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Shar2

Type III Hunt Class Destroyer. 1:350

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Type III Hunt Class Destroyer

L’Arsenal 1:350

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The Hunt class, of which eighty six hulls were completed, were modelled on an escort sloop HMS Bittern from 1938, she was 262-foot in length and of 1,190 tons with 3,300 shp on geared turbines for 18¾ knots. She had an armament of three twin Mark XIX mounts for the QF 4-inch gun Mark XVI. The guns were controlled by a Fuse Keeping Clock AA fire control computer when engaging aircraft. The Hunt class was to ship the same armament, plus a quadruple QF 2 pounder mount Mark VII on a hull of the same length but with 8 feet less beam and installed power raised to 19,000 shp  to give 27 knots. The first twenty were ordered in March and April 1939. They were constructed to Admiralty standards, as were contemporary destroyers, unlike the frigates, which conformed much more to mercantile practice.

 

The Hunts posed a major design challenge. They would be too short and narrow and of insufficient range for open ocean work, being restricted to the North Sea and Mediterranean Sea. This sacrifice was accepted to give any chance of meeting the requirements. The demanding specifications in an overworked Admiralty design department resulted in a major design miscalculation. When the detailed calculations were done the centre of gravity was lower than expected and the beam was increased. As the first ships were being completed it was found that the design was as much as 70 tons overweight, top heavy, leaving them dangerously deficient in stability. The first twenty ships were so far advanced in construction that it was necessary to remove the 'X' 4-inch gun mount and add 50 tons of permanent ballast. These ships became the Type I group, and had the multiple 2-pounder gun relocated from behind the funnel to the more useful 'X' position.

 

The design deficiency of the Type I was rectified by splitting the hulls lengthwise and adding a 2½ foot section, increasing the beam to 31 ft 6 in and the margin of stability sufficiently for the designed armament to be shipped. These ships became the Type II group, and also had a revised design of bridge with the compass platform extending forwards to the wheelhouse face. Under the 1939 Emergency War Programme 36 more Hunts had been ordered; three of these were completed to the original Type I design. Depth charge stowage could also be increased from 40 in the Type I to 110 in the Type II.

 

For the 1940 building tranche, torpedoes were deemed necessary. The next 27 ships were completed to a revised design, the Type III group, and were intended specifically for Mediterranean work. They sacrificed 'Y' gun for a pair of 21-inch torpedo tubes amidships, the searchlight being displaced to the aft shelter deck as a result. The Type III Hunts could be easily identified as they had a straight funnel with a sloping top and the foremast had no rake. Fourteen of them had their stabiliser fins removed (or not fitted in the first place) and the space used for extra fuel oil.

 

The Model

The model, which depicts one of the twenty seven Type III Hunts is packed into a brown cardboard box with a picture of the model on the front. Inside there is the single piece hull, nicely wrapped in bubble-wrap, along with several Ziploc bags containing the rest of the resin parts, and one containing the propellers which look like they’ve been 3D printed. There is also a bag of turned brass parts, produced by MASTER models, a fairly comprehensive sheet of etched brass and a nicely printed decal sheet.

 

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Most of the resin parts are still attached to their moulding block, although many in the review sample had come off the blocks and were loose in the bags, so be aware when you remove them. The moulding is very nicely done throughout, although the hull has a large seam that needs to be removed from the whole length of the keel. There also appear to be some areas where the resin has splashed that will need some careful cleaning up. Other than removing the small parts from the moulding blocks, some will also need to be cleaned up of flash, particularly the large items such as the torpedo tubes and main gun shields. The splinter shields on the main deck and superstructure sections is some of the thinnest resin I’ve encountered so care must be taken in not breaking them as the build progresses.

 

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Due to the way that the parts have been moulded, the hull can be cleaned up and painted before any other parts need to be glued to the deck, great for those of us that use an airbrush. The separate parts can then be painted and fitted in accordance to the instructions. The assembly begins with the fo’c’sle with the bitts, cleats, capstans, anchors the hawse pipe onto which the Jackstaff is attached and a ventilator. Aft of the breakwater the ready use lockers for A turret are fitted, along with a cable reel, and seven ventilators. The twin 4” gun turret is assembled from three resin parts, the mounting, breeches and gun shield and two turned brass barrels.

 

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The bridge structure is assembled next with fitting of two flag lockers, two signal lamps two PE watertight doors at main deck level, two PE life raft racks onto which the resin life rafts are then attached, a PE frame fitted to the front of the bridge, onto which a separate anemometer is attached. On either side of the flag deck, one on either side of the ship is a 20mm Oerlikon mount, each made up from one resin and two PE parts. Aft of the bridge is the main gun director, made from four resin and eight PE parts. The instructions show the director access ladder running from the flag deck to the director access hatch. This doesn’t look right as the director rotates and the ladder would prevent this, so check your references. The completed bridge can then be glued into position and the various bits of deck furniture fitted, these include cleats, ventilators, intakes, inclined ladders and tall deckhouse with PE door and the two PE wing support frames.

 

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Aft of the bridge, the foremast is assembled from six PE parts and one resin part; this is then glued into position. Between the main deck and fo’c’sle are two inclined ladders and on the bulkhead there are two more intakes. Just aft there are two more deckhouses, to which two cable reels are attached along with four large intakes, two of which have a support frame between them and four PE access hatches on the deck.  There are two more cable reels just forward and outboard of the intake structures. The funnel is a single resin part to which three chimneys are attached along with a PE walkway facing aft. The assembly is then glued into place just aft of the mast supports.  The intake structure mentioned earlier also acts as support for the PomPom deck, accessed by two vertical ladders from the main deck and fitted with a four barrelled PomPom made up from six resin parts.

 

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The two ships boats are then assembled, each with a separate PE rudder and supported by PE davits, the whaler is then fitted on the starboard side and the motor boat on the port adjacent to the PomPom deck structure. Aft of the PomPom is the twin torpedo tube launcher and the deck is fitted with more cleats, bitts, ventilators, a cable reel and a small crane. The central superstructure block is fitted with a cable reel each side, a vertical ladder and a resin searchlight. The assembly is then glued into place. The aft superstructure is fitted with the second 4” gun turret, several ventilators, four ready use lockers, a short mainmast with brass yardarm, watertight doors, cable reels, five depth-charge reloads on one side and three reloads on the other, plus two intakes per side. Once complete the assembly is glued into position.

 

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The quarter deck is then fitted out with more cleats, bitts, and ventilators, along with another cable reel, a capstan, three smoke generators per side, plus two depth charge rails, each made from a resin part and a folded PE frame before being attached to their positions on the stern. Just aft of the aft superstructure is a bandstand for a 20mm Oerlikon mount and either side of this there are two depth charge throwers with stands for three reloads each and their associated cranes.

 

Since this kit has a full hull option only there are parts for the lower hull to fit, these include the two brass propeller shafts, resin A frame supports/bearing shafts and two beautifully rendered 3D printed propellers, along with the rudder aft, whilst forward there are the two stabiliser fins, one each side and the ASDIC dome forward.

 

The decal sheet provides enough numbers and designation letters for any of the 27 Type III’s, but there are no nameplates or any other markings included so you will need to source these yourself should you really want to.

 

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Conclusion

This is my first look at a full kit from L’Arsenal and I am quite impressed. Yes it’s a little rougher than those from another company that deals mainly with British subjects, and will take little more work to clean up and build, but at the end of the day it is a Hunt Class in 1:350 and we should applaud L’Arsenal for releasing it. I know it has been selling very well for them, as it took quite a while for a review sample to be made available. Highly recommend to the more experienced modeller.

 

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Review sampled courtesy of

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