White Ensign Models 1/700 Resin
Flower Class Corvettes
HMS Buttercup & HMS Bluebell

By Bob Pearson


The only campaign that really had Churchill worried was the battle of the Atlantic. Many times Britain was on the verge of starvation and it was only through the efforts of the men on board the multitude of merchant shipping that sustained the island nation. To ensure the safe and timely arrival of these ships the Allied navies employed numerous types of escort vessels, of which none is more famous than the little Flower Class Corvettes.

Based on a pre-war whaler design by Smith's Dock Co, the Flower class corvette was built to merchant ship standards which meant that yards with no experience in building warships could turn them out, and turn them out they did – by wars end 269 had been built in British and Canadian yards, and a further six that had been laid down in French yards were completed by the Germans.

The Kit

HMS Buttercup
HMS Bluebell

White Ensign Models currently offer two Flower Class Corvettes in 1/700 scale – HMS Bluebell and HMS Buttercup. Bluebell is a typical corvette with all the modifications made to the basic design – open bridge, extended foc's'le, type 271 radar, extra depth charges .. the list goes on. HMS Buttercup is an intriguing choice though. She was fitted with a large stern mounted winch for minesweeping, as well as an 'acoustic hammer' on the bow. The acoustic hammer was a means of detonating acoustic mines by lowering a bucket on the end of an 'A' frame in front of the bow, and then dropping a weight into the bucket .. the resulting sound was hoped to detonate mines in the vicinity.

I was lucky enough to receive both kits for my birthday recently (thanks guys), and as they are quite similar I shall describe the pair together and then with any differences.

Both kits come packaged in the familar sturdy cardboard box. The cover of Bluebell features a built-up model, while Buttercup has a full-colour illustration showing the camouflage pattern. Opening the boxes reveals all parts were wrapped in bubblewrap or a small ziplock bag.

Each kit has a two-piece hull allowing either waterline or full hull display. Both kits had the two halves pre-sanded and test fitting showed they aligned well with no gaps. However the bottom halves were slightly oversanded and putty will be required to fair them smoothly into the upper hull. A close look at the two upper hulls reveals that while basically similar, they are not interchangable. Buttercup has the foc's'le break further aft then Bluebell, different stern depth charge arrangement as well as details on the engine room casing and stowage in front of the bridge.

The rest of the kits consist of resin and photoetch. The resin parts are for the open bridge (different designs for each), funnels, 4" gun, open and closed boats, depth charges, 271 radar, vents, aft bandstand, 'A' frame for Buttercup's acoustic hammer. There is also plastic rod for extra depth charges and the masts.

The photoetch is what really makes these two come alive. The sheet is common to both kits, therefore many parts can be held over for future use. There are the correct two-bar rails and some three bar as well, depth charge racks, HF/DF, lattice brdge supports, 2pdr, 20mm Oerlikon, semaphore pole, doors, ladders, minesweeping winch ends, 'A' frame (your choice of resin or PE), life rings, screw and rudder.

Both kits are well served in the instructions provided.

There is a multi page textual description of the building sequence, a plan and profile view of each ship as well as an exploded view of all parts and an illustration of each piece of photoetch. An added bonus is the large colour illustration of each ship showing the camouflage pattern worn.


Within a week of receiving these two kits I had built HMS Buttercup, and that includes a weekend of trying to decide which one to do first. Although I was supposed to be working on a paying project, whenever I had a few moments of free time I went over to the bench and did something new to Buttercup. I have no hesitation in recommending these two to anyone as a first resin ship model, and for the more experienced builder they offer much scope for detailing. Now all that is needed is a 1/700 short foc's'le Flower.