Reviewed by David Waples
September 2012
I know almost nothing about Royal Navy ships, especially modern ships.  However this is an attractive ship with an historical background so it grabbed my interest when I heard about her.  HMS Antelope was sunk by an air attack during the Falklands war.  This is the 30th anniversary of that conflict.  She was attacked twice by two pair of Argentine A-4Bs.  During the first attack one of the A-4's was able to drop her bomb which did not explode and lodged into the ship.  One of the A-4's from the second flight struck the aft mast as it crashed.  While trying to disarm the bomb it exploded sending HMS Antelope to the bottom.  That's the short story.

I have seen pictures of the Airfix offering in 1:600 scale.  Having built several of the latest Dragon kits I had high expectations for this kit.  Indeed when I opened the box and looked over the parts I was not disappointed.  Very typical of modern Dragon kits.  You have the option to make this full hull or waterline.  However I had just heard that the hull of this kit, although advertised as 1:700, had the exact dimensions of the Airfix kit.  The first thing I did was measure the hull using my handy Loose Canon Models 1:700 scale.  The hull measured 445 feet or 136 meters.  Checking the internet the prototype is 384 feet or 117 meters.  I then measured the parts such as the Lynx helicopter and they were at or slightly below 1:700 scale but certainly close enough.  In other words we have what is roughly 1:600 scale hull with 1:700 scale parts.  I think you see the problem. 

This photo shows the nicely molded and oversized hull sections.  Also shown are the two hull sections together.  They match up nicely.  As you can see the shape of the hull is well represented.
These three shots are all the same sprue.  The kit provides two of these.  As you can see from the instructions in later pictures only a few parts from this sprue are used for this model.  The items in blue are parts for other ships.  These parts appear to be roughly in scale.  The Lynx measures just slightly smaller than the prototype.  The problem with them being in scale is that they appear slightly small on the model.  What caught my attention was the turret on the foredeck.  Disappointing to say the least.
This sprue shows the various decks and exhaust stack structure.  Again, very nicely done.
Here is the second sprue.  Again, very nice parts well molded and clear of any flash.  The propeller shafts and propellers are excellent.  The ships boats upside down in this photo show nice detail on the top.  There are a few ejector pin marks but I don't believe they are in areas where you would notice them.  The masts that protrude from the sides of the upper structures are molded solid which would be better done with photoetch.  The modeler can certainly scratch build these with brass wire.
Included is a stand should you decide to build this as a full hull model.
Photoetch set includes railings, ladders, and safety nets. 
Decals are by Cartograph of Italy who always do wonderful decal sets.  You have the option to do 4 different Type 21 Frigates.  The prominent hull numbering was not present on the ship during the Falklands War but they are provided should you decide to build her during peacetime. 
The painting and marking instructions are nice.  Although imagine a red bottom instead of blue.  I think Dragon was saving on printing costs here.  The painting instructions seem accurate enough although you may choose not to use these on your model. 
Very nice molding and details as you would expect from a new Dragon release.  Enough photoetch for a decent model but room for improvement from 3rd party companies.  Lots of extra parts for use in other subjects later.

As was said to me, and pardon the punn, the hull size was a ROYAL screwup.  It's hard to believe they could have missed this but they did. 

It depends.  If you can get past the incorrect scale for the hull and some of the under sized prominent parts such as the Lynx and the turret, I think you will find this will build into a nice model.  It's a lot better than the Airfix offering.  If you're a detail addict like me you will be bothered by the scale, especially if you display her with other 1:700 ships.  I really wanted to like this kit, but for me, this kit is a  big thumbs down.  But you decide.  My suggestion to Dragon is to fix the problem and reissue the kit.  Your reputation is at stake.