Airfix 1/600 Scale HMS Tiger
Review by Felix Bustelo

 The construction of the HMS Tiger, and her sisters HMS Lion and HMS Blake, started late in World War II, but after their launch, they were not finished. Later in the mid 1950s, work resumed and they were transformed into an improved type of cruiser with new automatic 6-inch and 4-inch guns. In the mid-1960s, the Tiger and Blake were converted into helicopter cruisers, with the placement of a large landing pad and hangars on the stern. The Tiger and Blake served until 1978, when they were paid off. The Lion, which was never converted, was inactivated 6 years earlier.

 The Airfix kit of the HMS Tiger debuted in 1960 and I think that perhaps my kit may be an original issue or at least from the 1960s. The kit represents the Tiger as she appeared when commissioned as one of the Royal Navy's last all-gun cruisers. As other Airfix kits of this time, they are a mixed bag in terms of quality and detail.

 The kits 73 parts are molded in a medium gray and there is a little bit of flash on some parts. The hull halves are nice done, with portholes molded into them but rectangular tabs at specific locations that I assume are supposed to be chocks or fairleads. The two halves join together well when I dry fit them. The main deck is one piece with the lower levels of the superstructures molded into it. This feature, while eliminating some assembly steps, will complicate painting a bit. The deck has some details, such as the anchor chain, bollards and some life rafts. The superstructures, both the ones molded into the main deck and the additional levels, have raised rectangles representing watertight doors and "Aztec" steps for inclined ladders. The smaller parts also vary in quality and the level of detail. The 6-inch and 3-inch guns and the funnels are not bad but the boats and masts are poor. Actually, the kit's "lattice' masts are downright awful and in no stretch of the imagination do they resemble the real items. My decal sheet, which has yellowed somewhat from age, has the pennant numbers for the hull sides and the transom stern.

 As with all Airfix kits, I am a firm believer that this kit can be made respectable with work and with photoetch details and replacements. White Ensign Models "Ultimate" Modern Royal Navy Set One has photoetch replacements for the lattice masts, yards and the crane jib. This kit can also be the basis for numerous conversions. One can modify the kit to model the Tiger or Blake after the helicopter pad conversion more build one of the Colony class or Swiftsure class cruisers using parts from the Airfix Belfast. These conversion projects have been the subject of articles that appeared in issues of Airfix Magazine. 

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