Pushing the limits of injection and slide mold technology, Flyhawk continues to raise the bar with its new 1/700 kit of HMS Legion in her 1941 fit. The kit offers both waterline and full-hull options, and consists of well over 200 plastic parts molded in medium-grey plastic. It also includes a large and small photoetch (PE) fret, assorted brass rods for fore and mainmasts, turned brass gun barrels for the main armament, a small decal sheet with a white ensign and hull numbers for all four ships of the class (Legion, Lance, Lively, and Gurkha), and a detailed instruction sheet. For only an extra $10 for the special edition kit, it’s a great value—even if the modeler decides not to use all the additional PE and brass parts.
The kit measures out at perhaps a quarter of a millimeter short both length-wise and beam-wise. For reference, I used figures published in John Roberts, British Warships of the Second World War: A Folio of Authentic Scale Plans, which contains a nice set of line drawings of HMS Lance. In just about any scale, a quarter millimeter is negligible. At any rate, the size, shape, proportion, and location of the deckhouses and funnel match up nicely with the drawing in the aforementioned book.
The hull is very nicely done, and consists of three pieces—the upper hull, lower hull, and a baseplate for those building a waterline version. Flyhawk captured the gentle sheer and flare of the hull, and the focsle deck is molded with a gentle upsweep by the bow, perfectly matching the hull’s sheer, thereby ensuring a perfect fit. The hull plate strakes look great and are not overdone, and the hawsepipe lips on the hull and focsle deck are also nicely done. The portholes are tiny and appear to be in-scale with eyebrows that are barely perceptible with the unaided eye. The deck has a slight camber, the non-skid walkways and weld patterns on the steel surfaces are nicely done, and the splinter shields and stiffeners are the thinnest I have seen on any 1/700 injection kit. In fact, they rival the finesse of the splinter shields and stiffeners on any resin kit I have seen. The deckhouses are miniature works of art and the bridge has beautifully rendered wind baffles—the nicest I’ve seen in this scale.
The decks are molded clean, except for tiny bollards, hatches, and small lockers and winches too small to have been dealt with in any other way, so larger deck details (such as anchor chains, capstans, and ammo lockers) will have to be added. This is a welcome decision that will enhance the fidelity of the kit and will greatly facilitate painting, even if it somewhat complicates construction. Flyhawk has apparently listened to their customers in doing this. Thank you!
I have dry-fitted the deck to the hull, the hull to the waterline plate as well as the hull bottom, and the deckhouses to the deck, and the engineering and fit is seamless and superb. This hull has the thinnest gunwales/hull walls that I have seen in a kit by Flyhawk (the hull walls on their HMS Aurora and Penelope kits were a bit on the thick side, though Prince of Wales showed a big improvement).
The funnel is cast in one piece, with a separate funnel cap with grill molded in place. Those who want to use the photoetch grill will have to remove the plastic grill, which will be difficult to do without damaging the piping on the aft end of the funnel cap. It would be highly desirable if Flyhawk were to produce two versions of funnel caps in future releases, one with the grill molded in place, and one without, for those who want to use the PE grill.
You can see photos of several major components of this kit at: http://www.moxing.net/bbs/thread-72670-1-1.html.
The quality of Flyhawks PE work—always very good—has also improved. Past releases were quite acceptable, but the PE railings with this kit is as good as the best in this scale, and are approaching WEM’s ultrafine railing in their finesse. The brass barrels are beautiful, but I am not sure that many modelers (myself included!) will have the fine motor skills required to replace the plastic 4” barrels with the brass ones. I think the small size and delicate nature of many of the parts will prove a challenge for many modelers, and the investment in specialized small tools (such as precision tweezer-type sprue cutters, mini sanding sticks, and medical-quality scalpels) and the use of special techniques to remove the delicate parts from the sprues (for instance, put the sprues in a plastic bag when removing small parts so they will not be lost) will be well worth the money and effort invested.
I also received Flyhawk’s precut paint masking set which looks very nicely done, and which should greatly simplify painting.
This is by far the most complex 1/700 scale kit I will have ever attempted, and this kit is probably suitable for experienced modelers only. Just when I thought it would not be possible to further up the bar, Flyhawk has done it once again with its kit of HMS Legion.
Highly recommended for experienced modelers.
Thanks to Flyhawk for the review sample.