Wednesday, September 21, 2011


SMN report:
Tabletop navy fans have something to look forward to in the months ahead - it’s the 1:350 scale Type 45 destroyer HMS Daring from Airfix. No details have been released yet, apart from the box art shown above, but to this scale, the model should be some 435 mm (17.1 in) long, a size that should ensure plenty of detail on this characterful ship.

Stealth destroyer
The Type 45 destroyers - Daring is one of six built or on order - are ‘semi-stealth’ in their design, with clean, slab sides, designed to reduce their radar signature. 

As you can see from the pic above - note the Typhoon making a low pass - much of the clutter that normally hangs off a ship’s sides, such as the life rafts, deck equipment and so on, is now hidden behind flat panels. The mast has been treated in similar fashion, with an absolute minimum of radar-visible antennas.

Smaller alternative Type 45
Although there’s some months wait for the Airfix kit, the smaller 1:700 Dragon kit is available now. And it’s a neat one that comes with the Hong Kong company’s usual attention to detail. Hatch covers, ladders, flight-deck edges and radar antennas are photo-etch parts, and various other components are produced using Dragon slide-mould technology, an advanced production technique that allows more detail per component, simplifying construction and reducing build-time.

HMS Daring construction notes
How does this kit build? Let’s hear it from modelmaker ‘Ian M’, who gives it 4/5 stars, while noting a few minor gripes:
* The panels in the deckhouse side below the funnel would have been better if not separate as they are very difficult to fit neatly.
* It's a pity that the grey, black and red sections of the hull are not moulded separately as in some other models, to ease painting.
* It's a pity that Dragon didn't include decals for their namesake ship (and Defender and Duncan).
However, Ian goes on to say: “None of this should stop you buying one. I have bought a second to finish as Defender using third-party decals.”

Build plan and the Type 42
So Type 45 fans, here’s a plan: practise on the Dragon model, then go for it with the biggie from Airfix when it’s released in 2012. Note also that Dragon makes the earlier Type 42 destroyer to the same 1:700 scale, so the two types side by side would make an interesting comparison.

View the Dragon HMS Daring and other 1:700 ships here.