Combrig 1/350 French light cruiser Montcalm
Reviewed 4/5/2016
by Chris Martens
Montcalm was a La-GalissoniereI class light cruiser and served with both the Allies and Vichy France during the war. The ship was laid down in 1933 and launched in 1935. Upon commissioning, she joined the 4th Cruiser division, later serving in the Pacific out of Saigon. Montcalm was in the Atlantic upon the declaration of war, spending much of her time on convoy duty with the 2nd Squadron of the Force de Raid. 
Montcalm’s most notable service found her off the Coast of Norway, in 1940, at the flagship of the French Scandinavian Force. After completion of operations, the cruiser rejoined the Force de Raid, in Algiers, where she sailed at least once in convoy. After the Mer-el-Kebir raid, Montcalm was recalled to Toulon, and later Dakar, where she successfully repelled a combined Free French and British attack. 
The cruiser, and other French warships rejoined the Allies soon after, refitting in Philadelphia. She spent the rest of the war on anti-blockade runner duties and shelled beaches at Normandy. Montcalm continued to see front line duty, post war, until laid up as an accommodation hulk at Toulon in 1959. She served in this capacity until condemned and scrapped in 1969. 
Combrig has a history of providing resin kits with as much, if not more detail than injection kits, which is continued here. I could not locate a single pinhole, air bubble, or blemish in the resin. Many of the details in this kit rival aftermarket outfits like Veteran. Overall, quality wise, Combrig’s 350 offerings only seem to be getting astoundingly better.
I will note a complaint with packaging, however. My sample arrived with the plastic bag, which contained the instructions and photo etch, broken. Unfortunately, the etching was bent and damaged. While most of the damage was repairable or replicable, it is most certainly frustrating, especially with a kit of this price and caliber. Further, Combrig likes to pack their bigger resin kits with what amounts to a foam blizzard of balls when one opens the box. Trying to remove them from the floor, kit, box, nooks, crannies, and even my hair was, well, interesting. Combrig, please revisit kit packaging! 
Combrig molded the ship’s hull split along the waterline. Unlike many resin kits in 1/350 scale, the hull is hollowed, saving significant weight. Detail is excellent and the molding is incredibly crisp. It isn’t possible to perfectly line up the upper/lower sections, due to the presence of some overpour, but there do not appear to be any signs of warping or misalignment. Further, this overpour is minor and easily removable with mild sanding and/or hand saws.
1-HULL-01 1-HULL-02 1-HULL-03 1-HULL-04 1-HULL-05
1-HULL-06 1-HULL-07 1-HULL-08 1-HULL-09 1-HULL-10
All superstructure parts are cleanly cast absolutely covered in detail. Resin wafers are nearly paper thin, making clean up a breeze. The hanger, especially, is wonderful, with excellent internal detail. 
Armament is a combination of resin and photo etch. Montcalm’s main turrets are crisply cast. Incredibly, the resin barrels are hollow at the end.  Her secondary guns are some of the best I’ve ever seen in a kit, injection molded or resin. Montcalm’ AA guns are a combination of PE and resin to excellent effect.
I want to reiterate that the detail found in these items is simply incredible. Combrig has utilized CAD design to squeeze as much detail in as fine a package as possible. The searchlights, alone, are worth their own aftermarket release. The paravanes and anchors are also notable, being some of the best I’ve ever seen. 
Montcalm’ launches are thinly cast and rely largely on PE detail (which, in my opinion, is very welcome.) Montcalm’s two flying boats are excellent, though she was not equipped with them at the time of the Norwegian campaign, having been landed in England. Modelers may wish to omit them if they want a fully accurate 1940-fit. 
6-BOATS-01 6-BOATS-02
Combrig generously provided two large and one small fret. Detail is crisp and certain parts benefit highly from relief etching. A perspective modeler would likely need little in the way of aftermarket to really detail out this ship. 
7-PE-01 7-PE-02
The decals provided will allow the builder to complete the Montcalm in either her ’42 or peacetime guise. Some of the decals are larger, requiring some care when applying. Quality looks excellent. 8-DEC-01
The instructions included in this kit are some of the best I’ve ever seen with a resin kit. Parts are clearly labeled, and assembly is easy to follow. All instructions are based on the CG drawings, making identification of her parts very, very easy.
Combrig’s Montcalm is an excellent addition to any collection. While the MSRP may put some modelers off, it is worth nothing that similar 1/350 scale products lack the sheer diversity of detailed parts present with this kit. I do wish Combrig would improve its packaging, but it’s a minor complaint consider the quality of this offering. Aside from brass barrels, I see little that could be added to improve this ship.
I want to thank Combrig for the review sample.
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