Review: AJM Models 1/700 HMS Ark Royal 1915-18


HMS Ark Royal was the first ship designed and built as a seaplane carrier. She was purchased by the Royal Navy in 1914 shortly after her keel had been laid and was modified to carry seaplanes. In the First World War, Ark Royal participated in the Gallipoli Campaign in early 1915, with her aircraft conducting aerial reconnaissance and observation missions. In January 1918, several of her aircraft unsuccessfully attacked the German battlecruiser SMS Goeben when she sortied from the Dardanelles.

After the end of the war, Ark Royal mostly served as an aircraft transport and depot ship. She was recommissioned in 1930 to serve as a training ship, for seaplane pilots and to evaluate aircraft catapult operations and techniques. She was renamed HMS Pegasus in 1934, freeing the name for the aircraft carrier ordered that year.

Assigned to the Home Fleet at the beginning of WW2, she took on tasks as an aircraft transport, in addition to her training duties, until she was temporarily modified to serve as the prototype fighter catapult ship in late 1940. In early 1944 she became a barracks ship and she was sold in late 1946 and sold again in 1949 for scrap.

Kit History

I can’t find any record of anyone doing this HMS Ark Royal in any scale before.

Inside the box:

  • 153 resin parts plus a solid resin hull
  • 1 PE sheet with about 300 parts
  • 6 small PE sheets with 84 parts
  • 1 decal sheet
  • 4 sheets of double-sided paper giving
    • 1 colour page of parts layout and painting guide
    • 7 pages of build instructions over 73 steps
  • decals for ship and seaplanes

The box is a top opening cardboard box and all the parts inside are bagged and wrapped in bubble wrap. The smaller resin parts are tightly packed in 2 small resealable bags so they can’t be damaged. The packaging is very good.

The resin parts are very nicely detailed and some of the smaller parts are just that, very small. Care will be needed when removing the smaller parts from the pour stubs.

The PE frets are made from very thin PE and again, some of the parts are very fine and will need care. The level of detail made possible by the PE is very high and will make for an excellent model. For example, the AD1 Seaplane has 20 PE parts.


The instructions are good and lay things out well. With there being 73 steps to the build you can see that each step is pretty small with just a few parts to be added. The first page of the 8 pages on paper is a parts layout so you can find the parts you need. It’s handily laid out starting with 1 at the top left to the highest numbered parts at bottom right. There’s a painting guide on this page too.

The other 7 pages cover the 73 build steps with a painting guide for the seaplanes on the last page too. PE parts are numbered inside a square box and resin parts are numbered inside a rounded box. Each step is nicely drawn and labeled and it seems clear what is needed. There is also a full page rigging diagram too. You will need to read the instructions carefully to work out a good build sequence for yourself.

Paint & Decals

The colours are called out in Life Colour paints and also named. The 2 colour images of the completed kit answer any questions you might have. There are 3 or 4 colour views of each aircraft to get those painted correctly too.

The decals are on 8 small sheets of which 6 are for the aircraft and 2 for the ship.

This kit needs special care to avoid inhaling the resin fumes. It also has small parts and quite a lot of PE parts. That being said, this is a very good quality kit of a unique subject that no one else has ever made.

Many thanks to AJM Models for supplying a review sample.

The kit is available from our online store here.

Paul Tosney – Editor
ModelBuilder International
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Paul Tosney

Paul has been with Model Builder International since almost the beginning. He started building models as a boy, and took a hiatus, but started building again a few years ago. He builds pretty much anything, but mostly WW2, with a smattering of modern and the occasional SciFi model.


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