L'Arsenal 1/350
Minesweeper Ocean (MSO)

Reviewed by Guido Hopp

The ocean-going Aggressive Class Minesweeper was developed to cope with the North Korean passive anti shipping measures in the confined waters of the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan.

With the first units launched in 1952, all their hulls were full wood constructions to thwart the thread of magnetic mines. The equipment was laid out to cope with all conventional sea mines: acoustic, magnetic, bottom and moored contact mines had to be dealt with. The Aggressive Class did their service with distinction. Their life span exceeded even most optimistic estimations: Only a few did service less than 20 years and some even served in the first Gulf War. MSO-455 USS Implicit left the US Navy after 40 years of service and was then to sail on under the Republican Chinese banner of Taiwan.

Two variants were built in smaller numbers. In total 74 ships of all variants were built, while only one was cancelled. After their regular service with the USN many ships were sold to other navies. According to the information available the last Aggressive Class MSO was sold for scrap in 2002, fifty years after the launch of the first unit.

Packing and Instruction

The kit from Normandy comes in the usual white folding box. Besides the hull, the parts are packed in 4 zipper bags. Another zipper bag holds a photo etch sheet. A decal sheet and the instruction can be found at the bottom of the box. Even though the hull is not wrapped up individually all parts seem to be adequately protected. How my issue of the PE sheet got kinked in one corner, laying flat in the stabile box near the bottom, I don’t know. In one of the smaller bags a short lengths of round styrene rod is found right next to a length of round brass rod. Along with a make-up of the box top artwork the instruction style of the L’Arsenal kit received a makeover. The parts list and the construction steps are show in colourful CAD drawings, which is a significant improvement over the line drawing of their older kit instructions and lay testament to a their new approach in kit development.


The rest of the kit is on a few small resin sprues and a single fret of photoetch. The resin parts inluded waterjets, radars, running lights and 2 variants of the 57mm turret; you can model the turret with doors open and gun barrel extended or with doors closed and barrel retracted. There is also an ultra-thin resin gun barrel!

The photoetch fret provides for the sensor mast aft of the bridge.


The photo etch sheet holds the majority of the kits parts. The parts are finely relief etched and provide folding lines for ease of construction of the more complicated parts such as the bridge window with its attached roof. The inclined ladders have no folding steps, which is somewhat below expectation. It seems worth mentioning that there are no replacement parts whatsoever, so be careful in construction, especially when dealing with the pre-shaped railing: There is not a bit to spare.


The decal sheet is beyond criticism in its quality. The thin film is printed in register. Judging fro previous L’Arsenal kit, it will be nice to work with. The numbers supplied allow markings of USN, Portuguese, Italian, Belgian, Dutch and – of cause – French vessels. Points will be taken from L’Arsenal for not supplying the according national flags along on the decal sheet.


Beyond any doubt this kit is what you expect to receive when ordering from L’Arsenal: Very good quality and money value. Besides the missing national flags, the few gripes I am having with the kit are negligible, really. Here’s a 1/350th scale kit that’s filling a void (cold war/Korea/Vietnam) and will appeal both to the beginner and the advanced modeller. I am quite certain that even the super detailer would have a ball with this one.

Definitely recommended!

Kit provided by Guido Hopp's wallet.

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