During the early days of the Battle of the Atlantic, German U-boats clearly had the advantage, sinking thousands of tons of merchant shipping. The Royal Navy needed
convoy escorts and a lot of them. However, to build them in the numbers needed, the designs and machinery had to be simple so that they could be built in civil
shipyards. Naval shipyards were already at capacity, so the latter point was extremely important. From this necessity, the
Flower class corvette emerged.  Yet as the
Flowers were designed for coastal operations and not for convoy work in the Atlantic, it became clear that a suitable design was needed.

Some of the requirements for this class of vessel included good sea keeping for convoy escort duty in any weather, speed of at least 20 knots and simple machinery
that was easy to maintain. The ships also had to have better armament to combat U-boats based on wartime lessons learned. The requirements called for two 4-inch
HA/LA guns, two 2-pounder guns and at least two 20mm Oerlikons. Anti-submarine weapons would consist of eight depth charge throwers, four each port and
starboard, and two roll-off racks. The ships would also be fitted with Type 271 radar. Initially the design called for a ship measuring about 350 feet long with twin
turbine engines and a light welded hull. Arguably, the most important requirement was that they could be built in large numbers. However, the reality of production
constraints, especially those of civil shipyards, dictated that a ship of this size could not be built in the numbers needed. The ship would have to measure about 300 feet
in order to be built in civil yards. The reduction in length would give insufficient capacity for turbines, which would take about 18 months to produce in any event.

This design became the
River class. They had the endurance and anti-submarine capabilities of the Black Swan class sloops, but were quicker and cheaper to build in
civil dockyards using the machinery and construction techniques pioneered in the building of the
Flowers. The Rivers had reciprocating steam engines instead of
turbines, which facilitated construction. The
Rivers were originally classified as a twin-screw corvette, but the term frigate was suggested by Vice-Admiral Percy
Nelles of the Royal Canadian Navy and it stuck.
The River class frigates measured 301.25 feet (98.1 meters) overall, with a beam of 36,50 feet (11.1 meters) and a draft of 9.0 feet (2.7 meters). The ships were
fitted with two 4-inch (102mm) quick firing guns in single mounts fitted forward and aft, a pair of single quick firing 2-pounder guns fitted in tubs aft of the single
funnel and a pair of single 20mm Oerlikons fitted on the bridge wings. Later in the war, additional 20mm Oerlikons were fitted, with the numbers varying from ship
to ship. Anti-submarine weapons included a 24 spigot Hedgehog launcher fitted forward, eight depth charge throwers and two depth charge rails. The twin
reciprocating vertical triple expansion engines gave only 3 knots more speed, but extended the range of the ship to nearly double that of a corvette, to 7,200 nautical
miles at 12 knots. Improvements over the corvette design also included much better accommodations. Five ships,
HMS Cam, Chelmer, Ettrick, Halladale,
Helmsdale, and Tweed, had Parsons single reduction steam turbines.

The first orders were placed by the Royal Navy in 1940, and the vessels were named for rivers in the United Kingdom, giving name to the class. In Canada, they
were named for towns and cities, though they kept the same designation. In my research for the background on the
River class I can across some discrepancies in
the number of ships actually built.  Wikipedia (yes, I am aware of the caveats with this source) states that a total of 151 ships were built and launched.  However,
David Brown, in his book “Atlantic Escorts”, provided a count of 128 ships.  The list of
River class ships in Wikipedia is grouped by the navies they served in so
there were repeats, When I reviewed the list and removed the double counting, I came up with 140 ships. So, we can say with a degree of certainty that a lot were
built.  The ships were built in yards in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.  Some built in the UK were transferred to Royal Canadian Navy. Some built in
Canadian yards served in the Royal Navy. Two Canadian built
Rivers were transferred to the United States Navy and designated as patrol frigates (PF). The ships
built in Oz served with the Royal Australian Navy in the Pacific.  During the war, some ships were transferred to the Free French, Royal Netherlands and South
African navies.  Ten
River class ships were war casualties.
After the war, ships that were paid off were sold to navies around the world. HMCS Stormont was purchased by Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis and
converted into his luxury yacht
Christina O. Two ships have been preserved as museum ships: HMAS Diamantina at the Queensland Maritime Museum and UBS
Mayu
(ex-HMS Fal) in Myanmar.

The
River class design was used as the basis for the United States Navy's Tacoma class patrol frigates (which served in the Royal Navy as the Colony class frigate).
The hull design was the basis for the
Loch and Bay class frigates.

HMS Nadder was built by Smiths Dock Co., Ltd., South Bank-on-Tees. She was launched September 15, 1943 and commissioned on January 20, 1944. Nadder saw
a fairly active wartime service. She was part of the escort to Convoy UGS 37 in April 1944, through the straits of Gibraltar. The convoy came under heavy dive
bomber and torpedo attack, with one ship being damaged. The escorts were able to keep the German U-boats at bay. Later that month,
Nadder was involved with the
Greek Naval Mutiny, capturing the corvette
Apostolis. On August 12, 1944, Nadder took part in the sinking of U-198 near the Seychelles. On September 10, 1944
Nadder rescued survivors from a U-boat attack on the British merchant SS Troilus. On August 7, 1945, she was involved in an OSS operation off the west coast of
Sumatra.
In 1945, Nadder was transferred into Royal Indian Navy and renamed HMIS Shamsher. In 1947, she passed to the Pakistani Navy and used as a training ship. She was
eventually sold for breaking up on 2 March 1959.

The 1:350 scale
Nadder kit is Starling Models second release in this scale. The master pattern for this kit was CAD designed and 3D printed and is comprised of resin
parts, turned brass parts, brass photo-etch and decals. The model is a one-piece full hull affair with lots of details cast integrally into the part. The deck has bitts,
fairleads, lockers, breakwater, splinter shielding aft and numerous mushroom vents. The hawse pipes at the foc’sle have sufficient depth and do not need to be drilled
out. The hull itself has portholes, bilge keels and locater holes for the rudder and propeller shaft struts. The deck has a mix of raised sections, shallow openings and
scribed locations to accommodate the majority of the other resin parts that fit into the deck. This will give the modeler a more precise fit and location for these parts.
The long, raised section will fit into the opening in the superstructure part.

The casting is excellent and I am amazed on how much detail is cast into the hull part. However, there is a downside to this as the vents are very delicate and can break
off easily by an errant finger or tweezer during assembly. In fact, a few vents broke off during shipping even though the kit parts were all well packed. I looked for the
parts and I couldn’t find it in the bubble wrap or loose in the box. The keel of the hull is really the only spot on this part that needs any clean-up as there are the remains
of the casting gates and the resin has to be smoothed out. I wish that the hull was split into an upper and lower hull to provide an easy waterline option, which is my
personal preference. However, I can work around this.
The next largest part is the superstructure which also a lot of detail cast into it, such as watertight doors, lockers, a pair of cowl vents and vertical ladders.  One of
the vents broke off but was inside the ziplock bag that contained the part. The opening underneath and the bottom edge have some excess resin that need to be
removed so that it will fit properly into the corresponding raised section on the deck. There is also a little bit of resin film the needs to be removed to open up a
breezeway on the forward section of this part. The locations for the forward 4-inch gun and bridge are scribed into the deck. The bridge housing is also extremely
well done, with the open bridge having a compass, binnacle, piping, lockers, running lights and the foot rings for the 20mm Oerlikons. A wee bit of casting plug
needs to be removed from bottom. The funnel is the other larger resin part in the kit and it is very well done with the external piping and grill cast into it.

The smaller resin parts include the midship gun platform for the 2-pounder guns, some smaller deck housings and a coaming with hatches.  The weapon parts are
comprised of the 4-inch gun shields and mounts, the 2-pounder mounts and guns, the 20mm pedestals and guns, the parts for the hedgehog and depth charges for
the roll-off racks, storage racks and throwers. Other resin parts include the Type 271 radar lantern housing, anchor windlass, anchors, a trio of boats (motor
launch, whaler and dinghy), Carley floats, searchlights, running gear (rudder, propellers and shafts with struts), cowl vents in two sizes, crow’s nest, floater nets,
flag lockers and some smaller fittings. Most of the smaller resin parts come on casting blocks with fairly thin attachment points. The smaller resin parts are
generally well cast and clean, with some needing clean up of extra bits of resin or resin film, the like the openings in the 4-inch gun shields.

The brass photo-etch fret contains all of the railings in pre-measured lengths, inclined and vertical ladders, a pair of platforms with railings, bridge wing supports,
aft gun platform supports, depth charge roll off racks, depth charge storage racks, Carley float storage racks and mesh inserts, floater net baskets and brackets,
20mm shields and details, 2-pounder shields and details, parts for the HF/DF aerial, DF antenna, boat davits, boat rudders and cradles, depth charge handling
davits, various handwheels and other detail parts. The photo-etch is nicely done with some relief etching and with part numbers etched into the fret for easy
identification.
Some beautiful turned brass parts from Master Model are provided and are comprised of the for mast and yardarm, the 4-inch gun barrels, 2-pounder gun barrels
and the 20mm gun barrels.  The mast and yardarm are not specified in the parts list, so they must have been added after the assembly guide was created. Using
the 2-pounder and 20mm gun barrels will require removing the resin part but it will be worth the effort. Brass rod will be needed for the tripod mast legs and a
small mast and yardarm aft. A decal sheet with the black letters K and numbers in square and rounded fonts the pennant numbers is provided.

The instruction guide is a 12-page booklet with each step of the assembly detailed with 3D CAD renders in color. The cover has a brief class history and basic
specifications. Pages 2 and 3 have a breakdown of the resin parts and turned brass parts and decals with corresponding identification numbers and a small image
of the photo-etch fret. Pages 4 through 10 contain the 3D renders with images of the various sections of the model from different perspectives. The renders are
very well done and clearly show how the different subassemblies go together and were everything goes on the model. Lengths and diameters for the brass rod
that you will have to cut are included. Page 11 has two views of the completed model. The final page has color plan and profile drawings with camouflage
scheme and pennant number worn by
HMS Nadder. The color references are for standard Royal Navy colors. References are provided for modelers to look up
the correct camouflage scheme for those wishing to build another ship in the class. The instructions for Starling Models previous 1:350 scale release, an
Algerine
class kit, had a rigging diagram but one is not provided here. I did notice an error or two in the part number references in some assembly diagrams, such as
switching the parts of the 2-pounder guns, so pay some attention.
The Nadder kit is an excellent sophomore 1:350 scale kit release from Starling Models, which offers lots of details in what appears to be a relatively
straight-forward build. I am certainly looking forward to see what the future will bring from Starling Models in this scale and according to the box label, a
Loch
class frigate is in the works.
Felix Bustelo
New York

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