Jump to content

HMS Fife by Kevin - Fleetscale - 1/72 - now sold

Kevin Aris

Recommended Posts

Good evening everyone, welcome to my new build


This is HMS Fife, a County Class Destroyer, built in the 1960's during the cold war, I personally served on her from 1978-1980 during which time we made the news around the world after we were turned around from going home and went back to give aid to the island of Dominica after she was struck by a hurricane


I will use this page for now as an index, as i intend to work in stages, which is not how I normally build, where as i tend to go to what ever i fancied


Edited by Kevin Aris
  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites


Design and construction

Fife was the first and only British warship to bear the name, for county Fife. She was a Mk2 Guided Missile Destroyer (GMD, also referred to pre-1975 by its then US Navy/NATO designator DLG (Large Destroyer (USN 'Frigate') carrying long range surface to air missiles for area defence; post-1975 DDG, 'destroyer' with similar characteristics). The Mk2 designator refers to her primary armament, the Seaslug Mk2 missile. The weapon had begun development in the early fifties and entered service in the Mk1 GMDs like Hampshire. By modern standards the Seaslug is a huge missile with one sustainer rocket motor and 4 disposable boosters. The missile was a so-called 'beam rider'. It was launched from a huge rail launcher in the stern and boosted into the guidance beam from the fire direction radar which pointed at the target, a high altitude supersonic attack aircraft. Once in the beam the missile would fly at supersonic speed to the target where a proximity fuze would detect the target and detonate the continuous rod warhead.

The ship was ordered by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 26 September 1961. The keel was laid on 1 June 1962 by Fairfield Shipbuilding and the vessel was launched 9 July 1964. Fife was commissioned 21 June 1966 with the pennant number D20.

Royal Navy service

In 1969, Fife took part in a group deployment around the world. She left Portsmouth on 1 April 1970 and sailed to Safi in Morocco; the first visit by a British warship for over a 100 years. Then to Lagos in Nigeria just at the end of the Biafran War. From Lagos to Simon's Town in South Africa. The gates of the former British Naval base still bore the royal cypher, VR. From Simon's Town, she briefly took part in the Beira Patrol off the shores of Rhodesia after Prime Minister Ian Smith declared Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence. The Beira Patrol was a naval blockade to enforce economic sanctions on the errant regime. From there she crossed the Indian Ocean and stopped off at the NATObase on the island of Gan en route to Singapore. There she spent 6 weeks in an Assisted Maintenance Period (AMP) before heading for the South China Sea to conduct the first live firings of the Sea Slug Mk2 area protection anti-aircraft missile. The ship had been refitted in Portsmouth to accommodate a larger war-load of missiles and this work was completed in Singapore where she took on live missiles. The trials were successful against US targets from bases in the Philippines. After this she went to Hong Kong and Kobe in Japan for Expo 70, before heading to Pearl Harbor on Hawaii and then on to Long Beach in California and Acapulco in Mexico and via the Panama Canal to Puerto Rico and on to the Mediterranean. She visited Toulon and spent time in Malta and Gibraltar before returning to the UK. Whilst in Hawaii, the Royal Navy abolished the rum issue. As a result, Fife became the last ship in the Navy to issue rum by virtue of being the furthest west in the Pacific. The Hawaiian media came on board and were quite bemused when the ships Senior Ratings staged a mock burial at sea, complete with a Pipers Lament provide by the ship's pipe and drum band and pall bearers dressed in black.

Her Commanding Officer for this voyage was Captain David Scott, who had been the 1st Lieutenant of Seraph in the Second World War when the submarine penetrated Tokyo Harbour and sat on the bottom, carrying out reconnaissance of the Japanese shipping there.

She had 'B' turret removed and replaced with four Exocet launchers in the mid-1970s. In 1977, she attended the Silver Jubilee Fleet Review and formed part of the 2nd Flotilla.[1] In 1979, Fife provided assistance to the Caribbean island of Dominica after the island was severely hit by Hurricane David. She was under refit during the Falklands War and did not take part in the conflict.


Refit 1986

In 1986, Fife underwent a refit to convert her into a mobile training ship. The removal of her Seaslug missile system and its large magazine was completed in June 1986, which created space for extra messdecks and classrooms for officers under training. One messdeck still used hammocks and these officers are possibly the last men in the Royal Navy to sleep in hammocks; they were told so at the time. In early September 1986 she undertook a Dartmouth Training Ship (DTS) deployment to the Caribbean Sea and Florida, returning to Portsmouth in late November. She was accompanied on this deployment by the frigates Diomede and Apollo.

A "hut" was built where the Seaslug launcher had once stood, aft of the helicopter pad. This grey box was a navigation training classroom and attracted much attention from a Russian Kashin-class destroyer, which regularly "buzzed" Fife for some close quarter photographs.[citation needed]

Her second Dartmouth Training Ship deployment in January 1987 took her via Brest into the Mediterranean Sea, in company with Intrepid. Her final voyage in the Royal Navy was to lead a Dartmouth Training Ship deployment to North America, in which she and Juno sailed into the Great Lakes. On her return to Great Britain in June 1987 she landed the officers under training at Dartmouth and then proceeded to Portsmouth where she was decommissioned after 21 years of service.

Chilean Navy service

The ship was sold to Chile on 12 August 1987 and renamed Blanco Encalada. She was taken into refit at Talcahuano on her arrival and, taking advantage of the removed Sea Slug, her deck was extended aft and a new, larger hangar constructed. The rebuild was completed in May 1988. In 1996 Blanco Encalada'Sea Cat launchers were removed and she was fitted with the Barak SAM.

Blanco Encalada was decommissioned from the Chilean Navy on 12 December 2003 and was sold for scrap in November 2005. She was broken up by Turkish shipbreakers Leyal Gemi Sokum in 2013.


This is how she looked in the Chilean Navy


Edited by Kevin Aris
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

lots to discuss with this build, more questions than answers, and the way I plan to build her will no doubt seam strange but here goes
the plans came from a company called Jecobin, i dont know if they are the same ones that come from where i Purchased the hull, but thats the company I chose they are 1/1 so the to shhets give the full representation of the finished vessel 2.3m and cost me £55




the hull came from a company called fleetscale in Cornwall UK, A gentleman called Justin kept me informed of progress and it was delivered in less than 3 weeks, the price was about £170 and the postage another £30














Edited by Kevin Aris
photobucket images
  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fleetscale also provides a lot of fittings and running gear, but no deck or superstructure, which creates a dilemma for me - whilst I own this build it will not be going anywhere near water, the closet it will get will be my cup of coffee on the work bench, but i still need A frames and and props, so do i still fit a full set of running gear in case someone else has this build after me
I also need to make stabiliser fins and rudders, but i also wanted to put in water inlets, outlets and grills which invalidates the previous paragraph

a company in the states apparently makes superstructures to order, but i am going to scratch build my own
fittings i will sources as a when required, the sea slug system alone though is about £100 
the Wessex helicopter is available in 1/72


Edited by Kevin Aris
photobucket images
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

intententions were to leave the hull well alone at this stage, but it became apparent that I might as well put a quick MDF Deck on her to be used as a temp worktop, as the hull alone is over 7 feet long,and taking up a lot of space










  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

to ensure I could understand the plans, over a couple of weekend i knocked up the superstructure in card, when i was happy with each peice it got a very quick covering with grey rattle can primer 


to trace the plans onto card i made up a light box from a sheet of glass with a small lamp underneath, it actually worked quite well



here are a few shots of the card mock up


hanger assy







  • Like 12
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Rob 1 said:

This looks fairly epic in scale and complexity of subject.

However, a good choice of subject; these were the most attractive and impressive destroyers in the cold war R.N.

Agreed Rob, but i am surprised at the lack of reference material available, I have access to lots of photo's but very few build logs to follow, also the sealslug launcher and director radar are expensive  and hard to obtain

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm hooked on this build already. I served on HMS Antrim from 1978 to 1981 - a similar time period to yourself on HMS Fife. Those were the days....


As it happens, I bought a set of Jecobin plans for a scratch-build of HMS Antrim - only at a much smaller scale than yours. Apart from shelling out the money on the plans, nothing else has happened but it will be built one day (yeah, heard that before, Dave)....



  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, davecov said:

I'm hooked on this build already. I served on HMS Antrim from 1978 to 1981 - a similar time period to yourself on HMS Fife. Those were the days....


As it happens, I bought a set of Jecobin plans for a scratch-build of HMS Antrim - only at a much smaller scale than yours. Apart from shelling out the money on the plans, nothing else has happened but it will be built one day (yeah, heard that before, Dave)....



Well dave I will have to build it for the two of us, but please dont hold your breath, i work full time and only have weekends, and thats after any other jobs that take priority

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, Seahawk said:

"Call that a model?  This is a model!"


You do realise you'll need something the size of a Seaslug magazine to store it in, don't you?

yes it is on the large size, i dont suppose it will ever go into the house, but i do have two decent work spaces available to me

Link to comment
Share on other sites

building the superstructure in card was quite easy, and i anticipated transferring it ti plasticard would be easier, but i found just the opposite, I bought several thicknesses .25mm, 0.5mm and 1mm and set about the hanger area, well to cut a long story short, it all went into the bin and had to be restarted, i have found all the bulkheads have to be at least 2mm thick, as it becomes far to flexible




  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

the reworked version looks exactly the same inside 



now comes for the artistic licence time, we need an office, this was a two story structure but you can only see the bottom part





I continued around the hanger, trying to create some interest 








hanger deckhead needed something



white plasticard was primed grey then a flat white,

the fire main was just bend plastic sprues, and some old PE from my completed 1/200 Bismarck Build


  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

we need a Helicopter, about £12 from Hannants i think, I dont like making aircraft and this was no exception, 



tail cut of as it would not fit in the hanger and masked




Halfords rattle can grey primer



yellow gloss all over


and blue



the model rotor blades were not designed to be folded so i just cut them and crudely attached them to the rotor headand bend a bit of PE to support them, i have since found a modification kit that i could have used oh hum


  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

i have a full set of decals arriving for the wessex but last weekend the led ligths for the build arrived these are solely compartments and passage ways  



so i could not resist cutting a strip off and seeing if i could get any where my desired effect




  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, robgizlu said:

Wow!!  What a truly epic project and great start - Watching with huge enthusiasm.

Liking the hanger - you work quickly!



Rob I started a couple months ago just catching up having just joined this forum, i only normally get to work on builds at the weekends

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...