L'Arsenal 1/700 HMS Fearless

Reviewed by Timothy Dike
June 2012

The HMS Fearless was the first Landing Platform Dock (LPD) ship, built for the Royal Navy. She is perhaps best known for her role in the Falklands War in 1982 where she helped support the Marines on shore. She earned honors for helping to rescue crew members from the HMS Antelope after the latter was hit by Argentine aircraft. The HMS Fearless  also had a cameo role in the 1977 "Spy Who Loved Me" James Bond movie. 

She was designed to support a Royal Marines amphibious assault force and help the protect British interests around the world. Commissioned in 1965 the Fearless was a very capable ship. She usually carried four LCU's in the well deck and four LCVP's on davits along the side. The LCU's could deliver one main battle tank, four smaller vehicles, or 120 troops. The flight deck could accommodate up to five Sea King helicopters. In addition to delivering a large force ashore, the Fearless could server as a central command and control headquarters to coordinate the landings. 

In 1985 Fearless was refitted and received new 20 mm BMARC and Phalanx CIWS guns in response to the new threat posed by anti ship missiles. She took on a training role in the 90's until finally being decommissioned in 2002. A few years later Fearless was towed away and scrapped. Much of the ship was 

This new kit from L'Arsenal was designed using 3D CAD to produce the master. It shows in the details.

The hull is cast waterline style with some really sharp detailing. Casting is very good and my sample is mostly flash free with no defects to fix. The deck features nicely cast bits and chock and nice anchor handling gear. There is also some nice surface detailing on the horizontal surfaces with portholes and doors cast on. The well deck is open and is designed to use a seperate help deck. 
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Interior detailing is pretty sparce, but there is plenty of room to add it if you desire. 
The superstructure are well cast. Whereever possible the resin sprue is placed in locations where they will result in the least damage when removed. Some parts are cast on runners and overall the detail is very good. Doors and hatches are cast on, and funnels have a nice hollowed out appearance with plenty of detail. 
Most parts have mounting lugs that corespond with the sockets on the hull casting which will make the building process so much easier. 
Sat domes, crane base and a platform make up these parts These have a light film of flash on them, but nothing that is hard to remove. 
Sea Cat launchers and chaff dispensers are represented here. A little light cleanup will be needed to finish these parts. 
A whole bunch of life raft canisters are provided to mount around the ship. These might be a little tedious to cleanup and add, but this is an often overlooked and essential detail to add to your ship.
Four LCU's are provided to move the heavy equipment to shore. Four LCVP's for the troops are provided. Casting is nice and photo etch ramps are provided. I did have one broken LCU, but it is a clean break and easy to fix. The PE also includes railings, and mast details. 
Four Sea King Helicopters are included well cast with photo etched details. Rotors, landing gear and other fine details give these some real potential. 
Four of these Wessex helos are provided also with fine castin and nice photo etched details. 
Railings, davits, crane details, and platforms are among the parts relief etched in stainless steel. There are even a couple of ship crests for the Fearless and Intrepid. 
A decal sheet is provided with hull numbers, helo deck markings, warning circles and all kinds of helo markings. A nice touch are the window markings for the helos. 
The instructions are ten pages with 3D illustrations to show where the parts go. The are very thorough and easy to follow. My one complaint is the Bill of Materials shows the parts removed from the sprue. It would be nice if they were identified on the sprues. 
This is the perfect kit to represent the ship as she was during Operation Corporate in 1982. You can also do her sister ship the Interpid. Well detailed, and expertly cast, it should be a fun build. 
They are available direct from L'Arsenal or L'Arsenal USA or wherever fine ship accessories are sold.

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