Flyhawk 1/700 HMS Hermes

HMS Hermes was an aircraft carrier built for the Royal Navy. The ship began construction during World War I and finished after the war ended. She 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 delayed by multiple changes in her design after she was laid down.

Hermes was berthed in Trincomalee on 8 April when warning of an approaching Japanese fleet was received and sailed that day for the Maldives with no aircraft on board. She was spotted on 9 April near Batticaloa by a Japanese scout plane and 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.

HMS Hermes has been underrepresented in the past so it’s nice to see a modern, new tooled kit on the market. I’m sure this kit will be popular with Royal Navy shipbuilders.

The kit is contained in a top opening box with the small spruces in a separate compartment. All the sprues are bagged and the box contains:

  • 1 instructions sheet
  • 1 PE fret
  • 1 Decal sheet
  • 29 plastic frets of various sizes
  • 1 metal weight

The parts counts are:

  • Plastic 278 for the ship and 88 for the aircraft
  • PE 133

The instructions are one one long double sided sheet of glossy paper and are in colour where things need to be made clearer. To start with the hull is built up and although the box top says full hull, you can build her as a waterline model too. There a QR code that links here, that tells you that you need to follow the order of putting in the sides of the hangar deck as shown in the instructions. The images are also on this news article on this site. I’m guessing that there will be problems if you don’t do it the way they say. Throughout the build there are several pieces that are present as plastic and also on the included PE sheet, so you have a choice to keep it simple and use the plastic or to use the PE for more realism.

Step 2 adds the exterior details to the hangar deck. The inside of the hangar is also detailed with lockers and the like, so you can leave the elevators open and look inside the hangar if you wish. Step 3 adds supports at the rear of the ship for the flight deck and step 4 adds details to the underside of the flight deck. You have a choice of having the aft elevator open on the rear of the flight deck. The flight deck is supplied with a hole for the forward elevator and the rear elevator is molded in the up (closed) position. You’re given a separate aft end of the flight deck with the elevator open to replace that part of the flight deck if you wish.

Step 5 is all about the island and on the Hermes the island was bigger than you would expect for a carrier of this size, so this is an obvious piece of the build. There’s quite a lot of detail on the island and quite a few pieces of PE too. Step 6 brings it all together and fits the flight deck and island to the hull along with a few final details such as anti-aircraft guns and railings around the flight deck.

The final step would be the decals and Flyhawk have provided you with decals for the markings on the flight deck if you don’t feel like doing the masking and painting yourself.

The final, final step would be building the 8 swordfish aircraft. These are very nicely detailed and better than most. Each aircraft is made of 11 or 13 parts, depending whether you build with folded wings or not, and the wings have photo etch rigging. Check our review here for more photos.

The plastic is nicely detailed throughout and is a huge improvement over the earlier HP-Models kit. Aoshima recently released a kit of this ship too, and although I don’t have images of the sprues to look at it appears that it is a completely different kit. Aoshima’s kit does not include a PE sprue as part of the kit – it’s an extra you have to pay for. Looking at images of completed builds of the 2 ships it appears that the Flyhawk kit has the nicer detailed plastic. I’ll admit that is based on images I can find on the internet, though.

Paints are called out by name, Mr Hobby, Tamiya and WEM. I’m not 100% sure, but I thought WEM paints are not being produced any more?

This is available online in a couple of places and is currently selling here for approx US$45.00.

This is a very nice model of HMS Hermes that fills a gap in the market. It has plenty of detail and comes with a good sized photo etch fret to replace some plastic parts if you wish and add details in other places as an integral part of the build. The Swordfish aircraft supplied with the kit are among the best. It fills a gap in the market and so should do well.

Many thanks to Flyhawk for the review sample.

Paul Tosney – Editor
ModelBuilder International


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