Inbox - British Light Fleet Carrier HMS Colossus 1944-1946

Kit: British Light Fleet Carrier HMS Colossus 1944-1946
Manufacturer: Imperial Hobby Productions,
Kit no: IHP 7001
Scale: 1:700
Status: iniection model
Decal options: 2 x UK

Polska wersja tekstu

Sometimes it happens that an announcement of the new model kit provokes extremely irresponsible modelers reactions, aimed at acquiring the desired set against all and all. It happened in the case when I found out that Imperial Hobby Productions was planning to release an injection model of the British aircraft carrier HMS Colossus in a 1/700 scale. I ordered the kit immediately and then waited patiently to collect the appropriate funds to make the appropriate purchase. 

Because the model first had to be released by the manufacturer, it took several months since the time of the order until the time of purchase, but thanks to this I could also take a look at the manufacturer. Imperial Hobby Productions is headquartered in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, USA.  The manufacturer has so far mainly been involved in the production of models and modelling accessories addressed to railway modelers, but the 1/700 naval modelling was no stranger to it. In fact, the manufacturer's offer includes a lot of 1/700 3D printed accessories that allows building ship models that did not leave the design studio eg. Lion-class battleships  or Lexington-class battle cruisers. Now the manufacturer has decided to extend its offer with classic, complete injection models, and the first is the model of the British light aircraft carrier HMS Colossus.

The model finally landed on my desk. The first thing that caught my eyes is the way the model is released, characteristic of resin kits or conversions. A solid cardboard box decorated with several stickers. The first of them, adorning the lid of the box, enjoy the eyes with a beautiful boxart by Dale Byhre with our hero in the foreground, accompanied by escort ships and planes. It resembles  the unrepentant Master Adam Werka’s painting works a bit.

(photo: Allegro.pl)

It is worth to recall here the cover of “Mały Modelarz” from 1968 showing Arromanches or de facto HMS Colossus. Returning to our kit’s boxart, in addition to the beautiful graphics, it contains basic information about the model, that it presents a 1944-1946 years version of the ship with an open battle bridge,  that the kit does not contain aircfaft miniatures and that in addition to the eponymous HMS Colossus we can execute the model of the twin HMS Venerable. Smaller stickers with graphics are located on the sides of the box, and on the back there is a sticker with standard information that the manufacturer must put in order to sell his product. We can also read that plastic model elements were manufactured in China. Now we really need to look into the box.


The sprues are very decently wrapped in plastic bags, only the halves of the hull are placed on top. After closer inspections, it is indeed possible to get the impression that Chinese producers actually participated in the producing of the kit. However, it is none of the Trumpeter or Flyhawk giants, although you can – looking at the molds - get such an impression. As the manufacturer assures, the forms and parts were made by a little-known company, whose name for understandable reasons is left for itself, and I did not press. The Chinese, however, knew  well how to do the job, because the final effect makes a very good impression.


The model was developed as "easy to build", therefore if someone who expected such a number of elements as in Flyhawk or Fujimi models, may feel disappointed. The kit consists of four injection sprues and several separate components mainly components of the hull. This does not mean, however, that we are dealing with some heavily simplified kit that is impossible to make a realistic miniature of this beautiful ship. The quality of the sprues is very good, there are no cavities, pusher traces are found in invisible places, and there are some trappings, but not on the details of the model, only on frames, and there they can be.

The hull consists of six essential components – two main halves, a stern section and three decks – flight, boat and forcastle ones. The whole thing makes a very positive impression, especially the amount of details recreated on the sides and decks.

Many models in 1/350 scale do not have as sophisticated recreation of the hull texture as this one, and everything is confirmed in the iconographic material. In terms of conformity with the original, I have nothing to complain about it.

If we realize that the hull can be fitted without glue and everything gets perfectly together, then what do you want more? You may theoretically complain the starting deck because of the lack of lifts and that the arrestor wires are molded as raised lines on board. Well, the manufacturer could work out these details, but was it then suitable for the "easy to build" model? Well, I don't know.

The other details of the model have been arranged on four sprues, on which we will find everything that is necessary the hull will take the shape of one of the most beautiful aircraft carriers ever built. The island is an essential lump attached to one of the sprues, which we will glue around with quite a lot of details and then fasten it to the deck.

The manufacturer included a large number of elements to be glued on the boards of our miniature, so there are sponsons and other details necessary to install on the sides, rescue equipment and armament. Most of these details are to be mounted by a push, you may imagine yourself that glue is needed only to keep the whole thing together. Relating to the sponsons, it is worth noting that they have a marked interior design in the form of triangular supports. The same is with the rescue rafts. They are made as a kind of modules, but the texture of each raft is the quality of the details resembles what the producers of resin models get. The same is true in the case of lifeboats and motorboats.

The ships that entered service at the end of World War II were characterized by quite complicated mast designs on which there were quite a few radar and radio equipment, etc. Colossus-class aircraft carriers are no exception here, the high point of the superstructure – the island - has two masts with a lot of equipment on them. A total of a dozen elements are included, we may use them to build our miniature without fear – only a small number of parts requires valorisation. The armament is also carried out at a very high level, it may be used in the construction of our miniature, you may also valorize it by replacing barrels, or even replacing all the gun amplacements.


Decals contain markings for two ships, HMS Colossus and HMS Venerable as well. However, we find here only markings that we will stick on the flight deck. A definitely lack of flags and draft marks is sticking out. The decal sheet was printed in Canada.

Instructions,  like the box, resembles what the producers of resin models do. A number of A4 sheets printed out on a computer printer stapled together. However, keep in mind that this is just instructions and the content is more important than the graphic design. Here, however, is everything that is needed to go through the construction process in a stressless way. The first page is a replay of the graphics from the top of the box, this time in a black and white version and with a history note  of Cilossus-class carriers. The second page includes notes from the series "before the start of construction...". Then there are assembly drawings, very legible, and in doubtful situations  - with a brief note that comes with help. I always liked such an approach in the case of American producers.

The instructions also include a paint scheme, very similar to those we have already known from Trumpeter, Hobby Boss or Merit models. The colour scheme is based on the palettes of Humbrol, Tamiya, Vallejo and Colourcoats. The colours correspond to the configuration of both ships from 1946.

Summing up the debut of Imperial Hobby Productions as a manufacturer of injection models, we should describe as a strong entrance. The company entered the market with a very original and interesting subject, and the model turned out to be a very good product for both beginners and those who even from seemingly simple sets build extremely detailed replicas. This kit is adequate for both groups. It is confirmed by the incredible popularity of this model, also in Poland, where the first batch was sold out on the spot. It remains to congratulate the producer on the approach to the subject and its implementation. It is clear from the information I received from the manufacturer that further versions of Colossus-class aircraft carriers models are in preparation and that sets of aircrafts will be manufactured in the future (added to upcoming sets or to be sold separately) – this maybe explains the lack of crafts in the kit. The air group of HMS Colossus from 1944 to 1946 was completed with the "Corsair" fighters and Barracuda torpedo aircrafts. Which one I will set on the deck of my model I do not know yet. I know for sure that I will valorize my model accordingly to get the best final result. The model is worth paying more attention to it.

 

Marcin "Marwaw" Wawrzynkowski

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