by: David J. Salvin [ ]
This is my first look at an Admiralty Modelworks resin kit... All I can say is that it isvery impressive. The detailing rivals that of the best injection molded kits of the latest tooling from Japan.
This kit includes all resin parts, photo etch frets for radar, railing, 20mm AA guns, and also includes turned brass barrels for the main guns as well as for the masts. Admiralty even included an extra brass rod to be used all over the ship for deck and other structural supports.
The kit allows for the modeler to build either the USS Roanoke or the USS Worcester. However, unlike other kits which merely give you a basic form and expect you to make the appropriate changes or even scratch build the changes you need; this kit actually comes with two sets of parts where changes between the ships are necessary.
Admiralty even included two complete bridge parts, one for each version of the ship. Considering the only change is the small wings on the one bridge, it was very nice for Admiralty to redo the entire bridge, rather than have the modeler try and fit the wings onto a bridge or try to cut them off another.
The level of dedication to achieving a good result is seen throughout this kit.
The main superstructure is molded to the deck and the deck planking is a bit over scale for my tastes, but is executed as cleanly and crisply as Iíve ever seen it done. My only concern is that with all the excellent detail such as hoses, hatches and doors covering the superstructure, it may be difficult to cleanly mask the superstructure to airbrush the teak deck. (A small price to pay for such exquisite detail.) I have never seen hoses done so well at this scale. In fact itís rare to see hoses along the superstructure at all until you get into 1/350.
The deck work has scribing for the location of major deck structures. This is a feature that most modelers will very much appreciate as it eliminates the guess work as to exactly where to locate items along the deck.
As with the bridge, one of the funnels varies between the Roanoke and the Worcester, so Admiralty included three stacks. One common to both ships and the second in two versions. Again, why make the modeler scratch build and risk an imperfect outcome when you can include both. Again, nicely done Admiralty.
As can be seen in the accompanying pictures, the resin pouring leaves little, if any, over pour. The smaller items like the turrets are done on a resin wafer rather than a fret. The fact that the wafer is really paper thin makes removal and sanding of the turrets easy, and doesnít distort the turret or cause a divot as you would see if molded on to a fret from one side.
The main turrets (all six of them) are perfectly molded with doors and details aplenty. Although Admiralty molded on the hand holds on the side of the turrets used as a ladder to climb to the top. PE probably should have been used to get a more appropriate scale. The hand holds are not easily cut off due to the proximity of other vital details.
Discerning modelers will appreciate the fact that the turrets are already drilled to receive the main gun barrels done with turned brass. No more micro-drilling and hoping you hit the center of the plastic barrel you had to chop off to switch out to brass barrels. (Very nice) Also, the gun elevations are fixed. While some might regret not being able to change the elevation of the guns, in this scale and with this many main guns so close to one another, the chances of getting one or two not perfectly aligned is very high. Again, the idea is to get a good outcome, so fixing the elevation means that all the turrets will look straight and the modeler will have a very professional look when finished.
Molding on the smallest parts is what sets this kit apart. The twin Mk 33 3Ē AA guns are extremely well done, again rivaling aftermarket products usually designed to replace the poorly done guns which accompany most other kits. Here, they are finely done in resin with only a small amount of flex at the extreme tip of the gun barrel. This might have been avoided with the use of PE to replace the resin at this point, but it is a small complaint.
Overall the resin casting in this kit sets a standard well above those from the likes of Com-Brig and light years ahead of Midship Models. This resin kit is indeed in a class by itself. It leaves me wishing Admiralty had a larger collection of ships to choose from.
Whether its instructions in Japanese or resin kit instructions that just donít give you any details, instructions are always the weak point in most kits. This kit is the exception. Here, the instructions are clear and concise, and provide actual pictures of the parts and their sub-assemblies in a logical order. They actually show you exactly where everything goes! (Go figure) This includes ready ammo boxes, ladders and railings.
The instructions start out by instructing the modeler in the necessities of working with resin such as washing all parts in soapy water before working them. A very nice touch. From start to finish, the instructions are written with care by someone who has obviously built the model actually using the given instructions, and who has a genuine desire to have the model turn out as well as possible for modelers of all skill levels.
Following pages include a full diagram of all parts included in the kit with the part numbers (even though the part numbers are also on the frets in many cases) Very helpful in case the parts get mixed up or take off the frets and you forget what is what.
Arrows clearly show where all the decals are to go and even where all the PE ladders and railings are to go. This is a huge help in more easily building both a well-built and accurate model. What is even nicer is when the instruction calls for a piece of brass wire to be used say for hose reels or supports, they actually tell you how long to cut the piece!
How many times have you been frustrated by having to guess at the right length of a small brass rod piece only to have to go back and cut again and again to ease into the right length. Not here. In fact, not only do the instructions give you the exact length to cut the brass rods, they also give you the exact length to cut the stretched sprue used to make the antennae all over the ship. However, the instructions give lengths for the brass rod, for instance, 3.55 mm....Now come on, after half a millimeter Iím just guessing, 3.55 mm gets into the hundredths of a millimeter...I canít see the difference in hundredths of a millimeter between two pieces, and I certainly donít have the tools to measure with that degree of accuracy! (And I call myself a 1/700 modeler) While I appreciate the detail, next time, just round it off to 3.5mm and make that length work on the kit.
NOW, FOR THE FEATURE I HAVE NEVER EVER SEEN IN ANY KIT OF THIS TYPE
Rigging Instructions! I could just cry.... How many times have we been left to guess at how a particular ship was rigged? How many hours have we spent pouring over old black and white photos of WWII ships to squint and try to make out the rigging which is inevitably too small to be seen in most photos? Here it is. Actual rigging instructions! A whole page a rigging instructions. Why canít other companies make it this easy for us?
Absolutely stunning resin details which will excite and challenge the master modeler, but in a builder-friendly kit with truly helpful and detailed instructions and thoughtful construction techniques which will make this kit an excellent starter for any level of modeler looking to start in on a resin kit.
Ok, there have to be a few small weak points, right? (I am very picky...)
1. The deck planking is a bit out of scale for my tastes.
2. The AA guns. While they are stunning, and the best resin on the market, they suffer from the physics of not being able to pour resin that small and maintain perfectly straight gun barrels. ( In my opinion, should have been done in PE or brass barrels)
3. Instructions give painting details including actual paint chips which are really nice. However, they donít actually give you a full color picture of the ship to show you exactly where the teak decks start and stop, and whether there are any teak decks above the main weather deck.