Dean's Marine 1/96
"Flower Class Corvette"

by Ron Hillsden



I thought this kit was no longer in production for some reason, and waited for one to come up on EBay. My disclaimer is that I did not purchase this kit direct from Dean's, so I don't know how old it is. I do know it is complete as the parts trays were still sealed.

However, I paid Cdn$75 delivered to my door (GBP34, US$60, or Au$82), far less than the Cdn$288 (GBP 130.50, US$225, or Au$315) plus freight and handling Dean's suggested retail price outside the ECC. It should be noted that the current kit is offered with a fibreglas hull. Dean's offers the fibreglas hull separately for about Cdn$100 (GBP45, US$75 or Au$110) more than the vacuform hull I have.

The Kit

Dean's Marine has produced a Flower Class corvette for over 15 years as HMS Compass Rose, the fictional corvette in Nicholas Monsarrat's novel The Cruel Sea. Like the rest of Dean's kits, it is 1/96, which scales out to 673mm (26.5") long x 114mm (4.5"). The kit is currently not named - it is just called a 'Flower Class Corvette'. It is a long forecastle late production ship, with increased shear and flair.

My kit consists of a vacuform styrene hull, sheets of styrene marked for cutting and assembly, some vacuformed parts, many white metal and resin parts, photoetched railings, and some miscellaneous parts for making the model operate. There is a booklet of instructions typical of the Dean's range and a basic plan of a generic corvette. Typically, Dean's ships their kits in a sturdy box to prevent damage, but I didn't get a box as I understand 'locals' can drop by the works and take their purchase home in a grocery bag to reduce costs.


As mentioned, two hulls are available. Mine is a vacuformed styrene hull which appears to be fair and accurate. It is plain - plating and ports are not represented. The stern is somewhere between rounded and flat and I believe it can be easily modelled either way if the modeller has experience working styrene.

The fibreglas hull provided with the current kit is said to be based on H.M.S. Gardenia from Macgregor plans, which means it will have the rounded stern and cannot easily be used to model the Canadian flat stern ships. The plating, ports and the quarter deck bulwarks are part of the moulding in the fibreglas hull. Dean's fibreglas hulls are typically high quality from an appearance perspective, but many are built out of true for some reason and attention is required.

Decks and Structures

Dean's provides sheets of 1mm and .5mm printed styrene on which cutting and assembly plans have been printed, possibly using a plotter. Anyone experienced in building with sheet styrene will appreciate this as a good idea - it is a short cut from the usual transferring of the drawing to the plastic.

There is also a sheet of details which have been vacuformed. They are the rudder, gun shield, funnel, boats, cowl vents, etc. I will be using the cowl vents and throwing the rest away. The good side of moulding is on the wrong side. This is a disappointment which could have been avoided by using a female mould, something I would have expected for the price of this kit. Again, I did not buy this kit direct from Deans, and I don't know its age or whether these parts have been improved.


There are approximately 100 items in cast white metal or epoxy. They are shipped in vacuformed trays which are keyed to the packing list to help identify the parts

The white metal and epoxy detail parts are generally superb with excellent detail and light flashing; however there are a few disappointments which quality control should have caught. I included an incomplete ladder and a deformed depth charge rail at the top of the picture of white metal parts. Similarly, the epoxy parts are superb with excellent detail and light flashing. These details will be little jewels to those who have tried improving the details in the Matchbox/Revell kit.


The instructions are about a dozen typewritten pages of instructions, a colour diagram, several exploded diagrams to explain the construction sequences and a packing list. There are also side elevations and deck plans for a generic corvette. These may be adequate for an experienced modeller who understands how to research his own ship and has some experience making ship models. A beginner had better have an experienced mentor close by.


This is not a kit for a beginner, however it has a great potential for an experienced modeller. Unquestionably the highest quality radio control model I have seen was a WW2 Tribal Class destroyer based on a Dean's kit. I also have some Dean's hulls I picked up at our club's shop and swaps - modellers have given up on them and the details have been used on other models. Dean's kits need some discussion between modellers I think.

Since most of us want to build a model of a specific ship, research and a fresh set of plans for the specific ship will be required in any event. The 'generic' aspect of this kit shouldn't be a problem.

The real strength of this kit is the fittings. They will contribute to the completion of a very fine model.

I am delighted with the kit at the price I paid - I can't buy the fittings for that price to be fair!

I suppose if you were to scratch build the hull and superstructure and purchase all the fittings separately, it is going to cost about the same as the Dean's kit, so the kit is good value as the model will be highly detailed and of good quality if care is taken.