Heller 1/400 Marceau
Review by Jean-Paul Binot

 The Marceau was the former Z 31 destroyer of the Kriegsmarine, that was given to the French Navy as a war prize in 1946. It was refitted with US radars and AA weapons before being stricken in 1958.

 The kit is molded in light gray plastic, with 163 parts in 7 sprues. The general appearance is good, with some flash and fine detail. Overall length is 315 mm. As in all Heller kits, plastic railing is supplied in a special sprue. It is hopelessly overscale and should be discarded.

 The kit depicts Marceau in her final state as an all-gun destroyer, with three 150mm turrets. It is basically a German ‘Narvik’ class destroyer, but with French/US AA weapons and torpedo tubes. The kit shares some sprues with another Heller kit (for which there is a twin 150mm turret that is useless for the Marceau). The hull is made of two full-hull halves, to be joined and reinforced by strips of plastic, as with all Heller kits except the Foch and Clemenceau. Overall the superstructure is accurate, but some detail is missing (doors, hatches, etc.) Detail is minimal but the general shape and proportions are good. The masts and radar aerial are too heavy and should be replaced by scratchbuilt and PE elements, using the parts provided with the kit as examples.

 The kit’s instructions provide a guide to Heller and Humbrol paints. Contrary to modern French warships, Marceau should be painted in a very attractive scheme with two shades of grey, with all horizontal surfaces dark gray. The potential for conversion of the kit is limited. It can be used to portray its sister ship Hoche, or be backdated to its Kriegsmarine day, but with a different weapon fit.

 The kit of the Marceau is a good rendition of an all-gun destroyer. 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. 

In conclusion, although there is really nothing wrong with it, I would not recommend the purchase of this kit, unless the modeller is attracted to this particular ship. The kit is rather complex for such a small ship, and the subject is rather obscure.

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