Cyberhobby 1/700 Type 21 Frigate
|PRICE:||100 yuan RMB at Daliubukou|
|NOTES:||Actually closer to 1/600|
This little frigate class was made famous during the 1982 Falklands war. All but one of the class served in the conflict, and two were sunk, one of them blowing up in a colossal explosion captured by a photographer on another ship. Despite already being considered a bit old they worked very hard right at the sharp end of the British naval operations to support the landings at that ultimately resulted in the liberation of the islands from the invasion force sent there by the Argentine military dictatorship.
What’s less well known is what happened after that war. Would you believe that the surviving ships were passed to Pakistan and still serve today in that navy?
All six of the ships that survived the Falklands war were
transferred to Pakistan in the mid 1990s. Their Exocet and Seacat missile
launchers were removed, and Pakistan replaced them with more modern weapons. A
Phalanx 20mm close in defence gun replaced the old Seacat launcher at the rear
on all ships. The Exocets mounted behind the forward gun were replaced by quad
Harpoon launchers on half the fleet, and a 6-pack surface to air missile
launcher from China on the other half. This system – LY-90N – is apparently
roughly similar to the Italian Aspide SAM, itself a bit similar to the Sea
Sparrow launcher found on many NATO ships. You can see a good picture of Tippu
Sultan (ex-Avenger) with the SAM system at this link [https://en.wikipedia.org/
Five, as far as I can tell, are still in service for Pakistan. They’re named Babur (ex-Amazon), Tariq (ex-Ambuscade), Khaibar (ex-Arrow), Shah Jahan (ex-Active), Tippu Sultan (ex-Avenger). They were previously joined by the now-decomissioned Badr (ex-Alactrity). The other two, sunk in 1982, were Ardent and Antelope.
Guess what? You can build one of these Pakistan ships from this kit, because it comes with the great Dragon sprue full of spare cannons, missiles, radars, boats, and Lynx helicopters (although Pakistan flies the Alouette III off their ships). That sprue has Harpoon launchers and Phalanx CIWS on it, so you can make one of the three so equipped. With a bit of creativity you could, of course, easily also make one of the SAM equipped ships. After all, it's just a six pack box launcher.
But guess what else? The kit is the same size as the 1/600 Airfix kit. Yes, it is massively out of proportion to everything else in 1/700. A Type 21 is 117 meters long, and unfortunately that makes this kit’s hull 2.7 cm too long. Even an average modeller like me, who doesn’t care too much about dimensional precision, has to admit that 2.7 cm is a lot in a model this size.
It's worth noting that other reviews judged the kit based on measuring the hull and the helicopter, then concluding that all the parts were 1/700 on a 1/600 hull. Actually, the deckhouses and major parts match the Airfix kit too, pretty closely. So if you leave the helicopter off, you might be ok.
Unless you have a real eye for these things, you're not going to notice too much in 1/700 unless, say, you put it next to another RN ship in a diorama. Even then you'd probably want to be an expert to notice it. Alone on the shelf it's probably not such a big deal. Of course, if you build in 1/600 you can pretty much toss your 1/600 Airfix kit and use this instead.
Still, after kicking myself for not checking online, I will still build it.
Well, apart from that clanger, this is a really nice kit. Everything else you expect from Dragon is there – good moulding, plenty of parts (on that sprue I mentioned, of which you get two), and even some PE for the flight deck mesh. Decals include everything you need to do HMS Alacrity, Arrow, Ardent or Antelope.Instructions are pretty easy to follow, it seems.
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