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Flower Class
Corvette

Late Variant

L'Arsenal
1:400 Full Hull Kit
by
Rob Mackie


late Corvette assembled 01.jpg (26664 bytes)Flower Class corvettes were originally intended for coastal escort and mine clearing work. Derived from a whaler design, they were simple, highly seaworthy vessels that constructed in secondary yards. The dire lack of ocean escorts early in the war necessitated their being used to
screen convoys traversing the North Atlantic between Nova Scotia and the UK. This was a role for which they were ill-designed, and their crews suffered accordingly. The Flowers were wet, highly cramped and impossibly lively. Many sailors could not adjust to the exhausting routine. Compounding the misery was the inexperience of the crews, most of whom had never been to sea. But any escort was better than none at all, so the yards continued to turn out Corvettes. 120 were built in Canadian yards, and slightly more in the UK. The US, Free French and Norwegians also used Flower Class corvettes, but the overwhelming majority saw service with the Royal and Canadian navies.

The L'Arsenal 1:400th Flower class corvette (late version) is a one piece full hull resin kit. It enables the modeler to construct a number of later corvettes with the long forecastle, much enlarged navigation platform, mast located aft of the forward superstructure, improved armament , and other late war improvements. It is important to note that no two corvettes were exactly alike. Produced in many small yards and undergoing wartime overhauls, fittings and structural details varied greatly. If you are modeling a specific ship, consult your references and make the necessary modifications. The best information sources I've seen are Corvettes of the Royal Canadian Navy and the superb Anatomy of the Ship: Flower Class Corvette Agassiz. The Warship HMCS Sackville photo tour is also an excellent resource, as are the photos of US Coast Guard corvettes in the Warship photo archive

The L'Arsenal 1:400 scale kit is a very complete and professional effort. A French resin caster owned by Jacques Druel, L'Arsenal kits are characterized by thoroughness and attention to detail. Besides being flawlessly cast, the kit includes three etched brass frets, excellent decals, and painting/assembly instructions for ten (!) corvettes (two RN, two RCN, one USN (Saucy) and five Free French vessels). The hull casting is a delight to behold. Much of the bridge detail is rendered in etched brass, which is folded over the resin superstructure. This is probably the touchiest part of the buildup, but judging from the photos very effective. Similarly, detail for the engine room openings aft of the funnel is supplied on etched brass that is affixed to the hull casting. This is in contrast to some producers who cast the detail into the master. L'Arsenal's approach prolongs mold life and makes for cleaner castings free of voids. It creates slightly more work for the modeler but not enough to matter.

There isn't much I can suggest to improve this kit. There are no vertical braces on the inboard side of the deck edge bulkheads. Simulate these with plastic strip and consider thinning the bulkhead edge for a more in-scale appearance. These are the most obvious - and perhaps the only - kit fixes worth making. The etched brass railing does not utilize a bottom runner. Rather, each post must be individually glued to the deck. This is definitely more work than the Toms and GMM approach. Nevertheless, it isn't that difficult. And if you prefer the more conventional approach, use some leftover 1:350 etched brass railing. L'Arsenal's 1:400th railing is a bit heavy. Aftermarket 1:350 railing, though larger in scale, actually looks finer than the 1:400 scale L'Arsenal railing and will certainly be easier to use.

The instructions are very complete. Unfortunately for us English speakers they are in French. This should not pose a significant problem, because the drawings and paint guides are clear and obvious. Nevertheless, if you have questions, post them on the Warship Message Board. Jacques Druel checks it periodically.

This is a kit that deserves more attention from modelers. I suspect that the kit's 1:400 scale causes some builders to overlook it. 1:350 is more popular in the US and UK, and many modelers prefer a consistent scale for their collections. Hence, they ignore excellent kits such as this.  This is a mistake. The L'Arsenal 1:400 scale Corvette is a fine effort that will reward the modeler with an accurate, highly attractive replica of a Flower class corvette.

L'Arsenal kits are available in the USA from Pacific Front, or you can order direct from L'Arsenal. See the L'Arsenal product page for more information.

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Nice hull casting

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Small resin parts

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Small resin parts
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Decals and display stand
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Etched brass frets
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Instructions
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