L'Arsenal 1/400 Mid-War Flower Class Corvette
When it became clear that Europe was headed towards war, the Admiralty
looked to a cheap, inexpensive ship design that could be mass-produced
for escort work. Those designs already in service, although excellent,
required far too long to construct. What was needed was something that
could be built in numbers, by yards inexperienced in warship construction.
The result was found in a whaler design by Smith's Dock, with modifications
this became the classic WW2 escort - the Flower Class Corvette. Eventually
269 of these ships would be constructed by British and Canadian yards,
with a further six in French yards, and they would be operated by most
Allied navies ... and even the German Kriegsmarine which made use of four
of the six they took over from the French.
No two Flowers were identical, but generally the early Flowers had a
short fo'c'sle, mast in front of the bridge, 4" gun on the bow, 2pdr
aft and carried various machine guns and (later) 20mm cannon. Their main
weapon being the depth charge. The later Flowers had an extended fo'c'sle,
mast behind the bridge and the same armament, with additional 20mm added
French company L'Arsenal produces two variants of the later Modified Flower
Class, differing in bridge design, that reviewed here is the ultimate
version. The kit consists of a resin single piece hull, 53 detail parts,
three frets of photo-etch and a decal sheet providing markings for 11
ships (two RN, two RCN, six Free French, one USN).
The hull is nicely cast with minimal detail incorporated on it. This
is not a problem as various fittings are provided in either resin or PE.
detail parts are still attached to prominant mold gates, but they are
easily removed, although care need be taken with the mast and gun barrels
- I broke my mast and will replace it with metal rod. these parts include:
type 271 radar housing, bridge, 4" bandstand, 2 pdr bandstand, depth
charges and K-guns, propellor, rudder, rafts, boats. There is also a two
part stand for displaying the completed model (L'Arsenal recommends affixing
it to the hull prior to starting construction).
interesting feature is in using PE for the open bridge level. This fits
on top of the cast resin main structure and is folded to provide the wings
and splinter shields. Other PE parts are provided for: Depth charge rails,
gun shields (including the 4"), davits, carley float platforms, and
other fiddly bits. There is also a fret of rails, however these are three-bar,
whereas the Flowers used two-bar.
are 11 pages of instructions in French (with a vagueEnglish translation)
which show all the PE parts, bridge construction, an exploded view of
all the resin parts as well as profiles showing the 11 options - Aconit,
Roselys, Renoncule, Commandant Drogow, Lobelia, Commandant Detroyat, HMS
Alisma, HMS Wallflower, HMCS Midland, HMCS Orillia and USS Saucy. Decals
for all of these are provided in the form of pennant numbers and funnel
area I noticed that caused me problems was in the bridge construction.
I had a hard time figuring out what and where PE part 1 went. After looking
at photos of HMCS Sackville, it appears that there is a walkway alongside
of the bridge under the wings .. this is not apparent in any of the published
plans I have seen, but once you look for it, it is there.
For anyone wishing to build a medium sized Flower the L'Arsenal kit
is recommended. Mine was acquired from