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Paul A H

HMS Coventry 1941 - 1:700 White Ensign Models

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HMS Coventry 1941

1:700 White Ensign Models

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The C Class was a group of Royal Navy light cruisers developed from the preceding Arethusa class and designed to withstand the rough conditions of the North Sea. In total, twenty eight vessels were commissioned, divided into seven sub-classes. The Ceres sub-class was the penultimate group and was comprised of five ships.

HMS Coventry was the third of the Ceres ships. She was laid down on 4 August 1916 at the famous Swan Hunter shipyard on the Tyne. She was launched in July 1917 and completed seven months later in February 1918. She joined the 5th Light Cruiser Squadron based in Harwich and served in the Baltic until after the end of the war. Placed in reserve in the mid-1930s, HMS Coventry was then reactivated and extensively rebuilt as an anti-aircraft cruiser. Her original armament of five 6-inch guns and two 3-inch guns were removed and replaced by ten single 4-inch Mk.V anti-aircraft guns and a pair of eight-barred 2-pounder ‘Pom-Poms’

Following this extensive conversion, HMS Coventry joined the Home Fleet. Following the outbreak of war, Coventry served in the Mediterranean for a brief period, before taking part in the Norwegian Campaign the following year. In the Summer of 1940 she was back in the Mediterranean, this time joining Force H at Alexandria. For the rest of the year, she undertook escort duty for the Malta convoys. At the end of that year she was hit by a torpedo fired by the Italian submarine Neghelli. Following repair and return to service, she rejoined the Malta convoys in 1942. She also participated in the evacuation of Greece and Crete, and in the Syrian campaign. Her luck finally abandoned her in September 1942 when, badly damaged by Stuka dive bombers, she had to be evacuated and scuttled by the destroyer HMS Zulu.

A ripple of excitement greeted the announcement of this kit by White Ensign Models, and rightly so. British cruisers are not exactly over-represented in either 1:700 or 1:350 scale, particularly the anti-aircraft variety. The model arrives packed into a very sturdy corrugated cardboard box, with a colour profile of the subject printed on the lid. If you’ve ever bought a White Ensign Models product, you’ll know that they are usually extremely well-packed. This is essential when dealing with potentially fragile materials such as resin and photo-etched brass, and this kit is no exception. The component parts are individually packed in bubble wrap, and the photo etch parts and brass rods, from which the masts are to be constructed, are packed into re-sealable plastic pouches.

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The elegant, rakish hull is cast as a single piece of resin. The forward, middle and aft superstructures are also cast as individual pieces, along with the signal platform. There is relatively little cleaning up to do prior to assembly, so if you wanted to you could assemble the basic structure of the kit in a matter of minutes. The quality of casting is pretty good, although there are a number of tiny cavities left by bubbles that will need to be filled. An hour or so invested in hunting these down and dealing with them before you start building the model in earnest will be time well spent. The rendition of fine details such as the deck planking, doors and port holes is really rather excellent.

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Apart from the hull and superstructures, other parts cast in resin include the twin funnels, the box-like radar office, the chart house and compass platform, the foremast platform, the HACs directors, and range finders. Other, somewhat smaller details cast in resin include the all-important Quick Firing 4-inch Mk.V guns and the ship’s boats, comprised of a 25-foot fast motor boat, a 32-foot cutter and a pair of 27-foot whalers. In actual fact, the fast motor boat provided on the casting block with the rest of the boats isn’t used for this model. It must be replaced with an alternative motor boat, which is bagged separately and clearly identified for the purpose.

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The remaining fine details are represented by photo etched brass parts. Usually photo etch brass is seen as an aftermarket accessory, but with White Ensign Models products, they are an integral part of the kit itself. The comprehensive fret includes a full set of railings, ladders and stairways, splinter shields, the foc’sle breakwater, details for the masts, the type 279 Radar antenna and funnel cap grilles. Also included are the davits for the boats, thwarts and oars and rudders for the whalers, cradles for the motor boats and anchors and anchor chains.

The Pom-Poms and 0.5-inch quad machine gun mounts are also depicted in photo etched brass rather than resin. Lengths of brass rod are included for the masts. Although you have to cut the rods to length yourself, they will provide a strength that simply wouldn’t be possible with resin or even injection moulded plastic.

The painting diagram is printed in colour. The images are a little dark, however, so I would advise studying them closely before you start painting. Two schemes are provided. The first shows HMS Coventry as she appeared in 1940, finished in AP 507B with a false bow wave painted in white. The second scheme shows the ship in 1941, finished in a disruptive scheme of AP 507A and AP 507C. The painting guides also show the basic arrangement of the rigging, albeit only from a horizontal perspective. You’ll need to find your own references if you want a more comprehensive picture of the rigging, which is a bit frustrating.

Conclusion

This is an accurate, comprehensive and nicely detailed kit of an interesting ship. As a light cruiser, she’s surprisingly small, even in 1:700 scale. Nevertheless this will make an valuable addition to any collection of Royal Navy model warships, and it will make a nice change from the usual battleships and destroyers which tend to find their way into the catalogues of the major manufacturers from time to time.

You will need to take your time when building the kit, particularly with the delicate photo etched parts, but I’m sure your patience will be rewarded with an excellent model. Recommended.

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Hi Paul,

Great review! B)

Quick question for you though; What sort of resin is the hull? Is it WEM's usual stuff, or something a bit harder?

I have a Milne kit with an incurably bent hull which I bought a few years ago - I just can't get it straighten out! :weep:

I don't fix my ships to a base, so I'm wondering if the hull will start to warp later on.

Mike. :)

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Thanks for posting this as I recently discovered after some research that my uncle was killed on her during the raid on Tobruk. I usually make aircraft models but would like to build Coventry as she was when my Uncle was on board

regards

John

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Hi Paul,

Great review! B)

Quick question for you though; What sort of resin is the hull? Is it WEM's usual stuff, isr something a bit harder?

I have a Milne kit with an incurably bent hull which I bought a few years ago - I just can't get it straighten out! :weep:

I don't fix my ships to a base, so I'm wondering if the hull will start to warp later on.

Mike. :)

Hi Mike

That's a good question. Unfortunately the only other WEM kit I have is a Round Table Trawler which was sent to me at the same time as this one. I would say that the resin is not exactly soft, but not brittle either. My copy doesn't look warped though. Hope that helps.

Paul

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