by: Andy Brazier [ ]
HMS Hermes was an aircraft carrier built for the Royal Navy and was the world's first ship to be designed as an aircraft carrier, although the Imperial Japanese Navy's Hōshō was the first to be commissioned and launched. The ship's construction was begun during the First World War but not completed until after the end of the war, delayed by multiple changes in her design after she was laid down. After she was launched, the Armstrong Whitworth shipyard which built her closed, and her fitting out was suspended. Most of the changes made were to optimize her design, in light of the results of experiments with operational carriers.
When the Second World War began in September 1939, the ship was briefly assigned to the Home Fleet and conducted anti-submarine patrols in the Western Approaches. She was transferred to Dakar in October to cooperate with the French Navy in hunting down German commerce raiders and blockade runners. Aside from a brief refit, Hermes remained there until the fall of France and the establishment of Vichy France at the end of June 1940. Supported by several cruisers, the ship then blockaded Dakar and attempted to sink the French battleship Richelieu by exploding depth charges underneath her stern, as well as sending Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers to attack her at night. While returning from this mission, Hermes rammed a British armed merchant cruiser in a storm and required several months of repairs in South Africa, then resumed patrolling for Axis shipping in the South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean.
In February 1941, the ship supported Commonwealth forces in Italian Somaliland during the East African Campaign and did much the same two months later in the Persian Gulf during the Anglo-Iraqi War. After that campaign, Hermes spent most of the rest of the year patrolling the Indian Ocean. She was refitted in South Africa between November 1941 and February 1942 and then joined the Eastern Fleet at Ceylon.
Hermes was berthed in Trincomalee on 8 April when a warning of an approaching Japanese fleet was received, and she sailed that day for the Maldives with no aircraft on board. On 9 April a Japanese scout plane spotted her near Batticaloa, and she was attacked by several dozen dive bombers shortly afterwards. With no air cover, the carrier was quickly sunk by the Japanese aircraft. Most of the survivors were rescued by a nearby hospital ship, although 307 men from Hermes were lost in the sinking.
(Info Provided From Wikipedia
HMS Hermes 1942
In the box The kit comes in a fairly long box, with the HMS Hermes painting on the box top defending itself from Japanese Val dive bombers just prior to its sinking.
Inside the box you will find around 25 sprues in grey plastic, a large sheet of photo etch, a set of decals, the instructions, a thin metal plate for the waterline option and a card with the box artwork on one side and technical and history data on the reverse.
OK, I will come clean, I mainly build aircraft so this is new territory for me so you will have to bear with me when I get names of parts either wrong or not known at all lol.
The main parts are the hull, lower hull, waterline plate, deck, and interior part for the hanger deck.
The detail is quite incredible in this small scale with moulded on detail for the hull exceptional.
The hull can be built as either a waterline kit or full hull. The waterline plate does have a small bend in one end, but with some careful gluing it shouldn't be a problem.
The flight deck has the ceiling reproduced for the hanger deck on the underside but I donít think much of this will be seen once built, the same goes for the hull insert for the interior details for the carrier, which will be seen through the hull cut outs.
The deck has cut outs for the elevator's, but looking at the instructions these look to be in the raised position. A bit of scratch building and these could be modelled in the lowered position.
Three small sprues (Sprue K) has some nice shields for the guns, which are fully enclosed so thickness won't be an issue. The guns itself are pretty decent and can be found on sprue H, along with some details for the island. The island itself is made up of quite a few parts but the main part of the island has some very nice detail moulded onto the part in the form of raised areas.
Sprues M,N and O hold parts for the island superstructure, and hold the funnels which are drilled out.
Sprue P holds even more details for the kit, and the one exceptional part are the ships propellers which are moulded as one part each.
Two sprues are named GB 15 and 19, which I would imagine are specific to British Ships and have the various life rafts included on them. The detail is quite exceptional for such a small scale with the detail popping out.
Sprue R contains amongst other things the crane, even though this looks quite decent a photo etch version is also included in this boxing.
Sprues GB 1, 2 and 3 hold the search lights and anti aircraft guns.
Sprue Q and S hold more details for the ship including the anchors.
The last four sprues are the Swordfish aircraft, of which eight can be built. The aircraft can be modelled with folded or unfolded wings. Propellers can be modelled in plastic or photo etch alternatives can be used. Some very small torpedoes can be mounted to the aircraft.
Most of the photo etch sheet is for the Swordfish aircraft, with the props and some bracing for the wings. The rigging for the aircraft will be pretty much out of scale as I believe in 1/700th scale the rigging will be near enough invisible. The P.E crane as already mentioned is on the fret, along with various railings, a stairwell and shields for the anti aircraft guns.
Instructions and decals The instructions are printed on a long sheet that folds out to about 2 foot in length. The sheet has pretty easy construction steps, although I think they are rather small. Colours for the internal parts on each construction step are supplied for Mr Hobby, Tamiya and WEM paints.
The instructions don't have the colours for the hull and deck printed on them, but these can be found on the reverse side of the box, which I only noticed after dropping the kit on the floor lol.
The decals supplied are for the deck and the eight Swordfish aircraft, with the roundels looking absolutely tiny. These all look to be in register. How they go on I wont know until I build this carrier.
This is a well-molded kit with some exceptional details incorporated into it. While complete, the provided instructions seem to be printed rather small. My limited experience with floaty things, always seem to be that some A.M is needed for a exceptional model to be built, but I feel that pretty much everything is included in this boxing to build that show stopper of a kit. The only thing this kit needs is more aircraft, which can be bought separately.
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