L'Arsenal 1/700 German Escort TA-20

Reviewed July 2017
by Sean Hert
The Italian destroyer Audace was originally ordered by Japan from Yarrow Shipbuilders in Scotland under the name of Kawakaze, but was transferred to Italy in 1916 while still under construction. She served as the command ship for the radio-controlled target ship San Marco in 193740 and then was rearmed for convoy escort and patrolling duties when World War II began. Audace was captured by the Germans on 12 September 1943 when the Germans occupied Venice and they redesignated her as TA 20. They augmented her anti-aircraft armament to 20 Breda guns in 10 twin mounts and assigned her to escort and minelaying work in the Adriatic Sea. On 15 March 1944, she laid a minefield south of Ancona and others east of San Giorgio on the night of 17/18 and 29 March. The British destroyers Wheatland and Avon Vale ambushed and sank TA 20 and two accompanying corvettes on 1 November south of Lussino in the Adriatic. 

This kit depicts TA-20 during her career with the Kriegsmarine. The Germans removed the torpedo tubes, upgraded the anti-aircraft fit and made changes to the superstructure. 

As is seen with most 1/700 resin ships, TA-20's hull is cast waterline style. The hull has the deckhouses, bridge gun platform also cast in-place. Like most ships of the time, she has a raised fo'c'sle as part of the hull. The funnels are also cast in place, as well as most of the deck fittings. 

The detail is good, with little flash of consequence or other casting issues. There are a few pin holes which should be simple to address with CA glue, or might even fill in with a heavy primer coat. 

There are eight sprues of parts for this kit, which include some torpedo tubes which will not be used. 

Most of the parts are the normal gear we see on a ship- whale boats, davits, life rafts and paravanes. There is a selection of various caliber weapons for TA-20, reflected her storied career. Unfortunately, in our review sample, some of the tiny 20mm barrels for the German 20mm quad Flak (2 cm Flakvierling 38) have snapped off, and the barrels for the twin 37mm Breda are bent. Not a challenging repair for most 1/700 modellers.

The resin mainmast is an interesting addition to this kit, and should be impressive with its photoetched details.

The photoetch fret is minimal, but that's to be expected with this subject in 1/700. Yard and mast details, prop guards, ladders and railings make up the bulk of the fret. One interesting add-on is the option to replace the resin davits for the whaleboats with PE.
The decals are quite basic- both decals for TA-20 and the Audace are present, with the TA-20 simply being two balkenkreuz.
The instructions two pages, with assembly locations instead of step-by-step directions. The splintered dazzle scheme should really make TA-20 an impressive little model.

L'Arsenal's TA-20/Audace isn't a complicated kit, and would be a good first resin kit if you're looking for an introduction into 1/700 resin warships. The interesting history and scheme for TA-20 make this an attractive purchase for any warship enthusiast, and can probably be built in a weekend. Recommended! 

This is kit #700 02 German Escort TA-20 lists for about $32.95, available direct from L'Arsenal or wherever fine ship accessories are sold. 

This is an in-box review showing the kit contents. We welcome your input and comments in the review section of the forum especially if you can share details about fit, ease of assembly and accuracy. Click the logo on the right to join in the discussion.

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