During World War II the need for escort vessels became quite apparent. In 1943 two key requirements were determined for new ASW ships: enough speed (25 knots) to run down a surfaced U-boat and a gun with enough
range to face a surfaced submarine while remaining out of torpedo range. However by 1945 surfaced submarines were no longer a real threat with the development of the German
Type XXI which could reach speeds of
15-18 knots submerged making all existing escorts obsolete. In the 1950s, the Soviet Union's "
Whiskey" and "Zulu" class subs became a tangible threat and future escorts would need speeds of 25 knots at a minimum to
counter them. Mass production and prefabrication also became considerations in future escorts.

In 1945 the concept of a common hull design was developed to accommodate essentially four types of escort frigates: convoy anti-submarine (
Type 11), convoy anti-aircraft (Type 41), convoy aircraft direction (Type 61)
and fleet anti-submarine (
Type 12). Naturally each type of ship had specific requirements in terms of armament and radar but the convoy escorts needed range as opposed to speed for the fleet escort but the former would
need at least enough speed to be effective against the new fast subs. These frigates would be as large as wartime fleet destroyers but with proposed top speed of 28 knots with a power plant generating 16,000 SHP. Diesel
engines were substituted as no steam engines were available to meet these requirements but the diesels could only achieve 12,400 SHP generating a speed of 24 knots which fell below proposed specs. Since no suitable power
plant could be found for all four proposed ships under the common hull concept it was decided to combine the fleet and convoy anti-submarine functionality into the
Type 12, thereby dropping the Type 11. The common hull
design did proceed with the
Type 41 and Type 61 using diesel engines which provided twice the range (7,500 nautical miles @ 16 knots) as the steam engines in the Type 12 but using only half the fuel.
The Type 41 was armed with two twin 4.5” Mk VI gun turrets which the Royal Navy hoped would be an improvement over the twin 4.7” gun which could not operate at high angles thus diminishing its anti-aircraft
capabilities. The 4.5” gun had its own set of problems as the automatic loading mechanism was prone to jamming so at times the guns had to be hand loaded. This cut the rate of fire drastically at times and thereby
lessening its ability to lay a barrage of fire against incoming aircraft. The secondary armament was the twin 40mm STAAG gun mount which weighed in at 15 tons. For a ship designed for anti-aircraft duties it carried a
rather light set of armament for the job. The
Type 41 were fitted with Squid ASW mortars.

The
Type 41 had no funnel as the diesel exhaust was expelled via piping in the masts which was called a MACK (short for Mast And stack). These ships were also fitted with stabilizers to improve sea keeping and provide a
stable gun platform. The ships were fitted with Type 960 Air Search Radar on the main mast and Type 293 target acquisition radar on the foremast. The
Type 41 program was cut and initially five ships were to be built for
the Royal Navy in the mid- to late-1950s (
Lynx, Leopard, Puma, Jaguar and Panther). HMS Panther was sold to the Indian Navy before she was laid down and renamed INS Brahmaputra. Two additional ships were
built for the Indian Navy (
Beas and Betwa). Their slower speed quickly showed that they could not keep up with faster ships in Fleet exercises but their endurance and range made them more suitable for long range patrols
and they were used in the South Atlantic to protect British dependencies in the region. In the mid-1960s the four ships in the Royal Navy were modernized. The mainmast was plated and strengthened to support the larger
and heavier but more modern Type 965 radar with its AKE-1 bedstead antenna. A Type 993 radar was fitted on the foremast and the unreliable STAGG mounting was replace with a lighter single 40mm Bofors. The ships
resumed patrol duties in various distant stations serving the Royal Navy into late 1970s.
Lynx and Jaguar were sold to Bangladesh and the remaining ships scrapped.

HMS Puma was laid down on November 16, 1953 at Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Limited in Greenock, Scotland. She was launched on June 30, 1954 and commissioned on April 27, 1957. Puma spent
the early part of her career patrolling the South Atlantic and participating in exercises with the South African Navy. She suffered damage from a fire in 1964 and was laid up for repairs for several months. After her
modernization,
Puma was deployed to the Far East Station operating out of Hong Kong and Singapore until 1972. She then returned to England, was paid off and eventually scrapped in 1976.
The Kit - HMS Puma kit is one of the two latest releases from Peter Hall’s Atlantic Models. With the Puma kit you can build modernized Type 41, with the plated mainmast, updated radars and 40mm Bofors. If you
wish to build a
Type 41 in her original fit you can do it with Atlantic’s HMS Leopard kit, which was released concurrently. Naturally there are a lot of common parts between the kits but this review focuses on the
Puma kit. The layout of the Puma kit is very similar to Atlantic’s HMS Peacock. The resin hull has a waterline/full-hull option, the smaller parts are a mix of resin and white metal and it comes with an extensive photo-
etch detail set. What is different in this case is that a small decal sheet is provided. The two hull sections are clean hollow castings with very good details. The upper hull captures the unusual profile with the high foc’sle
deck that was common to Royal Navy ships of the time period. Such items as bitts, capstans, breakwaters and various lockers and vents are cast into the hull. On the lower deck the deck housings with its series of
exhaust piping and vents are also part of the casting. Numerous waffle pattern doors are cast into the bulkheads and housings eliminating the need for applying photo-etch versions and simplifying assembly a bit. For the
other parts that need to be attached the deck there are either locating pins or holes guide with placement.

The lower hull is also well done and very clean with the stabilizer fins, bilge keels and shaft fairings cast into the part. An opening is provided to attach the rudder. If you plan to build the model full-hull you will see
corresponding pins and holes at the bow and stern and at four spots 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. A dry fit of the two halves show that there is a slight bit of warping that will require clamping of the two parts together to
correct it and some putty will undoubtedly be needed to fill in the joint. The smaller resin parts include the bridge, the plated main mast (MACK), a pair of 4.5” Mk VI twin turrets, fire control director and platform,
40mm Bofors platform, aft fire control director, ventilator junction box and a pair of boats. The casting is very good with the parts require the removal of a little flash along some of the edges. Since the hull is common
to both versions of the
Type 41 kit, the modeler will have to remove the exhaust conduit and some of the piping that sits atop the aft superstructure to fit the solid main mast. The main mast was open lattice in the
original fit and an exhaust funnel pipe was fitted and visible within the mast. This alteration is noted in the instructions. Numerous white metal parts round out the kit and include the Squid anti-submarine mortar, the
40mm Bofors gun mount, the 4.5” gun barrels, deck winch, rudder, propeller shaft supports, the Type 993 radar, life raft canisters and various vents and exhaust pipes. 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 40mm gun mount as the barrel can be easily bent and as the photo show this
has already occurred during shipping.

The photo-etch brass is excellent and this is expected coming from “
Mad Pete” who has wowed us for years with the photo-etch he has designed for White Ensign Models and his own Atlantic Models label. This is a
common detail set for both versions of the kit so some of the parts are not used with the
Puma. Railings, ladders, anchors, foremast and associated platforms and yardarms, mainmast yardarms, parts for the complex
Type 965 radar and various other detail parts are provided in this set with lovely relief etching. It looks like no detail is forgotten as the brass even includes mast squadron numbers 5, 6 and 7 and ship’s name plates.
A small but complete and well done decal sheet is provided with this model and
Peter Hall has told me that he plans to include decals in all Atlantic Models kits going forward. Pennant numbers and names for two
ships,
Puma and Jaguar, are provided as well as bridge windows, draft markings and White Ensign and Union Jack. A total of 7 pages of assembly instructions are provided in the familiar format you see with White
Ensign Model
kits and brass detail sets. 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. You will notice that the parts not meant to be used with this kit are blacked out in the
image to help avoid confusion, which I think is a rather good idea. The remaining pages cover the various assemblies and sub-assemblies and the last page was a painting guide in color with references to, what else,
WEM Colourcoats paints.
This release of HMS Puma Type 41 frigate in 1:350 scale from Atlantic Models is an excellent follow-up to the Peacock and will build into a beautiful representation of a later fit Type 41 frigate. I hope that the Puma
will be the first of many kits covering the Cold War Royal Navy period which has been generally ignored but has produced many interesting subjects.
Felix Bustelo
Varlet of Valley Stream

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