The newest 1:350 scale kit from White Ensign Models is the HMS Ledbury, on of the 13 Hunt Class Mine Countermeasure Vessels (MCMVs) built for the Royal Navy. This model presents the Ledbury as built. The newly commissioned Ledbury and her sister, the HMS Brecon, were deployed to the South Atlantic for mine clearance and bomb disposal operations around the Falkland Islands after the end of hostilities in 1982. The Ledbury, along with several other Hunts, also participated in mine countermeasure efforts during and after the Gulf War.
Hunt ClassMCMVs have the ability to operate as both a minesweeper and as a minehunter. They are rigged for sweeping operations and they possess high-definition sonar that can pinpoint mine locations. The Hunts often act in their secondary role as a patrol vessel, usually as part of the Fishery Protection Squadron. The Hunt Class MCMVs have the distinction of being the largest vessels in the world to be made of Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP), which provides a reduced magnetic signature while at the same time being able to withstand the shock from exploding mines. The Hunts were also very expensive, with each unit costing about ₤35 million to construct and fit.
The model is comprised of resin and white metal parts and an extensive brass photo-etch detail set. The model can be built in a waterline or a full-hull version. The quality of the resin castings is outstanding require practically no cleanup. The smaller parts are equally well cast in white metal but they need some cleanup in terms of removing some minor flash. The one minor glitch is that the barrels of the 20mm BMARC guns where bent out of shape. Since white metal is very malleable, these can be carefully straightened out. The brass photo-etch detail set is of course first-rate. The relief etching is crisp and adds that little extra level of realism to the model.
The kit comes with 4 pages of fairly well detailed instructions and a full-color painting guide. The first page essentially maps out the photo-etch and white metal parts. The actual assembly instructions are presented in 3 pages of clear diagrams. Based on the instructions I have seen on a couple of other WEM kits, the locations of the photo-etch watertight doors and hatches were clearly pointed out. With these instructions the locations are not shown, but you can figure out where they should go based on the flat surfaces on the superstructure and deck that must denote the locations of doors and hatches. The painting guide provides references to WEMís own line of Colourcoat paints and to Humbrol colors. No decals are provided, but a suitable set for modern Royal Navy ships is sold separately by WEM.
Personally, I am happy to see this model finally come out. I have built their Ton Class MCMV kit and it is a great build. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my Colourcoat paint order so that I can begin constructing this model.