HMS Westminster

  • move
Type 23 Frigate HMS Westminster
HMS Westminster (F237) is a Type 23 'Duke Class' Frigate belonging to the Royal Navy. She was launched on the 4th February 1992 and was the eighth of her class. There is not a great deal of information available about her deployments prior to 2004, when she was assigned one of the Royal Navy's first Merlin Mk.1 helicopters. She has then predominantly been deployed around the Far East as well as off the coast of Libya in 2011. Photo for discussion purposes only
Trumpeter 1/350 – Type 23 Frigate HMS Westminster
The kit depicts the ship prior to its 2009 refit, where the 'Kryten' turret was fitted as well as new 30mm guns that could be controlled indirectly.

First look in the box is promising with a small etched fret alongside some well molded sprues. For me, the kit was missing the railings, which circumnavigate the entire ship. There is only one alternative, which is to buy the update set from White Ensign Models, which is a kit within itself. This set has all the railings as well as replacement etch for the kits etch. WEM also manufacture a “Kryten” turret in resin, although they had none in stock when I ordered the etch set, so I went for the pre-2009 build.

I started with the hull, which comprises two halves as well as a two part bulbous bow. The hull halves go together perfectly, but there are some large gaps when the bulbous bow parts are added. Despite numerous dry fitted attempts I could not negate the gaps. So it was out with the Mr Dissolved Putty and away with the gaps. The build continued with the deck, which went on perfectly with only a small amount of Tamiya Extra Thin Cement. I purposefully left the flight deck off because I wanted to add the netting that is prevalent over the two aft openings. Having found some etch from the Spares Box, I then found the relevant parts in the WEM set!! Once fitted the area under the flight deck was primed and painted, before the deck was glued on.

I managed to beat the carpet monster three times with some of the very small parts pinging off, one even striking me in the face first. I shaved off all the raised locating marks because I found the parts didn't sit well.

On the underside of the hull my propeller shafts were warped, which did have me a little concerned. However the two locating holes straightened them out, as did the supporting strut in between them. I purposefully left the propellers off, as I wanted to paint them separately for adding later. On this subject there is an interesting photo of a 'Duke Class' in dry dock showing that not all the shaft is painted red. Photo for discussion purposes only

I didn’t bother with the white lines as they were in the “Too hard to do tray”!! Having said that, if I build another one, I would definitely add them.

All the remaining fixtures and fittings were added to the deck; with everything left to dry before sanding of the bow took place.
I continued with the kits instructions, adding the additional parts on the bow deck. There are two small masts fore and aft, which are for the Union Jack and White Ensign respectively. I purposefully did not fit them as they are removed once away from port, and this model represents a ship at sea. There are two molded on chains for the anchors, which I scraped off using a chisel and then replaced using very fine chain (44 links per inch) from my spares box. It gives a much better look than the kit molded on details, and is more 3D than flat etch chain.

With the hull complete, I then began work on the superstructures and their various fittings. Lifebuoys, radar, railings around radars as well as photo etch ladders and additional deck extensions were built and placed in a box for safety.

At this point I found out just how soft the Trumpeter etch in the kit was, especially when compared to the WEM etch. I found that when I attempted to build up the Foremast assembly with the etch yardarms and etch foretopmast lattice, I was unable to hold it, without stopping the etch from bending under the slightest pressure. Eventually I managed to get the Foretopmast fittings glued onto the Foremast, at which point I ordered the WEM etch set. Once this set arrived I used some debonder to remove the kit etch and then added the WEM etch, which went on a lot better, although it did require CA glue and activator.

The Forward superstructure was built up as per the instructions, but I decided to add something extra. The molded on windows were opened up initially with a drill and then cleaned up with a file. The bridge interior was painted and a number of 1/350 “crew” were added. Additional crew were planned to go onto the bridge wings as well as other parts of the ship.

The instructions suggested adding all the parts onto the Forward Superstructure prior to painting, but there is a fair amount of masking that is required when painting, so I left them off and painted them separately. The bridge extensions were added and painted along with the superstructure. All the remaining small parts were painted at this point and then placed into a box to keep the dust off them, as well as to keep them safe. Just as I think it’s a great reference picture I’ve added a photo I found of the Harpoon missile launchers. Photo for discussion purposes only

About the Author

About Toby Knight (toby2282)


very nice Toby!
SEP 27, 2015 - 04:56 PM
excellent work Toby
OCT 01, 2015 - 03:10 AM
Great build article. Very nice work on the finish.
OCT 01, 2015 - 03:33 AM
Thanks for posting this - i am about to embark down the same route and read your article with interest - especially the comment about not having a Lynx Helicopter. erm, it did, it had one embarked immediately after launch, i know because i was part of the flight as the Merlins still weren't ready and fully operational with the appropriate numbers This is the frustrating part i have only found with the model, it has a girly merlin helo ;-)
AUG 14, 2016 - 02:57 PM
Great work, I have the 1/350 HMS Monmouth and WEM Etch set, the Merlin looks sweet on her stern. Cheers.
SEP 30, 2017 - 01:29 PM