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HMS Victorious R38 - 1:700 Orange Hobby


Paul A H
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HMS Victorious R38

1:700 Orange Hobby


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HMS Victorious was the third of the four Illustrious class aircraft carriers laid down on the eve of the Second World War and the fourth Royal Navy ship to carry the name Victorious. Designed within the limitations of the Second London Naval Treaty, in her original configuration Victorious displaced just 23,000 tons, rising to 35,000 tons following a major post-war refit. Just like her sister ships, Victorious enjoyed an eventful war. She participated in the Arctic Convoys, the hunt for the Bismark, supported the resupply of Malta during Operation Pedestal and supported the landings in North Africa. She ended the war serving in the Pacific, during which time she was damaged by Japanese kamikaze attacks.

Following a period in reserve, Victorious was extensively reconstructed between 1950 and 1958. Her hull was expanded in every dimension and she was fitted with new machinery, more hangar space, a new, fully angled flight deck and a new superstructure. Steam catapults, new armament and radar completed the work. Her post war career included a brief period of stardom when she played both herself and Ark Royal in the film Sink the Bismark. During this period her aircraft complement included Sea Vixens, Buccaneers, Gannets and Wessex helicopters. The decision to decommission her was taken following a small fire in the Chief Petty Officers' Mess in 1968, despite the resulting damage being relatively minor in nature. She was paid off and broken up at Faslane Naval Base shortly thereafter.

Although Orange Hobby are relative newcomers to the maritime modelling scene, they have already established themselves with some excellent kits of interesting subjects from the Cold War and modern eras. The latest addition to their growing range of 1:700 scale waterline ship kits is this kit of HMS Victorious in her rebuilt postwar guise. While this isn't the only kit of the majestic Victorious to have graced the shelves of model shops, it is still very welcome - not least because of the extensive selection of aircraft included.

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The kit arrives securely packed into a corrugated cardboard box with a smart, glossy sleeve wrapped around it. The hard, grey resin components are safely ensconced in bubble wrap, with the smaller sprues tucked away inside the hollow hull. If you want to take all of the parts out of the box to check them, I advise you to pay close attention to the way everything has been packed, as re-packing it all will be a test of your patience. All told, there are hundreds of resin and photo etched brass parts (many of which are for the aircraft), as well as two decal sheets and a set of tiny turned brass barrels for the 3-inch guns.

Construction starts not with the ship itself, but with the extensive selection of aircraft. Included in the box are:
10 x De Havilland Sea Vixen FAW.2;
7 x Blackburn Buccaneer S.2;
3 x Fairey Gannet AEW.3; and
6 x Westland Wessex

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The detail on these tiny resin aircraft has to be seen to be believed. Even more impressively, all of the aircraft can be finished in ready to launch or with everything folded away. The Buccaneer has tiny photo etched wing folds and a folding nose cone. The Wessex has a foldable tail and a choice of folded or unfolded rotors, while the Gannet's complex double-folding wings are faithfully reproduced alongside delicate photo etched eight-bladed propellers. Even the Sea Vixen can be finished with wings folded. A decent set of decals is provided for the aircraft as well (although I forgot to photograph it!). A decent selection of aircraft will add much needed interest to any model aircraft carrier, so it's very pleasing to see that Orange Hobby have put so much care and attention into those provided with this kit. They might be maddeningly fiddly to put together, but the end result will be well worth it.

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With the aircraft out of the way, attention turns to the superstructure and bridge. The main superstructure is cast in one large piece, to which the funnel, the massive Type 984 searchlight radar scanner and other details must be added. An array of railings, ladders, stairways, doors, lifebuoys and other details, all rendered in photo etched brass, may also be added at this stage. The prominent lattice mast is also picked out in photo etched brass, but thankfully the main structure folds up from a single piece. The instructions are less than clear, though, so measure twice and cut once is the maxim here. Once the island is complete, it can be added to the large, slender hull. This has been cast as a single piece of resin, which shouldn't take long to clean up and prepare for priming.

The etch fest continues with the railings, doors, anchors and other details which are dotted around the hull and the edge of the flight deck. Resin is used for the mirror sight sponsons, the life rafts, launches and the dual gun mounts, with the latter benefitting from the inclusion of very fine turned metal barrels. As with the main lattice mast, the prominent radio masts dotted around the edge of the flight deck fold up from one piece of photo etched brass each. The anti-aircraft armament and the cranes are a mixture of resin and brass and look excellent. Finishing touches include a plethora of brass railings, stairways and doorways, as well as a particularly fine emergency landing barricade. Resin plugs are provided to represent the deck lifts.

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The painting diagram is printed in black and white, but given that the only colour scheme is all-over light grey with a darker grey used on the surface of the flight deck, this isn't an issue. A full set of decals re provided for the deck markings, pennant numbers and flags. Markings are also provided for the aircraft, right down to individual aircraft codes.

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Conclusion

This looks to be an accurate and nicely detailed kit of an important ship which seems to enjoy an enduring popularity with modellers and naval historians alike. The ship itself will be relatively simple to assemble, but the extensive use of photo etched brass for smaller details, combined with the excellent but tiny resin aircraft, act together to make the overall package as complex and challenging as it is detailed and rewarding to build. In summary, this kit will prove to be a valuable addition to any collection of Royal Navy warships and will fill an important gap between the (relatively) well served WWII and modern eras. You will need to take your time when building the kit, particularly with the delicate photo etched parts, but your patience will be rewarded with an excellent model. Highly recommended.

Review sample courtesy of logo.gif

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A quick heads up for anyone buying this kit, it is available in two versions.

The premium kit is as reviewed by Paul above, whilst the standard kit is as above but with fewer aircraft, namely 2 x Sea Vixen, 2 x Buccaneer, 2 x Wessex, 1 x Gannet ASW, and 1 x Gannet AEW.

If you think you're getting a very good price on this kit, check how many aircraft you are getting!

The aircraft are available separately in packs of 4 if you want them for another model.

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  • 1 year later...

I have the Orange Hobby HMS Ocean which is superb and this Victorious kit will no doubt be worth every penny! However, I am a little disappointed that it does not depict her post 1963 with the more impressive flightdeck markings!I believe it was post 63 that carried the Buccaneer S2? I don'the think this kit includes any Scimitars which are more appropriate to the period post re-construction???

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