Review: AJM Models 1/700 HMS Black Swan


We have this kit for sale in our shop. We keep our pricing as competitive as we can.


HMS Black Swan was the name ship of the Black Swan-class sloops of the Royal Navy. This class was admired for its sea-going qualities.

Black Swan was laid down by Yarrow Shipbuilders on 20 June 1938, launched on 7 July 1939 and commissioned on 27 January 1940.

The Black Swan class was a lengthened version of the earlier Egret-class sloops. The main gun armament consisted of six QF 4 inch Mk XVI anti-aircraft guns in three twin turrets, with the fourth 4-inch turret of the Egret class removed to allow the addition of a quadruple barrel 2-pounder pom-pom short-range anti-aircraft gun. Anti-submarine armament consisted of depth charge throwers with 40 depth charges carried.

When completed, Black Swan was not fitted with the planned quadruple pom-pom, but with two quadruple Vickers .50 machine gun mounts fitted instead. The pom-pom was installed in May 1941, and the machine guns replaced by a single Oerlikon 20 mm cannon in September that year. The Hedgehog anti-submarine weapon and two more 20 mm cannon were fitted in June 1942, and a further three cannon were fitted in 1943.

Black Swan was initially deployed on convoy escort missions along the British east coast, before being used in the Norwegian Campaign where she was heavily hit by a bomb which passed through the ship before exploding, on 27 April 1940.

After repair, in June Black Swan returned to escort duty in the North Sea, before being damaged by a mine on 1 November 1940. This time, the ship was under repair until May 1941.

On 2 April 1943, when escorting Convoy OS 45, from Liverpool to Freetown, Black Swan and the Flower-class corvette HMS Stonecrop sank the top-scoring U-boat U-124 off the coast of Portugal.

In 1943 Black Swan for a short time saw action near Iceland to provide escort against the U-Boat threat, after which she served in the Mediterranean, on Malta and Adriatic convoy protection duties. From there, Black Swan passed through the Suez Canal en route to the Asia, Far East and Pacific theatres against the Japanese forces. The ship was on active duties as far as Australia and the Philippine Islands.

At the end of hostilities in 1945 Black Swan followed the cruiser HMS Belfast into Shanghai and were the first Royal Navy warships to liberate Japanese concentration camps containing British and Empire prisoners.

In 1949 she took part in the Yangtze Incident when she, with others, went to aid of HMS Amethyst. Black Swan was scrapped in 1956 at Troon in Scotland.

More info can be read here and here.

Kit History

I’m not aware of anyone doing a kit of HMS Black Swan in any scale before. There are kits of HMS Starling out here but she was one of the modified Black Swan class. HMS Black Swan was the lead ship of the class and one of the original ships before they were modified.

Inside the box:

  • approx 109 resin parts plus a solid resin hull
  • 1 PE sheet with about 135 parts
  • 3 small PE sheets with about 9 parts
  • 1 decal sheet
  • 2 thin brass rods
  • 3 sheets of double-sided paper giving
    • 1 page of the parts layout and painting guide
    • 5 pages of build instructions over 11 steps

The box is a top opening cardboard box and all the parts inside are bagged and wrapped in bubble wrap. The smaller resin parts are tightly packed in 2 small resealable bags so they can’t be damaged. The packaging is good.

The resin parts are very nicely detailed and some of the smaller parts are just that, very small. Care will be needed when removing the smaller parts from the pour stubs.

The PE frets are made from very thin PE and again, some of the parts are very fine and will need care. The level of detail made possible by the PE is very high and will make for an excellent model.


The instructions are good and lay things out well. The first page of the 6 pages is a parts layout so you can find the parts you need. It’s handily laid out starting with 1 at the top left to the highest numbered parts at the bottom right.¬†There’s a painting guide on the bottom of this page.

The other pages cover the 11 build steps of the build. PE parts are numbered inside a square box and resin parts are numbered inside a rounded box. Each step is nicely drawn and labeled and it seems clear what is needed. Rigging is not shown.

Since the pom-pom antiaircraft gun is included this will build the ship as she was after May 1941. However, if you want to do a bit of research you can swap out the pop-pom for 20mm AA guns to build her prior to this date.

Paint & Decals

The colours are called out in Life Colour paints and also named. There are  2 colour images of the ship and these are good enough to show you all you need to know to paint the ship.

There is a decal sheet for the ship that contains Royal Navy ensigns and draft marks.

This kit is not for beginners because as it’s a resin kit and you need to take care to avoid inhaling the dust. Also, it has many small parts and a high PE part count for a ship of this size. However, this is a nicely detailed kit and you will end up with a spectacular model of HMS Black Swan that you will not see anywhere else.

The kit is available from our online store here.

Paul Tosney – Editor
ModelBuilder International
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