The Naval Service (Gaelic: an tSeirbhís Chabhlaigh) is the maritime component of the Irish Defense Forces. The Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 led to the creation in 1923
of the Coastal and Marine Service (CMS), which was given the authority to police Irish customs and fisheries. However, the Treaty allowed England to retain control of
Irish waters. The CMS was very short lived as it was disbanded the following year. In 1939, the Marine and Coastwatching Service was created and was initially
comprised of two Vospers MTBs. Four additional MTBs were ordered from Vospers to expand the fleet in order to help maintain Ireland’s neutrality during World War
II. By the end of 1940, the Marine and Coastwatching Service was comprised of six MTBs and four assorted craft. During the War the Service protected fisheries,
regulated merchant ships, and laid mines off of Cork and Waterford. In 1942, the Service was renamed the Marine Service.

In 1946, the Marine Service was disbanded and the Naval Service was created as a permanent component of the Irish Defense Forces. Three Flower-class corvettes
were purchased and served until the early 1970s when they were replaced by three Ton-class minesweepers. In 1972 the Naval Service commissioned the offshore
patrol ship
LÉ Deirdre (Long Éireannach means Irish Ship in Gaelic and shortened to LÉ). LÉ Deirdre was the first naval vessel purpose-built in Ireland to patrol its
waters. Currently the Naval Service operates eight patrol vessels. The Naval Service's military role is more of a coast guard rather than a conventional Navy. The Naval
Service's capabilities include fishery protection, search and rescue, drug interdiction and dive support.

LÉ Róisín (P51) is the lead ship of her class of offshore patrol vessels commissioned in the Irish Naval Service. The ship's primary mission is fisheries protection,
search and rescue, and maritime protection operations. She was constructed by Appledore Shipbuilders in North Devon, England and commissioned on December 15,
1999. The vessel is designed for North Atlantic operations in all seasons. The ship is armed with an OTO Melara 76mm dual purpose gun fitted at the bow. She is also
fitted with two 12.7mm machine guns and two 20mm Rheinmetall Rh202 cannon. LÉ Róisín has a high level of automation incorporated into the ship's systems, which
allows the ship to be operated with just 47 crew including eight officers.
The LÉ Róisín is RB Productions second ship model release. Since the company is based in Ireland, it is very fitting for this company to offer a kit of a ship in the Irish
Naval Service. Now you could build some other ship models as vessels in the Irish Naval Service, but up until now there hasn’t been a kit available of one that
specifically built for them.

This is a multimedia kit comprising of resin, photo-etch and turned brass parts and decals. The main part is the one-piece full hull which has no structures or any small
details cast into it. The hull is partially hollow with a void in the center. There are recesses, holes and outlines in the hull and deck to help with the location of the smaller
resin and brass parts. The casting is generally very good but there is the need for a lot of sanding and filling at the transom to remove some casting plugs and excess
resin and fill in some holes. Some uneven resin casting at the bottom aft will also need some cleanup. Though this is a full hull model, there is an interesting option to
display it as a waterline model that I will cover further down.

The next largest part is the one-piece superstructure. There are some details cast into this part, but most will be done with resin and photo-etch parts. There are small
locater holes, recesses and outlines to aid in the placement of the smaller parts. An interesting feature is what appears to be an Aztec staircase in the superstructure. This
is replicated here correctly and not something out of a vintage plastic kit. The casting again is generally good but cleanup is needed to remove the casting plugs at the aft
face of the superstructure and the uneven resin casting along the bottom there. Some cleanup is also needed along the bottom edges of this part, especially as you go aft.
The smaller resin parts come on a series of casting runners. The parts include the OTO Melara 76mm turret and base, rudders, stabilizer fins, large and small Rigid
Inflatable Boats (RIBs), the davits for the large RIBs, gun director, the Rh202 cannon mounts, radar domes, equipment lockers in different sizes, RIB fuel cans,
capstans, mooring bitts and chocks, life raft canisters and other details. The casting of these parts is also well done and clean and the chocks will need the openings
drilled out.  The kit comes with several turned brass parts produced by Master Models, so you can be assured that the quality will be excellent. The turned brass parts
included the 76mm gun barrel, the Rh202 cannon barrels, two propeller shafts and the drums for the anchor winch. It is pretty hard to beat the detail and scale of turned
brass parts, so these are a major plus with the kit.

The photo-etch brass is very extensive and comes on two separate sheets with a good degree of relief-etching. Part numbers are etched into the fret next to each part,
including the railings. Sheet A has the structural and detail parts for the kit. The parts include the funnel housing, which wraps around the base on the superstructure,
breakwaters and support bracing, support bracing for the foc’sle bulwark, vent grills, base structure for the mast, the parts for the mast, watertight doors and frames,
hatches, inclined and vertical ladders, various platforms, details for the 76mm gun, details for the Rh202 cannons, details for the RIBs and their davits, and the ship’s
main and thruster propellers. The mast structure, anchor winch and bases for the RIB davits are complex little multi-part affairs. There are other parts on Sheet A, but I
got tired identifying the ones I did already. There is practically no detail overlooked – the Rh202 cannons even have photo-etch ammo belts!
Sheet B has a complete set of pre-measured railings with a bottom runner, as well as grab handles that run along the superstructure, name plates for the ship, a name
plate to display the model and some vertical ladders. A really neat feature found on the railings is the presence of little notches to help bend the railings at the right spots
to fit them properly. The locations of these notches are denoted by arrows on the fret. The decal sheet has the markings for
LÉ Róisín include the hull pennant
numbers, draft markings, bow thruster warning symbol, markings for the 76mm turret, Tasmanian Devil funnel logo (I love it!), deck markings, alternate “Naval
Service” or “Navy” lettering for the RIBs, and the Irish national flag and naval pennant. The decals appear very well done with good color registration.

The kit instructions are extremely well done and probably among the best that I have seen. The actual instructions are not included in the kit, but rather a card is packed
with the kit with the URL to download the instructions from a Drop Box site. If you purchase the kit directly from RB Productions through their web store, a link to
download the instructions will be provided. As you can see, the assembly instructions are comprised of a total of ten pages. The first page has general notes about the kit
and two CAD views of the model at the bottom. Page 2 has a breakdown of the resin and turned brass parts with associated part numbers that are referenced in the
assembly diagrams and small images of the photo-etch sheets. Starting at the bottom of page 2 and spanning over to page 6 are a series of digital color assembly
diagrams are provided which show the location of parts and sub-assemblies from various perspectives to make matters as clear as possible. Other model kit producers
should take note of the care given to make the assembly as clear as possible. Page 7 as a diagram showing the locations of the various railings and template to use make
a cut out to display the hull in a waterline setting. This is a very useful option, especially for me, and will eliminate the need to cut into such a dense resin hull. Page 8 has
painting and decal placement instructions. The color call outs include BS and RAL color references for the hull and deck colors, along with suggested matches to Revell
and Testors paints and one Tamiya color. The generic color references do not have call-outs but they really don’t require any. Pages 9 and 10 have some color reference
photos of the actual ship.
The LÉ Róisín kit is an impressive sophomore effort into ship models from RB Productions. There is a lot of detail crammed into a relatively small model and the
overall quality is very good. This is a rather sleek looking ship and it is certainly a unique subject. Due to the complexity of the photo-etch parts, I would recommend
this kit to someone with extensive experience working with multi-media kits. My thanks to RB Productions (www.radubstore.com) for the review sample.
Felix Bustelo
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