In 2013 Trumpeter released a 1:350 scale plastic kit of HMS Eskimo, Royal Navy Tribal Class destroyer. Seeing the kit and other Tribal Class releases, White Ensign
decided to work up a detailed brass photo-etch set for the Eskimo. Peter Hall crawled into his igloo and would not come out except for his shipments of
Scotch Single Malt. He had to make a fret worthy of this distinguished class of British warship. Finally, he was finished and the product was worth the wait. For a
destroyer the
WEM fret is very large and is crammed with parts, many of which are relief-etched. One reason is that Mad Pete included parts for variants. One large
example is the foremast. There are plenty of trinkets for the early Eskimo foremast, or if you prefer, you can use the post 1944 lattice mast for the late war version.
Parts with relief-etching include the lattice mast, navigation deck canvas awning, quad Vickers' .50 machine gun mounts and their base plates, searchlight platform,
anchors, depth charge racks with two different alternative rails, Type 276 radar, Type 282 Yagi radar, boat thwart and boat davits, boat cradles, accommodation ladder
platforms, searchlight platform lattice support, both the early and late war forward AA gun platform supports, bridge windows, and two nameplates for every ship in the
class. Whew! that's a lot, because at least half of the fret consists of parts with some degree of relief-etching.
That is a lot of parts but there is also a plethora of standard photo-etch parts without the relief-etching. Among these are custom-cut railing, early and late midship AA
gun platform support frames, signal lamps, two runs of anchor chain, three runs of vertical ladder, boat rudder/tiller and oars, Y gun training stops, flag staffs, various
antennas, six single Oerlikons with gun shields, accommodation ladder safety rails, funnel grates/clinker screens, yardarms, Type 286 radar, lattice mast top platform,
inclined ladders with railing and trainable tread plates, funnel sirens, binocular mounts, and life raft racks. The instructions are in the standard superb
WEM format with
pictures and text presenting assembly modules for subassemblies. There are seven pages for a destroyer! Page one is a photograph of the Eskimo and general
instructions. Page two is a fret laydown with each part identified in text and numbers. Page three consists of modules on assembly of the quad machine guns, Oerlikon
guns, midships gun platform, Type 282 Yagi radar, Type 285 Yagi radar, Type 286 radar, Type 291 radar, AA Yagi radar, HF/DF array, anchors and forecastle railing.
Page four has five modules, which cover superstructure details, funnel fittings, lattice mast assembly, lattice mast top platform and details, tripod foremast assembly.
Page five has six modules, which cover boats' assembly, port side boat attachment, starboard side boat attachment, forward AA gun platform, searchlight platform
assembly and aft left raft rack attachment. Page six is the last page of modules and has six of them. Included are modules on main mast alternatives, depth charge rack
assembly, aft weapons detail, accommodation ladders, forecastle sheer correction, and four barrel pom-pom assembly (although the fret doesn't contain the brass parts
for the pom-poms and refers to
WEM set 3508).
For a pure photo-etch set, the White Ensign Models set for the 1:350 scale Tribal Class destroyer can not be beaten. WEM provides a huge number of parts on this
large fret and half of them are relief-etched. It is clearly
Mad Pete at his best, so it is incumbent to check which brand of Scotch single malt that he was using.
Steve Backer