ESCORT                                                       ISSUE 117

THE GREATEST RAID OF ALL

Part 2 of a review of the Flyhawk H.M.S. Campbeltown 1:700 scale kit by Rob Brown

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The kit features Campbeltown as configured for the raid on St. Nazaire on March 28, 1942 and comes in a standard 8.5” x 3.75” box that opens at the ends and features a dramatic painting of HMS Campbeltown hard up against the dock gates in St. Nazaire harbour, with commandoes spilling off her bows and MTB 74 cutting in front.  The back of the box features an overview of Campbeltown’s role in the St. Nazaire raid.

The kit comprises 90 parts on 11 sprues with a further 23 photo-etch pieces, all plastic parts are moulded in medium grey and are individually sealed in plastic bags.  The hull, waterline plate, and hull bottom are single pieces not attached to any sprue.

The starboard and port hull sides are in one piece and scale out perfectly to the actual length of 314 feet.  A lower hull and a waterline base plate are supplied giving the modeller the option to build either a full hull or a waterline version.  A photo-etch stand is included for displaying the full hull version.

The lower hull itself has finely moulded bilge keels with rudder, propellers, and shafts included as separate pieces.

There is a good attempt at capturing the line of hull plating along the sides of the hull.  Although it is slightly exaggerated in this scale and could be sanded down to be less conspicuous, it does give extra detail to the hull.  The oak fender along the waterline is present and the many portholes all feature ‘eyebrows’.

The main deck is in one piece and features an amazing level of detail with hatches, engine room skylights, ready-use ammunition lockers, propeller guards, bollards, and the inboard amidships plating installed to protect the raiding party.  At the deck edges alongside the forward gun there is a row of what appear to be smoke generators.

The bridge and after superstructure parts are on their own sprues, and feature detail on every face: hatches, handrails, and portholes.  The funnels are single pieces hollowed out at the top with a separate cap for the fore funnel.

The 20mm platforms and tubs installed for the raid feature ready-use ammo lockers.  The outboard steel plating to be fitted to the main deck has detailed rivets on one side and moulded in supports on the other.

Campbeltown’s armament for the raid consisted of a single 12 pdr on the forecastle, 8 x 20mm guns, and 3 x 0.5” single guns.  The single 12 pdr gun has a separate photo-etch shield and the 20mm guns have handles and sights moulded in.  There are no 0.5” guns included in the kit.

There are many smaller fittings, every piece of which is incredibly detailed.  The cowl vents are hollowed out, the life rafts are detailed both top and bottom, and the extra armour and splinter mattresses fitted to the bridge are included as separate pieces.

The single mast is supplied on the main fittings sprue and is remarkably thin, suitable for use as is without resorting to a thinner replacement from rod.

The decals consist of two White Ensigns and two German naval flags, allowing the modeller to choose which moment to portray as the raid progressed.

A very comprehensive photo-etch sheet is included with all the railings and ladders needed for the kit.  It also contains extra pieces for the bridge, anchors, anchor chain, a shield for the 12 pdr gun, supports for the amidships and stern life rafts, and a display stand for the full hull model.  The railings are supplied pre-cut to the correct lengths with very clear instructions on where each piece is to be placed.

The instructions come on two large, double-sided full-colour pages.  They are very clear and comprehensive and feature a drawing showing all the included sprues and parts.  Flyhawk uses colour coding to assist with the placement of the photo-etch parts; this eliminates a lot of guess work.

There is a full colour diagram of the camouflage scheme of overall Mountbatten Pink carried by Campbeltown during the St. Nazaire raid with references to the Mr. Hobby, Tamiya, and Colourcoats paint ranges.

This is a great little kit.  The parts are extremely detailed and while some of them are small, most modellers will have no trouble with assembly.  The kit will still build into a very highly detailed model if you chose to leave off some of the smaller parts.  There is absolutely no flash on any of the pieces and none of those lines that result when two mould halves are used to make a single component.  The plastic that Flyhawk uses is quite durable; it stands up to very rough handling without any breakage.

The etch set is very comprehensive - I like the pre-cut railings as it makes installation just that much easier.

The completed model is just over 5” long and will be quite a detailed replica when finished.  For those interested in absolute accuracy, photos indicate that Campbeltown carried a single 0.5” gun mounted just ahead of the searchlight on both sides of the bridge.  The mount on top of the bridge was also a 0.5” and not a 20mm.  These could be modified from the extra 20mm guns provided in the kit.

The only thing that could improve this kit would be the provision of anchor chain instead of the photo-etch chain that is provided.

This is a highly recommended kit – it will make a unique addition to any collection. Modellers will no longer need to convert other kits to Campbeltown’s final configuration - this kit provides a near-perfect replica right out of the box.

Editor’s note: Flyhawk also produce a ‘deluxe edition’ of this kit which includes two sheets of etched brass, some rigging chord and some brass parts, including a barrel for the main gun!  The brass parts are very small (e.g. individual posts for the bollards) but the etched brass sheet does include Commando figures (lower right of image) which some will welcome.


Left: H.M.S. Campbeltown outboard of H.M.S. Castleton having just arrived in Great Britain.




Below: H.M.S. Campbeltown in the dock gates at St. Nazaire.