The Admiralty Type Flotilla Leader, also referred to as the Scott Class, was a class of large destroyers designed and built for the Royal Navy as leaders towards the
end of World War I. The function of a destroyer leader was to carry the flag staff of a destroyer flotilla. To perform this function, the ship design was enlarged to
accommodate additional crew, work space and offices and more signaling equipment. The larger size also allowed for the fitting of a fifth 4.7-inch gun amidships.
As a result, the
Scott Class was among the largest class of destroyers built at that time, measuring 322-feet 6-inches and displacing 1,580 tons. A total of eight ships
were built, all named after Scottish historical leaders. The eight ships were
Scott, Bruce, Douglas, Campbell, Mackay, Malcolm, Montrose and Stuart. All except
Mackay and Malcolm were completed in time for service during World War I. Two additional ships, Barrington and Hughes, were ordered but eventually cancelled
with the end of the war. All but two of the ships were built by Cammell Laird & Company in Birkenhead.

HMS Scott was the only ship lost during hostilities, when she was sunk off the Dutch coast on August 15, 1918, less than a year after she was launched. The cause
of her sinking remains unclear, but evidence points to a mine which may have been laid by
UC-17, which was patrolling the area. HMS Bruce was sunk as a target
ship in 1939. During World War II, the remaining ships were converted to escorts and survived the war. After the war, all of the ships were eventually sold to the
scrappers. In 1933 the Admiralty agreed to transfer
HMS Stuart and four V and W Class destroyers to the Royal Australian Navy as replacements for other World
War I era destroyers that were due for scrapping.
Stuart and the other four ships were commissioned in the Royal Australian Navy at Portsmouth on October 11,
1933 to form the Australian Destroyer Flotilla, later nicknamed the “
Scrap Iron Flotilla”.

Stuart served on the Australia Station until late 1938 when she paid off. With the outbreak of war on September 1, 1939, Stuart was recommissioned and began anti-
submarine patrols out of Sydney. On October 14, 1939,
Stuart departed Sydney for Singapore with Vendetta and Waterhen. Vampire and Voyager departed
Fremantle on the same day to join the others at Singapore. The ships were to be based at Singapore for a period of training but a decision was made while they were
at sea to reroute them to the Mediterranean. After a brief stop at Singapore, the destroyers proceeded to the Mediterranean, arriving at Malta at the beginning of
January 1940, where they formed the 19th Destroyer Division.
For more than a year the “Scrap Iron Flotilla” was almost constantly at sea performing escort and patrol duties and took part in many of the major campaigns in the
Mediterranean. In the Western Desert campaign,
Stuart served with the Inshore Squadron giving support to the British armies ashore and took part in several coastal
bombardments of enemy positions in Libya, including Bardia in June 1940. In July 1940
Stuart led the 10th Destroyer Flotilla at the Battle of Calabria. On August 17,
1940,
Stuart was one of the destroyers screening HMS Warspite, Malaya, Ramillies and Kent in the bombardment of Italian troops at Capuzzo and Bardia in Libya.
In September 1940,
Stuart forced the Italian submarine Gondar to surface after dropping depth charges. The submarine was scuttled by her crew with Stuart and
the trawler
HMS Sindonis rescuing survivors.

Things did not slow down for
Stuart in 1941. She was part of the flotilla which supported the 6th Australian Division when it captured Tobruk on January 22. 1941.
In March, she was present at the Battle of Matapan.
Stuart assisted in the evacuation of Allied troops from Greece to Crete and the subsequent evacuation from
Crete. In early June 1941,
Stuart was engaged in the Syrian campaign, patrolling in support of the inshore bombarding forces. Later that month Stuart joined the
Tobruk Ferry Service”, the supply and reinforcement efforts to aid the Australian garrison at Tobruk. Stuart completed 24 runs during the months of June and July.
By mid-1941
Stuart was in dire need of an extensive refit to remain in service. After her last Tobruk run, she went to Alexandria, and later left for Australia on
August 22, 1941. Steaming with only one engine, she reached Melbourne on September 27, where she entered the dockyard for a much needed refit which lasted
until April 1942. After her refit and for most of the rest of the war,
Stuart began escort duties along the Australian coast and to/from New Guinea. In Spring of 1945
she was converted to a stores and troop carrying vessel until she was paid off on April 27, 1946 and sold for scrapping the following year. From her
recommissioning in September 1939 until she was paid off,
Stuart steamed almost 250,000 miles, was underway more than 17,000 hours and lost no man through
enemy action. Quite a feat for a ship that was considered obsolete before the war necessitated her return to active duty.
The Kit - The HMAS Stuart kit is the second Scott Class destroyer kit released by AJM Models. The model provides a full-hull or waterline hull option and depicts
the ship in either a 1941 or 1942 fit. The upper hull is nicely done with good detail. The steel deck is well represented with tread plates at the foc’sle and in various
locations along the deck. The deck hawsers are faint depressions and will benefit from drilling out some to give the impression of depth when placing the anchor
chains. There are some details cast into the deck, such as capstans, bitts, hatches, deck housings aft and bases for the torpedo tubes. There are some faint
impressions in the deck to mark where other structure parts and fittings are to be attached. The hull also has numerous portholes along the sides and there is some
excess resin along the bottom that will need to be sanded down whether you decide to build waterline or full-hull. There are also some air bubbles along the bottom
edge of the upper hull that will need to be filled in. The lower hull is also nicely done with bilge keels, shaft housings and locater holes for the propeller struts and
rudder. The only issue with the lower hull is the relatively substantial casting plug that will require quite a bit of work to remove if you wish to go the full-hull route.

There are several deck houses and platforms among the resin parts. The largest is the 01 level of the forward superstructure. That part is designed to accommodate
a lower platform on top of which sits the two parts that make up bridge: the lower deck house that is topped off with the traditional British open bridge. The sides of
the housings are nicely detailed with watertight doors, lockers and other details. The open bridge has some detail along the inner bulwarks. There are slots to
accommodate corresponding tabs underneath the structures for proper fitting. A pair of splinter shields for the B and X gun positions is provided as separate parts.
The remaining parts in this group are the bandstand for the Q gun position, a deck housing that supports the 3-inch gun platform, the searchlight tub and a small
deck housing for the auxiliary helm amidships. The casting is generally good though some clean-up is needed. The funnels are also well done with good cap aprons
and bases as well as being hollowed out sufficiently. The steam piping fitted to the funnels is done in resin and are cast in the proper shape. A smaller structure with
a cowl vent that is fitted amidships rounds off the structural parts.
The main parts for the armament are done in resin, with added photo-etch details. Parts are provided for the 4.7-inch gun mounts, the 3-inch anti-aircraft gun and
the triple 21-inch torpedo tubes. Resin 20mm Oerilkons barrels are provided for the 1942 fit. The parts are also generally good with some clean up needed. Turned
brass barrels for the 4.7 inch guns are included and recommended over the resin versions. The remaining small resin parts include the propellers, rudder, propeller
shaft struts, Carley floats, depth charges, a motor launch, a pair of whaleboats, various lockers, range finder, small cowl vents, various bridge fittings and
numerous smaller parts. The casting is adequate though some of the smaller parts suffer from poor casting and were either broken or came loose during shipping.

The photo-etch parts come on two larger frets and parts for the 4.7-inch guns on five individual ones. A pair of brass frets with splinter mats are provided but not
referenced at all in the assembly guide, so these may have been included in error. The photo-etch is very well done, with great detail and relief-etching, and is one
of the strong points of this kit. The photo-etch provides a lot of standard and detail parts. The larger fret contains the railings, inclined and vertical ladders, 3-inch
gun details and platform, 20mm Oerlikon shields and details, .303-inch twin Lewis guns, depth charge racks, parts for the searchlight tower, boat details, boat
davits, bridge wing supports, propeller guards, torpedo tube bases, funnel cap grills and details and sundry parts. The railings have individual stanchion ends which
I find harder to work with. The smaller fret is comprised of some additional lengths of railing, alternate funnel cap grills, parts for some storage bins and lockers,
anchors, additional vertical and inclined ladders, accommodation ladders, oars for the boats and floats and other detail parts. The individual frets for the 4.7-inch
guns have the mounts, gun shields, gun bases and hand wheels. Part numbers are etched into the two larger frets.
Turned brass parts are provided for the 4.7-inch gun barrels and the foremast. The instructions erroneously show a turned brass mainmast, but that part is not
included with this kit as
Stuart had a simple cut down mast instead. I would recommend using the brass barrels for the 4.7-inch guns as they are much better
than the resin versions. The foremast needs to be finished off with the upper sections and yardarms cut from brass wire. Lengths of brass wire in different
diameters and anchor chain are also included, though the anchor chain appears a bit over scale. A small decal sheet is provided with pennant numbers, draft
markings, ship name and Australian national flag. The decals look good but the Royal Navy White Ensign, used by the Royal Australian Navy during World War
II, is omitted. I do like that draft markings included as they are usually overlooked on decal sheets.

The assembly instructions are printed on four pages and are adequate. The first page has a breakdown of the kit parts with resin parts having numbers within
ovals, the turned brass with a prefix of “D” and the decals with a “K”. Photo-etch parts are referenced by numbers within boxes. The bottom of the first page
has the painting and decal placement guide for two camouflage schemes worn by
Stuart in 1941 and 1942. Color references are for Lifecolor paints but the
official Royal Navy color names are provided so you can use equivalents from your preferred brand. The profiles also serve as rigging diagrams. The top of page
2 has the painting guide for the decks. To clarify, the areas in white on the foc’sle and various spots amidships are to be painted dark gray. The remaining pages
have several detailed and well-drawn assembly diagrams with dimensions cited for the parts that you need to cut from the brass wire provided. At various spots
in the assembly diagrams alternatives for the 1941 or 1942 fit are highlighted.
The Stuart kit is a good follow-up release in the Scott Class series from AJM Models though there are a few nitpicky issues which in the end do not take away
from the model. Two additional kits of this class in different World War II fits have also been released by AJM Models, but this kit will build in to a fine model of
a veteran of the “
Scrap Iron Flotilla” which saw a lot of action in the battle for control of the Mediterranean. My thanks to AJM Models for the review sample.
Felix Bustelo
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