Heller 1/400 Duguay-Trouin
Review by Jean-Paul Binot

The Duguay-Trouin is the second anti-submarine frigate of the F67 program (with theTourville and the De Grasse ), and is currently in service with the GASM (theASW group protecting the French SSBN fleet) in Brest. The kit depicts Duguay-Trouin as she (or he in French) was at completion in 1975. 

The kit is molded in light gray plastic, with 198 parts in 2 sprues. The general appearance is verygood, with minimal flash and fine detail. Overall length is 383 mm, height 38. As in all Hellerkits, plastic railing is supplied in a special sprue. It is hopelessly overscale and should bediscarded.

The hull is made of two full-hull halves, to be joined and reinforced by strips of plastic, as withall Heller kits except the Foch and Clemenceau. The stabilization fins aremissing. The two propellers match available photographic evidence. The main deck fits the hullreasonably well, but some small gaps will need to be filled. The after deck fits under the maindeck, and should be painted in advance since access to it will be restricted when the main deck isin place.

Overall the superstructure is accurate, but most detail is missing (doors, hatches, etc.) The kitincludes the original third 100mm turret on top of the hangar, as per 1975 when the ship wascompleted. However that turret was replaced by an octuple Crotale launcher in 1982, atop a smalldeckhouse containing its magazine (as on Tourville. De Grasse was completedwith the Crotale launcher in place). Surprisingly, Heller included the deckhouse (not mentionedin the instructions), but not the launcher, which will have to be scratchbuilt, together withadditional superstructure and satellite arrays.

The funnel is fine enough to be used, but the complex mast and the platforms it supports shouldbe replaced by scratchbuilt elements, using the kit's parts as examples. The Malafon missileamidships is very nicely molded, but the launcher should be super-detailed. (The Malafon hasbeen removed from the class in 1997, but was not replaced, leaving a large gap amidships).

The MM38 Exocet battery behind the bridge is rather poorly molded. Each missile is made oftwo halves, and the box-like structure that should cover the missiles has been forgotten. The afterdeck is covered with the very nicely modeled towed array sonar equipment. The helicopterlanding pad is complete with its typical safety panels molded in solid plastic, that should bereplaced by their PE counterpart from the Gold MedalModels 1/400 Naval Set. Two helicopters (one Alouette II and one Lynx) are provided.

The kit's instructions provide a guide to Heller and Humbrol paints. As for all modern Frenchwarships, Duguay-Trouin should be painted light blue-gray, with all horizontal surfacesdark gray. There is one book that I suggest should be used when building Heller'sDuguay-Trouin : Chasseurs de sous-marins, Marine Nationale, ISBN 2-907341-47-2.Published by the French Navy itself, it provides an in-depth coverage of the GASM and its ships,in full-color (and in French )

The kit of the Duguay-Trouin is a very nice attempt at producing a model of this gracefulship. As with all Heller kits, this one should receive a considerable amount of super-detailing,including PE accessories and additional parts, but there are no obvious mistakes to be corrected.One can only regret that there is no manufacturer of PE material to have produced a setspecifically for French warships in 1/400 yet. The potential for conversion of the kit is limitedsince Duguay-Trouin has only two sister ships, and the three ships have not been muchaltered in their 20 years of service with the French Navy. Nonetheless in conclusion, I verystrongly recommend the purchase of this kit, since it provides excellent value for money. If builtout of the box and fitted with the PE accessories, it will turn into a very nice replica ofDuguay-Trouin as completed. With the extra effort of scratchbuilding a Crotale launcherand a few additional pieces, it has the potential to be a real winner.

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