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FlyHawk HMS Prince of Wales December 1941

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/700 scale ship kit
HMS Prince of Wales, a King George V-class battleship was launched in May 1939. Two years later, when she and the battlecruiser HMS Hood were ordered to intercept the German battleship Bismarck, Hood was sunk and Prince of Wales was damaged, eventually withdrawing from the battle. Later that year she was sent to the Pacific; on December 10, 1941, she and the battlecruiser HMS Repulse were sunk by Japanese aircraft.

FlyHawk’s 1/700 scale kit of Prince of Wales shows the ship as it was at the last. The molding is so fine you really don’t need most of the photo-etch (PE) besides the railings, radar masts, and cranes. I spent 55 hours building without using all the PE in the kit, but others with better eyesight might want to try using more of it.

There are two large double-sided instruction sheets and three smaller sheets with color-coded placements for the PE and the many small packages of ventilating stacks (which have their own placement sheet). There are 35 small plastic sprues plus the deck and hull, which can be made full or waterline. There is one set of decals for the aircraft and ship flags. The kit provides 26 cannon barrels machined from brass if you like, but the plastic barrels are excellent and don’t have to be cut and drilled.

Supplied with the deluxe edition is a small box containing 91 vent stacks. They are the tiniest pieces I have ever seen, so beware of losing them (let alone fastening them). The hull interior has sprue which can be left in place for reinforcement.

I did all the hull painting before adding anything to it, following the camouflage pattern and color guides in the instructions. 

The complicated instructions must be studied carefully. In Step 7, I put off adding the two aircraft cranes until the end to avoid breaking them. Gluing the rear mast into position before adding the boats helps. In Step 8, dry-fit the mast before gluing.

The two hangar bays can be built open or closed. The aircraft supplied is a Supermarine Walrus featuring PE and the option of folded or extended wings.

Since there are no rigging instructions, I left all wiring off because the masts were very fragile.

There are debates about the color of Prince of Wales in December 1941, so the color is an approximation from Page 3 of the instructions using a mix of: Polly Scale topside green; Tamiya flat white (XF-2) and flat hull red (XF-9); and Testors Model Master weathered deck blue, GI military blue, wood, and Navy gray No. 5. 

I would recommend this kit for someone with PE experience and good eyesight. It builds into a realistic, detailed ship model, more so than some 1/350 scale offerings. Can you imagine PE spider sights on quad anti-aircraft guns in 1/700 scale? Or pontoon struts for the aircraft? Let the games begin.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the September 2018 issue.


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