racks just aft, two per side and the stern gear fitted to the transom. The quarterdeck is then fitted out with four cranes, each with separate hand wheels, the stern mounted towing bit frame and the two lower hawser guides fitted to the transom. The etched boat deck is fitted to the funnel section of the superstructure and fitted with the appropriate railings. The boat cranes is assembled and glued into position, with one of the Gemini boats fitted to the boat deck. If the model is being built in full hull configuration the propeller shafts, A frames, propellers and rudders are attached to the lower hull. Decals The smallish decal sheet contains complete pennant numbers for HMS Upton, M1187, P10, for the Hong Kong Squadron period, plus part pennant numbers M11, and M12 to which the individual numbers provided can be added, to make any of the class. There aren’t any nameplates, which is pretty understandable, considering how big this class was. The sheet also contains the bridge windows, for those who won’t like painting them in a large and small ensign and a large Union Jack. The printing is pretty good all told, although the flags are quite out of register, and a little bit thicker than the original decals Peter used in his Leopard class kits, so they should be easy to use. Conclusion Well, Peter does it again, with this release of another important class within the RN cold war fleet. With the exceptional moulding and etch we’ve come to expect from Atlantic models it would make a good kit to start with if you wish to build these multi-media style models. It is quite a bit smaller than the previous releases too, so would make for a nice centrepiece to a seascape that will be easy to transport and store. Very highly recommended Review sample courtesy of Peter Hall of
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