- Published on Friday, 10 February 2012 00:01 Nick Mayhew
1/700 Royal Navy Amphibious Assault Ship HMS Ocean
OrangeHobby Blue Series # N07030-0268
$61.26 – including free worldwide shipping – direct from OrangeHobby webstore
HMS Ocean on the high seas, courtesy of Wikipedia
Orange Hobby of China have already established themselves as a company producing top quality products – their 1/35 photo-etch (PE) and turned metal barrels are up there with some of the best in the industry. They have also branched out into a 1/700 scale line of modern warships, and in particular amphibious assault ships. The HMS Ocean kit I will review here joins their Korean Navy Dokdo and Spanish Navy's Juan Carlos I kits, with the 1/350 scale Russian Steregushchy Class corvette next in line, according to the OrangeHobby website.
HMS Ocean patrolling the Caribbean, courtesy of Wikipedia
Overview of HMS Ocean
At 22,500 tons, HMS Ocean is currently the largest ship in the Royal Navy, and currently the sole member of her class of amphibious assault ship. Laid down in 1994 and launched in 1995, HMS Ocean was commissioned in September 1998 at Devonport, Plymouth, her present home port.
Landing ships swung over sides, courtesy of Wikipedia
The 200m long HMS Ocean has a crew of 285, plus a further 185 Fleet Air Arm personnel, and is designed to carry 830 Royal Marines and approximately 40 vehicles. The Marines can be deployed in the Mk5B landing craft, or by helicopter; up to 18 helicopters can be accommodated, depending upon type. HMS Ocean cannot currently operate any fixed wing aircraft, even if they are VTOL, like the Harrier, for instance.
HMS Ocean at Devonport
HMS Ocean defends itself with the usual array of radar and electronic countermeasures, three Phalanx CIWS missile stations (Close-In Weapons System), and four 20mm cannon.
HMS Ocean seen centre right – note how she is dwarfed by the US carriers
The kit comes in a long, thin, but very sturdy cardboard box; there is no box art and I must admit it looks rather plain and uninteresting – quite different from the contents I can assure you! Inside the contents are wrapped in a tight bundle of bubble wrap, keep everything safe and sound.
The kit is a waterline rather than full hull ship, and is in resin, rather than being injection moulded plastic. It comes with numerous photo-etch (PE) metal and turned brass detailing parts, a full set of decals and dry transfers, and comprehensive instructions.
A lot of resin detail parts!
The largest part of the kit is as you would expect the hull. Detail is excellent – as it is throughout – and there was no warping evident; the flight deck was perfectly flat. Although the resin casting blocks look rather imposing, removing them will be easy as long as you have a good razor saw; I suggest placing the hull on a pane of glass once you start clean-up to ensure a perfectly smooth bottom by the way.
The deck itself is 'dimpled', which seems to provide a good scale effect in my opinion. The hull sides have the four launch bays for the landing craft exhibiting excellent detail.
The other large resin part is the superstructure – once the casting blocks are removed from the bottom, it should sit nicely on deck; the exact position is recessed for correct alignment. This is an excellently cast part, with crew hatches all being recessed and in perfect shape; the undercut / support structure of the bridge is wonderfully crisp.
Once you have cleaned up the hull and attached the superstructure, it is really a case of working your way through the instructions, adding the various detail parts. There are the three Phalanx CIWS which are a mixture of resin and PE, whilst the WAH-64 attack helicopters and EH-101 Merlins are little kits in themselves. Your flight deck should look suitably busy once complete as two of each type are provided.
Four Mk5 LCVP landing craft are provided – each of these is 12 parts – and they can be displayed stowed inside their launch bay, or suspended alongside over the water.
This landing craft was one of the few parts with significant flash
The large deck crane looks well cast, and again is another mini kit some twelve parts to complete construction.
I think the vast majority of time in this kit will be devoted to the vast amount of photo-etch that needs to be added. In addition to the four small frets for the helicopters, there are three more frets which, although not massive in size, are simply packed full of detail.
Everything from railings – which are just the best I have seen in this scale, radar arrays, walkways, ladders and loading ramps gets 'the treatment'. Crew access hatches can be displayed open or closed as you desire, so you will certainly not have the problem of things looking too 'samey' around the ship.
Note I bent a couple of the access hatch frames when handling the fret – the parts are quite delicate
Helicopter blades – these frets are still in their protective coating
The PE frets contain the finest ship detail I have seen to date, eclipsing previous OrangeHobby sets reviewed here on Scale Plastic Rail. Most of the assembly will be a bit fiddly, and require a steady hand, but not too taxing. There will be however a few parts that will require expert-level skill with photo-etch parts, they are THAT small and delicate; you have been warned.
The various radomes and mast in turned brass
Markings are supplied from a combination of regular waterslide decals and dry transfers, the latter presumably used to help reduce the problem of silvering when applying markings to the flight deck. Extreme care will be needed when applying the large transfer which covers pretty much the entire flight deck. The decals are in perfect register, and the only thing missing as far as I can see are some markings for the helicopters, although these would be ridiculously small I have to admit.
CLICK TO ENLARGE
So What Do We Think?
Belying its rather drab presentation box, this will be an absolute show stopper of a kit once complete. The level of detail on the resin and in particular photo-etch metal parts is simply outstanding. The only real downside to the kit is that it is most definitely not for beginners: the base construction is simple enough, but the detailing will require a very skilled hand indeed.
With thanks to the team at OrangeHobby for the review sample.