1/700 HMS Legion 1941

Reviewed June 2018
by Martin J Quinn
The destroyer HMS Legion was one of seven L-class ships built for the Royal Navy during World War II.   As with many Royal Navy ships thrown into the conflict, she had a short life and a violent end. 
Ordered in March of 1938, Legion was laid down in November of that same year and launched a year later in November 1939, commissioning in December 1940.   As the result of delays and shortages in the manufacturing of her original specified main armament, according to Whitley in Destroyers of World War II, Legion and three of her sisters (Lance, Lively and Ghurka {ex-Larne}) were completed with twin 4 inch Mk XVI guns.   With the lighter gun came a change in the gun director as well. Due to some "defects" discovered during trials, Legion was back in dockyard hands almost immediately, and didn't enter service until January 1941. 
Highlights of her career included participation in Operation Claymore, the raid on the Lofoten Islands; screening the Home Fleet  during the hunt for the Bismarck (she was in Iceland refueling when the end came for the German battleship); and screening several high speed carrier runs to deliver aircraft to the embattled island of Malta. 
After helping sink the Italian submarine Adua in September 1941, Legion helped rescue survivors from the torpedoed destroyer Cossack a few weeks later.   In November, she stood by the stricken carrier Ark Royal, taking off survivors from that ship, after it had been torpedoed.
During December 1941, Legion participated in the Battle of Cape Bon and, later that month, was in on the kill of U-75 with HMS Kipling.     After being damaged in an air attack while escorting a convoy in March 1942, Legion limped into Malta, tying up to the Boiler Wharf to await repairs.  While there, she was struck by two bombs in a subsequent air attack, one of which detonated her forward magazine, causing her to turn over and sink.   She was broken up where she sank after the war. 

For more on Legion, visit her Wikipedia page here, which is where this abridged history was pulled from.   Information was also taken from Whitley's Destroyers of World War II

The Flyhawk Legion

Flyhawk’s 1/700 HMS Legion comes in a white cardboard box with artwork showing Legion approaching the stricken Ark Royal in November 1941.  One of the side panels shows a couple of other Flyhawk 1/700 releases – the as yet to be released Bismarck, and the already released Prince of Wales

Inside the box is a copy of the box art that is suitable for framing.  Underneath this lay the instructions.   The box has a cardboard insert, which is subdivided into three separate sections, or trays. In the smallest, narrowest tray, you'll find the hull, deck and waterline plate, which are wrapped in a thin white protective material, secured with rubber bands.   The sprues, found in plastic bags and clear plastic boxes, are in the other two trays.   As this is the "basic" release of Legion, there is only one very small photo-etch fret included, which can be found on the bottom of the largest subdivided section. 

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

The upper hull scales out pretty close to the actual ship in length and beam.   There is raised hull plating the length of the hull, while the portholes on the hull have subtle eyebrows over them.  The tiny chocks along the edge of the hull are finely done.  When the upper hull is laid on a flat surface, there is a noticeable bow, with the middle of the ship lifting up, in the shape of a banana. 

This forward part of the deck is a small, one piece affair.  There is nice detail, with well done shields around the forward most 4 inch gun, raised strakes, hawse pipes and bollards.  There is a raised pattern to the deck around where the anchors chains run, which is also well done.  The deck also has a slight upward curve by the bow, to ensure a nice fit with the upper hull. 

The rest of the main deck is one piece.  It is beautifully molded with sharp details.  There is raised detail for what looks like the non-skid walkways and recesses for the depth charge gear.  There are raised areas for the funnel and for the bases for the two torpedo launchers.  You will also find bollards and storage lockers.   Both the Fo'c'sle and the main deck appear to a slight camber to them.  If my eyes aren't deceiving me, that's a really nice touch. 

The lower hull is smooth - no plating like on the upper hull.  There are some very faint mold lines which will have to be sanded off it your building Legion as a full hull model.  The bilge keels look nice, and the cutwater is very sharp.  I noticed a small hole near the bow on the bottom of the hull, that appears to be for the Asdic gear, if you are building a full hull model.   That's something you don't normally see included, especially in this scale.  Again, nice touch. 

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

This small sprue contains the bridge, funnel and bridge wings.  The detail is excellent - there is raised wood decking on the bridge and wind baffles molded into the bridge wings.   The funnel has finely raised lines on the surface and piping protruding from inside the funnel. 
This is the forward superstructure.   It has lots of really nice details, with sharp splinter shields (some with bracing), portholes, lockers and really fine raised matting on the deck where the quadruple .50 machine guns are mounted.  Even the doors have detail on them. 
This is the aft superstructure, with the same level of detail found on the forward superstructure. 
This sprue has lots of bridge equipment, parts for the deck and for the depth charges.   There is also a part for a deckhouse, which I don't see on the instructions - it may be for a future release.  All the parts are delicate and sharply molded. 
On this sprue is the parts for the mast, running gear, props, rudder, parts for the bridge and platform for the pom pom.   Everything is sharply molded, though you may want to consider using brass for the mast, if you are going to rig you Legion, as the part included with the kit - while superbly molded - is very thin. 
 Here we find the quadruple torpedo tubes, ships boats, gun director, radar aerials for said director, breakwater, depth charge racks, and the funnel cap.  It's also the first sprue that I've seen any flash on the parts.   There is a little flash on the torpedo tubes, and the radar antenna for the director looks a little clunky.  There are also molded inclined ladders on this sprue.  If you don't want to use those, you'll  have to spring for the photo-etch set. 
This wee sprue consists of one part - the deckhouse on the aft superstructure.  As with most of the other parts in this kit, the details are nicely done. 
SPRUE GB01 (x1)
The first of several 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 GB06 (x1)
This sprue has eight rafts on it.  They are really well done, with crisp details, like molded on "straps" that secure them to the ship. 

SPRUE GB026/27 (x1)
This oddly numbered sprue is actually broken out into a few separate pieces.  On it you'll find the base, shields and guns that make up the 4 inch Mk XVI main armament.   All the parts are well molded.   The gun barrels look good, but do appear to have the tiniest bit of flash on the sides of the barrels. 
There is one, very small photo-etch fret included in this kit, which is the "basic" version.   If you want additional details, photo-etch set FH710045 is available separately to dress up this model. 
There is a small set of decals in the kit.  On it you’ll find the pennant numbers for each of the four L-class variants - like Legion - that carried the 4-inch HA guns, as well as Royal Navy ensigns.  The decals do appear to be a bit on the thick side. 
The instructions are in the familiar FlyHawk layout. They are on one, two-sided,  21 inch by 7 inch piece of heavy paper. There are 10 steps for Legion.  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 back page.  This shows both plan and profile (port and starboard) of the two tone camouflage Legion was wearing in November, 1941.   The instructions list the relevant color matches for Mr. Hobby, Tamiya and "WEM Colorcoats" paints. 

This is another gem of a kit from Flyhawk, the leader in 1/700 injection molded ship models.  This is certainly the best injection molded Royal Navy destroyer on the market today. 

Compared to photos, it certainly looks the part of the AA version of the L-class.  The only negative thing I could remark on is the "banana" effect on the upper hull.  If you secure your model ships to a base, this shouldn't be an issue. 

This is Flyhawk’s 1/700 HMS Legion, kit number FH1103. The kit retails for $38.95.  Remember, this is the basic version, and contains only one small photo-etch fret.  The larger photo-etch fret, masking seals and other accessories are available separately.  Highly Recommended!! 

Thanks to Flyhawk for the review sample.

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