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Atlantic Models 1:350 HMS Leopard


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HMS Leopard


The Type 41 or Leopard class were a class of anti-aircraft defence frigates built for the Royal Navy (4 ships) and Indian Navy (3 ships) in the 1950s. These ships were designed to provide anti-aircraft escorts to convoys; as a result they were not built for fleet speeds and made only 24 knots (44 km/h). They shared a common hull and machinery with the Type 61 or Salisbury class aircraft direction vessels. HMS Jaguar and HMS Lynx were sold to the Bangladesh Navy in 1978 and 1982 respectively, and were still in service in 2007. They were armed with two twin 4.5" guns in Mk6 turrets, one twin 40mm STAAG mount and one squid three barreled anti-submarine mortar system.
The Leopard class was also fitted with an early type of hydraulic stabiliser system consisting of two fins that could be extended outside of the main hull to port and starboard, from a compartment between the two engine rooms. Gyro controlled with a relatively simple control system, they proved very effective in use. During testing every 3 months at sea, the ship could be easily driven into a 20°+ roll from the manual control on the bridge. Prior warning had to be given to allow stowage of loose items over the ship's tannoy system before testing was carried out. Slight reduction in top speed was also noticed when in use.
HMS Leopard was built at Portsmouth dockyard; she was launched on 23 May 1955 and commissioned on 30 September 1958. The ship, first commanded by Commander R.G. Gaunt, was to serve in the South Atlantic and South America upon commission. In 1961, HMS Leopard sailed for the island of Tristan da Cunha after a volcanic eruption. Her crew assisted in the relief effort, as well as the recovery of personal belongings left behind by the island's inhabitants.
In 1963, HMS Leopard suffered serious damage when she collided with the South African minesweeper Pietermaritzburg during exercises off Cape Point. In 1968, she was diverted to Bermuda in response to civil unrest. During Britain's fishing dispute with Iceland in 1973, Leopard was accused by Iceland of threatening to fire on the patrol ship Ægir. The British government refuted the claims, accusing the Icelandic ship of trying to cut the trawling wires of the German fishing vessels Teutonia and Dusseldorf, and of firing several shots. The government further stated that HMS Leopard had only warned the Ægir that she would fire back if more shots were fired.HMS Leopard provided further support for British trawlers during another fishing dispute with Iceland in 1975. She was decommissioned in 1975 and left Portsmouth for scrapping in Spain in 1977.

The Model
The model comes in a sturdy cardboard box with a picture of HMS Leopard on the top and its specification on the front. On opening the modeller is confronted with a load of polystyrene chips. On top of the poly chips is an envelope with the etch sheet inside. Carefully emptying the box will reveal to ziplock bags, one with the metal parts in and the other with the resin parts. Well wrapped in bubblewrap is the main hull, which is in two parts, split ate the waterline so that either a full hull or waterline model can be built. At the bottom of the box are the instructions and a small, but very welcome decal sheet.

The casting of the resin hull is nothing short of exceptional with no sign of even a pinhole bubble. The amount of detail on the upper hull has to seen to be believed and must have taken the moulding to the edge of what is possible. There are some small moulding pips, all on the join of the two hull parts, so easily removed without damaging any of the detail, and there were the smallest bits of flash on the front of the bridge, again easily removed with a swipe of emery cloth. The lower hull not only has the propeller shaft fairings moulded in to the stern, but also some very fine strakes and the two stabiliser fins in their recessed housings. The rest of the resin parts consisting of the two Mk6 turrets, their associated director, director platform, aft fire control director, STAAG mounting, ventilator junction box, bridge, 25' fast motor boat and 27' whaler, are equally well moulded with crisp details throughout.






The metal parts also very well moulded, the majority of which are fixed to moulding stubs. There is quite a bit more flash, as seen in the photo below. The flash shouldn't cause any problem experienced enough to take on a kit such as this. The metal parts provided are the fore and aft diesel exhausts, squid mounting and barrels, 4 x 4.5" barrels, STAAG 40mm barrels, Type 293 radar antenna, rangefinder sight bars, 6 x stack vents, rudder, ventilator exhaust, deck winch, 3x small and 3 x large mushroom vents and finally 2 x propeller hubs and A frames.


Etch Sheet

The single etch sheet contains all the finer detail parts. These include both the fore and main lattice masts plus their associated platforms, yardarms, auxiliary steering platform and supports, ships boat davits, life raft racks, 974 and 960 radar antenna, masts and dipoles, RAS gantry, cable reels, propellers, Mast squadron numbers, jack and ensign staffs, inclined and vertical ladders, anchors, squid mounting hand wheel and loading trolley rails, a complete set of railings, each designed to fit into their respective positions, and ships nameplates for all four ships of the class.



This is the first kit of this type that we've had to review to have decals included which is a very welcome addition. The decals appear very nicely printed, in good register and quite opaque. The do seem to be rather matt and Peter Hall has told me that they are rather thin, so will have to be applied direct from the backing sheet. Included on the sheet are the ships numbers for both sides and stern for HMS Leopard and HMS Lynx, bridge windows, depth markings, nameplates for the two ships, standard White Ensign, Union Jack and smaller battle ensign complete the sheet.


Peter Hall is renowned for designing kits and etch parts for White Ensign Models. With Atlantic Models he is able to bring this expertise to models of ships that White Ensign will probably not have released. Maritime modellers have long regretted that Royal Navy ships of the 1950's and 60's seem to have been ignored, yet with this release that's no longer true. The model is a stunning example of the resin kit designers art, long may Atlantic continue releasing ships of this era. If you're interested in Royal Naval frigates, or their ships in general and are of intermediate or an experienced modeller, then get this one, you won't regret it. This will be part of a build review shortly.


Review sample courtesy of Peter Hall of logo.gif

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