Ship kit review
Reviewed by Timothy Dike
July 2014
The Malta class of large fleet carriers was designed in 1943 and would have featured open hangars and deck edge lifts, then new features in British carrier construction. Three ships were planned (Malta, Gibraltar, New Zealand) and some sources quote a fourth ship, Africa. All were canceled by the end of 1945 and no keels were ever laid. The Maltas would have measured 916' overall length and displaced 46,900 tons standard, with a speed of 30-32 knots. Aircraft complement would have been around 80 aircraft while crew complement would have been at least 3,000

One has to wonder what-if they had been built. Imperial Hobby Productions has produced a kit based on the Malta class proposal. This kit was designed using CAD and utilized 3D printing to make the masters. This is a a semi-craftsman kit meaning you will need to scratchbuild some finer details. You can also order many of them if you chose from IHP's Shapeways shop online. 

The hull is cleanly cast waterline style measuring almost 16" long. The hanger is cast open with nice detailing on the surfaces. The hull sides include slots cast in for the director platforms. Very little cleanup will be needed on this hull.  Click images
to enlarge
The flight deck is cast as a single part and is surprisingly flat for such a large part. The deck is detailed with catapults and arrester gear. 
There are recesses molded into the deck to help locate the island superstructure, a nice touch. There will some sanding required to remove the flash along the bottom, but the fit with the lower hull looks good.
The superstructure parts are cast as separate levels. All include molded in portholes and some have recesses for the funnel and other parts to locate off of. 
Two deck edge elevators are included. The last image shows the director platforms. 
Two types of turrets are included. 4.5" twin turrets and enclosed quad bofors mounts in left and right hand configurations. The gun barrels for the 4.5" can be purchased here,  and the quad barrels can be purchased here. Alternately you can scratchbuild them. Many of the other parts are available on IHP's Shapeways 1/700 page
The instructions are six pages with exploded views showing parts locations. Parts are numbered, but there is no Bill of Materials to identify them. The illustrations are good so I was able to figure it out. 

The shapeways part numbers correspond with the list of optional parts listed below:


This is a one of a kind kit of a  "Never-was" British carrier. The basic kit including the parts shown above is HMS Malta Basic Resin Craftsman Kit 35 pcs. for $175.00 US. A steep price, but not when you take into account the massive size of the kit. 

Thanks to Imperial Hobby Productions for the review sample. Don't forget to  check their website for a complete list of unique Ship kits.