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