Flyhawk 1/700
HMS Prince of Wales 1941.12


Reviewed March 2018
by Martin J Quinn
The battleship HMS Prince of Wales needs no introduction to naval enthusiast and modelers.   The second ship of the five ship King George V class, she had a short, active, and ultimately tragic, service life.
The highlights of her all-too-brief career included tangling with the German battleship Bismarck in the Denmark Strait in May, 1941, in the action that led to the loss of the British battleship HoodPrince of Wales did score several hits on the German behemoth during the engagement, which triggered a train of events leading to the German raiders destruction several days later.  After repairs, she carried Winston Churchill to North America to meet with American President Franklin D. Roosevelt for the "Atlantic Charter" meetings at Placentia Bay, Newfoundland.   Returning to the UK, she served briefly in the Mediterranean before being dispatched to the Far East with the elderly battle cruiser Repulse, as a supposed deterrent to Japanese designs on Imperial territory, designated "Force Z".
Leaving the safety of her Singapore base in the wake of the opening of hostilities, she went hunting for Japanese invasion forces with Repulse, but came up empty.   On the return trip to their base, bereft of any air cover, both ships were overwhelmed by a Japanese aerial assault, and sunk.   They were the first capital ships at sea to be sunk by airpower alone.   The age of the battleship was over. 
Winston Churchill later said, "In all the war I never received a more direct shock. As I turned and twisted in bed the full horror of the news sank in upon me. There were no British or American capital ships in the Indian Ocean or the Pacific except the American survivors of Pearl Harbor who were hastening back to California. Over this vast expanse of waters Japan was supreme and we everywhere were weak and naked".

For more on Prince of Wales, visit her Wikipedia page here, which is where this abridged history was pulled from.   There is also a website dedicate to Force Z, which can be found here

The Flyhawk Prince of Wales

Flyhawk’s 1/700 HMS Prince of Wales comes in a white cardboard box with artwork showing Prince of Wales entering Singapore in December, 1941.  One of the side panels shows a couple future Flyhawk 1/700 releases – the German cruiser Konigsberg and the German battleship Bismarck.

Inside the box is a copy of the box art that is suitable for framing.  The hull, deck and waterline plate are wrapped in a thin white material, while the sprues are in various plastic bags.  At the bottom of the box are the directions, a small set of decals and the waterline plate.  As this is the "basic" release of Prince of Wales, there is no photo-etch included. 

FlyHawk lists each component of the hull as a different sprue, A through D.   Sprue A is the main deck, Sprue B the upper hull, Sprue C the waterline plate and Sprue D the lower hull. 

The main deck is one piece.  It is beautifully molded with sharp details.  There are subtle ends to the planks, which may be technically out of scale, but look great.    Some cable reels and the anchor chain are molded as part of the deck.

The upper hull scales out perfectly in length and beam.   There is raised hull plating fore and aft.  The portholes on the hull have subtle eyebrows over them, while the chocks along the edge of the hull are finely done.  There are some vertical ladders molded onto the hull.

It's a waterline plate.  What else is there to say?

The lower hull is smooth - no plating like on the upper hull.  There are some faint mold lines which will have to be sanded off it your building Prince of Wales as a full hull model.  The bilge keels look nice, and the cutwater is very sharp. 

The kit contains many "little sprues" with only one part on them.  This is one such sprue, and it contains the forward main battery director.   It has nice detail.
Another mini-sprue, this has the two deckhouses that the sit on either side of the hangar, on which are mounted 5.25 inch secondary guns.   The deckhouses have molded on W/T doors and vents.
The aft main battery director is on this sprue, which features crisply molded W/T doors and other details. 
This is the barbette for "B" turret.   There is molded on vertical ladders and venting detail on the barbette. 
On this sprue is the aft director tower.   The portholes have eyebrows, the W/T doors are details, and there is bracing detail under the platforms. 
 Here we find the two deckhouses that the sit on either side of the boat deck, on which are mounted 5.25 inch secondary guns.   The deckhouses have molded on W/T doors and vents. 
The two king posts/cabs for the cranes are on this sprue.   Also found here is the base for the forward main battery director and another deckhouse that fits on the forward superstructure. 
This sprue has the "Y" shaped tower on the forward superstructure that holds secondary directors, a searchlight tower and part of the upper bridge.
Four directors (for AA guns, I believe) are on this sprue. 
Here you'll find two superbly slide molded funnels and the associated funnel caps.   There is really finely done detail on the funnels - the rivets are really nice, and the insides of the funnels are molded so they appear to have separate sections.   The funnel caps are the nicest injection molded funnel caps I've ever seen. 
Various superstructure bulkheads and the two hangar roller doors populate this sprue.  The bulkheads have molded on ladders, hatches, W/T doors, vents and cable reels.  As on other parts, the portholes have "eyebrows" above them.
This is the slide molded after superstructure/boat deck.   The boat cradles are molded on, but in this scale, and with all the boats Prince of Wales carried, I don't mind they are molded to the deck, and they look fine.   There are more cable reels molded onto the deck.  The openings in the sides of the part are for some of the bulkheads, which are separate parts on different sprues. 
A platform for the Pom Pom guns and one of the bridge levels make up sprue Q.  The splinter shields on the bridge platform are well done, with bracing, while the underside of the Pom Pom platform has molded on supports. 
Two parts  make up this "sprue" - the base of the forward superstructure and the hangar.  The bulkheads are well detailed, and the interior bulkheads of the hangars are also detailed.  However, the overheads of the hangar bays are marred by very large ejector pin marks.   If you are building the hangars closed, or building the kit waterline with one or both of the hangars open, it shouldn't be a big deal.   If you are going full hull, you may want to do something about them. 
There are additional superstructure parts here.   The detail is very good - stairs disappearing into the superstructure deck, raised platforms with grating, well define bridge windows and nicely done splinter shields that appear to be in scale. 
Sprue T and U are attached to each other, and to two common "GB" sprues.   Sprue T is one of the largest in the kit.   Here you'll find props, a large cutter, the cranes - which are very well done for plastic - davits, anchors, large cable reels, winches and some other ridiculously small parts that are so small that it's basically Flyhawk just showing off. 
Very petite boat booms, a flag staff, a smaller boat and injection molded "stairs/inclined ladders" adorn most of this sprue. 
The turret bases and main guns, as well as some superstructure parts, are on this sprue.  The ends of the main gun barrels are hollowed out. 
This is the largest sprue in the box, and it's loaded with smaller parts:  masts, prop shafts/struts, the rudder, the directors mounted to the turrets, the breakwater, various platforms, a large cutter, winches and other assorted small parts.   For the most part, there is nice details to be found.   The molded radar is a little heavy, and the legs for the masts look like care will be needed to remove them from the sprue. 
You'll find the 'lantern' radar, other parts for the forward superstructure/bridge, and the engine room vents on this sprue.   The vents have the 'screens' molded in - the detail here is really exemplary! 
The last of the ship specific sprues has the three turrets on it.   The slide molded turret tops are really well done, with rivet and plating detail, and hatches on the rear of the turrets. 
SPRUE GB01 (x1)
The first of a number common sprues for RN kits. It has a 4 barreled pom-pom, .50 quad AA gun and some smaller AA weapons.  Petite with nice details. 
SPRUE GB02 (x1)
 This has searchlights and signal lamps. Tiny and really nicely molded.
SPRUE GB03 (x1)
Paravanes and winches.   The detail on the winches is outstanding.
SPRUE GB04 (x1)
A small director and a bunch of binoculars and other bridge equipment. 
SPRUE GB07 (x4)
The 5.25 turrets, bases and barrels are found on these sprues.  Nice detail all the way around. 
SPRUE GB23 (x1)
Shield-less 20mm guns are on the sprue.   Very crisp molding.
SPRUE GB24 (x1)
Finely molded boats of various types. 
SPRUE GB31 (x1)
One Walrus spotting aircraft, and associated parts, are on this sprue.   Good detail - there is fabric detail! 
SPRUE GB34 (x2)
Eight barrel Pom Poms are on this sprue.   They are sharply molded. 
SPRUE GB35 (x2)
Parts for the rafts.   Nicely detailed.
SPRUE GB36 (x2)
Ready ammo boxes, with some finely molded detail. 
SPRUE GB37 (x2)
Lots of rafts.   Again, the parts are nicely molded. 
SPRUE GB38 (x1)
Larger boats - perhaps the Admiral and/or Captain's rides?   They look good - some nice detail on the cabins. 
SPRUE GB39 (x1)
Lots of very small vents. 
SPRUE GB41 (x1)
Small searchlights, which look good. 
There is no photo-etch included in this kit, which is the "basic" version.   Photo-etch set FH710031 is available separately to dress up this model. 
There is a small set of Cartograf decals in the kit.  On it you’ll find the faircraft markings, plus a pair of flags. 
The instructions are on two 21 inch by 7 inch, two-sided pieces of heavy paper. There are 15 steps for Prince of Wales, and one for the Walrus. They feature exploded view drawings with colored highlights, that are logical and look easy for follow. 

The painting and marking guide is on the bottom of the third page. This shows both plan and profile (both port and starboard) of Prince of Wales in her striking disruptive camouflage pattern.  There is also the following statement:  "As there are some controversy about the coloring of HMS Prince of Wales Dec. 1941, the coloring solution we suggested here is only for your reference.  Please feel free to contact us if you have better ideas or accurate information on coloring.  Thank you."   Perhaps Flyhawk reads the Modelwarships forums

A plan and profile of the Walrus is on page four. 

Flyhawk continues to set the bar for quality in the 1/700 ship realm.  In my opinion, no other injection manufacturer comes close to what they are doing.   Flyhawk's Prince of Wales is a big (for 700th scale), beautiful, highly detailed model, which, even without any upgrade parts, should give any modeler many happy nights at the workbench and result in a handsome replica of this tragic ship (how handsome depends on your skill level).   Give your un-built Tamiya Prince of Wales kits to the kids to build, it's been usurped by this kit. 

This is Flyhawk’s 1/700 HMS Prince of Wales, kit number FH1117. The kit retails for $48.95.  Remember, this is the basic version, and contains no photo-etch of detail up parts, which are available separately.  Highly Recommended!! 

Thanks to Flyhawk for the review sample. This is an in box review, your mileage may vary once you start assembly. 

This is an in-box review showing the kit contents. We welcome your input and comments in the review section of the forum especially if you can share details about fit, ease of assembly and accuracy. Click the logo on the right to join in the discussion.