Trumpeter 1/350 HMS Type 23 Frigate – Montrose F236
The eighth ship of sixteen in the Type 23 "Duke" Class frigates, the HMS Montrose was launched in 1992. Set to replace the ageing Leander class frigate and originally designed for ASW work, the Type 23 frigate has expanded beyond that role, taking up peace-keeping and maritime security duties. The Type 23 is scheduled to be replaced by the Global Combat Ship starting in 2021, with the last ship retiring in 2036.
While Trumpeter has been releasing quite a few Second World War vessels, they have also hit on more modern designs. With this release they come back to current fleet ships and provide a nice example of the Type 23 frigate. Originally released as the HMS Kent, it would appear that nothing has changed this time around, as the kit still has plenty of plastic parts, a Lynx helicopter in clear, a fret of photoetch, and a decent decal sheet. Sadly, while the boxtop artwork shows the Kryten turret, this kit still has the early style rounded gun turret.
This is a full hull model, and construction begins with the underside of the hull. The sonar dome is separate, as are the strakes and stabilizers. The shafts, rudders, and screws are all separate pieces as well, and the transom is a separate piece. With all that in place, the main deck piece can be added to the overall hull assembly and the various details added to the bow. The rest of the building then involves the superstructure, which will easily take up the majority of the assembly process.
With the assembly of the superstructure we get into the photoetch. While the fret is small, it is extensive and covers quite a few major assemblies. There are ladders, railings, and supports ready to be folded up here, and while they do take longer to assemble than plastic parts, the end results will definitely be worth it. The main mast is particularly well covered with photoetch, and will look quite good once finished.
As typical to Trumpeter ship kits of late, most of the large superstructure assemblies are made up from individual walls, which allows for crisp detailing to be molded on all faces. This puts a bit more pressure on the modeler assembling these, but with lots of dry fitting it is not too tough to create sharp corners that need no filling. The kit does feature a full hangar bay, but oddly the instructions have you blank it off with the hangar door. Personally I would have that open and park the Lynx in there.
Speaking of which, the Lynx HAS.3 helicopter, as noted, is molded in clear plastic, making it easy to mask off the windows for that added bit of realism. The fuselage is split in half, and the side gear sponsons are separate, with separate landing gear. Also separate is the tail boom, which has a separate tail rotor and fin. Finally, there is the option of folded or extended rotor blades.
As noted earlier, this kit comes with the rounded gun turret rather than the angular Kryten turret. As all the current Type 23s have this angular turret, it is a bit disappointing that it is not in this release, especially since the boxart shows that turret. Likewise, including a Merlin helicopter would also have been nice, as then one could build the ship as currently equipped. Perhaps when Trumpeter releases their third version we will see these options.
For painting, like most modern ships this one is pretty simple: a light gray for the sides, dark gray for the decks, thick black bootline, and red lower hull. The decals provide all the various hull markings and markings for the Lynx helicopter, in addition to flags. Finally, there is a display stand to set your finished model on.
While it is great to see this kit out again, for those that missed the first release, it is a bit of a disappointment that it does not have the Mod turret or Merlin helicopter. Still, for those looking for a modern British frigate, this one is worth picking up. My thanks to Stevens International for the review sample.