White Ensign Models' 1/700 HMS Invincible 1982 Kit First Look
|Date of Review||1999||Manufacturer||White Ensign Models|
|Subject||HMS Invincible 1982||Scale||1/700|
|Kit Number||Primary Media||Resin/Photo-etch|
|Pros||Beautiful casting and detailing throughout||Cons|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (BP)||Out of Production|
I've been reading through the internet newsgroups and talking with our die-hard naval modelers and the subject of White Ensign Models (WEM) invariably comes up. WEM is synonymous with quality and service and offers their products at a fair price. We (IPMS/ASM) have had a link to WEM in our hobby links section, so I've visited their site regularly to get their latest releases captured in our online database references. I spotted an item of interest (on sale) in the form of the carrier HMS Invincible as it was fitted in 1982 for the Falklands campaign. I sent WEM an order for the Invincible and nine days later it arrived via air mail (their normal service)! I've had Squadron orders take longer than that...
In 1982, the carriers HMS Invincible and HMS Hermes, along with a large number of other naval combatants, exercised the first major power projection by the UK since the second world war. This task force, equipped with several squadrons of RN Sea Harriers, RAF Harrier GR.3s and Sea King helicopters, fought off repeated attacks by the combined Argentinean armed forces and supported the recapture of the Falkland Islands by the Royal Marines. If you check your maps, the Falklands are almost on the other side of the world from Britain, whereas they are just offshore from Argentina. This gave the Argentineans the home court advantage and stretched the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force supply lines to the extreme. The rest, as they say, is history.
The kit arrived well protected in bubble-wrap. As you can see in the above photo, the kit comes complete with a finely molded hull and flight deck in one piece. The walkways and bow fixtures are nicely molded. There was only a small crack near the top of the bow, but a small dose of cyano will take care of that. The superstructure, exhaust funnels, radomes, etc., are all molded separately. The kit comes with nine Sea King helicopters with separately molded main gear sponsons and six Sea Harriers. No Harrier GR.3s are included, but converting a couple of the Sea Harriers should be no problem.
The photo-etched frett has all of the parts/pieces you will need for this project including railings, walkways, ladders, antennas, etc. Even the rotor blades for the Sea Kings are provided on the frett.
Here is an up-close look at the ski-jump that is on the bow of the HMS Invincible. I've seen Harriers using the ski-jump at Le Bourget during the Paris Airshow and it is impressive that this simple idea can get a Harrier off the deck easier, with less fuel burned, and at heavier take-off weights than flat decks. That's probably why the Russians have a ski-jump installed on their new carrier as well.
WEM has captured the detail and lines of this impressive warship. As the box says, it is a complex model intended for intermediate-to-advanced modelers. Resin and photo-etched kits are also far more expensive than their injection-molded counterparts. While this has been the modeler's only choice for an Invincible-class carrier, Revell of Germany has an Invincible scheduled for 1998 release. The Revell offering will satisfy the entry-level modelers, but you are going to want this kit if you can work with resin and photo-etched parts. To put this in perspective, this kit was not a complimentary review copy. I paid for it and I am VERY pleased with this beauty! Stay tuned for a full build-up report.
My sincere thanks to White Ensign Models for this review sample!