Imperial Hobby Productions 1/700
French Navy Canceled Aircraft Carrier Joffre
Ship kit review
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
The Joffre was the lead ship of a new class of French carriers planned to counter the German Graf Zeppelin. There were two of these carriers planned  the Joffre laid down in Nov. 1938, and the Painleve which was never started. The Joffre started construction, but had to be abandoned  in June of 1940 due to the German invasion, and was eventually scrapped. This photo from the IHP website show how far construction progressed. Had she been built this carrier would have displaced about 20,000 tons, and measured  774 feet long by 80-1/2 feet wide. The superstructure was large for a carrier and the flight deck was offset to port to compensate for the extra weight. These handsome carriers were similar to the British style carriers with a 2 story flight deck, but would have carried only 40 aircraft. Most likely the Joffre would have been assigned to the Atlantic hunting down German surface raiders.

Imperial Hobby Productions continues their line of "never builts" with this French carrier. This is a ship that could have been built had the war not started so soon. This would have been an interesting ship had it made operational status. The carrier was supposed to enbark an aircraft designated D750, but most likely it would have used American carrier aircraft if she had been completed before France fell. It is interesting to speculate what she would have looked like after an overhaul and refit in American navy yards like some french ships that escaped the attacking German forces.

The hull is cleanly cast and nicely detailed. The only flash I could find was at the waterline, although there was a couple of air bubbles that will require some touch up. The deck has some nice plating detail, and the hanger deck is ringed with conduit detail. The hull port holes are sharp and deep enough that you wont need to drill them out. Click images
to enlarge
The flight deck is surpassingly flat and well cast with only some small casting gates at the bow. This will save you a bunch of sanding and preserves the detailing. The deck is steel so there is no wood planking. The arrester wires are a bit overdone for my tastes and I would replace these with photo etch. I like the splinter shields with their exterior bracing. The flight deck also has some nice under deck detailing that you will appreciate.
The superstructure parts are cast on resin runners in a two part mold. That means both the top and bottom are cast with details. The detail on these parts is pretty good with well defined bridge windows, but I was not impressed with the doors on the bridge levels. These I would probably replace with photo etch.
The other small parts such as the ships boats and armament are pretty good, but with a bit of flash. Don't worry about the flash, it is really easy to remove, most of it falling away as I handled the parts. Some of the gun barrels will need to be replaced as several were broken. 
 I'm not familiar enough with French weapons to comment on the accuracy of these gun mounts.

Also included are plastic and brass rod for the mast and flight deck supports. Metal anchor chain is also included. I appreciate it when a manufacturer included these extra details.

The instructions are a single page front and back. The first page includes a plan and elevation as well as some history and specs. The second page includes several subassembly views that show the ship in various stages of construction.
Here a few flight deck and hull views to give you an idea of how this unique carrier would have appeared.

Yet another kit that few manufacturers wouldn't dare to produce. This is a special interest kit and it is unlikely to be produced again when this run is sold out. So whether your a die hard never built fan, or just someone who would like to have a model of a French carrier that was almost built, you will appreciate this one of a kind kit. This kit retails for $120.00 us, a fair price for a resin carrier. Thanks to Imperial Hobby Productions for the review sample. Don't forget to  check their website for a complete list of Ship kits in metal and resin. Mike Bartel has many more planned so stay tuned.