Thursday, December 15

Build guide: Paul takes on Flyhawk's 1/700th scale HMS Hermes

Paul has built a few of the ship range from Flyhawk Model. His builds have shown the great detail of the kits, so we did not have to tempt him too hard to have a go at building their new HMNS Hermes kit in 1/700 scale. See how he put it together in his build guide.

Build guide: HMS Hermes
Manufacturer: Flyhawk Models
Scale: 1/700
Type: Multimedia Kit
Price: ¥5,520/ USD $48/€45.12 From Hobbylink Japan
After taking part in several campaigns in Europe and North Africa, HMS Hermes was transferred to the Indian Ocean in 1941. She was refitted in South Africa between November 1941 and February 1942 before joining the Eastern Fleet at Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka. After receiving a warning of an arriving Japanese fleet, she set sail for the Maldives without her air wing. Spotted by a Japanese scout plane on 9th April, she was attacked and sunk by Japanese dive bombers, and thus ended the career of the first laid aircraft carrier in the world.
This kit by Flyhawk is a representation of the HMS Hermes on her final voyage. Once again, as we saw in the review of this kit I did earlier, Flyhawk looks to have moulded a very impressive kit but the real test is how well it goes together so here goes.

The first step involves putting the interior hanger and side walkways into the upper hull shell. Flyhawk make a great emphasis on the order the walkways are installed inside the shell starting with the left side, then the centre piece, and lastly the right side. I saw no reason to deviate from the instruction’s recommendations. The centre section is the hangar bay and features some sidewall detail, but unfortunately, this will all be hidden away once it is all closed up. Piece E1 appears to be the hangar door which I chose to leave off to try and show off the hangar, but you will barely see anything inside once you put the deck on top.
After installing the hangar and walkways you are then given the option of building the ship into a full-hull or waterline model, which I chose to do the full hull option. Dry fitting showed the fit to be perfect, although the thin walls of the hull sides made it difficult to keep in place without the upper hull sliding into the lower hull, so I attached some small bits of sprue to the inside of the upper hull to help keep it in place.
With the multitude of tiny parts in the kit, I decided to build the ship in four subsections being the lower hull, upper hull, deck, and the island, and painted the smaller bits on the sprue. Step two involves installing guns in the side walkways as well as some exterior details including some etch, although I chose to leave out the life boats until later to make painting them easier since their interior sections were wooden. Take care with the stilts for the elevators because they are keyed to fit in the corner of the lift sections. Step three involves the lower rear section of the ship including the rear elevator. I chose to install the elevator in the lowered position in the rear so I didn’t install the centre stilt. The rear flagpole is optional.
Moving onto step four, you now start to work on the carrier deck. The underside of the deck has some very nice detail moulded on, and also includes a photo etch piece, although as mentioned earlier, will be completely invisible once It is installed. There are also two sub-steps for a pair of lifeboats and six anti-aircraft guns, although I didn’t attach them until the end of the build.
Step 5 starts off with a few sub-assemblies for the island including the crane, bridge and mast. You get a PE or plastic option for the crane but there is no comparing the parts and the PE looks much more refined than the plastic one.
With most of the construction now complete, I started painting each of the subsections with the recommended colours from the kit using a combination of Tamiya and Gunze colours depending on which I had handy in the collection.
I gave the model a gloss coat before I applied the decals for the deck markings. The box top illustration makes it look like there are three stripes that go to the end of the deck, however, the left stripe ends on the side of the ship just after the rear elevator. The instructions do not mention this, but decals 2 and 3 are the stripes for the elevator sections if you choose to pose them in the lowered position. However, since you will need to measure and cut out equivalent sections from the main decal anyway, they’re not really needed. There are some poles on the deck that I chose to leave off because their placement would it impossible for a plane to take off or land. Please note that the Hermes didn’t carry any aircraft on her final voyage so the poles may be correct.
However, it would be a waste not to use the aircraft since you get eight in the kit and they look absolutely wonderful. Each plane has the option of either spread out or folded back wings so you can have them in the hangar or on the lowered elevators. Flyhawk provides the struts and rigging for the wings in PE which you fold into a box and then place between the top and bottom wing, which is an extremely fiddly and fragile process, and even somewhat over scale, but considering this is 1/700 scale then it is understandable and a nice addition to not having anything at all.
I put one swordfish with wings folded back on the lowered rear elevator, and one just in front of it in the hangar, although as mentioned earlier, it will be practically invisible once the deck is installed.
Choosing to model the full hull option, I had to scavenge a stand from another kit in the stash since the kit doesn’t provide one which means there is no way for the ship to stand on its own.
I chose not to weather the kit too much and just gave an oil wash to bring out some of the details, and only lightly streaked the hull. So with the components done, I glued the four main sections together, and then put three of the other Swordfish on the deck so it wouldn’t look too cluttered, added some the details and a final matt coat and the Hermes is complete.

Here she is in detail
Without a doubt, this is an absolute gem of a kit. While there isn’t a great deal of construction in the kit, the parts go together wonderfully and the only place I needed filler was the tubular structure that goes around the mast. The large amount of tiny parts means that this is not a kit for beginners but is highly recommended to anyone else. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no ship building expert, but from what I’ve seen, Flyhawk is definitely one of the top 1/700th scale warship manufacturers out there. If not the best.

...and a larger walk around the hull.
Paul Lee

Thanks to Flyhawk Model for sending Pul this kit to build and review.