by: Todd Michalak [ ]
IBG Models was founded in 1991 and is a manufacturer and distributor of plastic model kits based in Poland. Originally creating 1/72 scale military vehicle and armor kits, IBG has grown to offering a large line of kits and expanding the scale range from 1/72 to the 1/35 armor scales. Now, IBG Models has added 1/700 scale ship models to the growing list of kits they provide. The first two ships IBG has created are both Hunts II Class Escort Destroyers which took part in naval operations during the Second World War.
In 1939, the Royal Navy was looking for a new class of destroyer; one faster and with more armament. While looking for both speed and weaponry, compromises brought forth Hunt Class Destroyer Escort. There were a total of eighty-six Hunt Escort Destroyers built between December of 1939 and July of 1940. Of these eighty-six destroyers, twenty-three would be lost by war’s end. There were four types of Hunt Class destroyer made within the total eighty-six ships to be launched. Fourteen of these ships we regulated directly into allied navies. Three type II destroyers of the class, would find their way into the Free Polish Navy.
Hunt II Class Escort Destroyer Crossover
HMS Bedale - ORP Ślązak – (Pennant Number L26)
HMS Oakley – ORP Kujawiak – (Pennant Number L72)
HMS Silverton – ORP Krakowiak – (Pennant Number L115)
With a fully loaded displacement of 1430 tons, the Hunt II destroyers had an effective range up to around 3600 nautical miles. The Polish version was equipped with a compliment of 160 crew members. Each of the escorts had a basic armament configuration including 6 × QF 4 in Mark XVI guns on twin mounts Mk. XIX, 4 × QF 2 pdr Mk. VIII on quad mount MK.VII, 2 (4) × 20 mm Oerlikons on single mounts P Mk. III and 110 depth charges, 2 throwers, 4 racks.
Taking part in 32 patrols during the Second World War and another 104 convoy escorts, ORP Ślązak was one of eight Hunt Class vessels to take part in Operation Jubilee, otherwise known as the Dieppe Raid; a failed attempt to test the coastal defenses of the German army inflicting as much damage as they could before retreating. The attacking force consisted of around 5,000 Canadians, 1,000 British troops, and 50 United States Army Rangers. The mission was an utter failure. With losses near 60% of the attacking forces, the operation proved one valuable fact of information; “what not to do”. During the battle, ORP Ślązak was lead ship of the minesweepers upon the outset of the battle. She would go on to support the mission and eventually save soldiers of the Royal Regiment of Canada who became trapped at the beach after landing.
ORP Ślązak 1943 Hunt II Class Destroyer Escort
The ORP Ślązak 1943 Hunt II Class Destroyer Escort kit from IBG Models comes in a moderately sized, sturdy, slip-top box with a full color artist’s rendition of the ORP Ślązak on the front as she appeared in 1943. Inside the box, all of the part have been sealed within a polypropylene bags and a set of instructions.
6 – Grey colored styrene sprues consisting of 64 parts
1 – Brass photo etch sheet consisting of 38 parts
1 – Decal sheet
1 – Instructional manual
At first glance you notice how small the actual escort destroyer would have been after seeing this ship in the 1/700 scale. This Hunt II destroy kit finishes out around 12cm long. For fans of small scale destroyer, this this will not be a shock to you. There are a total of sixty-four styrene parts to this kit, with another 38 brass photo etch parts. All of the parts appear to be cleanly molded and free from flash.
This kit offers a waterline configuration for the Ślązak only. The hull has been molded smooth and does not have any plating details. There appears to be the correct number of portholes which have been molded into the hull. The main weather deck comes in two sections with molded deck features added including breakwater, bits and anchor chain. All of the deckhouses and main superstructure have been molded cleanly. There are a few mold seams that will need to be cleaned up as well as any attachment points to the sprue gates. Some with full openings where the port holes are and some partial indentations. All of the watertight doors have been molded to these structures as well.
The deck guns are a three-piece construction and have been nicely represented in this kit. I will make a recommendation of barrel replacement possibly as the barrels have a smooth taper leading out to the muzzle without a jacket line and the muzzles were not molded hollow; which can also be corrected through replacement barrels. The 20mm Oerlikons are provided in the photo etch sheet look decent and should provide a nice representation of the AA guns in the 1/700 scaling.
Also included in the provided photo etch sheet are a full complement of railings for the Ślązak along with radar, davits, supports for the side wings, two sets of stirs, anchors and the funnel cap. The fun has been represented nicely in styrene, however, the part does look a tad bit thick. Thinning of the interior sidewalls to the funnel should not be too difficult of a process and would enhance the overall look in the end.
This kit comes with a small decal sheet providing marking for the time period when this ship sailed. There are five flag decals, three Polish and to British, along with six individual pennant markings allowing the builder some options not only of who operated this ship, but possible versions of her sister ships as well.
Building the ORP Ślązak 1943 Hunt II Class Destroyer Escort
The construction of IBG Models ORP Ślązak 1943 Hunt II Class Destroyer Escort id quite straightforward. This kit comes with a thirteen step, 6-page black and white instructional manual. This manual shows construction of the styrene and photo etch parts included in this kit along with a rigging diagram and painting guide.
The first thing I noticed was that the plastic is slightly softer than a few of the other kits sold today; however, this is not too much of an issue as long as care is taken when removing the parts from the sprue trees. Special care should be taken in regards to the tiny parts as well. As you know, this is a 1/700 scale ship, so small parts are to be expected; the upside to this is that this kit is not blindly over-engineered to a point where these parts are not manageable.
The overall fit and appearance to the hull and deck pieces is nice. The fo'c's'le and main weather decks fit well to the hull. There will be a small joint that shows the entire way around where the decks meet the hull. If desired, and some patience, one could appropriately sand this joint so that the deck seamlessly meets the outer edges of the ship. All of the structures and superstructures fit well to the decks. There are mostly sunken depressions to where these parts are to be install; however, these depressions are ever so slightly larger than the parts. Attention to proper alignment should be taken.
The funnel is a one-piece mold and the kit supplies the builder with a pleasing photo etch funnel cap for the part. The funnel edges, as seen from the top, look a bit thick to me. Thinning of these edges is possible with a small file or even a hobby knife. The bridge superstructure and quarterdeck appear to be consistent with the look of the early Hunt II escorts. There are mold portholes and watertight doors to these structures adding some nice details to the ship. My only concern with these parts is the rather thick appearance to the molds. This is evident on the observation deck of the bridge and the fantail of the quarterdeck. It is possible to thin down the front edge of the bridge’s front wall on the observation deck if so desired as well as possibly sanding off the crosshatch moldings to the fantail of the quarterdeck; replacing the hatch marks with a thinner version of stretched sprue or something comparable.
The main guns construct easily but care will be need in removing the attachment points to the plastic barrels provided. I would suggest looking into 1/700 scale replacement barrels for this kit as the sanding of the gate marks can be quite tedious and with the replacement barrels you will have hollowed out muzzles without trying to drill holes yourself. There are six photo etch 20mm oerlikons provided with this kit. This particular ship consisted of between two and four, depending on the time you are trying to depict. These guns are tiny and care should be taken while making them and certainly while handling them. What is nice, there are extras. So when you destroy the first one trying to get a handle on building them, you can go ahead and make two clean versions after.
One of the hardest pieces to get bent into shape is the railing surrounding the top of the deck house forward the quarterdeck. There are relief back cuts etched into the railing; however, there is a tiny rounded section which need to be bent to follow the edge of the deck house. There is one quad mount MK.VII included in styrene with this kit. The construction is simple since there are only three parts. Looking into possible barrel replacements for this gun as well is something one might want to think about since drilling out the muzzles can be nearly impossible in this scale.
The kit supplies the full complement of railing for this ship, which is nice! The bow railings are slightly bent upwards which allow for quick installation without trying to bend the rise yourself. There are four stairs included adding detail to the deck sections once install. The outer supports to the bridge wings and aft lifeboat storage racks are also provided in photo etch adding significant detailing to the ship. The davits provided have four slots molded into the deck to where they are installed. This helps with placement and stability for the two launches which get attached to them.
Overall, the IBG Models ORP Ślązak 1943 Hunt II Class Destroyer Escort is a nice model of these small WWII destroyers. IBG has not done too badly with their first time offering of a ship model. The parts are not too hard to work with, even in this small scale, and the instructions are simple to follow along with. While there are some soft spots as I mentioned in my review above with regards to thickness of some parts and I might add detailing of the extremely tiny parts, as seen with the deck storage lockers, all in all, this is fun little kit to put together over a weekend and the final detailing should prove pleasing to most fans of these types of destroyers in 1/700 scale.
Please note – I wanted to mention there are two pieces missing from my construction of this ship for the review; the radio house antenna mast and one of the depth charge launches located on the stern. Case in point, this is why special care in handling tiny parts when modeling is crucial…the search continues!