Airfix 1/600 HMS Ajax








Scott Van Aken


Full Hull


The HMS Ajax was one of three light cruisers that managed to best the German 'pocket battleship' Graf Spee in the Battle of the River Platte in December of 1939. One of the Leander class of light cruisers, she was joined by here sister ship, the Royal New Zealand Navy's Achilles, and the Royal Navy's Exeter in the operation of hunting down and finally besting the German ship.

It was thanks to the Fairey Seafox observation aircraft  from the Ajax (which provided proper gunnery informations) that the Graf Spee was able to be damaged so badly after she foolishly came within range of the British guns. None of the other combatants were able to launch their aircraft as they had been damaged during the early gunfire exchanges.

The Ajax spent the rest of her Royal Navy career with the Mediterranean Fleet. She was refitted in the US during 1943. In 1948 she was scrapped at Newport News in the US. Her sister ship, the Achilles was transferred to the Indian Navy in 1948 and renamed the Dehli.  During the making of the movie 'Battle of the River Platte' in 1956, Achilles was still around and used in the film. The Exeter was, unfortunately, sunk by the Japanese at the Battle of the Java Sea in 1942, while the Ajax was broken up in 1949


Those of you who have built Airfix ship kits will find this one quite 'normal'. Basically they are all full hull and have the hull split in right and left sides. The main deck fits between the hull parts and the rest is built up from there. It is not a complicated kit at all and can be enhanced with the myriad etched brass items that are so common nowadays.

The molds themselves are in good shape with very little flash. There are sink marks atop all the turrets and various lifeboats/launches as well as on the funnel sides. Detailing is good and all is raised. Strangely, all the hull portholes are raised. This will make drilling them out rather difficult as they will have to be first marked and then sanded down.

Gun barrels are separate on this kit and could stand to be drilled out, though it will take some patience as 1/600 6" guns are rather small! A small Seafox is supplied and is adequate for the scale, though really just a generic biplane floatplane!

No flags are supplied so those will have to come from another source. The instructions are a 'modernized' version of the older sheet. As is now typical for Airfix kits, no generic color names are given, only Humbrol numbers. For those of us who cannot get Humbrol paints this is really unacceptable and I wish Airfix would get its act together in this regard.



Another nice reissue of an old favorite and for those who don't want to fork over major money on a resin kit, the only real option for having a model of this famous British warship.

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