Review by Felix Bustelo
The six Floréal Class surveillance frigates are designed for coastal operation in low risk areas. They are very efficient and easy to operate and maintain. To honor the bicentennial of the French Revolution, the ships in this class are named after the months of the French Revolution calendar.
This kit is another top quality offering from L'Arsenal. The one-piece full hull and main superstructure is nearly flawless. My sample did not have a casting block (which is normally found on full hull resin kits) but some light cleanup and sanding is needed along the keel and around the bulbous bow. The only casting flaws are 3 tiny pinholes on some rectangular structures on the upper deck. These are easily corrected with gap filling super glue and a file. There is a high level of detail, such as watertight doors, vent grills and portholes, cast into the hull and superstructure. Locator holes are present to aid in the placement of the other resin parts. The waterline is faintly etched into the hull, which is also a great help when it comes to painting. Two resin stands are provided to hold the model while building and can be used as actual display stands if you like.
The remaining resin parts are stored in a ziplock bag. These include the main mast, rudders, 100mm turret, helicopter, Exocet containers, the boats and rafts and other small parts. The casting of these smaller parts is also excellent and crisp. Part numbers are cast into the sprues to aid in identifying parts. Care must be given in removing parts from sprues, especially when locator pins are present.
The photo-etch parts come in two brass frets. One fret contains 6 lengths of 3-bar rails and the second fret contains a variety of detail parts. This second fret contains such items as inclined and vertical ladders, Exocet framing, helicopter pad safety nets, helicopter rotors, radars and main mast antennas, funnel top framing and other bits and pieces. The detail photoetch fret has part numbers etched into the brass, which makes identification very easy and matches the kit instructions.
A decal sheet is included which contains the hull numbers and names for all 6 ships in this class. Also present on the decal sheet are bridge and superstructure windows and helicopter pad markings. A French flag is not provided nor are the markings for the helicopters. You will need a separate source for the French Tricolor and you can use the L'Arsenal French Roundels Decal Set.
The six pages of instructions are very well illustrated and detailed and are available in English as well as in French. My sample of course came with the English instructions and they are excellent. Background information on the class, tips and things to do prior to construction, Humbrol and Tamiya color references and reference sources fill up page one. The next five pages contain written and illustrated assembly instructions. Some good reference photos are always a help and would come in handy here as well.
L'Arsenal has another winner with this great kit. This kit will be very nice addition to your collection of 1/400 scale kits and to any collection of modern warships. You can build this kit as the Germinal (F 735) and pair it up with the Heller Jeanne d'Arc, for which she is the tender. My thanks to Jacques Druel, of L'Arsenal, for supplying this review sample.
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