1/500 Royal Sovereign
Review by Ian Wilkins
This kit is a reissue of the old Frog Revenge kit. After Frog went out of business the moulds went to the Soviet Union where the kit was produced for several years. Now Revell have the moulds and have re-issued the kit as the Royal Sovereign and packed it in a box that's about two sizes to small. Name change notwithstanding the kit is really much more accurate for HMS Revenge than Royal Sovereign. Checking against references shows that Royal Sovereign's necessary mainmast tripod legs are missing from the kit. Revenge never had these fitted. The turret mounted range finders included in the kit are accurate for Revenge also. One wonders why Revell thought it necessary to rename the kit at all.
Even though this is a re-issue of a very old kit that has had less than careful treatment at the hands of Soviet manufacturers it is in quite good condition. I heard that the moulds were cleaned up a little before production started and I think this shows. There is some small amount of flash but generally everything is quite in order, and should make into an attractive model of a pleasing physical size. Its not a crisp as modern kits but I think ship modellers are used to this! Here are a few comments on what you will find in the box.
Strangely the 4 inch mounts have an extraneous stem on the underside that the instruction sheet says must be cut off before attaching them to the deck. The barrels for these are far to short and will need replacing. The pom-pom mounts are simple but cleanly executed, and in this scale a lot of extra detail could be added. The 15 inch turrets are fairly accurate in shape and the barrels useable, though these will need a bit of cleaning up. The 6 inch casemate mounts are probably the most disappointing part of the kit. There are large gaps which would let you to see right out the other side of the hull. Blanking pieces cut from plastic card will be needed here along with some good references to get things looking right.
The hull looks accurate in outline and is well moulded with no sinkmarks or warpage. The massive bulges that were fitted to this class after construction are OK in shape but there is little hull detail apart from some faintly moulded scuttles. The hull scales out accurately in beam and length. The markings for the boot topping are wrong leaving the vessel with too little freeboard. The upper line should be lowered by 2 millimetres and the lower one raised by 1.5 millimetres for a more correct appearance. You will also have to add your own bilge keels if you choose to make a full hull model. If you do want to make a waterline model (my favoured option) you will have to saw off the bottom of the hull yourself.
The bridgework is made up of quite simple pieces and the funnel is closed over on top and will need cutting open. At any rate some modellers will want to construct the proper clinker screen here. The boats are good, there's a little flash, but no sinkmarks. The two pinnaces look especially good.
Overall the detail level is moderate to low and some modellers might enjoy doing a little research and adding more detail. Certainly the kit is a good candidate for this kind of work. Gold Medal Models has a 1/500 scale photoetch set available and though its not designed for this ship it should yield at the very least lots of deck rail and ladders. There might even be useable radar components as well.
Though I am pretty much committed to 1/600 scale and I tend to favour merchant ships and scratchbuilding these days, I like this kit. 1/500 scale I think is probably the only one that rival 1/600 in terms of giving pleasing sized model that is not too big. The kit has a lot of potential for conversion projects and super detailing, and if you like Royal Navy ships (and who wouldn't?) its a must have. It might even be worth buying a couple to squirrel away for your retirement as you never know when these kits will become available again, especially as (I believe) Revell have only leased the moulds and do not own them.