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HMS Musketeer 1943 British "M" Class Destroyer Atlantic Models 1:350


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HMS Musketeer 1943

British "M" Class Destroyer
Atlantic Models 1:350




HMS Musketeer was an M Class destroyer built for the Royal Navy during WWII. The M Class were an extension of the pre war L Class. Lessons learnt from the Spanish Civil War persuaded the Admiralty that better anti-aircraft capability was needed for new vessels. The vessels would have six 4.7" guns housed in twin turrets, the QF Mark IX mount threw a heavier shell weighing  62Lb over the previous 50lb, however the gun was only able to elevate to 50 degrees which made it a compromise for anti aircraft operations. Turrets were made with an elevation of 80 degrees as fitted to HMS Ark Royal but these were to big for destroyers. The Ships were the first to be fitted with enclosed turrets which were supposed to the waterproof for the crews (however use showed this not to be 100% true). Musketeer was ordered from Fairfield's on the Clyde in 1939 and launched in 1941. The ships were designed for the Artic as featured steam heating for the turrets and torpedo tubes. The aft bank of torpedo tubes was removed to allow fitting of a high angled 4" AA mount. Additional AA guns added were 4 x 20mm Oerlikons, 1 x 4 barrelled Pom Pom , and a pair of quad 50 cal machine gun mount.  Anti submarine weapons were stern rails for the depth charges as well as two throwers. HMS Musketeer would fight in the Artic, Western Approaches and finally the Mediterranean.  Post war the surviving M Class were transferred to the Turkish Navy except Musketeer, she was sold for scrap and broken up in 1955. 



The Kit

The kit comes in the standard sturdy Atlantic Models box filled with plenty of poly chips to protect the contents. The metal, and resin parts are contained in zip lock bags stapled to a piece of card.  The upper and lower hull sections are further protected from damage, by being wrapped in bubble wrap.  There is a long envelope found at the bottom of the box containing the sheet of etched brass.  When the hull is unwrapped the first thing that strikes you is the cleanliness of the resin.  At just a tad over 12" long it is silky smooth, with no sign of deformation, bubbles or other imperfections. The kit is a WEM kit which has been re-released by Atlantic models and updated. The kit has 3D printed patterns cast in resin with the twin MkXI gun turret that has the 4.7"/50 gun barrels fitted separately so that they can be elevated as required. The new torpedo tube sets are unique to the L & M class having the centre tube removed from the standard quintuple bank.  The 4" HA single  gun mounting that replaced the aft set of torpedo tubes  only needs adding its gun sight. The kits hand rails are now done in PE. The ships boats were also 3D printed and then cast in resin the normal way.   The result is a kit where modellers should not need to go out and buy anything (except decals, see the note on decals) to produce a great looking model




The upper and lower hulls are joined together by several pips and holes, but I find that it’s easier to remove the pips and align everything by eye and by feel as they tend to leave a large gap whereas by removing them, the gap almost disappears and there is very little need to filling, just a light touch with a sanding stick.  The rest of the resin parts are just as well moulded, although the large sections of the superstructure do appear to have small pips on their undersides that need to be removed. The white metal parts don’t have a lot of flash, but there are seams that will need removing, again, a fairly easy job.  The large etch sheet is what we have come to expect from Atlantic Models, beautiful clean relief etching, great design and lots of parts, and is probably the area that makes these models more for the experienced modeller than even the resin.




Before any construction can take place, make sure you clean all the parts in warm soapy water to get rid of any mould release agent that may be attached. Naturally for these kits, it’s sub assemblies first. The two PE quad 50 Cal mounts are first, followed by the Pom Pom, which is a mix of resin, white metal & PE. The resin Turrets get their white metal barrels and the OE 20mm Oerlikons are built up. The last weapons system to be built is the HA 4" the gun is white metal (or resin) with a resin & PE base.  Next up the ships boats get attached to their PE Davits.  Next up all the sub assemblies and deck structure can be fitted to the main hull. From bow to stern; A & B turret go on, followed by the main deck house and bridge including the gun director; then the funnel, pom pom mount, torpedo tubes, twin 20mm deck mount, HA 4" mount and then finally X turret. 




Next up smaller parts can be fitted, the ships boats (2 each side) and under the bridge two carley float stowage racks. A pair of 20mm mounts go on the bridge wings, and two signal lamps on the signal platform below the gun director. Moving further aft the wireless house goes in front of the deck for the X turret. Two further carley float stowage racks go on near the aft 20mm mounts, and another two beside the X turret. On the quarterdeck are fitted the depth charge rails, the two throwers and a single 20mm mount on the centreline.  Next up the fore mast is assembled and added, the funnel cap grill can go on, and the 285 & 286 radar antennas are fitted. If building the ship after 1942 the type 286 needs to be replaced by the 291 antenna (both are in the kit). If making a full hull model the the twin screws, shafts and single rudder can go on. The PE sheet also supplies a whole host of smaller fittings including; railings, accommodation ladders, anchors, splinter matting, and ships name plates,. 




These ships carried few markings except the Pennant numbers. WEM did not provide the decals in the kit when they had it, and the logistics of printing a very small decal sheet for each kit would have been time consuming and expensive so Atlantic models have produced a generic sheet ATDec02. This is an A5 sheet and provides the Flag Superior Letters and Pennant Numbers for all classes of Destroyers and Escort Vessels in Royal Navy and Commonwealth Service during World War 2.  It contains letters and numerals in four colours, (Black and White and Light and Dark Grey) There are sufficient of each numerals to be able to place a double numbered pennant on each side of the ships hull(eg. H177 or F112) plus smaller sets for the stern numbers.    The light and dark grey letters and numerals can be cut to shape and laid onto a light and dark camouflage pattern as required to give the two tone effect seen on several wartime era ships. A colour plan is included with call outs in Colourcoats paints. 


Well, Atlantic Models have done it again, upgrading the kit to provide the modeller something which will look great direct from the box. Highly recommended. 




Review sample courtesy of Peter Hall of spacer.png



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