Revell-Germany 1/72 HMCS Snowberry
About 10 years ago, I built the Matchbox version of this Flower-class corvette kit, converting it to radio control. I ran the model for a few years, and then sold it just before a cross-country move. It was a nice-running model, and I was glad to see Revell-Germany re-issue the kit. I've just received my new HMCS Snowberry kit. Here are my first impressions, with some comparisons to the older Matchbox offering.
First off, the two kits are from the same molds. Oddly enough, the new Revell offering can be built as either the HMCS Snowberry or the USS Saucy. The older Matchbox version of the kit also included an option to build the HMS Bluebell. I don't know why the folks at Revell-Germany decided to drop the British version.
The instruction booklet is new. It has been re-written from the original Matchbox version, and is now in 8 languages. The booklet is printed on newsprint, instead of the glossy magazine-like paper the Matchbox version was printed on. The sequence looks to be the same, and the differences between Snowberry and Saucy are clearly called out.
The one thing I miss from the original instructions is that the nice color drawings showing the different vessel's camouflage patterns have been replaced by black and white renditions. The colors are called out in a table at the start of the instructions. The colors are given by name, and with a "Revell number". I'm not sure how those numbers are supposed to match with the leading brands of paint on the market (the old Matchbox kit used Humbrol numbers, if I recall correctly).
The kit is molded in three main colors. The hull parts and one sprue of deck fittings are molded in the typical Revell battleship gray. The decks are molded in a light tan, and the rest of the parts are molded in a very light blue-ish gray. (Since Snowberry is the featured model, I wish they had molded the kit in white!) The kit also includes a sheet of decals, a paper flag sheet, anchor chain, and two spools of thread (black and tan). The parts were all well packed.
A cursory examination of the sprues showed that the parts are equal to or better than the ones that came in the old Matchbox kit. A number of parts in my old kit were out of round, caused by mold misalignment, which this new kit doesn't seem to have. Flash also appears to be minimal. It doesn't look like I'll be spending a lot of time filing and sanding to get the depth charges round this time!
As I looked at the sprues, it looked to me that the parts needed to build HMS Bluebell are all still there. If you could get your hands on a copy of the old Matchbox instructions, I'm pretty sure you could build the Bluebell. (Although you'd have to come up with your own decals.) I know I saved my old copy somewhere.
In summary, Revell-Germany has done a nice job with this re-issue of this old kit. Compared to the old kit, this new one is a bargain. I remember the old one retailed for about $130(US), and that I grabbed mine when Squadron ran a brief special at $70. In 2001, a number of vendors and shops are offering this kit for $70 to $75, and I think that full retail is only $90! Now is the time to get one of these kits; I doubt the price will be lower next time around!