HMS VENGEANCE: the last Colossus class Aircraft Carrier in service

by John Rodriguez Asti
The ship

HMS Vengeance was launched on February 23, 1944 by Swan Hunter Wigham Richardson and completed & commissioned at Newcastle on January 15, 1945. She served in the British Pacific Fleet based in Hong Kong and returned to Britain on 13 August 1946. In December 1948 she was employed on six weeks of cold weather trials in the Arctic; in 1948-1949 was Flagship of the Third Aircraft Carrier Squadron (Home Fleet) in 1950-51. In 1951, she relieved her sister ship Warrior on trooping duties in the Far East. In 1952 she ferried troops to Singapore and aircraft to Malta and then as a training carrier in Home waters. She was refitted in 1952-53, during which she was transferred to the Royal Australian Navy on 13 November 1952 pending completion of HMAS Melbourne, and sailed to Australia in January 1953. On 12 August 1955 she return to the UK, and was placed in reserve until being sold to the Brazilian Navy on 14 December 1956. Refitted at Rotterdam until 1960, she was renamed Minas Gerais and served until the year 2000.

HMS Vengeance main characteristics:

Builder: Swan Hunter 
Laid Down: 16 Nov. 1942 
Launched: 23 Feb. 1944
Completed: 15 Jan 1945
Displacement: 12.190 tons normal, 18.040 full load
Length: 211,84 m (oa)
Beam: 24,38 m (wl); 24,38 m (flight deck) 
Draught: 7.16 m (deep load)
Armament: 1640 mm/60 cal Bofors (single), 1240 mm/60 cal Bofors on six twin mountings.
Machinery: Parsons geared turbines; 4 Admiralty 3 drum Boilers; 2 shafts. 40.000 SHP.
Speed: 23.5 knots max. 
Range: 12,000 nm @ 14 kts
Aircraft: 48
Complement: 850 (ship) + 450 (air group)

The Model

The model is made in 1/700 scale and represents the HMS Vengeance in 1956 prior to her sale to Brazil.

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This model, except the aircraft, Bofors single guns and the photoetch fittings, is completely scratchbuilt. The materials used were a combination of balsa wood and Plastruct polystyrene sheets for the hull, superstructure, gun shields, and other parts; copper wire and Plastruct rods for the masts and double 40 mm gun barrels. It took four months to build her.
As I mentioned above, I used some WEM Fittings (40 mm singles, boats and photoetch: a WEM cruiser crane (similar to those used in this carriers). Additionally I used the Gold Medals 1/700 British Aircraft Carrier photoetch set for the radar's, antennas and rails.
The aircraft displaying in this Model are five WEM Hawker Sea Fury and five WEM Fairey Firefly, with their respective photoetch fittings.
For more exactly model building I used drawings of the French carrier Arromanches from the Musee de la Marine, drawings of HMAS Sydney as well as several photographs of various Colossus class carriers kindly provided by Mr. A.D. Baker III who contributed greatly to this project. Also, I want to thank to Anthony Coffey of HMS Vengeance Association for some detailed information about the ship. HMS Vengeance photo courtesy of Mr. A.D. Baker III.
For the painting the model, Mr. Peter hall from White Ensign Models assisted me with information about the ships colors.
For the hull and vertical surfaces I used a mix of 70% of light sea gray (FS 36307/Model Master 1726 or Humbrol 127) and 30% of flat white (Humbrol 130). For the flight deck, I used Humbrol 126; deck green for the weather and boat decks (Humbrol 88); yellow (Humbrol 24) for the landing strip center line and white (Humbrol 130) for the for deck markings and code letter. For the funnel exhaust and for the waterline I used Black (Humbrol 33)
The color of all the rafts fitted to the aircraft carriers post 1945 was the same as the ship sides i.e. light gray.

I have taken six months in making this model and has been a goal that I had 22 years ago and finally I have obtained. I have made a silicone mold of this model in order to make resin copies for build some Colossus variant models.

HMS Vengeance, HMS Perseus, HMAS Sydney, master pattern  & Colossus class resin hull 
HMAS Sydney project master pattern 

More ships by John R Asti