by: Todd Michalak [ ]
HMS Naiad was one of sixteen Dido Class light cruisers commissioned by the Royal Navy prior to and late into the Second World War. Of these sixteen light cruisers, five would not make it until the end of the war; the Naiad being one of these. One of the first three ships of the Dido Class commission, HMS Naiad displaced around 6800 tons fully loaded and topped out at 485 feet in length.
After commissioning in late July of 1940, the Naiad would set sail with the Home Fleet from Scapa Flow regulated to convoy support and patrols in the North Sea. HMS Naiad would go on to further convoy escort support in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. In May of 1941, she would gain the status of flagship of the 15th Cruiser Squadron in Force H based in the Mediterranean. On the 11th of March, 1942 while assigned to Force B in the Mediterranean, the Naiad had responded for interception of an enemy convoy off Tripoli, she was sent searching for a damaged Italian cruiser. This would be the undoing of the HMS Naiad. Upon returning to Alexandria, the German U-565 submarine torpedoed the Naiad amidships. Capsizing almost immediately, HMS Naiad would surrendering to the damage within 35 minutes from the attack; losing between 77 and 86 (unclear accounting of casualties) of the 668 compliment of her crew.
At first glance looking at the HMS Naiad 1940 kit from Flyhawk we see a small unassuming box colorfully decorated with art depicting the ship model contained within atop the top-opening box. From this point the unassuming part drops off. This kit actually comes in a box within box more or less. First off, the outer box can doubles as a display stand with a backdrop of the frontal box art if one so chooses. Inside the bi-fold lids to the box, we find another box along with a small blister pack with parts inside. Upon opening the secondary inner box the HMS Naiad 1940 kit is revealed. All of the parts look to be well packed making a nice visual presentation for the kit within. This seems to be a rather nicely appointed kit for the 1/700 scaling consisting of 259 styrene parts, photo etch and decals.
17 Individually packed grey styrene parts
20 Grey styrene sprues
1 Metal counterweight
1 Sheet of photo etch parts
1 Decal Sheet
1 Set of Instructions
Starting with the hull of the ship, the HMS Naiad 1940 kit comes with the option of having a full hull or waterline application. The lower hull is molded nicely and marries up to the upper hull section clean with a tight joint. The upper hull appears to have the correct bow angle and the surface details are crisp and indicative of what is seen on the original Naiad. If the waterline configuration is chosen, there is a bottom section with a metal counterweight insert provided to stabilize the upper hull.
The main deck of the ship comes supplied in two sections. The parts fit snug into the upper hull leaving no apparent gaps. The decking has been represented very well on the deck. Without knowing the exact configuration of the ribbing to the deck plating forward the breakwater at the bow, it does look to be a bit heavy in nature, but nevertheless crisply detailed.
With the kit of HMS Naiad they have nicely provided all of the superstructure sections in a specifically packaged. All of these superstructure build-ups are well defined and nicely detailed. There are no seam lines and the gate marks from the attachment points to the sprues are, for the most part, placed in locations where removal is not needed. There is one section of the upper deck where the attachment point falls in the middle of the deck itself. But this attachment point remnants are miniscule and should remove easily.
As seen with previously released kits from Flyhawk, the basic sprue layout is excellent. All of the parts a numbered clearly, crisply molded and free from flash. Flyhawk seems to have incorporated a streamline process to their 1/700 scale line of model ships. The larger sprue trees are specific to the depiction of this particular ship; however, there are several specially designed small square-shaped sprues containing the generic parts such as the Carly boats, ALOs, searchlights and ammo deck boxes seen on other Royal Navy ships. This is the streamlined packaging allows Flyhawk the luxury of having a large majority of parts individually packaged ready for future releases of Royal Navy ships of all kinds. While some of the attachment points on these axillary parts look to be large, careful removal will render parts that have an amazing amount of detailing for this scale. There are thirteen of these 1.5 inch by 1.5 inch sprues contained in this kit making up the bulk of tiny additions to the kit. One of the more notable of these sprues for me is the crispness of the parts for constructing the 2-pounder Mark VIIIs and .50 Vickers AA guns. These guns molded in 1/700 scale are cleaner than most 1/350 scale kit offerings from what I can see. The possibility for barrel replacement is one option is there as well as attempting to drill out the barrels individually for a slightly more realistic look.
The largest sprue in the kit contains davits, gun platforms, range finders, breakwater and the two funnels for the ship. The funnels have some nice surface detailing to them; however, the caps are not open to allow for the hollow looking appearance. This can be achieved easy enough if so desired, by removing the centers, install the caps followed with small diameter rod for the inner piping.
The four remaining sprue trees contained in this set and are similar in nature to the small square generic sprue in that they can be added to several different Royal Navy ships. There are two different GB07 sprue trees contained in this kit, first one includes the QF 5.25 Mark I barrels and base mounts and the second contains the turrets themselves. The GB08 contains the triple torpedo launchers as well as the small Jolley boats for the ship. Both the torpedo tubes and launches are highly detailed. The H sprue contains winches and the delicately molded props and shafts for the ship.
Sprue A and B are the masts for the Naiad. These two sprues are separately packaged in a small blister pack partially for protection and in part for individualized packing of future kits. The masts are delicately made using slide-mold processing which renders a higher level of detailing. The only down side to the process is the attachment points especially in this scale. It would be best to take the extra time and care when removing these parts form the sprue.
One item Flyhawk has made a point in adding to their ship kits is a full complement of photo etch parts. This kit contains a nicely appointed set of photo etch including railings, ladders and stairs, radar and extremely delicate support brackets for various platforms. Included as well are four photo etch anchor chains. While flat in appearance, certainly would look the part once installed.
This kit contains a small decal sheet. This includes four ensign flags; two square and two designed to look as if they are waiving in the wind.
Flyhawk supplies a four-page, thirteen step instruction manual for this kit. The pages for the instruction are in a different configuration than typically seen with most kits whereas the each page is 7 x 20.5 in size. The drawings are in an exploded and 2D format with many key points including the photo etch are colored to make seeing and positioning easier. The painting and marking guide to the kit is located on the fourth page of the instructions. Color references for Mr. Hobby and Tamiya are given and the camouflage guide is in full color. The final section to the instructions shows how to manipulate the kits box into a display stand if so desired.
Flyhawk appears to have taken a firm grasp on detailing of their 1/700 scale ship models. The HMS Naiad 1940 kit is presented beautifully in the packaging and the layout to the parts is done extremely well. While some of the attachment points are large, which is kind of difficult to escape due to the scaling or the parts, all of the parts are finely detailed and molded with high quality. The added bonus of a complete set of photo etch parts to accommodate the kit is always welcomed. There are two minor issues I would make note of, one being the funnel caps not having a more hollow appearance and the 5.25 Mark I barrels, although nicely molded, do not have hollowed out muzzles. Drilling the barrels out is a quick and easy fix or the purchasing of aftermarket brass barrels in this scale the other.
The MSRP for this kit, of around $64.00 US, is just that, a "suggested retail price". A quick search around can find the kit for much less and in most case half that cost. At a price of around $30 to $35 US, this kit is an exceptional value for the quality and quantity you get inside the box!
Flyhawk Models seems to just be getting better and better, and in my opinion sits at the top of the pile when it comes to 1/700 scale styrene ship offerings. The details are amazing in this scale, the appointments to the kit are plentiful and the subject matter is very pleasing. I highly recommend the HMS Naiad 1940 to anyone; especially those interested in Royal Navy Cruisers.