The post-World War II Royal Navy looked towards specialization in its ship construction plans, veering away from the all-purpose fleet destroyer to a new style of frigate. During World War II, the term frigate was used to identify an escort vessel that
was, in terms of size, between a smaller corvette and a larger destroyer. However, the new frigate envisioned during the 1950s was a much larger vessel than their World War II cousins and comparable to a destroyer in terms of speed and
displacement. The new frigates all had similar hulls, with a high foc’sle deck which sloped down to the gun deck just forward of the bridge. However, the ships varied in armament depending on the specialized duties they would perform: anti-aircraft
(A/A), anti-submarine (A/S) and aircraft direction (A/D). The one armament common to all frigates was the enclosed twin 4.5-inch turret. Eventually it became clear that specialization was costly, especially in terms of maintenance and re-equipment,
and a decision was made to develop a General Purpose (GP) design that could perform all three functions. The first GP design was the Type 81 or Tribal class frigate and while there some limitations to this class, the GP concept proved to be a better
value.

The
Leander class reverted back to the high foc’sle hull of the previous specialized frigates (the Tribals had a more traditional forward hull) and were to be named after mythological characters, with the exception of Cleopatra, who was a historical
figure. The first three ships in the class,
Leander, Ajax and Dido, were laid down as Rothesay class (Type 12M) frigates but now the ships were to incorporate all of the attributes of the specialized predecessors – a Type 965 “bedstead” early warning
radar, twin 4.5-inch gun turret, triple-barreled Limbo A/S mortar, Wasp A/S helicopter, Seacat guided missile weapon system and variable depth sonar. Largely for this reason, the
Leanders were classified as Type 12I for Improved.
The Leander class proved to be a very successful and versatile design. A total of 26 ships were built for the Royal Navy in three batches. The Batch 1 and 2 differed with the latter receiving an upgraded engine design which improved noise reduction.
The Batch 3 ships had two feet added to the beam to improve sea keeping as well as upgraded engines. The latter batch is referred to as board-beamed
Leanders. Two ships were built in the UK and exported to New Zealand and another two were
exported to Chile. Ships based on the
Leander class but built under license in foreign yards include the Australian River class, Indian Nigril class and the Dutch Van Speijk class.

With advances in weapons systems over the years, Royal Navy ships underwent a series of upgrades and conversions. The Seawolf conversion was one such upgrade/conversion. The Seawolf conversion would give the Batch 3 broad-beamed
Leanders Exocet anti-ship missiles in place of the 4.5in mounting and the Seawolf missile system forward of the Exocets replacing the Seacats. The Seawolf conversion also fitted improved sonar and radar. The Limbo mortar and well was removed,
which allowed for a larger hangar and flight deck to accommodate operating a Lynx helicopter. Due to costs, only five of the broad-beamed
Leanders were underwent the Seawolf conversion due to the cost and secondly, to retain some ships capable
of naval gunfire support.
HMS Andromeda was laid down at HM Dockyard at Portsmouth on May 25, 1966 and launched on May 24, 1967. She was commissioned on December 2, 1968. As she was a Batch 3 broad-beamed Leander, she was selected as one of the five
frigates to undergo the Sea Wolf conversion. She was the first of the five to re-enter service in 1981, in time to see action in the Falklands War. There she provided protection for the Carrier Groups against aircraft and missile attacks.
Andromeda
served the Royal Navy until 1993, when she was sold to the Indian Navy as the training ship
INS Krishna. As a training ship, her armament was greatly reduced to a pair of 40mm Bofors and a pair of 20mm Oerlikons. In this capacity, she served until
May 24, 2012, which was the 45th anniversary of her launch. She was sunk as a target in the Bay of Bengal.

The Kit - The HMS Andromeda kit can be used to build any of the five Leander class frigates that underwent the Sea Wolf missile system conversion. The kit follows the typical Atlantic Models format: a resin hull with a waterline/full-hull option, a
mix of resin and white metal smaller parts, an extensive photo-etch detail set and a very complete decal sheet.
The two hull sections are clean semi-hollow castings with very good details. The upper hull captures the profile with the high foc’sle deck. Such items as bitts, capstans, breakwaters and other are cast into the hull. The raised platform for the Seawolf
launcher is also cast into the hull at the point where the high foc’sle meets the flush deck. Locating pins and holes are present to fit the superstructure and other parts to the upper hull. The lower hull is also well done and very clean with the bilge keels
and shaft fairings cast into the part. Openings are provided to attach the rudders and the stabilizer fins.

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 probably be required to fill in the joint.
The superstructure is one large piece and incorporates the bridge, hangar and other housings. The casting is very good with some bits of resin flash needing removal along the sides and the edge of the hangar. Waffle pattern watertight doors are cast
into the superstructure eliminating the need to apply photo-etch versions. The actual hangar is detailed in the event you wish to build the model with the doors open.

The smaller resin parts include the hangar roof, funnel structure, the fore and main masts, Sea Wolf launcher, Exocet box launchers and mountings, Lynx helicopter fuselage, Corvus chaff launcher enclosures, 910 fire control radar and base, 967/968
radar antenna, SCOT radomes, aft 20mm GAMBO platform, Gemini inflatable boat and a pair of Sea Riders RHIBs. The casting is very good with the parts require the removal of a little flash or bits of casting runner along some of the edges.
The white metal parts include the rudders, stabilizer fins, propeller shaft supports, Type 978 radar, Corvus chaff launchers, torpedo tubes, life raft canisters, anchors, searchlights, RHIB crane post, Exocet telemetry antenna, utility punt and torpedo
decoys. The white metal parts require a little more cleanup and are not as refined when compared to the small resin parts but they fit the bill. White metal is malleable so be careful when handling the anchors and RHIB cane post as they can be easily bent.

The photo-etch brass is excellent which is what we have come to expect from
Peter Hall. This is a detail specific to the Seawolf version. Pre-measured railings, ladders, anchors, yardarms and platforms for the foremast and mainmast, Exocet launcher
details, hangar door, various cranes, parts for the Lynx, 20mm guns, flight deck safety nets, ship’s name plates and various other detail parts are provided in this set with lovely relief etching.
A complete and well-done decal sheet is provided with that provides the pennant numbers, flight deck code letter and names for all five Seawolf fitted ships. Flight deck markings, Lynx markings and codex numbers, draft markings and the White Ensign
and Union Jack are also provided. Missing is a set of bridge windows.

A total of 10 pages of assembly instructions are provided in the familiar format you see with other
Atlantic Models kits. The instructions are 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 half 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. The names of the colors will help you
match up with Colourcoat paints.
 
This release from Atlantic Models adds another Leander class frigate variant to the catalog of modern Royal Navy ships. It is a top-quality kit, which is what we have come to expect from “Mad Pete” Hall.

Felix Bustelo
New York
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