Airfix 1/350
HMS Illustrious

Reviewed by Mark Deakin

I believe this is the first plastic kit of a moderm Royal Navy vessel in 1/350 so where does it stand? Firstly in the UK at least it has one major advantage over Aoshima, Hasegawa and Tamiya; cost. It is roughly half the cost of the 1/350 Heavy Crusiers from Aoshima and comparable to some of the Trumpeter offerings in the scale e.g. Prinz Eugen.

On opening the box you get several sprues in a grey flexible plastic, noting this includes the seperate lower hull (Hurray no horrible red plastic, Trumpeter are you taking note?). The moulding seems clean enough with minimal flash, though the detail is not as good as on the Aoshima Chokai which I have compared it to, it is certainly as good as on the Trumpeter Hood. The hull is split into 3 peices so I suspect full hull builders are going to find out how good the fit is fairly early on. The island is split vertically, and this is a may be a problem trying to eliminate the joint line.

The radars are all plastic (in fact there is no PE in this kit at all) and would be better replaced with PE.

The biggest suprise to me is the level of detail in the hangar bay, which includes the sidewalls and details of the scissors type elevators, so opening up the bays is not going to requiring large amounts of scratch building.

The aircraft complement consists of Sea Kings, Merlins and Harriers, all moulded in grey plastic and suffering from deep panel lines (as per Trumpeter aircraft in this scale), though they will diminish under a coat or two of paint. The aircraft also avoid falling into Trumpeter's trap of over-enginering, though I personally prefer canopies.

The instruction booklet is standard Airfix layout, with views and part numbers called out.



Is the kit accurate? Not sure yet, as I will need to get some references out and do some checking, however it does look like an Illustrious.

Pre-Construction verdict: A decent chunk of plastic for the price, with good though not class leading, moulding. So if you want a modern Royal Navy vessel in 1/350 go buy it; there is nothing in here to stop you, not even the price! Recomended.