White Ensign Models 1/350 HMS Starling Kit First Look
By Michael Taylor
|Date of Review||September 2006||Manufacturer||White Ensign Models|
|Kit Number||K3560||Primary Media||Resin, White Metal, Photo-etch|
|Pros||Excellent castings, engineering, & instructions||Cons|
|Skill Level||Intermediate||MSRP (USD)||$150.00 (Approx)|
HMS Starling was built by Fairfield Shipbuilders and Engineering Ltd, Govan and Launched on 14 October 1942. She was completed based on the design of the Black Swan class of Escort Sloop but modified with better equipment and a slightly wider beam. She also had the new addition of stabilizers which made her a good AA platform-ideal for her role as an anti-aircraft/anti-submarine escort.
Starling was completed in April 1943 and became leader of the 2nd Escort Group under the command of Captain F. J. Walker. Captain "Johnnie" Walker was probably the most proficient anti-submarine tactician of the war, and under his command Starling had a distinguished wartime record being involved in, or responsible for, the sinking of at least sixteen U-Boats.
Six of the U-Boats were sunk in the space of one month from 31 January through 19 February 1944. This included the capture of the crew of U-264 commanded by Harwig Looks. This U-Boat was the first to use the new schnorkel device. Sadly Captain Walker died of a stroke on 9 July 1944 at the age of 48, but his achievements will always be remembered.
HMS Starling survived the war and, in 1948, had all of her armament removed. She became a Navigation Training Support Ship with the Dartmouth Training Squadron. Large deck houses were built aft replacing her gun housings and a lattice main mast was fitted to carry additional radar and communication antennas. She continued in this role until 1959 when she was placed in Squadron Reserve. She sold and sent to the breakers in 1965.
Like its stablemate the HMS Kelley the WEM HMS Starling is beautifully cast in light tan resin. All resin superstructure parts as well as upper hull have keyes cast in that ensure proper placement.
Comparison of the upper to lower hull reveals a difference in length of less than a millimeter. Again if you should choose a full hull build I'd recommend matching at the stern and dealing with the minor difference at the bow. Optional parts are provided for either a 1943/early '44 or late '44 build.
The differences are 20mm guns early/40mm guns late and slight mast/searchlight differences.
White metal castings easily compare with the best available and the photo etched sheet is as comprehensive as anyone could expect.
One thing though-I wish they'd use cast 20mm guns instead of photo etched. I know you can build up the PE guns with white glue but I still prefer the 3D guns. I'll get some from my spares.
My sincere thanks to White Ensign Models for this review sample!