Flyhawk 1/700 HMS Legion

HMS Legion was an L-class destroyer of the Royal Navy. She entered service during the Second World War, and had a short but eventful career, serving in Home waters and the Mediterranean. She was sunk in an air attack on Malta in 1942. The ship had been adopted by the British civil community of the Municipal Borough of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in November 1941.

Legion was ordered on 31 March 1938 from the yards of Hawthorn Leslie and Company, Newcastle upon Tyne under the 1937 Naval Estimates. She was laid down on 1 November 1938 and launched just over a year later on 26 November 1939. During 1940 her main armament along with three others of the L class was changed. Twin 4 inch HA mountings were fitted and these four ships were re-classified as anti-aircraft destroyers. She was commissioned on 19 December 1940. During trials, a number of defects were revealed, resulting in the ship being under repair at Greenock in Scotland until January 1941.

On 23 March Legion was detached to join Eridge in escorting the merchantman Clan Campbell. During this operation, the vessels came under air attack and Legion was damaged by a near miss. The ship proceeded on one engine after successful damage control prevented her from sinking and she was beached at Malta. She was then towed to the docks on 25 March and tied up alongside the Boiler Wharf the next day. Whilst awaiting repair, the docks were the target of an air raid. Legion was hit by two bombs and sustained further serious damage when her forward magazine exploded. She rolled over and sank in the harbour, with her bridge and funnel lying on the jetty.

She was cut in two during 1943 and attempts were made to refloat her. They were unsuccessful. After the end of the war, she was broken up in situ. This was not completed until 1946.

More  information available about her here

I think this is the first 1/700 L-Class 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 Prince of Wales and the forthcoming 1/700 Bismarck. 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
  • 202 plastic parts on 9 frets
  • 12 separate parts
  • 6 PE parts on 1 fret for the standard kit
  • 94 PE parts on 2 frets for the deluxe version
  • 8 brass barrels for the deluxe version

Available separately for this kit is the masking sheet set also covered in this review. It does not come as part of the kit.

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 to show you were 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. You can make life a little easier for yourself with the masking set which is available separately. This is useful because the ship has large areas of the deck that were coloured a different colour due to the use of a rubberised coating in walkways. The small decal sheet has the ships pennant number, G74 and a couple of royal ensigns. It also has the numbers of the 3 other ships that were anti-aircraft destroyers, HMS Lance, HMS Gurkha and HMS Lively. These 4 ships were identical so you can actually make any of the 4 from this kit.

This kit is currently a future release at LuckyModel for $35.99. The basic kit is listed at $24.99.

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 90+ PE parts of the deluxe kit. Secondly, it’s the first time anyone has done a plastic 1/700 L-Class destroyer, 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

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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