These are photographs of my finished model of HMS Illustrious. The model was constructed from the very old 1/400 scale model kit by Heller. The model is portrayed when it formed part of the attack Force H for the Salerno ( Italy ) Operation in September 1943. The carrier had just had a general refit and repainted in The Dark Disruptive Camoflauge Pattern which she wore from mid 1943 to mid 1944. It was also the first time that the ship carried a squadron of Seafires (894) squadron along with two Martlet Squadrons 878 and 890 Squadrons. So bearing this in mind apart from detailing the carrier, many structural changes had to be done , which were all scratch-built to be as faithful as possible the the real thing.

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The Model 
This kit is a very old kit and it had been laying on the shelf for years and years till finally I decided to have a go at it. It is a very rudimentary and inaccurate kit and I realized there was going to be a lot of work put into the model to finish with a satisfactory end result. I haven't seen many 1/400 scale Illustrious models around , so I said why not, let's go for it. First thing was to saw off the lower part of the hull and reinforce it, since it was going to be a waterline model. The cable deck in the bow as well as the quarterdeck were scratch built using a thin layer of laminated wood and bits and bobs from the spares box. All visible sections in the hull of the ship were reshaped and detailed, parts available with the kit were discarded. The hull was sanded off completely and trunking and piping scratch-built. Support sponsons for transmitting masts were scratch-built. Pom poms and twin mount guns detailed accordingly. 

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The island had to be restructured and reshaped to accommodate the additional gun platforms for the many oerlikons added to the ship's defense system.  Extensive detailing was also included all around the island. Resin parts by White Ensign also incorporated which helped extensively to further detail the island. The masts were scratch-built with photo etch parts added. A Gun platform was also included in the stern of the ship with a similar purpose. Outriggers for the spitfire squadron had also to be included ,various walkways all around the ship and the boat stations were also altered and detailed accurately. More boats added accordingly and those available with the kit were also detailed.  Arrester landing wires and arrest barrier  were scratch built from fuse wire. 

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Louis Carabott