Converting the Revell (Matchbox) 1/72 Flower Class Corvette into
a typical RCN Flower.
Stern view of the unmodified kit
Although the Revell (nee Matchbox) kit includes the option to build
a Canadian corvette, HMCS Snowberry, she is more akin to a typical British
corvette than the average Canadian example. Anyone wanting to build another
ship besides the kit options is usually limited to either a British-built
corvette, or one of the ten Canadian built, British owned, but Canadian
operated Flowers. For my own model, after an exhaustive period trying
to determine just which ship I was going to do, be it Snowberry, Jonquil
or some other, I kept coming up against details that directed me away
from my present choice.
I finally decided I wanted to make use of my new ALPS printer and do
an RCN corvette with its cartoon artwork on the 4" gunshield. But which
corvette to do? I have been busy doing up artwork for various RCN corvettes
and had many choices, however all but Snowberry and Eyebright would require
changes to their superstructure and equipment. I finally decided that
I would scratchbuild all the minesweeping gear, and if it turned out okay,
I would then convert the kit to make use of it. The M/S gear turned out
far better than I had hoped, so modification to an RCN corvette was next
in the cards. This article will cover just what is entailed in doing such
The main differences between RCN Flowers and their RN cousins are the
length of the open quarterdeck and engine room casing; location of the
2pdr bandstand and location of the galley. Lets start with the quarterdeck/engine
Quarterdeck/Engine Room Casing
Side view of unmodified kit
It was decided to fit the first 54 RCN Flowers with minesweeping gear,
consequently the stern was modified to provide increased space for the
winch,davits, floats and depth charge racks. This entailed changing the
round shape of the original stern to a squared off one on the RCN ccorvettes.
As I intend my model for R/C operation I decided to not tackle this operation.
The second method of increasing space was one that benefitted the crew
in a way not originally anticipated when the galley was resited from its
position at the extreme end of the engine room casing to directly behind
the bridge. As well as providing increased space for the M/S gear and
depth charge racks, this also drastically shortened the distance that
RCN mess attendants had to travel to pick up their meals. On early RN
corvettes the crews still had to walk all the way to the rear regardless
of the weather.
had already assembled my engine room casing (STEP 8) when I decided to
convert the kit into an RCN Flower, however it is a simple operation whether
the casing is pre-built or not. I started by drawing lines for the various
cuts based on the leading edge of the resited bandstand sitting over the
rear of the engine room skylight. I made an error in that I had scratchbuilt
a new skylight and as it was longer than the kit example, I had the choice
of pushing it forward, or backwards to rest against the original locators.
Without thinking I pushed it back and did all cuts based on this location
.. however a day later (after it was all constructed) I went back and
redid it with the skylight pushed forward. This does two things: firstly
it gives an extra 8mm of quarterdeck space (believe me, it is needed if
you build the M/S gear). Second it puts the cut exactly on the second
vertical panel line on the engine room casing. I used a new #11 exacto
blade and a steel ruler to do these cuts. Save the two pieces as they
will form the sides of the new, reduced width structure under the overhang.
After the sides were cut I turned to the deck of the casing. I started
by using a razor saw to cut off the various parts locators except for
the skylight, vents and large central hatch (shown in yellow on the illustration).
Hold the blade flat against the deck and it will cut the excess away nicely.
After sanding this down, you are ready to draw the lines for the new deck
unto it. Using the aft end of the skylight locator as the base line, draw
a line across the deck at 69mm (A), a second one at 51mm (B) and a third
at 36mm (C). Now looking at the deck from above, add a point (X) at 16mm
from the either side on line A. Connect this point to line C at the stbd
side (Y). This gives you the first diagonal cut. For the second cut, mark
off 8mm in from the port side on B (Z). Connect this point to the mark
on A. You now have a diagonal line on the stbd side and a stepped diagonal
on the port side. Cut along these lines using the exacto or a dremel rotary
Stern view showing RCN modifications
With the deck done it is time to add the structure below it. Turn the
structure over and draw two parallel lines 12mm in from either side, and
an athwartship line 17mm from the new end. The two sides you saved earlier
are now added on the 12mm lines - be sure you have them on the correct
side as it makes a difference in orientation. Cut a piece of thick styrene
(IIRC I used .040) and trace the top and bottom profile of the middle
of PART F11 to get the correct deck curvature. Remove the middle 40mm
of this and glue that to the two small sections. Use scrap to connect
this to the original sides. To complete the new section, doors are added
to both small athwartship pieces and to the rear of the stbd side. Small
triangular supports are fitted under the overhang.
One other difference between RN and RCN corvettes was the fitting of
a shelter deck at the focsle break on RCN corvettes. Cut away the slight
overhang at the fore end of the casing, and discard part E4 in STEP 153.
Replace with a solid piece of .080 or .060 styrene to cover the deck below.
I have yet to measure this exactly, so check photos of the ship you wish
to model for exact length. For now I have shown it in representational
form on the drawings above.
To fill the resulting gap in the deck I cut a piece of .080 styrene
card and fitted it into the hole. Note that you need to remove the lip
to allow the casing to sit flush.
most obvious difference between Canadian and British corvettes was in
the location of their bandstand. RN corvettes had theirs in front of the
engine room skylight, while RCN Flowers moved it to the rear of the skylight
so that they would have a wider arc of fire and not be 'wooded' by the
This is an easy operation to accomplish. Once again use the razor saw
against the deck and cut away the bandstand support. This will be glued
behind the skylight so that the leading edge of the round portion is over
the rear of the skylight, or (fortutiously) so the rear of the support
is right at the rear Lewis gun hole in the deck.The hole where the bandstand
was originally located was filled with a styrene disc cut to size.
Modified RCN galley
Eventually RN corvettes relocated the galley from the aft end of the
casing to a new structure in front of the funnel. In the kit this is STEP
88, however you can skip this step. Rather, just remove the mast socket
from PART F7 and leave some material around it to allow you to glue it
to the new galley roof. Since the galley is now superfluous, you need
to add a styrene strip to the resulting gap in front of the funnel base
Canadian corvettes had their galleys behind/below the bridge. In order
to fit above the boilers, this galley was partially above the deck line.
Therefore this will need to be scratchbuilt from styrene. Cut two side
pieces 13mm x 27mm, one rear piece 13mm x 62mm and a deck piece 27mm x
the deck piece a 1/4" hole needs to be added on the centreline 7mm from
the rear edge. The mast socket is to be affixed below this. Also note
that a small hole will need to be cut in the deck to allow the full length
of the mast to be used, or else the mast and socket need to be shortened
to fit the new galley height. Add skylight J51 (STEP 101) to this deck,
checking location from photos.
The bridge is built as per the kit instructions (or scratchbuilt as
desired), with the following changes: Discard parts M54 & J35 (STEP 39)
as new supports will be made from styrene strip. Remove the centre 62mm
from part D12 (STEP 36). The new galley is then glued between the remaining
ends of D12 against the rear of the bridge. Vertical supports are now
added from the bottom of the radar platform to the galley.
The above is a simple conversion enabling a typical RCN corvette to
be made from the Revell/Matchbox kit with the least amount of work necessary.
After completing the M/S gear and the basic RCN conversion I then went
on a search to see just what corvette I was going to build. At this point
I noticed that not one RCN owned and operated corvette carried its M/S
gear after having had its focsle extended (although many of the RN-owned,
RCN operated ones were refitted for M/S in 1944 Snowberry and Mayflower
for example). Therefore if I want my corvette to be completely accurate
I should either forgot the M/S gear if I want o have it with a long focsle,
or I shall have to convert the kit into a short focsle. I've decided on
the latter option, so watch this space for an article on doing just that.
Next month we focus on one other item specfic to RCN Flowers, a 27'
whaler kitbashed from the two 16' dinghys supplied with the kit.