By now you have seen the components for the re-release of the Airfix HMS Repulse under the name of Frog. (Click for review of the Frog/Airfix Repulse) The first question is Ö. does the Repulse interest you enough for you to purchase the kit. If so then there is another questionÖ.do you want to dramatically improve the finished model through the use of the White Ensign Models brass photo-etch fret designed specifically for the Airfix Repulse.
White Ensign Models brass photo-etch fret WEM PE 620 was produced in 1999 in order to provide detailed brass fittings for the Airfix Repulse. It is designed to accomplish two missions. First, it provides replacement parts for some of the plastic parts provided in the kit. Second, it provides a great number of highly detailed supplemental parts to take the Airfix Repulse to a level of detail not possible for the kit as provided in the box. Should you consider acquiring WEM PE 620? The answer to that question depends upon the purpose of your build of the Repulse.
Who Can Use This Fret?
However, if you are building the kit for competition, youíll need the fret. If you are building the kit with the intent of producing the best possible model, to replicate in miniature as reasonably as possible the HMS Repulse, then youíll need this fret. Or if you want to just have an enjoyable build and have as the end result a striking model, then you could very well use this fret.
The plastic crane arms are indeed open but the bracing is far too thick and the plastic crane bases are solid. With the photo-etch fret cranes the arms and bases are each one piece that is folded to create the four-sided part. With the brass parts you really get a striking piece. Armament replacement is one of the key benefits of this fret. This benefit is in the replacement of the light AA pieces as the brass parts are so much better. The Repulse carried three eight-barreled pom-poms. The Airfix kit provides two parts for each pom-pom. They lack detail and donít quite capture the right look. With the WEM pom-poms the part count goes to eleven for each mount. Parts are relief etched and really pump up these little beauties. There is an even bigger jump in quality with the quad Vickers machine-guns. The WEM quad mounts are small gems, each of which has seven parts. The plastic Oerlikons arenít too bad. The barrel is a little thick but the real deficiency is the gun shield, which is far too narrow. You may wish to use the WEM 20mm guns entirely or as an alternate, use the conical plastic bases with brass gun and shielding.
The mainmast starfish is a major extravaganza with the WEM brass. Twelve brass parts replace the one plastic part with open starfish arms and crisp triangular supports underneath. There is also eight additional support parts for the control top on the forward tripod. Where the main deck breaks to the quarterdeck, the Repulse carries a distinctive twin inclined ladder on each side running from the quarterdeck to a platform attached to the main deck. With the bendable foot-treads the White Ensign Models replacements are light years ahead of the solid ladders that are part of the main deck of the Airfix kit. On top of the hangar there are two large latticework large boat support frames. They are solid on the kit piece but WEM gives you the correct open frame parts. All you have to do is remove the solid frame with a hobby knife, sand the deck smooth and add the brace pieces. It will clearly make a big difference in the finished kit.
If you intend to seriously model HMS Repulse with the Frog/Airfix 1:600 scale kit, this fret ranks as a mandatory acquisition. Measuring 7 1/8-Inches by 4 Ĺ-Inches it has everything you need to deck out one of the last battlecruisers. With the judicial mix of parts to replace the less detail or overly thick plastic parts, along with a great number of new parts to enhance and amplify the detail and accuracy of the kit, WEM PE 620 has everything the modeler needs for this Airfix classic.