Following the First World War Poland gained a considerable area of coastline,
and it was felt that it was necessary to have a navy to enforce sovereignty
over it. Six former German torpedo boats were acquired for this aim, but
something larger was needed and two new destroyers were laid down in French
yards. These were the Wicher and Burza, however the order had been placed
due to political expediency and not due to the calibre of the yards and
they were both years late in being delivered. The next two destroyers
would not fall to the same ineptitude.
Blyskawica (Thunder) and Grom (Lightning) were laid done in Britain
and when completed in 1936 were the most powerful destroyers afloat. At
the outbreak of WW2, rather than be trapped along the Baltic coast by
the Luftwaffe, they, and the earlier Burza sailed for England. Seen by
the approaching German forces they were allowed to pass instead of precipitating
hostilities. They arrived at Leith on September 1 1939. The astuteness
of the decision to leave Poland was borne out in the fact that all other
Polish ships which never left were sunk within three days of the start
of the war.
Grom survived until 5 may 1940, when she was hit by two bombs dropped
from 16,750 feet. A feat which was thought most unlikely at the time.
Sinking immediately, 59 of her crew of 180 were lost.
Blyskawica is preserved today as a museum ship in Gdansk, to my knowledge
she and HMCS Haida are the only remaining British-built pre-WW2 designed
have released four kits in total of the Blyskawica and Grom. Each depicted
one or the other of the ships at various times in their career. Grom circa
1938 and 1940, Blyskawica in 1944 and 1965. Each kit contains many common
parts, but there is also a sprue enabling just the variant depicted to
Two sprues of white plastic are common to all variants, while a third
sprue is date-specific. The first sprue contains the hull, bow, stand,
superstructure side facets and funnel parts.
Sprue number two has the aft deck, signal deck, bridge, main armament
and more superstructure facets.
third sprue is what determines exactly which variant of the two ships
is being built. Unfortunately I got Sprue D, which is for the 1940 variant
of Grom the kit instructions and boxtop are for the 1938 fit and
Sprue C. There are differences, especially in the armament and foremast/searchlight
layout. However a quick message to the SMML
rectified this and with the correct plans in hand construction can proceed.
I have already begun this kit, and a few things should be mentioned.
The hull halves go together well, but the fore deck and main deck required
work to get them to join properly to the hull. The extreme stern in particular
needed a lot of careful beveling to make it flush. The plastic is pretty
thin here . . so take care. The bow sits on top of the hull and must be
carefully faired into the correct shape.
is common with Mirage kits the superstructure detail is molded integral
to flat 'facets' that are then affixed to the superstructure. I removed
all ladders in anticipation of PE replacements and I have also thinned
all the bridge and other platform coamings down. The plastic is extremely
easy to work with, and I have to say I am enjoying working on this kit
The various details are pretty basic - the main armament is a gunhouse,
baseplate and barrels. Other details are similarly done, however all are
clean and provide a great starting point if detailing is desired.
are provided for the hull letter, ship name and pennant.
The instructions are in Polish, and include exploded parts drawings
of each step. These could be clearer as they aren't totally specific in
part placement, however test fitting the parts quickly shows where they
Straight OOB the Grom would be a nice kit for a newcomer to ships. With
a little extra work in reducing thickness and adding some PE rails it
looks to be a real winner. Myself I am going to get at least three more.