Endurance is a name long associated with ships operating in the frozen seas surrounding Antarctica . The first Endurance was the ship of Sir Ernest Shackleton for his exploration of the frozen continent. Originally named Polaris, the ship was built to transport polar bear hunting parties. Accordingly she was strengthened to operate in ice filled waters. To honor the original Endurance, the Royal Navy has named its ships designed to patrol the Antarctic waters Endurance as well. The previous Endurance was stationed at Port Stanley, Falklands Islands . In spring 1982 she was on her last tour before sailing back to the United Kingdom to be decommissioned. The previous year Secretary of State for Defence, John Knott had issued his notorious White Paper, which called for draconian funding cuts, which hit the Royal Navy especially hard. As part of this wholesale slashing of funds, Enduranceís career was set to come to an early end. It was thought that there was no need for an ice patrol vessel.

On March 19, 1982 Endurance was anchored at Port Stanley when word came in the Argentines had landed at an old abandoned whaling station in South Georgia, a desolate dependency 800 mile to the southeast and home for the British Antarctic Survey Team. They were supposed to be there for salvaging metal but had raised the flag of Argentina . The Falklands governor dispatched Endurance to oust the Argentines. After taking aboard nine more marines to complement the shipís twelve, Endurance sailed for South Georgia in the morning of March 21. By March 31 the marines had been landed and were observing Argentine operations at Leith, South Georgia . The next day the crew heard from the Falklands of Argentine landings in the Falkland Islands . By April 2 two Argentine ships had appeared carrying helicopters, Argentine marines and other personnel. On April 3 the Argentine troops started helicopter landings near the British Marines and an action between the forces started during which time one Argentine helicopter was shot down. However, by the end of the action the Argentines surrounded the British force with greatly superior forces and the marines surrendered.

Endurance had lost round one in the fight for South Georgia but was game for a rematch. For such a frozen, desolate island, South Georgia was key to the recapture of the Falklands . The nearest British base was Ascension Island, thousands of miles away, and South Georgia would provide a base far closer. Code name Paraquet, the operation for taking back South Georgia . The operation kicked off April 21 with Endurance carrying members of the SBS (Special Boat Squadron). After five days of fighting, the Argentines surrendered and Union Jack was once again flying over the frozen island, providing the first step in the conquest of the Falkland Islands . After the war HMS Endurance was still sent back to the United Kingdom and unlike plans of 1981, where there was to be no follow-up, there would be a replacement. The Falklands campaign had shown the value of a naval presence in the South Atlantic . A new ship was ordered to replace the Falkland ís War HMS Endurance A171 and what better name could be chosen for this new ship other than HMS Endurance A171.

Just as the Falkland ís War Endurance was purchase and the name changed, so too was the present day HMS Endurance purchased and renamed. MV Polar Circle was built in Norway as a class 1 icebreaker. She was charted by the Royal Navy in 1991 and on November 21, 1991 was named HMS Polar Circle and typed as an Ice Patrol Ship. She was subsequently renamed HMS Endurance A171 and given the motto ď"Fortitudine VincimusĒ She also sported the same paint livery of the Falklandís War Endurance with red hull, white superstructure and yellow funnel. By Endurance We Conquer. At 6,000-tons the present HMS Endurance is twice the displacement of the Falkland ís War Endurance. Powered by two Bergen diesel engines, developing 8,000shp, the HMS Endurance has a huge range of 24,600nm, more than enough to circumnavigate the world without refueling. Her mission is to provide a British naval presence in the South Atlantic and to support the global Antarctic community not just the British Antarctic Survey Team. She operates for seven months each year in the southern waters, coinciding with spring, summer, and fall of the southern hemisphere.

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HMS Endurance was operating in the Magellan Strait right before Christmas 2008 when she encountered serious flooding in the engine room. Following this incident Endurance needed significant repairs and the shipís commander issued the statement, ďThe flood was contained by the efforts of the shipís company, although all propulsion and most auxiliary systems were lost during the incident.  A significant proportion of C Deck which is mainly cabin accommodation was also flooded and damaged.  The ship was then towed to Punta Arenas in Chile where the watertight integrity of the ship was re-established and the floodwater was pumped out.  In addition, whilst in Chile , there was a very significant effort to prepare the ship for towing as well as important preservation work on engines and other equipment affected by the floodwater. The ship has now been towed to the Falklands and is safely alongside in its second home of Mare Harbour .  A significant proportion of the shipís company are now in the Falklands and they are looking after the ship in preparation for the next phase of repairs.  Like Chile , this is a complex engineering effort to re-commission some equipment and services such as lighting and ventilation and continue the important preservation, in some cases repairs, of floodwater damaged systems and compartments.Ē

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Endurance returned to the Falkland Islands for initial repairs and on March 15, 2009 was left the Falklands on board the Heavy Lift ship MV Target for return to Portsmouth and permanent repairs. She arrived at Portsmouth April 8 and after a series of safety inspections was reloated off MV Target to go into dock for repairs. At the time her commander issued the statement, ďThe Navy intend to repair Endurance and return her to full operational status as early as safely possible.  Iím delighted to see Endurance reach this key milestone in her recovery, and I know my shipís company feel the same after their amazing efforts to contain the flooding last year. The fact that there was no loss of life or even any serious injuries in such a challenging situation is testament to their efforts.Ē

MT Miniatures Endurance
The new release of the HMS Endurance in 1:700 scale is of the present day Endurance, not the Falkland ís War Endurance. It is available in two formats. One is the traditional format of a kit to be assembled by the modeler. The other however, is a fully assembled and painted model, found normally in resin 1:1250 scale ships models not in 1:700 scale. One reason for the two formats is that resin casting is done by Mountford Miniatures, a British firm who produces 1:1250 scale models available as kits and also in the traditional fully assembled and painted model, which is the much more common format in 1:1250 scale. This is the first release for MT Miniatures, which stands for Matthew Tarrant Miniatures, but there are more releases on the way. Both formats of the MTM Endurance are examined in this review.

The kit comes with resin hull and superstructure parts, white metal equipment and fittings, a brass helicopter rotor and a decal sheet. Both hull and superstructure resin parts will need some minor clean up. For the hull this involves removal of the resin pour vent at the stern and smoothing seam lines. For the superstructure it involves removal and sanding the locations of the three resin pour vents at the bottom front face. Hull side detail includes anchors, square windows and a line running below the windows with a step-down at the stern. This incised line appears to be an aide for painting because it runs along the line demarking the red hull from the white superstructure. The hull sides are asymmetrical with the port side flush with the superstructure and the starboard side ending one level below with support posts for the superstructure, creating a walkway on the port. There is quite an amount of cast on detail on the superstructure. The interior faces of the solid bulkheads have gussets supports but the bulkhead is on the thick side. Integral fittings include a large locator for a bow pylon, crane bases, anchor equipment, carley rafts, and numerous deck castings deck lockers. All resin parts were free of defects or damage, being free of any pinholes. There are access doors lining the walkway to starboard. The quarterdeck will mostly be covered by the flight deck but MTM still includes deck detail even though it will be difficult to observe, other than the fittings at the very stern, once the model is assembled. This detail includes bollard fitting, lockers and the base for a stern crane.

Like the hull, the superstructure is also asymmetrical in design but in a mirror image to the hull. The walkway with superstructure set-back is on the port side while on the starboard the superstructure rises from the hull side with no set-back. The funnel is also not centerline, being set off to the port. At the base of the front of the bridge is a short equipment deck with deck lockers, windlass fittings and what appears to be oversize cable reels. The bridge face is very busy with numerous square windows on the rising face and a two level angular navigation bridge, also with square windows. The superstructure sides are also busy with lots of square windows, superstructure extensions, boat positions to port, inclined ladders and ventilation louvers. The inclined ladders are in the Aztec step format common in plastic kits but also found in many other resin kits. I would prefer that Aztec steps were not cast on because they will require removal to add generic photo-etch inclined ladders.

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No photo-etch fret is included, although you receive a brass rotor for the helicopter. Like the solid bulkheads forward, the boat cradles appear overly thick but that is a minor complaint, as they will be covered once the boats are attached. The top deck has a nicely cast communication dome and numerous base plates for white metal fittings. The hollow muzzles of the diesel exhaust vents are a nice touch. The stern face has another nice touch. The segmented sliding hangar door has incised lines marking the segments. The flight deck is quite long with two fittings at the rear.

The white metal fittings provide for major equipment and fittings. There are parts for the large mast, bow pylon, smaller mast, shipís boats, four cranes, helicopter and two radar domes. The white metal parts will also require some minor clean up to remove flash along the seams and straighten mast yard arms. The helicopter has good detail but the rigging for the cranes is too thick with the white metal. The kit comes with a full decal sheet providing the flight deck and hull side A 171 markings. The instructions are basic with an isomorphic view of the assembly. This presents no problem as there are not that many separate parts.

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What makes the MTM HMS Endurance so very different in the 1:700 scale format is the option to build the ship from a kit or get a fully assembled and painted model. In addition to the multi-colored paint scheme and markings already present, painted version also throws in additional features not found in the kit format, photo-etch railings for the superstructure and safety netting for the flight deck. The multi-color paint scheme is very attractive and the MTM Endurance will certainly stand out from rows of gray warships. The toughest thing about this paint scheme, whether you get the assembled model or paint it yourself with the kit is the demarcation lines between the different colors. The macro-photographs of the assembled ship emphasis how difficult this can be, as the lines are not totally straight with minor bleed-over in colors, especially at the intersection of superstructure and deck. Another common difficulty with any painting is presented with the color white. White is the most difficult color to use because it requires multiple coats to cover the under-lying color. In this case application of the white filled in some of the openings for the safety netting and railing. The assembled version does not have a fill between the hull and superstructure parts. In any case, the painted version is a very good choice for those modelers who want a 1:700 scale Endurance in their collection and either donít have the time to apply the paint scheme or donít have the skill for the paint scheme. You can also open up the filled in portions of the railing with a hobby knife, although this is a more difficult proposition for the safety netting. You can also do light touch up for those places where there was color bleed-over. My preference is for the kit for a number of reasons. I would want to removed the Aztec steps and use photo-etch inclined ladders and I would also want to fill in the seams between the hull and superstructure. 

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The MT Miniatures HMS Endurance, modern ice patrol vessel in 1:700 scale is a tale of two models. Not only can the modeler get a kit to be assembled and painted, as with other producers, but also the model is available fully assembled and painted with numbering and flight deck patterns.