The Type 42 destroyer was designed in the late 1960s to provide fleet air defense and was the end result of pure politics and extreme penny-pinching. The County
Class
destroyers had been started in 1959 and started entering service in 1963 with a total of eight being built. Displacing 5,200-tons (6,200-tons full load) the class
was designed around the Seaslug missile system. Far larger than the proceeding
Daring class destroyers and just about the size of a light cruiser, they could have
been very effective ships, except for one significant drawback, the Seaslug system. The Seaslug missile system followed a beam projected by the Type 901
fire-control radar. It was intended that the missile system would engage enemy aircraft at long range before that aircraft could launch its air to surface missile.
However, that beam was subject to weather conditions and a host of other factors, which would degrade performance. As the County class entered service it was
already recognized that beam guided missiles were already obsolete at best. The Seaslug proved to be totally ineffective in its intended role during the Falklands War.

By the early 1960s it was recognized that the Royal Navy would need at least twelve missile destroyers to modernize her aging destroyer fleet and to carry missiles
more effective than the Seaslug. The follow-up design to the Counties was the
Type 82 destroyer of the HMS Bristol class. HMS Bristol was designed around the
Sea Dart missile system, which was a medium guided missile with a maximum range of 35 nautical miles and altitude range of 100 to 60,000 feet. The missile had a
semi-active guidance system which was far more effective than the Seaslug. However, as initially designed, they were ineffective against low-level attacks and could
not handle saturation attacks. The
Type 82 was even larger than the County Class, with a displacement of 6,400-tons standard (7,100-tons full load), even though
they were shorter in length. The plan called for an initial batch of four
Type 82s with another batch of four to replace the early County class ships. HMS Bristol was
laid down in 1967, launched in 1969 and completed in 1973. However, due to a change in government,
Bristol became the only ship built to the Type 82 design.
Bristol was already ordered when in 1966, the Labour government decided that the Royal Navy did not need large carriers. This decision led to the cancellation of not
only the
CVA-01 full deck carrier design, but also the balance of the Type 82 destroyers, which were intended as escorts for the large carriers.
The Labour government recognized the need for new destroyers for the anti-aircraft role, however it imposed artificial and severe restrictions upon the new design
based on a maximum cost of 11 million pounds sterling for each vessel. The result was the
Type 42 destroyer. The Batch 1 and 2 Type 42 destroyers were the
minimum size vessels capable of deploying the Sea Dart missile system. With a length of 410 feet overall and beam of 47 feet, they were almost 100 feet shorter and
eight feet narrower than
HMS Bristol. These dimensions made the ships extremely cramped, extremely wet and limited the ability for future upgrades on the
completed destroyers. Six
Type 42 destroyers were initially ordered with the lead ship HMS Sheffield. Originally ordered in 1968, when construction started in 1970,
the ships took an extraordinary long time to build at five years. This was longer than it took the British ship building industry to build the battleships of the past.
HMS
Sheffield
was unique among her British sisters in that she a pair of exhaust deflectors on either side of her funnel. However, the high-temperature exhaust emanating
from the “Mickey Mouse ears” provided a prominent target for the new infrared homing missiles. The exhaust deflectors were eliminated from the remaining British
ships but the two ships exported to Argentina,
Hércules and Santísima Trinidad, had these ears.

The initial
Type 42 design was modified after the ships started entering service. In 1976 two of the new ships were ordered, followed by orders for two more. The
differences between these four and the initial six
Type 42 destroyers was in the electronics fit. The Type 1022 radar, replaced the Type 965 radar of the initial design.
It was far more effective and further enhanced by new computer software. They also shipped the Lynx helicopter, rather than Wasp, carried by the first ships as
fitted. One additional change was the addition of an ASW STWS-1 torpedo system. The first six ships were given the designation of
Type42A or Batch 1 ships and
the second four
Type42B or Batch 2 ships. The size of the design did not change until the Type 42 was reworked for a third design. This design actually reverted to
the initial design for the ships before government politicians had economized the design by shortening them.

The
Manchester class, Type 42C or Batch 3, ships were 41-feet longer than the Batch One and Two ships, all added at the bow. The extra length and increase in
buoyancy made the ships far dryer and far more seaworthy. The lengthening also eliminated a lot of the crew congestion found in the original design and allowed far
more missiles to be carried in enlarged magazines. Other changes over the two preceding designs was substitution of the Type 2016 sonar from the initial Type 184
sonar and the inclusion of a larger squared transom stern from the rounded stern of the original ships. This increased the area of the flight deck and made air
operations safer. Four destroyers of the
Type 42C or Batch 3 design were ordered and were laid down in 1979 and 1980. They went into service from 1982 to 1985.
With their far longer forecastle, they are much more attractive and sleeker looking vessels over the previous two versions.
Seven Type 42 ships saw action in the Falkland Islands War, five from the Royal Navy and the two from the Argentine Navy. Only two of the Batch 2 ships were
ready by the time of the conflict, but only one of these,
HMS Exeter, saw action. The other four ships, HMS Sheffield, Coventry, Glasgow and Cardiff, were all
Batch One ships. Two
Type 42 ships were lost in the Falklands War. Sheffield was hit by one aircraft launched Exocet anti-ship missile on May 4, 1982 and sank
while being towed to South Georgia. On May 25, 1982,
HMS Coventry was hit by three bombs and sank in fifteen minutes. Both losses reflected a lack of a point
defense system and inadequate damage control. A third sister was luckier.
HMS Glasgow was hit on May 12 by a single 1,000-pound bomb, which fortunately
passed through the ship without exploding. If it had exploded it would have been likely that she would have been lost as well, in which case, three of the initial six
Type 42 destroyers, designed for anti-aircraft missions would have been lost to air attacks within the span of a month. Because of the poor performance of the Type
965, which had trouble picking up low-level targets among the ground clutter, and the superior performance of the Type 1022, the Type 1022 replaced the Type 965
on the surviving Batch 1 ships.

After the Falklands War, several ships saw action in the First Gulf War but for the most part the ships were used for West Indies counter drug operations, NATO
group operations in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, and Falkland Islands and Persian Gulf patrols.
HMS Newcastle was built at Swan Hunters Tyne and Wear
shipyard and launched on April 24, 1975. She was commissioned on March 23, 1978 and became the third
Type 42 destroyer to enter into Royal Navy service. In
1982, she was part of the task group with
HMS Illustrious that was sent to relieve the ships stationed at the Falkland Islands after the Argentine surrender. She
remained there through the end of the year. Afterwards, she served as West Indies guardship and supported relief efforts for the island of Montserrat after the
volcanic eruption in 1998. In 1999,
HMS Newcastle escorted HMS Invincible in the Adriatic off Kosovo in support of UN operations. She also had numerous
deployments in the Atlantic and Mediterranean. She was decommissioned on February 1, 2005 and sold for scrap in 2008.
The remaining Royal Navy ships were scrapped between 2000 and 2015. Of the two Argentine ships, Hércules is still in active service after being converted into a
multi-purpose transport ship. I had the pleasure of visiting
HMS Glasgow and Manchester when they came to New York City during Fleet Week in the early 1990s.
With the release of the
HMS Newcastle kit, Atlantic Models adds the troubled Type 1 and 2 Type 42 destroyer to its growing catalog of Cold War era warships. The
HMS Newcastle kit can be used to build any Batch 1 or 2 ship in their final fit, including HMS Nottingham and Liverpool, which were modified to the Batch 3
standard but without the increase length. However, you cannot build
HMS Sheffield or HMS Coventry with this kit, the former because of her unique funnel and the
latter because she was lost prior to any modifications. Backdating the kit is possible using other photo-etch sets from Atlantic Models for the Type 965 radar and
Coventry could also be done this way. The Argentine ships cannot be modeled with this kit as they had the funnel with the Mickey Mouse ears like Sheffield and
other differences.

The two hull sections are clean semi-hollow castings with very good details. The upper hull is pretty much bare, with the exception of such items as bitts, capstans,
breakwaters and a few deck hatches cast into it mainly at the foc’sle. The lower quarter deck is well done with bitts, capstans, a small deck housing and watertight
doors along the bulwarks. Locater pins are present to accommodate the main and aft superstructure parts and Sea Dart launcher and holes for the 4.5-inch turret,
RAS post and the quarterdeck deck winch. Some of the initial batch of kits released from Atlantic Models experienced a minor mishap while being shipped from the
caster to Mad Pete’s laboratory. Due to poor packaging, the flight deck support at the stern had broken off on some of the upper hulls. My sample is one of those
casualties (yes it has taken me this long for me to write this review!). The loose broken part is of course included and can be easily reattached as it was a very clean
break. Although this was not Peter’s fault, being the gentleman that he is, he decided to include a set of his Royal Navy Deck Warning Circles and Placards decals to
make up for the terribly tedious process of reattaching the broken piece. The lower hull is also well done with the bilge keels, sonar dome and shaft fairings cast into
the part. Openings are provided to attach the stabilizer fins and twin rudders.
If you plan to build the model full-hull you will see corresponding pins and holes at the bow and stern and midway on the lower hull you will see tabs to help align the
upper and lower hulls when gluing the two parts together. Before joining the two halves you will have to sand down several bumps where appear to be the resin
equivalent injector pin marks. Some putty will undoubtedly be required to fill in the joint.

The larger parts include the main superstructure, aft superstructure, funnel, foremast, mainmast and flight deck. The casting is excellent with bits of excess resin
needing removal along the bottoms of the parts and the front of the funnel. Waffle pattern watertight doors, vents and other details are cast into these parts,
eliminating the need to apply photo-etch parts. The hangar interior is detailed, which gives you the option to model it with the roller door open.
The smaller resin parts include 4.5-inch Mk. 8 turret, parts for the Sea Dart mounting, a pair of 909 radomes, a pair of RHIBs, RHIB crane, Gemini inflatable boat,
Lynx helicopter fuselage, CWIS mountings,  SCOT radomes, SCOT housing, ESM housing, 1022 radar mast, and a small maintenance boat. Two different versions
of the engine intake boxes are including, one for early Batch 1 and 2 fits and another for a late Batch 2 fit
HMS Nottingham and Liverpool. The casting is generally
good with some the parts requiring the removal of excess resin in several spots.

A common feature of Atlantic Models kits are white metal parts, which include the 4.5-inch Mk. 8 gun barrel, rudders, stabilizers, propellers, propeller shaft “A”
frames, anchors, RBOC chaff launchers, DLF3 decoy canisters, a variety antennas and sensors, a small radome, the top of the mainmast, life raft canisters, RAS
post, and a deck winch. The white metal parts require a little more cleanup and are not as refined when compared to the small resin parts but they work. White
metal is malleable so be careful when handling the gun barrels, mainmast top and anchors as they can be easily bent. A replacement turned brass barrel is available
separately from Atlantic Models, for which I did a review of (
http://www.steelnavy.net/AtlanticMk8gunFBustelo.html). As expected, the photo-etch brass is
excellent with lots of parts. The brass includes many lengths of pre-measured railings, inclined and vertical ladders, parts for the 1022 radar, RHIB cradles, Gemini
crane, 20mm Oerlikon mounts and life raft canister racks. The photo-etch also includes a variety of yardarms, parts for the Lynx helicopter, flight deck safety nets,
various platforms and supports, hangar roller door, hangar roof light bar, flight deck hold down grid, funnel badges and nameplates for the ships that can be built
with the kit and a variety of other detail parts. The photo-etch is very well done with beautiful relief etching.
A complete and well-done decal sheet is which has the pennant numbers, flight deck code letter and names for eight ships Batch 1 and 2 ships you can model with
this kit. Flight deck markings, pre and post-1990 Lynx markings and codex numbers, bridge windows, vent grills, draft markings and the White Ensign and Union
Jack are also provided. The decals in white are hard to see in the photo, but trust me they look good.

A total of 10 pages of assembly instructions are provided in the familiar format seen with Atlantic Models and White Ensign products. The instructions continue to
be among the best out there and provide numerous illustrations to aide in assembling this model. The first page provides a brief history of this ship and an inventory
of the smaller resin and white metal parts. The following page has an inventory and keyed image of the photo-etch fret. The remaining pages cover the various
assemblies and sub-assemblies. The bottom of the ninth page is dedicated to the Lynx helicopter, with a complete painting and decaling guide. The last page has a
painting and decaling guide in color for the ship with references to Humbrol paints and Colourcoat paints.
The Batch 1 and 2 Type 42 destroyer design was the victim of politics and the ships had their share of issues and shortcomings that were tragically apparent in the
Falklands War. Yet with improvements from lessons learned, they served for over 30 years. I am very glad that Atlantic Models finally released a kit of this class of
warships. Now how about a Batch 3 kit?
Felix Bustelo
New York
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