HMS Royal Sovereign

Copyright 1997, Ian Wilkins

Revell 1:500 HMS Royal Sovereign

An In Box Review by Ian Wilkins

This kit is a reissue of the old Frog Revenge kit. After Frog went out of business the moulds wound up in the Soviet Union where the kit was produced for several years. Now Revell have the moulds and have re-issued the kit as Royal Sovereign.

The kit is really much more accurate for HMS Revenge that Royal Sovereign. I checked it against photos and drawings in R A Burt's British Battleships of World war One, which has excellent plan, profile, and inboard profile drawings for this class. In the 1930s several members of this class had tripod legs fitted to their mainmasts including Royal Sovereign. As fas as I have been able to tell Revenge was not so fitted and the kit does not include these tripod legs. It also has the correct pattern of long base rangefinders on B and X turrets for Revenge. I'd say the kit represents HMS Revenge as she appeared early in WWII with radar and some small calibre AA weapons added.

For an old kit that's been through a lot Revell's Royal Sovereign is in surprisingly good shape. There is a bit of flash about but the mould alignment seems good and all the parts are useable. What follows are a few comments based on a survey of the components and instruction sheet.

Strangely the 4 inch mounts have an extraneous stem on the underside that the instruction sheet says must be cut off before attaching them to the deck. The barrels for these are way to short and will need replacing with wire. There are also some heavy mould lines that will need sanding off. The pom-pom mounts are simple but cleanly executed, and in this scale a lot of extra detail could be added. the 15 inch turrets are fairly accurate in shape and the barrels useable, though these will need a bit of cleaning up. The 6 inch casemate mounts are a bit disappointing, there being large gaps that will allow you to see right out the other side of the hull. blanking pieces cut from plastic card will be needed here along with some good references to get things looking right.

The hull looks accurate in outline and is well moulded with no sinkmarks or warpage. The massive bulges that were fitted to this class after construction are OK in shape but there is little hull detail apart from some faintly moulded scuttles. Pictures show a variety of details that could be added to the ship's sides. The hull scales out accurately in beam and length. The markings for the boot topping are wrong leaving the vessel with too little freeboard. The upper line should be lowered by 2 millimetres and the lower one raised by 1.5 millimetres for a more correct appearance. You will also have to add your own bilge keels.

The decks seem to fit neatly into the hull but there is very little deck detail. Checking references will be necessary to liven up this area of the model. Deck planking is shown as lightly raised lines and looks quite acceptable.

The bridgework is made up of quite simple pieces and the funnel is closed over on top and will need cutting open. At any rate some modellers will want to construct the proper clinker screen here. The boats are good, there's a little flash, but no sinkmarks. The two pinnaces look especially good.

Finally, the instuctions offer two colour schemes, one of which is a camoflage scheme and the other an all over light grey scheme. The camoflage is probably more accurate for a radar equiped ship.

This kit is in a good big scale and has a lot of potential for conversion projects and super detailing. It would be easier to construct other Royal Sovereign class vessels from this kit than say building other Queen Elizabeths from the Airfix Warspite kit. Considering what the moulds have been through the kit is in fantastic condition.