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Flyhawk HMS Prince of Wales 1:700 kit review.


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I recently purchased Flyhawks 1:700 scale HMS Prince of Wales as much out of curiosity as anything.  I have some of their etch sets which I have found to be extremely detailed and wondered how their full kit would stand up against the brand I usually purchase at this scale, Tamiya.

 

So lets start with stating the obvious, the Tamiya kit I am using as the comparison (the KGV kit) is a mid 80's release and so I do expect the age to show.  Normaly I add etch to a kit to bring it up to standard so to make it a fair comparison I will include the the Eduard etch set as part of the comparison, this also brings the price tag about level at £35.

 

The Flyhawks kit at £35 is the fabled as the deluxe edition which has extras to the standard kit.  Interestingly it is stated to be battle of the Denmark strait fit, thus as New.

 

First thing to note is that the box is considerably bigger, this is not some form of marketing ploy, the box is rammed with parts.

 

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First Item out of the box is a print that has some history on the back.  that's followed by instructions, decals, etch bag after bag of sprue a plastic box of parts a metal box and weight and the hull sections.

 

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Unlike the Tamiya kit there is an option for full hull as well as waterline.  comparing the two hulls length and width is the same but the detail on the Fyhawk hull is much nicer with the panel lines shown.  the armour belts are different lengths though so one of them is wrong!

 

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Same is true when we compare decks the tamiya planking runs the full length of the deck where as the Flyhawks deck has plank lengths.  not sure if the pattern is correct but it will look good under paint.  The level of detail carried on the Flyhawks deck is superb making the Tamiya deck look a bit Barron.

 

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The Tamiya kit comes with two large sprue, Flyhawk have lots of smaller sprue,  there is more sprue material than part material.  The first item spotted was the crane, very nice it is too, this would look great without modification, but an etch replacement is supplied.  Where as the Tamiya crane (bottom pick) is essential to replace.

 

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Now I have always accepted that Tamiya's turrets are good for the scale, but Flyhawk blows them out of the water excuse the pun, the detail is exquisite.  interestingly Flyhawk have the barbette and the turret floor as a single moulding.

 

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There is a stack of 4 tiny sprue that have some tiny parts on them such as deck guns.  nice detail but actually the barrels look a bit chunky compared to Tamiya equivalents (bottom pic)

 

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It is with the superstructure that the Flyhawk kit really begins to stand out, the level of detail is breath taking and where the holding prices may have limited detail they do the panel separately rather than compromise.  The kamiya kit needs aftermarket etch as it is almost bereft of any detail and where some definition is present its a none descript lump.

 

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The hanger is another area where both kits have internal detail but it is definitely not correct on the Tamiya kit where as the Flyhawk offering looks much more authentic

 

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The more you look at the kit the better it becomes, one very nice feature is the two funnel stacks which are moulded as a complete item with what looks like the correct rivet pattern.  no more sanding the assembly and losing the shape!!  The funnel caps are ok even passable but still on the thick side.  all in all they far surpass the Tamiya funnels.

 

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Again I have always considered the Tamiya ships boats good for the scale, but again Flyhawk have raised the bar a notch or two.  the detail is oversize but the impression is still better; especially when you compare the admirals barge.

 

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The sprue keep on coming, I have built 1:350 kits with fewer parts!

 

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The Flyhawk mast is not so good dont get me wrong it looks the part other than it is very warped, due to how thin it is, this will have to be replaced and I believe there is a superset mast set the Flyhawk sell.  Although the tamiya mask is slightly heavy yo know it won't mind the rigging where I suspect Flyhawks may just give some moment, brass masts would be better but Tamiya takes the prize for the injection moulded masts (Last pic).

 

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Flyhawk include a seaplane, Tamiya don't bother.  the detail of the plane is great and should look the part once painted.

 

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Instructions are good if not a bit fussy.  lots of sub assembly diagrams help with the huge number of parts.  not as easy to follow as tamiya instructions but they are in colour with plenty of detail.

 

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The Flyhawks kit has some decals, couple of white ensigns and decals for the aircraft.  given that this kit can be full hull I dont think it would have broken the bank to add displacement markings for the hull its a shame they are not there.  but then Tamiya don't supply any decals.

 

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That compares the basic kits, but as I said I would not build a Tamiya kit without etch and, also as I said earlier, this is the ultimate Flyhawk set which comes with etch, so lets look at the etch next.

 

Eduard supply all the railings you need plus various ladders and parts that improve the surface detail along with a number of replacement deck guns across two small frets.

 

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Flyhawk supply three frets of etch that also cover the railings and ladders as well as replacing some of the kit parts and the crane. there is a propeller for the sea plane  and anchor chain and replacement funnel caps the finest of the etch is apparent particularly on the inclined ladders that really look correct, an achievement at this scale.

 

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But Flyhawk do not stop there

Inside the small plastic box are twelve bags contains replacement brass barrels and an assortment of other tiny brass and resin parts such as cable reels and mushroom vents - I will say that again bras and resin mushroom vents, at 1:700 scale!!!  I hope they put spares in as these are microscopic.

 

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Finally there is a metal box that contains the coat of arms for Prince of Wales that can be screwed onto a display base.  

 

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Conclusion

 

The Flyhawk kit is very comprehensive with excellent detail.  when you consider the price tag it stands up well to buying a Tamiya Kit and adding barrels and etch. may only criticism is the mast that is bent.

 

I am looking forward to building this kit and at this stage would certainly look to buy another Flyhawk kit in the future

 

Jase

 

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It looks like a fantastic kit. I would say that the Tamiya KGV has aged quite well (apart from a lack of vertical detail), but the Flyhawk offering is clearly streets ahead. 

 

Ross. 

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Having recently built this kit (the as-sunk boxing at least) I can add in that the fit of things is generally really good. The instruction sheet could probably stand to be a bit larger in size though, my eyes haven't started going on me quite yet but I still thought some bits where rather on the small side for easy viewing.

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if and when Flyhawk produce the HMS Prince of Wales as a 1/350 Kit , it will replace the Tamiya Kit  as the finest Model of the KGV Class in injected plastic , no doubt about it

 

I for one , can't wait for it to be produced in 1/350 Scale - and superb review of the 1/700 Flyhawk kit ,thanks

 

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