Piracy has been around as long as humanity has taken to the ocean. Most consider the 1600s as the heyday of piracy, focused around the Caribbean
Sea. However, piracy is worldwide and has never left. It seems odd to think that piracy is still present in the 21st Century but of course it is. Perhaps
the greatest prevalence is off the horn of Africa off of Somalia. Combating this piracy has been the focus of the navies of many nations, including most
of the NATO nations. When thinking about the naval forces of NATO, one may naturally consider the USN, RN, German, Italian, etc fleets, however,
the ships of the Royal Danish Navy is not considered that often. Yet, Denmark has not neglected her navy and does have a surprising small and modern
force for a state of her size.

In 1998 the Danish Navy had preliminary designs for a new class of warship. Combat Fleets of the World 2000-2001 shows this design as SF300
Project Command and Support Vessels and states:

Design in development for a ship intended as a multipurpose unit for peacetime expeditionary support operations, using six to eight portable functional
modules installed amidships. Will have side and stern ramps to handle vehicles. To carry one 10- to 12-ton or two 5-ton helicopters. Missions foreseen
include ASW (with VDS module and torpedo tubes), mine countermeasures, and humanitarian aid. Approved 6-99 for construction during the 2000-04
period.

Two ships were ordered from the Odense Steel Shipyard and were given the names, Absalon L16 and Esbern Snare L17. The names are for two
Danish brothers who fought for the Danish throne in the 12th Century. Absalon, also known as Axel, was born in 1128 as one of the powerful Hvide
clan. His family controlled a large amount of land, including the present day Copenhagen. He became Bishop of Roskilde and later Archbishop of Lund
until his death on March 21, 1201. Both he and his brother were among the strongest supporters of Prince Vlademar, who after a civil war in which
Absalon and Esbern Snare fought for the prince, became King Vlademar I of Denmark. During the civil war Danish coastal territories had been the
target of Wendish pirates based in Pomerania. Absalon was the prime mover in starting the Wendish Crusade to eliminate this threat. Absalon built a
guardian fleet and led the first naval/amphibian campaign against the Wends that evolved into a 20 year crusade to reduce their power and convert them
to Christianity. It is very appropriate that the name ship of the new class should be named after the great archbishop.

These two ships are the largest vessels ever constructed for the Danish Navy.
Absalon was laid down November 2003, launched January 30, 2005 and
commissioned in 2007. However, lengthy trials followed and
Absalon was not operational until 2008. On her first mission HDMS Absalon was
assigned duties entirely in keeping with her name.
Absalon was assigned as part of a UN force charged with an anti-piracy mission off of Somalia.
Absalon was the flagship of the Danish Task Group led Task Group 150. In September 2008 the ship participated in the capture on ten Somali pirates.
On December 3, 2008
Absalon encountered a disabled boat suspected of piracy 90 miles off the coast of Yemen. The craft was carrying Kalishnikov
AK assault guns and Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG)s, gear not normally associated with fishermen. The crew was arrested and turned over to the
Yemeni government, while the craft was scuttled. On March 19, 2009 pirates attempted to capture the Vietnamese cargo ship MV
Diamond Falcon.
Absalon, accompanied by TCG Giresun, prevented the capture. During her tour in the Gulf of Aden, Absalon captured 88 of the 250 pirates captured,
making her the most successful anti-piracy ship in the force. Her first anti-piracy cruise ended April 1, 2009 but
Absalon was deployed again the next
year. On February 10, 2010
Absalon was back and sortied her helicopter and special forces team to break up an attempted piracy of Ariella, an
Antigua and Barbados flagged cargo ship. Next month on March 1, 2010
Absalon sank a pirate mother ship, which was being used to send out satellite
pirate speedboats in the Indian Ocean.
Absalon bagged another pirate mother ship on January 7, 2012 and freed 14 Iranian and Pakistani fishermen.
The sisterships are the largest warships in the Danish Fleet, displacing 6,300-tons. They are 451-feet 5-inches (137.6m) in length, 64-feet (19.5m) in
beam, and 20-feet 8-inches (6.3m) in draught mean. With their modular construction, the ships can mix their armaments fit. Armament availability
includes one 5-inch/54 (127mm) Mark 45 gun; eight to sixteen Harpoon Block II SSM; three VLS with up to 36 RIM-162 ESSM/RIM-7 Sea Sparrow
missiles (Mk 56/Mk 48 VLS); MU90 Impact ASW torpedoes; two Oerlikon Millennium 35mm Naval Revolver Gun Systems CIWS;  four Stinger point
defense SAM; and seven 12.7mm heavy machine guns. With a flight deck and hangar aft, Absalon carries two EH-101 or two Westland Lynx
helicopters.

How many kits can you think of for warships of the Royal Danish Navy? Well at one time Aurora had a plastic model of a Viking longship, which
could have been Danish but also could have been Norwegian or Swedish. It is
NNT that has introduced ship modelers to the Royal Danish Navy with
the
Absalon. The master model used for the mold was created by Reiner Vogel. This is the first kit released by NNT since Ralf Schuster took over
the company from
Norbert Thiel. However, rest assured that the quality of the NNT is of the same excellent quality in the NNT Absalon. The hull
casting measured at 196mm. Calculating the 137.6m length of the actual ship divided by 700, a 1:700 scale model of
Absalon should measure
196.5mm. A discrepancy of half a millimeter? That is a mere eyeball reading error. Even if my reading of the meter stick (actually 300mm) stick is
correct at 196mm, that still places the
NNT Absalon spot on in scale length.
With this design, the resin hull casting has a lot of detail cast integral with the hull casting. First of all the semi-stealth design of Absalon makes a
very pleasing and interesting model. No slab sides here as the hull sides angle upwards and then angle inwards. With
Absalon that point of transition
changes. The bow sides are flared outward until the forecastle breakwater, at which point the outward flare decreases in freeboard height and the
upper hull is inclined inward. In common with other stealth ships, there is considerably addition hull side detail. Amidships, there are four openings,
the largest for ships’ boats (which can be built open with boats or closed with a segmented photo-etch cover). At the bow there are there hull
anchor positions, one a notch halfway up the cutwater and a square anchor well on each side. You couple these features with the portholes and
square windows at bridge level and the model provides plenty of interesting detail for the modeler. The base of the bridge is very nice with three
planes to break up any radar return, a flared navigation deck with a row of square windows and front face door and port holes. The transom stern
flare outward and has the large Ro-Ro ramp opening, with the option to deploy the ramp open or closed.

As usual, there is even more deck detail. As a modern semi-stealth design, there are few fittings in the open, which would reflect a radar beam. This
is especially noticeable on the forecastle, which is very clean, other than three small fittings that appear for deck access from the interior. The
breakwater is admirably thin and behind it are the base for the 5-inch gun and a large square coaming. One level up behind the forecastle is a solid
bulkhead behind which are three more fittings. Most of the deck detail is amidships behind solid bulkheads, where numerous fittings and coamings
are found. The aft amidships superstructure is dominated by the two staggered stacks with one on each side of the ships. The amidships area is also
broken up by multiple levels of the decks. The rear facing of the superstructure has the segmented twin hangar roll up/down doors, flight operation
position and quarterdeck access door. The resin casting of the hull is excellent with no breakage, resin over-pour or exterior voids. The only pinhole
voids are found on the bottom of the casting, which is pre-sanded.
The smaller resin parts come in three forms of casting. The first form are pre-cleaned separate resin parts for the larger castings, which include
parts for the large forward tower mast, gun turret, and RIB boat. Other large single parts have an easily removed resin vent or runner, including the
aft middle flight deck, aft towers mast. The two helicopters, each have three resin parts and are on casting runners. Another form of casting is a
very thin resin pour sheet for two detailed amidships fittings. The resin film is easily removed and the parts easily cleaned from any film residue.

Twelve resin runners provide the numerous smaller resin parts. One runner contains the largest of the smaller parts with six parts for upper deck
superstructure houses as well as aft Ro-Ro doors. Two identical runners provide ships’ boats, Oerlikon Millennium 35mm Naval Revolver Gun
Systems CIWS mounts are transom stern fittings. A single runner contains twelve parts, including anchors, radar dome, pole masts and various
other fittings. Two more identical runners provide smaller radar domes and communication fittings. Four identical runners provide the Harpoon
canisters, electronic equipment and additional smaller fittings. Two more runners each provide ten more of the smallest resin parts of fittings and
equipment. All the smaller parts are remarkably clean and free of resin flash, with the only cleanup required the removal of any resin runner residue
remaining after their removal from  the runners. The only significant exception to lack of flash is the area between the Harpoon canisters and their
support struts. However, the flash present is easily removed with a hobby knife.
A full stainless steel photo-etch fret is included with the NNT Absalon. In standard NNT practice the photo-etch is produced by the Czech firm of
Eduard. As a stealth ship, the
Absalon doesn’t have standard railing, as they would produce a radar return. The photo-etch parts include the relief
etched segmented rolling side doors, five different safety net parts for flight deck edges, helicopter main and aft rotors, foremast jack staff and stern
flag staff and fitting.

Also included in the
NNT Absalon is a full decal sheet. The flight deck markings dominate the sheet. NNT provides full pedant markings for either
Absalon L16 or Esbern Snare L17. A yellow pendant number is provided for the aft flight deck. Large white with black shadow numbers are
provided for the bow and three smaller shaded numbers for rear hull and stern face numbers. Danish ensigns are provided for the foremast and aft
jack. A single multi-color ships crest is provided, which the instructions show is placed on the starboard bow. In addition to the puzzle of just a
single crest instead of one for each side, another oddity is the helicopter markings. Four helicopter markings are provided, one each for large white
circle (decal 11), small white circle (decal 12), large red Danish roundel (decal 14) and small red Danish roundel (decal 13). The instructions don’t
show the locations for the white circles (decals 11 & 12) but they may be the base for the red markings (decals 13 & 14). The helicopter roundels
appear to have an asymmetrical placement with the large red roundel on the left side of the main body of the helicopter and the small red roundel on
the right tail. I do not know if this is Danish practice or an oversight by
NNT but I suspect the former.

The instructions comprise five pages, two of which are back printed. Page one is a history in English and page two has ship specifications in
English. Another single page has painting instructions in German but references for the proper colors from
White Ensign Colourcoat, Humbrol,
Tamiya matt and Revell. Page four has a photograph of the parts with the resin parts numbered. Page five has the actual assembly. Three different
photographs of the model with parts already attached are shown with resin parts numbers within boxes, photo-etch parts numbers, which are
numbered on the fret in circles and decal numbers following a lower case d. At best these instructions are functional but I really see that there is far
from enough detail or information to assure accurate placement of the numerous smaller parts. Showing attachment locations with photographs is
fine but it should have done with more pages with a series of close-up macro photographs of ship sections for precise location attachment rather
than a three overall photographs.
Lord, Save us from the wrath of the Vikings! That was the prayer of Irish Monks with the appearance of Viking longships in the 10th Century. In
21st Century, that same chant would be appropriate for the pirates in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden as the
HDMS Absalon of the Royal
Danish Navy has been very successful in her anti-piracy operations off of the coast of Somalia.
NNT has now produced a multi-media 1:700 scale
model of the scourge of the pirates and largest warship in the modern Danish Navy. The model has excellent production qualities and is only
marred by inadequate instructions.