This inbox review is of Dragon Models Limited new Royal Navy subject, HMS Liverpool, done in “Premium Edition” style, in 1/700 plastic.
“The demise of the CVA-01 carrier program and the cancellation of all but one Type 82 destroyer, left the Royal Navy with a potential situation where it would be seriously lacking in any effective form of defense against air attack. The fleet air defense provided by the carrier’s fighters, and early warning aircraft would soon disappear, and the limitations of the Sea Slug surface-to-air missile aboard the “County” Class ships were already recognized.
In these circumstances, it was vital to get the new Sea Dart missile into service as soon as possible, so that it would be available in the mid-1970’s, when it was expected that the last of the carriers would have paid off” (Royal Navy Destroyers Since 1945, September 1994, Leo Marriott)
Even the British heads of government saw the need for a new destroyer to fill the anti-aircraft void, but, as with most bureaucracies, severe restriction was placed against the new designs carrying a cost of about 11 million pounds per vessel. . .the result, is the Type 42 Destroyer, and hence, the subject of this review.
Last September, DML introduced their HMS York kit, the long bowed version, Type 42C Batch Three design. This new version of the HMS Liverpool compares greatly with the York kit, with kit sprues “B” and “C” being identical in each kit (although certain kit-parts are used/omitted for each design), and only a few differences in the “A” sprue, as well. We’ll take a closer examination of these likes and differences in the coming paragraphs.
Keeping true with the “Premium Edition” style, this version carries a dedicated photo-etch upgrade fret, a newly designed Cartograf decal, and also a newly tooled, more accurate, 4.5 inch gun mount, than the original kit release had. So with this said, lets take a closer look!
The Kit, Box, and Contents
The kit comes to the modeler packaged in the typical DML style, in a medium weight, top lidded style cardboard kit box, with a colorful artist rendering of the vessel on the front, with the enclosed kit features listed on the box sides.
Opening up the box, you will find inside four separately sealed clear plastic bags containing the kits parts, sprues A, B, and C, as well as the specially carded “Premium Edition” goody bag with the photo-etch and Cartograf decal securely attached to it. At the very bottom, you will find the kit’s instruction manual, just calling to you to get busy building!
There are 128 plastic parts total, molded in light gray, Dragon plastic, with no flash apparent on any parts at this time. Molding is clear and clean throughout, with no signs of dimples or warping on any of the larger molded parts. Let’s now take a more detailed breakdown of each sprue in the kit!
Sprue “A”, Deck, Hull, and Superstructure(s)
The first sprue that we will examine is the “A” sprue, which holds the upper hull, main deck, and superstructure assembly parts. All but six of the parts on this sprue will be used in the construction of the Type 42 Batch Two vessel. . .the unused parts are meant for the Batch One and Three versions.
The upper hull is designed and engineered in a one piece mold, (thankfully!) which means less seams, less putty, and less chance of an unsightly fit problem that needs tackled. Hull sides are clean and clear, no warping or dimpling present on this sample.
Except for the flight deck and a forward most small section of the forecastle, the upper deck and details are molded as part of the upper hull assembly (very nice!), again, less seams = less putty. Deck detailing is good, although there’s not much of it, mostly because of the actual ships design, no fault of DML’s engineers. There are two individual breakwaters on the Batch Two vessels (to help rectify the problem of the Batch One vessels, who were known to be quite wet because of their short bow design), consisting of a fore-angled break at the front of the 4.5 inch gun mount, and a second breakwater between the gun and missile mounts. Raised guidelines are molded onto the main deck for easy superstructure placements. At the bow end, deck details include three twin bollard plates, and a single set of closed chocks, as well as the gun and missile mount base plates. At the stern, an additional two bollard plates are shown.
The separate forecastle part (A-42) carries decent detailing, showing two twin bollards, four chocks, and anchor chain moldings.
Oddly, and interestingly, the instructions don’t mention the inclusion of a waterline base plate (although I never use ‘em anyhow!) or the option of building this as a waterline version, and low and behold, on the sprue is a waterline base plate! Regardless, the option is there if you wish. . .
There are two separate superstructure assemblies for this kit, one spans from the bridge to the mainmast, and the second is for the aft helo hangar. Note that the bulkheads are molded as a separate kit part, probably due to the large amount of detailing included on the bulkheads themselves. Ports and portholes, vents, louvers, doors, hatches, ladders, and piping are some of the super-detailing present here. The downside of this though, is again, more seams to worry about hiding!
Superstructure deck detailing is quite good as well, including life raft canisters, and multiple base plates for radar, radomes, and masts. Again, no flash apparent here.
Sprue “B”, Weapons and Fittings
The “B” sprue provided in this kit is identical in both the Liverpool and York kits, although each kit uses a different set of kit parts from the sprue, respectively. . .about half of these parts will be used on this vessel (less if you use the photo-etch enhancements). The Lynx helo is by far the nicest detailed part on the sprue, great window and side fitting details, although the panel lines are a bit deep for my tastes. . .the plastic rotors supplied with the kit are too thick as ell, BUT, we have some nice brass ones on the PE set to replace these! Other details of note on this sprue are the main radar (kind of chunky, but we have a brass one as well!), fire control radar units, radomes, boats, rafts, small gun mounts, torpedo tube mounts, anchors, ventilators, and other assorted small deck fittings and details. All parts here are well molded, clear and clean, good detail, but take note, that some of these parts are available as well in the brass photo-etch sheet provided, which will highly enhance the detail and accuracy with their usage.
Sprue “C”, Lower Hull, steering/propulsion fittings, and stand
This parts sprue contains the lower hull section, propulsion/steering fittings, and the kits supplied display stand. Taking a look at the lower hull first, molded specifically for Batch One and Two versions of the Type 42, the hull is clean, and clear of any warping and dimpling. There are two sets of bilge keels on each side, nicely molded, as well as the distinctive sonar dome in the lower hull. A small centerline keel rounds out the details on the lower hull.
Other fittings on this sprue include the propulsion system, which is the screws, shafts, and shaft supports, finely molded with nice detail, and also the steering system kit parts, comprised of the twin rudders, and four fin stabilizers.
The kit stand provided is of the typical variety, consisting of the base, two support arms, and the nameplate (which reads “HMS York”. . .yep, this sprue is the same as in DML’s York kit). Most notably on this sprue, is the newly tooled 4.5 inch gun mount, with separate barrel, well detailed, and much more accurate than the original kit version.
The “Premium Edition” additions
Next, we’re going to go over just what makes this kit a “Premium Edition” kit from DML, the photo-etch fret, and the specially designed new decal sheet.
The photo-etch fret is dedicated to the HMS Liverpool kit, and includes the following:
Mainmast Aft Spar
Main and Tail Helo Rotors
Flight Deck Netting
Full Deck Railing
All etching is done well, clean and crisp lines, with great detail and accuracy. This set will highly enhance both the look, as well as the accuracy of the kit subject.
Next, again exclusive to the “Premium Edition”, is the new and specially designed Cartograf decal sheet provided, with hull names and numbers for all four Type 42 Batch Two destroyers, HMS Exeter, HMS Southampton, HMS Nottingham, and of course, HMS Liverpool. A full set of deck markings are included, flight deck markings, safety and warning lines, and even the ships stack crests are included on this sheet (very cool). Also, you will find a full set of Helo markings, two white ensigns, and hull draft line markings. This set will greatly complement your finished build, and dress it out accordingly, overall, a very concise set of markings.
Rounding out the kit, and this review, is the supplied instruction sheet, which, in typical DML fashion, is an two sided sheet folded into eight separate panels, printed in black, and blue inks. Clear instructional drawings, blow-up style, with good supporting text will make the build a snap, with the optional photo-etch notations and instructions throughout, if you do so choose to swap the kits plastic parts for the finer, brass ones. An added nice touch are the instruction boxes with special directions for each specific ship class that can be built wit this kit, as far as any removal or addition of kit parts, necessary to the specific build. Paint color scheme is furnished in Gunze Aqueous Hobby colors, Gunze Mr. Color colors, and Testors Model Master color numbers, 12 colors total.
British Warship Designs Since 1906 (1985, G.M.Stephen)
Royal Navy Destroyers Since 1945 (1989, Leo Marriott)
Highs: Unique subject matter, included photo-etch details, specially designed new Cartograf markings, all round out into a great looking model kit.Lows: The only low that I have seen at this point is the nameplate for the "York", instead of the kit subject.Verdict: Highly recommended from this modelers point of view!
About Mark R. Smith (Gunny) FROM: PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED STATES
I have been building models of all sorts all of my life, concentrating mainly on the coolest one's when I was younger, but now I focus directly on all military subjects, from armor to warships. After years of counting rivets, I put away the calipers, dial indicators, and micrometers and now just ha...