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HMS Ark Royal (III) 1:700
20 Questions about: L’Arsenal HMS Ark Royal
Price? – 130 Euros from L’Arsenal
Where to buy? – Direct form L’Arsenal but presumably
eventually from the usual distributors such as Pacific Front, White
Ensign, NNT etc
What’s in the kit?
Hull casting, 7 bags of small parts including the main superstructure, 3
bags of small parts, 2 of aircraft, a large photo etched fret and
instructions. Brass barrels are also included for the AA guns and
two more small etched frets for the aircraft.
A very professionally produced package, it all comes in a strong
cardboard tube and is very well packed, looks like you get plenty for
Quality of hull and large parts?
The hull casting is superb, very clean and sharp although my copy had a
few small pin hole bubbles near the bow which will only need a little
filler. Detail is very good with the exception of the degaussing
coil, which is a bit weak. Antenna mounting brackets are moulded solid
and for me would need replacing with etched parts. The stern
section below the large overhang should be open but is moulded solid.
However I consider all of these minor points and after all, it gives the
modeller something to do! High points are the AA platforms, these
are cast so thin they are almost transparent on my copy, care will be
needed in handling but this is as fine as you will see in resin.
Other large parts consist only of the bridge which is again very good
Quality of small parts?
These consist of gun turrets which are good although I’m not sure if
these were open backed or not, the brass barrels are a nice addition.
Smaller AA parts are well cast and have etched details, the quad Vickers
where casting has worked properly are excellent, but for a number of
these the casting has not come out properly so they would be best
replaced with brass alternatives. There are a few small bubbles in
some of the other small parts but generally these are excellent, boats
and floats are especially good, it would be very useful to have the
boats available separately as the floats currently are.
Aircraft consist of swordfish (5) and fulmar (10) with the swordfish the
same as form previous L’Arsenal kits and delightful little models in
themselves. The fulmars are new and superb, there is a thin
casting wafer that needs removal but will be no problem, an etched fret
provides details including undercarriage doors. Aircraft to my
mind are the point where carrier kits can be let down but these are
No decals have been provided, an omission I think as these will be
needed for the aircraft, however I would recommend those from
These are in 3-d style in French and English and generally good but a
little unclear in places, also no colour scheme has been included though
this is easy to find through available references.
Should be pretty straightforward as not many parts, a dry fit shows a
very tight fit of those superstructure parts requiring assembly.
Does anything need replacing?
Other than some detail mentioned, degaussing coil, aerial mounting
brackets, possibly quad Vickers, very little I can see. Some
detail might be added to the hull for the obsessive amongst us but I
would say the kit built out of the box will make an excellent model.
White ensign have produced an etched fret for the old Revell Ark Royal
although this kit was 1:720 and there may be some size differences, the
cranes on the wem and L’Arsenal frets are noticeable different in size.
What extra parts would I recommend?
Other than some replacements from the wem set eg aerial mounts, there is
very little I can think of.
Is there a dedicated PE fret for the kit?
Yes, as above
Not that many although there are a number of familiar photos easily
found on an internet search that will help with detailing.
Otherwise McCart’s ‘The Three Ark Royals’.
Camo patterns / colour scheme?
None included but for the period the kit shows it would be overall
Very little required
Can different versions be made from the kit?
There was only one ship in this class, but it could be backdated to show
earlier fits easily if desired.
Would I recommend this to a beginner?
The price would put me off doing so as there are probably better
Is it value for money?
Despite the price, yes. The only other alternatives are Revell,
which needs a huge amount of work, or HP, which is not as good and more
expensive. This is a first class kit.
Would I buy other products from this manufacturer?
Any other comments?
Despite some minor niggles, and no kit can ever be perfect, this is a
superb kit which out of the box will build an impressive model.
For those wanting to do a little bit more there are some areas that can
be improved, but mostly this is a matter of finding things to do rather
than the need to be done. A highly impressive product from
L’Arsenal which puts them firmly amongst the very best resin kit