Type 23 "Duke" Class Frigates, HMS Kent F78 & HMS St. Albans F83
Overview - The Royal Navy's Type 23, "Duke" Class Frigates:
These vessels were originally designed for anti-submarine warfare in the North Atlantic, to patrol the Greenland, Icelnad, UK passages, or the GIUK Gap as it is referred to. But, but the Type 23 frigate has proved its versatility in warfighting, peace-keeping and maritime security operations across the globe in a true multi-mission role capability, and they armed to fulfill the multi-role mission, while being particularly strong at anti-submarine warfare. Thirteen Type 23 frigates remain in service with the Royal Navy to this day, with three vessels having been sold to Chile and handed over to the Chilean Navy.
Recently, the latest eight of the vessel each went through a major upgrade to add the most modern Royal Navy sonar, Sonar 2087, to the vessels. This sonar is among the best in the world and continues the superb ability of these vessels, when coupled particularly with the Marlin helicopter, to hunt the most modern submarines anywhere on earth. They are also all being upgraded to include the new, Type 997 Artisan 3D Radar, which will improve their air-defence, anti-surface (anti-ship) and air traffic management capabilities. Their anti-air missiles will also be upgraded from the current Sea Wolf missile, to the new Common Anti-Air Modular Missile CAMM(M), which has longer range and is more effective against anti-shipping missiles of all types. These improvements will keep the Type 23 frigates serving in the Royal Navy into the 2030s when they are ultimately all planned to be replaced by the new, Type 26 mulit-purpose frigates which will begin building around 2020.
Each Type 23, Duke Class frigate displaces 4,900 tons and is armed with an impressive array of weapons so as to allow them to complete their multi-mission roles. These include a 4.5 inch, dual-purpose main gun, a 32 cell VLS system for 32 Sea wolf Missiles, two four cannister Harpoon missile launchers, two 30mm auto cannons, two twin 324mm torpedo launchers for Stingray Torpedoes, and has a pad and full hanger for either a Lnx or Merlin ASW helicopter, capable of carrying anti-submarine torpedoes or anti-shipping missiles
Introduction - HMS Kent F78 and HMS St. Albans, F83:
The Kent was laid down in April 1997, launched in May 1998, and commissioned in June 2000, makeing her the first Royal NAvy major combatant commissioned in the 21st Centruy. The St. Albans was laid down in April 1999, launched in MAy 2000, and commissioned in June 2002 Both vessels have served multiple tours in the Mediteranean, the Mid-East, the North Atlantic and elsewhere, and have both served with international task forces inluding US NAvy exercises. Both vessels have also undergon their initial overhauls, teh St. Albans in 2007 to receive the Sonar 2087 upgrade, and the Kent in 2010 for the same upgrade. The upgrade to the new Common anti-air Modular miss8ile will begin for the Dulke class frigates in 2016. Both vessels will have the Artisaan 3D Radar added in the mean time.
According to current plans and scedules, the Kent is tasked to serve in the Royal NAvy unitl 2034, and the St. Albans unitl 2036. They will be amon the last Duke class frigates serving, and will see the introduction of, commissioning and initial service of most of the new Type 26, multi-riole frigates into the Royal Navy.
What's in the Box:
Given the main deck arrangement. with the Duke class frigates, it is possible to literally walk (or run/jog) around the entire vessel on the main deck. All of the deck houses rise off of this main deck. And so it is with the model.
This model has numerous pieces, in typical Trumpeter fashion. Lots of individual detail with some very tiny, well formed and higly detailed individual pieces to make that happen. Over 420 pieces on nine gray plastic sprues, one clear plastic sprue (for the helos) and one Photo Etch Sprue which contain the various radar platforms and side arms for the main and secondary masts, and other platforms and sensors and some railing...but be aware...not a lot of railing is included with the kit. White Ensign Models makes a very nice Photo Etch set for this class Frigate in 1/350 scale that I highly recommend. Or, if you have other 1/350 scale handrails left over from other modern UK vessels, they will suffice for this vessel as well.
Here's how the kit looks out of the box:
The kit has a very nice, full color painting scheme as it typical with the latest Trumpeter models, showing the colors in several views and cross referencing several major paint manufacturers part numbers for those colors. The instruction are quite lengthy given the total part count, but they are logically laid out and intuitive to follow.
The instruction booklet is very detailed and very exacting for the building of the ship. It consists of 18 pages of instructions that are very well laid out and cover all options and contigencies. I may add the harpoon missiles (which are included with the kit) and I may also add the eight cell Mk-41 VLS launchers for the Tomohawk missiles in order to represent the vessels in their absolute fullest measure and capability.
So, that's how she looks out of the box. We'll start painting her in the next session.
So, over the last couple of days, between honey-dos and going to the Spring BOise State University Bronco footbal scrimmage, I began painting the parts, and also building the props, shafts and rudders onto the vessel. I normally wate until later in the build to add these, because historically the handling of the model tends to sometimes knock rudders and propellers off...but this time I thought 'd once again give it a go up front. If I can do so, generally the paint job is nicer when it is all painted together the first time. We'll see.
By this time I had also painted all of the main peices that needed to be the principle light RN Gray for the vertical surfaces, or the Testor's Flat Gray I use for RN vessels weather decks.
I then added the main deck to the hull and also detailed the aft fan tail deck, underneath the helo pad. This is the area where the Sonar towed array is deployed from and I thought it would be nice to add some figues in there.
At this point I built the various deck houses. There are three major one. Forward you have the bridge and main mast area. Alhtough I was building only the major structural parts without a lot of detail, I did (for example) paint the bridge windows in at this point.
While I was at it I added the main gun, the Sea Wold 32 Cell VLS housing, and the detail to the forward deck.
Then you have the amdiships deck house which includes the main stacks, and finally, the aft deck house which includes the hanger bay for the helos, and the launch areas for the ships boats. All of these had been painted earlier, though I will yet add more detail to the hangar bay, and then dry fitted to the vessel. She's looking pretty good.
So, in the next installment I will detailing each of these deck houses, including the hangar bay detail I intend, and particularly adding some of the PE detail parts (radar stands, side arms, etc.) to the vessel and its superstructure.
Okay, last night and early this morning I was working on the main mast. It itself is an assembly of 25-30 pieces and a lot of them are very delicate PE parts which have to be formed just right...actually more delicate than I usually prefer. 1st, they are very difficult to work with. 2nd, they are very easy to bend and break after they are complete and attached to the model.
I went ahead and finished the main mast...but almost wish I had waited until the end. Lots of small pieces still to put on the bridge and I will have to be very careful to not damage what I have done here.
As I said, very delicate...but also very nice looking. Great details by Trumpeter on this model.
Well, a week has gone by and I have been pretty busy...but did get the opportunity in the evenings to work on getting the deck houses detailed. This was accomplished with the mid-ships deck house detailing around the stacks, the 30mm gun decks, and the ships boats deck on either side of the stacks. Lots of small parts, and particularly the small supports for the various decks above the main deck.
Then it was on to the hanger bay deck house which included the secondary mast, controller, the decks for the life rafts to the aft, and other sensors (which I have not completed all of). Particualrly, once again, the side arms off of this mast are very, very delicate and difficult to get in place without some bending out of shape. They look great when in place correctly, but are, as I say difficult to work with. Here's how all that looked as constructed and once on the vessel:
Once all of the decks were permanently glued in place, the Kent really starts to look like the very well outfitted and capable guided missile frigate she is:
She is looking very good now and with the next sesssion I hope to get all of the final details completed on the hanger deck, and get the decals in place. Then the final session will get the PE railing in place and complete the model.
Lots going on so I did not complete the model like I wanted to do, but very close now. I did get the decals applied and all of the PE Railing attached...and there is quite a bit of it for this vessel.
The decals are good, and easy to apply. They went on to my vessel without much difficulty, although the helo deck is made up of entirely seperate decals as opposed to a single large decal like what comes in many kits today. it takes a little more time, and you need to ensure that everything lines up and is put in at their correct locations and angles...but I actually prefer that over the large decals. This is because it is easy to get small air bubbles trapped under the larger decals, and also those decals sometimes give the underlaying gray color of the landing deck a little different sheen and even color over time...so the smaller individual decals can be well worth the extra time.
Here's how the numbersing and various markings around the vessel ended up looking:
Then it was time the photo etch railing. There are many sub-decks and small deck protrusions around the vessel. The entire main deck is also open so there is the entire length on both sides to place. This ends up being quite a bot of photo etch for this sized model. And, I elected to not buy the specific set for this kit, though I probably will for my second Duke Class, F83, HMS St. Albans. As it is, I had enough extra four bar railings from other kits left over to complete the Kent.
I decided to try out a new technique for gleing the railings in place. I have been using a 50/50 mix of plastic cement and super glue...but I found on a couple of occassions, that plastic cement, if set dwon properly, with enough of a beed to cover the lower portion of the rialing, works just find after it sets up. So, what I am doding is making sure that the lower rail is able to lay down aong its whole surfacy (note: this does not work for individual small rails where the supports for the railing themselves are the only points where the glue adheres). So, if you can lay down a very thin bead of plastic cement such that the lower rail can sit in it, and be covered by it, then you get a very good bond that holds the railing in place quite nicely. That's what I did with this model:
Now, it is just a matter of this evening finishing the Lynx helo (it is already painted), and then applying it to the landing pad, letting it dry, and covering the whole model with the final two coats of dull coast and she will be finished. I hope to post the completion tomorrow evening.
Alright then. The last thing to do was to complete painting, build, apply decals to, and then complete the Lynx ASW Helo that I am showing embarked on the Kent. The helo comes in clear plastic and is the only aircraft option, with either folded, or deployed rotors. I chose to show the helo on the aft end of the pad, having just landed.
The helo comes with two torpedoes, and some decent markings for the decals. The helo consists of the two halves, the tail section which fits onto the two completed halves, the horizontal stabilzor off the tail, the two very small sponsons for the landing gear, very tiny landing gear (three pieces), two torpedoes, and the tail and main rotor. Eleven pieces altogether. I build the main body of the helo without the landing gear, torpedoes, horizontal stabilizor, or the rotors...and then place the decals. Once the decals are all placed and completely dried, I then add all of the smaller details. This worked quite nicely.
At that point it was time to do the final touch up painting, make sure that any small "thread-like" lines of glue were completely removed. (This happens sometimes when you are using very small picks and other implements to add glue and the glue strings out these extremely small and fine "threads." Generally I get them all as it happens, but then make a final check to get any small ones that I may have missed before doing the final coats of paint for sealing everything. Anyhow, once that was done, it was time to add two good coats of dull coat, which not only gives a good final seal for the decals, but also produces a final, normalized sheen or appearance of the model, toning down any small residues of glue that may otherwise give off a different glint, or sheen and spoil the overall look of the model.
And here she is:
And here are a few close ups showing a little more detail (as well as any oinconsistancies or goof ups on my part-LOL!).
Voila! a completed HMS Kent, F78...a Type 23, Duke Class Frigate of the Royal Navy. Now on to the HMS Illustrious, last of the Invincible class carriers.
The completion of the PLAN Carrier group, centered on the already completed Trumpeter's 1/350 scale PLA Navy's Aircraft Carrier CV-16, Liaoning, (in addition to the other escorts already completed) included Mini Hobby's's PLAN Guangzhou, DDG-168. If a 1/350 scale model of the PLAN Type 071 LPD, Yuzhao Class, is ever released, I will add two of those, propbably LPD-998 Yuzhao and LPD-999, Jinggangshan, add the PLAN- DDG-139, Ningbo, and perhaps the PLAN DDG-115, Shenyang, and build a PLAN ARG.
The completion of the US Carrier Strike group, centered on the completed Tamyia's 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-65, (in addition ot the other escorts already completed) included Trumpeter's, USS Freedom, LCS-1, Dragon's USS Preble, DDG-88 and Hobby Boss's USS Texas, SSN-775. When a 1/350 scale USS Enterprise, CVN-80 (or any Gerald R. Ford Class) is released from Trumpeter, Tamiya, Dragon, or whomever else, I will add it to this group along with another AEGIS Cruiser. Whatever Ford Class coms out, I will build her as the USS Enterprise, CVN-80.
The UK Group will indlude the Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Illustrious (which I already own), two Airfix 1/350 scale Daring Class DDGs (which I also already have and have started building), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Type 23 HMS Duke class Frigates (which I already own), and the Hobby Boss 1/350 scale HMS Astute SSN and Airfix 1/350 scale HMS Tragalgar SSN (both of which which I already own). One day, when a 1/350 scale HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier and a 1/350 HMS Ocean LPD come out, I will add both.
The French CSG will be centered on Heller's 1/400 scale Charles De Gualle (which I already own). I have purchased the 1/400 scale Heller French De Grasse, D612 DDG, which is an ASW DDG, the French Duquesne, D603 DDG which is an anti-air multi-purpose DDG, and the French Aconit F713 FFG and Gueprattet F714 FFGs, both of which are Lafayette class frigates. These five vessels will round out my French CSG. As soon as a French Robin class nuclear sub, like the French Perale S606 SSN is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale, I will add that to the group. Also as soon as the Forbin D620, Horizon class anti-air DDG is released in 1/350 or 1/400 scale, I will purchase two of them and replace the De Grrasse and Duquesne with them, and then save those tow for when a Misteral Class LPD is released so I can create a French ARG with those vessels.
The Japanese JMSDF group will be centered on Fujimi's very finely detailed, 1/350 scale Hyuga, DDH-181, which I own. It will be escorted by Trumpeter's 1/350 scale DDG-177, Atago, an AEGIS class DDG and the JMSDF, DDG-178, Ahigara (which I have purchased), Trumpeters's 1/350 scale DDG-114 Susunami (A Tachanami Class DDG which I own), and by the 1/350 scale SS-503 Hakuryu (which I own), one of Japans new, very modern and capable AIP Diesel Electric submarines. As soo as a DDG-115 Akizuki in 1/350 scale is released, I will add it to this group.
The completion of the US ARG will include Tamiya's 1/350 scale, USS Iowa, BB-62 (which I have already completed), Trumpeter's 1/350 scale USS Iwo Jima LHD-7, Gallery's 1/350 scale USS Sommerset, LPD-25, Bronoc Models 1/350 Scale USS New York, LPD-21, Cyber Hobbies USS Independence, LCS-2, Acadamy's 1/350 scale USS Rueben James, FFG-57, and andother Flight IIA US AEGIS class detroyer based on Trumpeter's 1/350 scale USS Lassen, DDG-82...all of these models which I already own.
Then, finally it will be a complete Russian CSG (centered on Trumpeter's Kuznetsov which is available but I have not purchased yet) the Russian Slava Class cruiser, Varyag by Trumperter (which I own), two Trumpeter 1/350 scale Udaloy DDGs (which I own), Hobby Boss's Akula II class SSN (which I own), and the Russian Alfa Class SSN, which I have already completed.
Recently I purchased Heller's 1/400 scale Foch, the Clemceau Class carrier that was sold to the Brazilians in 2000 and in 2002 was refitted and became the Brazilian CV, Sao Paulo, using steam catapaults. I will build the model as the Sao Paulo and thus start a Brazilian group, though the Type 22 DDGs and the FFGs the Brazilians use are not available at present. I have however purchased a set of 1/400 scale A-4 Skyhawks and S-3 Trackers to build a suitable airwing for the Sao Paulo.
Then, again, once the models are available, I'd like to build an Italian Group centered on the Cavour and their Horizon DDGs, a Spanish Group centered on the Juan Carlos and their F-100 AEGIS FFGs, and ultimatly an Australian Group centered on the new Canberra Class LPD and the Hobart class AEGIS DDGs. If they ever build the models, an Indian group centered on either the Vikramaditya or their new ADS Carrier the Vikrant and their Kolkata class DDGs and Shivlak class FFGs would also be nice.
Years worth of work!
You can see all of these actual carriers, read their histories and specifictions at my site:
...and most of their surface escorts at:
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