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HMS Vampire Tamiya's 1/700 Kit In Review

By Leighton Kato

Tamiya HMS Vampire in 1/700scale

Tamiya released a model of the Australian WWII Destroyer HMSA Vampire in 1/700th scale as part of their continuing 1/700 Waterline Series of ships. It follows on the heels of the last release of the HMS E-Class Destroyer #909 (the Vampire being #910). Unlike the previous release, it is boxed by itself as well as part of their "Battle of Malaya" multiple ship set; the set has HMS Prince of Wales, HMS Repulse, two E-class destroyers kits (to represent HMS Encounter and HMS Electra), and HMSA Vampire. Opening the box, one is greeted with one package containing two trees of parts in gray plastic. The hull is split into four main parts (one top deck, hull bottom, and left / right hull sides). There is a part A8 that serves as a spacer and inner hull stiffener.

Tamiya HMS Vampire in 1/700scale

There are also four parts A7 and four poly caps that serve as holders for the two deck guns and two torpedo tube racks. Also the right/starboard hull side has an aligning piece molded at the bow. The typical Tamiya engineering makes this model so easy to construct that it can be done by a beginner! Extra detail can be done with the Tom's Modelworks photoetch brass set for Tamiya's E-class destroyer (until a P/E set for Vampire or the V/W class is available). The only shortcoming to this kit is that the model probably represents HMAS Vampire while she was stationed in the Mediterranean from her re-commission in 1938 until her transfer to the British Eastern fleet in June, 1941. According to Lenton / Colledge "Warships of World War II - Britain and Dominion Ships", HMSA Vampire removed her aft torpedo mount and had the 3" AA gun supplied in the kit in its place as well as two to four 20mm Oerlikon AA cannon and a quad .50 caliber AA machine guns mount probably located in the same area as the kit's 3" AAA gun. The AAA guns can be had in the photo etch E-class brass set and Tom's Modelworks 20mm photo etch gun set. A nitpick area is the molded on canvas cover on the upper bridge; it should be replaced with thinner plastic to better represent the canvas covering.

Tamiya HMS Vampire in 1/700scale

Both the decal and paper flag sheets are sparse but complete. It would have been nice if Tamiya had given both the call numbers for HMSA Vampire's sister ships HMSA Vendetta (D 69) and HMSA Waterhen (W 22). As to the painting instructions, I am not sure of its accuracy. But since there are no pictures of Vampire around her Malaya assignment, and overall light Gray was the peacetime scheme in the Mediterranean prior to hostilities, it can be used. A more likely scheme would have been a two tone gray; medium gray for the hull sides and the superstructures and foredeck hull sides left in light gray. The deck light gray color is probably correct since the Semtex deck covering is a light to medium gray. This reviewer is not sure if the Australians re-covered their destroyers' decks in Coritene, which was a medium to chocolately brown.

Tamiya HMS Vampire in 1/700scale

At $21.00 (stamped as1200 yen), the model is not cheap. However, it is the only V/W Class destroyer in plastic one will see in the foreseeable future. With a little imagination, some aftermarket P/E parts, some research books and pictures, one can make a variety of different V/W destroyers from both WW I and WW II. It is simple enough to make as a "weekend" modeling project. I would highly recommend this model if one is interested in this area of modeling or time period. Now, if Tamiya can start a new line of Royal Navy destroyers AND Cruisers in 1/700 scale from WW II……

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