Ostrich Hobby
1/700 HMS Vanguard
Reviewed September 2020
by Martin J Quinn
Ostrich Hobby has released a multi-media kit of Britain’s last dreadnought, the elegant HMS Vanguard. Designed and started during World War II, but not completed until after the conflict ended, Vanguard had a relative short career, as she was scrapped in 1960. For more on Vanguard’s history, check out her Wikipedia page here


Ostrich’s Vanguard comes in a sturdy flip-top black box, with an image of the ship at anchor on the box top. Upon opening the box, everything seems to be well packaged. 

The hull scales out to the correct dimensions in both length and beam. The hull is wrapped in thick Styrofoam paper, and held in place in the box with one end of the hull tucked into foam packaging. 

The casting on the hull is generally very sharp. It has good detail and is very “busy” looking. There are vents, winches, paravanes, capstans, etc. On the other hand, the hull bows upward at the bow and stern. Additionally, the forward boat booms on both sides of the hull aren’t straight, nor are the breakwaters, which both have a bit of a “wave” to them. There’s also some over-pour on the port side by the forward most breakwater. 

On the bottom of the hull is cast “Snowman Models”, which leads me to believe that Ostrich Hobby is part of, or affiliated with, that company.

Vanguard’s big, blocky superstructure is broken down into three large resin pieces. The forward and aft superstructures and the center “boat deck”. The funnels are cast separately. Detail is good and the casting is sharp. The boat davits are integrally cast into the center section. 

The aft superstructure has a myriad of small vents and small protrusions cast into it. Unfortunately, all three superstructure sections – the largest parts outside of the hull – were all loose in the same plastic bag. This resulted in substantial damage, with much of the aforementioned vents wiped off the larger part and left lying in the bag. A chunk of the deck for the center section was broken off as well. 

The funnels look good, with deep recesses to simulate a hollow funnel interior. 

The small parts – main battery turrets, secondary guns, directors, boats, etc. – are all on resin runners.  I much prefer resin runners/trees to resin wafers, which are a chore to sand.  While the casting is overall nice, much of it was packed together, which led to more breakage.  There's also a fair bit of flash that will need cleaning up. 

The forward mast is a separate part in its own plastic bag. It is very flimsy and would have been better represented by brass, though it does have many small platforms integrally cast onto it. 

The kit includes turned brass barrels for the main and secondary batteries. Just like the photo-etch, these come in a separate clam-shell plastic container. 

The photo-etch comes in a small clamshell plastic container. There are 5 small frets included, each one about 2 ¾ by 1 ¾ inch in size. Across these frets, you’ll find railings, funnel caps, hatches, safety nets, and cranes. The photo-etch has some relief etching and looks pretty good, but it does seem to be very thin, so you’ll want to use care when handling it. 

The nice engrave nameplate is included. Nice touch! There is also a cheesy commemorative coin packaged with the turned brass barrels. 

The “instructions” are printed on both sides of one 8 ½ by 11 piece of paper. The drawings are reminiscent of instructions for some of the earliest resin kits. I know that, as modelers, we allegedly don’t need instructions, but these are completely inadequate.

This kit is a mixed bag. There is some superb casting, let down by some flash, dodgy packaging and instructions that can be classified as a "joke". I’m disappointed by the warp in the hull and especially with all the broken parts in the kit.

If you MUST have a 1/700 HMS Vanguard, and you MUST have it now, then this kit might be for you. The casting and turrets are certainly better than the old Samek Vanguard.  However, if don’t need it now, you may want to wait for the injection molded plastic version announced by Flyhawk. Which is what I should have done.

This is Ostrich Hobby’s 1/700 HMS Vanguard, kit number 700001. It is available for around $139, plus shipping, on eBay, which is where I procured mine.