Flyhawk 1/700 HMS Lance

Lance was ordered from the yards of Yarrow Shipbuilders, Scotstoun, Glasgow on 31 March 1938 under the 1937 Naval Estimates. She was laid down on 1 March 1939 at the same time as her sister, Laforey. She was launched on 28 November 1940 and commissioned on 13 May 1941.

Once commissioned, Lance was based at Scapa Flow with other ships of the Home Fleet. On 22 May she escorted the battleship King George V in the search for the German battleship Bismarck. She suffered machinery defects whilst at sea and was detached from the Home Fleet units and returned to Scapa Flow. She rejoined the search on 26 May, and then escorted King George V back to the UK after the sinking of Bismarck. In June she was assigned to the Western Approaches Command with the 11th Escort Group, based at Greenock. On 22 June she and Legion escorted the aircraft carrier Furious through the Atlantic Ocean to Gibraltar as part of an operation to deliver aircraft to Malta. She continued to participate in the operation, escorting the aircraft carrier Ark Royal and other units of the Mediterranean Fleet to Malta throughout the month. She returned to Greenock in July and resumed escort and convoy defence duties.

August was spent escorting convoys through the North Western Approaches before she returned to Gibraltar at the end of the month to escort convoys into the Mediterranean. She continued to screen the convoys to Malta and was part of the escort for the convoys of Operation Halberd. During this the ships came under heavy air and submarine attack, but managed to reach Malta. After this success, Lance returned to Gibraltar with the other ships of the Fleet. She began a maintenance period on 1 October, which lasted until 12 October. She then joined Force K, which was tasked with intercepting enemy supply convoys on passage to North Africa. On 9 November the task force engaged a convoy which consisted of seven ships escorted by the Italian destroyers Fulmine, Euro, Maestrale, Libeccio, Oriani and Gregale, covered by the cruisers Trento and Trieste. In the ensuing battle, which became known as the Battle of the Duisburg Convoy, all of the merchant vessels and Fulmine were sunk.

On 23 November Lance left Malta with the rest of Force K, after reports of a convoy on passage from Taranto to Benghazi. On 24 November they sighted the German supply ships Maritza and Procidas with an escort of two Italian torpedo boats. Both merchants were set on fire and sunk. After a brief period docked in Malta, Lance returned to convoy escort duties. On 17 December she became involved in the First Battle of Sirte. On 19 December she assisted in rescue operations after several ships of Force K ran into a newly laid Italian minefield. With Havock she escorted the cruiser Exeter back to Malta. Kandahar and Neptune were sunk, whilst Aurora and Penelope were badly damaged.

Lance spent January 1942 escorting convoys in the Mediterranean and in February she was transferred to the 22nd Destroyer Flotilla. Further escort duties followed. On 13 February she was escorting Convoy MW-9 when it came under air attack. The merchant vessel Clan Campbell was badly damaged and was detached to make her way to Tobruk, escorted by two destroyers. Further air attacks followed the next day and the convoy suffered heavy losses. Lance remained with the convoy until 15 February when she sailed to Malta with Penelope and Legion. On 16 February she was moved to the dockyard to undergo repairs.

In March Lance was docked for repairs that were expected to last until April. On 5 April she was hit by a bomb dropped during an air raid on the docks. She sustained serious damage and was partially submerged. On 9 April she suffered further bomb damage and work was suspended. Her wreck was subsequently salvaged and towed to Chatham Dockyard for a full survey to establish the extent of repair that would be required to return her to service. She was found to be beyond economical repair and was declared a Constructive Total Loss.

More  information available about her here

I think this is the first 1/700 HMS Lance destroyer in plastic. I can find a White Ensign HMS Laforey in resin and a couple of kits of HMS Lance in 1/350 and 1/200 and that’s about it. It appears the L-Class destroyers have not been well represented over the years. I can say the same for the M-Class too since they L and M Class destroyers are virtually identical.

The kit comes with a top opening box and it is quite sturdy. The exterior of the box shows the already released HMS Legion and the May 1941 version of the HMS Prince of Wales. Inside the box is a tray that dives the interior into 3 compartments to hold the parts steady. On top of that is a small bag containing a small, cardboard backed, photoetch fret with the decal sheet on the back of it. This small bag is part of the standard (non-Deluxe) version of the kit. In this deluxe version, there is also another bag containing 2 PE frets, brass rod and brass barrels, all attached to a cardboard sheet. Inside the box we have:

  • 1 long, colour instruction sheet
  • 1 small decal sheet with decals for 4 ships
  • 229 plastic parts on 15 frets
  • 7 separate parts
  • 8 PE parts on 1 fret for the standard kit
  • 105 PE parts on 2 frets for the deluxe version
  • 2 brass rods
  • 8 brass barrels for the deluxe version

The level of detail in this kit is up to Flyhawk’s usual exceptional standards. The sprues with the finer parts have raised edges so the delicate parts are off the table when the sprue is laid down. Attachment points are small and ejector pin marks are out of the way. There is lots of fine detail on the parts The ship is built in 10 steps and the instructions cover the basic kit and there’s an extra sheet in the special edition PE bag to show you where the extra PE for the deluxe version of the kit should be used.

The colour scheme is shown in colour and the paints are called out by name and Mr. Hobby, Tamiya and WEM colour ranges. The views are clear and it will be easy to paint her from the information given. I suspect there will be a masking set for this ship and the set for HMS Legion may well work for this sister ship. The small decal sheet has the ships pennant number, G87, and a couple of royal ensigns. It also has the numbers of the 3 other ships that were anti-aircraft destroyers, HMS Legion, HMS Gurkha and HMS Lively, probably so they can use the same decal sheet for all.

This kit is currently a future release at LuckyModel for $34.99. The basic kit is listed at $23.99.

This kit should do well for a couple of reasons. Firstly it’s an excellent kit in its own right with an impressive level of detail on the 200+ parts of the basic kit and even more detail when you use the 100+ PE parts of the deluxe kit. Secondly, it’s the first time anyone has done a plastic 1/700 HMS Lance, so that will make it very popular among builders of WW2 Royal Navy kits.

Many thanks to Flyhawk for sending along the kit for review.

Paul Tosney – Editor
ModelBuilder International
HobbyLink International
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Categories: MBI REVIEWS

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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