British Carrier Photo Etch
Gold Medal Models - 1/700
By: Mike Dunn
A little while back, I picked up the Fujimi kit of the post-war HMS Eagle (must review her sometime :-) ), and was on the look-out for a set of photo-etch for her. On chatting to Caroline @ WEM, I was told that my best choice was going to be the Gold Medal models set (GMM). I must admit to being a little leery, based on what I found in the Soviet Warships fret, but Caroline soon persuaded me to try it. Several days later, the envelope landed on my desk.
Opening the envelope (backed with thick card), you get a sheet of instructions, in two halves, and the PE fret, in steel. The fret measures 3 3/8" by 4 7/8", and is clearly laid out. One thing to point out; this fret dates back to 1993, and has not (to my knowledge) been updated to the current GMM standard. This fret provides parts for the Aoshima Illustious & Victorious during the war, the Fujimi post-war Eagle and Ark Royal, and the Revell 1/720 Ark Royal during the war.
Within this fret are 16 lengths of 4-bar rail, two crane booms with bases and hooks, four pulley sets, two Type 983 radars, two Type 285 radars, two Type 982 radars, a Type 277 radar, two small radars, various aircraft propellors, Wessex rotors (open and folded - nice touch), ten lengths of straight ladders, four lengths of inclined ladders, eight radio masts, two yardarms and an Ark Royal mast - all items have their identifiers etched into the surrounding steel, a touch I like. Not included are anchors & chains, Oerlikons or watertight doors - it is suggested you buy other GMM sets for these. As with the Soviet Warship fret, I wish GMM had added some of these into this set.
Looking at the instructions, most of the first page is text, mostly giving basic instructions on how to use photo-etch parts. The rest of the text details how to assemble the replacement mast for the Ark Royal (including two small radars for the Ark or the Eagle's mast), the radars for Eagle or Ark Royal, the crane & radio masts, and detailing of the various aircraft found in the five kits. The rest of the page are diagrams on Railings & Ladders, details on the Radio Masts, the Type 285 radar, the type 983 Radar, and the Type 982 radar.
The reverse of this page can be split into two parts. The top covers the detailed assembly of the Ark Royal mast (supplementing the etxt on the previous page), the assembly of the cranes, and what parts fit onto what aircraft. As mentioned above, the Wessex can be fitted ready to fly, or with the rotors folded - this is a really nice little touch that will help create a better flight-deck than with all of them being the same.
The remainder of the page has four ship side-views. This shows the location of the railings to be fitted to the various models; I can't help feeling that some of the other detailing parts could have been added to these views, but with the exception of the Type 277 radar for the Illustrious class, this was not to be.
I feel that the fret is a little expensive, seeing as you are expected to pay out for several other frets in order to complete the detailing of a model - paying £10 each fret on top of the model pushes the overall cost close to (if not over) the price of a resin kit in this scale. I hope that the more recent GMM frets are more aimed to completing a model than this one.
Overall, it's a good fret; regardless of which of the kits you use it on, it will put high levels of detailing on it. Just remember that it isn't a one-shop fret - if it were, I would give it high marks indeed. But it must be said that the areas that the fret does cover are done very well. If you have plenty of doors, etc, in this scale then get this fret - you won't regret it.
Gold Medal Model's
White Ensign Models