Navies of any size have always needed ships whose purpose was to train recruits and reservists. The Royal Navy had a tradition of taking obsolete warships out of
service and either attaching them to a training establishment or placing them in reserve and taking them out of reserve for training cruises. With a huge surplus of flush
deck destroyers built for World War One, many were used to train reservists between the wars, such as
USS Ward at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. After World
War Two
Fletcher Class destroyers took over the duties. Few navies have intentionally constructed a vessel specifically designed for reservist training use.

In the early 1990s the Royal Canadian Navy made such a mover with the
Kingston Class, Originally this class was to replace the Bay Class minesweepers and the
Porte Class ships used for training reservists. The twelve ships in the class are typed as Maritime Coastal Defense Vessels. They serve as patrol ships with a mixed
crew of active navy and reservists. The initial deployment had five of the ships based at Halifax in the East and seven of the ships based at Esquimault in the West.
From May to November every year some of the Halifax ships would operate on the Great Lakes and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. They were designed to have a service
life of 25 years and the ability to add 93-tons to displacement for refits. The first of the class
Kingston MCDV 700 was laid down on December 15, 1994, launched
August 12, 1995 and commissioned on September 21, 1996. The last of the class
Summerside MCDV 711 was laid down March 28, 1998, launched on September
26, 1998, and commissioned on July 18, 1999. All of the ships were built at the Halifax Shipyards LTD.
As the ships entered service their displacement was 772-tons light and 979-tons full load. Dimensions are 55.31m (oa) (181.43-feet) 49m (pp) in length, with a beam
of 11.3m (37.07-feet), and draught of 3.42m (11.15-feet). Armament consisted of one Bofors 40mm/60 Mk 1N/1AA (refurbished WW2 guns) and two .50 cal (12.7
mm) Browning M2 machine guns. Propulsion is electric drive with four Wartsila 1,800kw diesel engines driving four Jeumont alternators and two Jeumont electric
motors for a total of 3,084 shp. They were supposed to be able to reach 15-knots in Sea State 2 but in service only achieve 14-knots in optimum conditions. In trials
it was discovered that they were top heavy and had to add 9-tons of ballast (there goes 10% of their designed refit ability). The ships are very maneuverable and are
said to be able to turn in their own length.
                                                                                     
As part of the design process, the class was considered for the secondary mission of minesweeping. They were built in commercial yards with steel hulls, which
doesn’t help their minesweeping ability. Originally equipped with degausing cables, the degauing system was landed, so the ships would have to be substantially
refitted for a minesweeping role. Another design feature was the ability to carry up to three 20-feet modular containers for specific mission capabilities. Some of the
modules are: Indal Technologies AN/SLQ 38 deep mechanical minesweeping systems; MDA Ltd AN/SQS 511 heavy weight high definition route survey system; ISE
Ltd Trailblazer 25 bottom object inspection vehicle; ISE Ltd HYSUB 50 deep seabed intervention system; Fullerton and Sherwood Ltd six man, two compartment
containerized diving system; naval engineered 6 person accommodation modules; and MDA Ltd Interim Remote Minehunting and Disposal System.
Originally it was anticipated for the ships to undergo a mid-life refurbishment that would extend their service lives to 2045-2055. An earmarked plan for $100-
million was developed for the mid-life refits. This was discarded as the Canadian Naval Command determined that this money would be better spent on new
construction. It was anticipated replacing the
Kingston Class with new construction starting in 2020. Contracts have been awarded to develop a new degausing
system and a deployable sonar system. In April 2016 the
Ottawa Citizen reported that new plans are being developed to extend the life of the Kingston Class. It
was recognized that they were far more cost effective at many tasks than a far more expensive ship like the
Halifax Class frigates. The larger ships would handle
blue sea duties where the
Kingston Class are handicapped, as in rough weather in the open ocean they are hard to handle and “bob like a cork”. The plan called
for a refit which would insert a 15-feet plug yo extend their hull to 195-feet and raise displacement to 1,100-tons. The extra length would increase speed due the
better hull form and make them better in the open ocean. They could also carry more equipment modules. Service life would be extended to 2035.
The Dodo Models Kingston Class model in 1:700 scale is another multimedia kit from this company that is loaded with detail. It is a small model given that the actual
ships are under 200-feet in length but you get a lot for your money. Clean up is minimal. The main thing is to clean the waterline. The hull was obviously cast on a
resin sheet, which was removed before boxing, so there is some resin residue from the process that is easily removed with some light sanding. The hull sides are
fairly smooth except for the hull anchor hawse low on the bow. The chief visual attraction of the hull is the angular nature. It angles in at the stacks and hull juncture
with the stacks angled in and the hull angled out. The bulk of the ship is a one piece casting with the smaller resin parts being equipment and fittings. The
superstructure and stacks are loaded with cast in detail. The bridge (02 level) has windows everywhere, on every face with cast on hand rails and hinged doors. The
01 level has the same hand rails, plus cabling, panel and small window detail. The stacks have ventilation louvers on their interior and aft faces.

Deck detail is ample. The twin bollard fittings have the flared top caps. On the forecastle, in addition to the six sets of twin bollard fittings, there are deck anchor
hawse, ribbed Bofor’s base and lockers. At the stern there are even more equipment lockers, large access hatches nd a grid that is the bed for the RIB. The top of
the stacks have the exhaust vents cast integral to the hull casting.
The smaller resin parts come on two runners and consist of fittings and equipment. Since you will have to remove the small parts from their runners, you will have
some minor sanding for clean up of the parts. The parts consist of an equipment module, two RIBs (one on the bed aft and on the inboard side of the starboard
stack, aft equipment deployment posts, life raft canisters, deck lockers, anchor windlass, radomes, inclined ladder landings, superstructure side lockers and mast.

For the size of the model you get a fairly large brass photo-etch fret. About 40% of the fret consists of railing but the rest are ship specific parts. You will find some
relief-etching in the fret. The relief-etching is found on the folding Bofors gun, anchor chain, stern crane, and closed  chocks. A particularly nice touch is the
inclusion of Canadian Maple Leaves that attach to the outboard side of the stacks. Other brass parts are mast platforms, machine guns and gun shields, 02 splinter
shields, anchors, RIB platform with cradles, inclined ladders with trainable treads, carley rafts, perforated locker, radar, equipment fittings, support braces, vertical
ladders, aft splinter shields, equipment brackets and support frames, flag staffs and antennae.
The model comes with a nice decal set. Provided on the sheet are stern and hull pendant numbers for each ship in the class. Also included are forecastle deck
marking, national flag and naval ensign. Instructions are on one back-printed page and a third page printed on one side. Page one has a history of the class and
ship listing with pendant numbers. Page two has a parts laydown and the actual assembly instructions. Page three finishes assembly. In addition to numbering all
parts, the instructions use color coding to differentiate resin parts, photo-etch parts and decals. Green for resin parts, red for photo-etch parts and black for
decals. The photo-etch is numbered on the fret, the decals on the sheet and the laydown numbers the smaller resin parts. The assembly instruction use
photographs of the assembled, unpainted model with the colored numbers showing attachment location. They seem easy to follow but are busy because of the
large number of parts.
Dodo Models has produced an excellent 1:700 scale model of the Kingston Class Maritime Coastal Defense Ship often seen on the Great Lakes, and both coasts of
Canada. This multi-media kit is small but has a large number of fine resin and brass photo-etch parts.
Steve Backer
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