The E and F-class destroyers were a group of 18 destroyers built for the Royal Navy during the 1930s. The ships were initially assigned to the Home Fleet, although they reinforced the Mediterranean Fleet during the Italian invasion of Abyssinia of 1935–36 and enforced the Non-Intervention Agreement during the Spanish Civil War of 1936–39. After the beginning of the Second World War in August 1939, the E-class ships were mostly assigned to escort duties under the Western Approaches Command, while the Fs were assigned to escort the ships of the Home Fleet. Between them, they sank four German submarines through March 1940 while losing only one ship to a submarine (from wikipedia).
Tamiya’s kit of the British E class destroyer is a little gem. The molding is very good, and the kit can be built into a fine model straight out of the box. It can be upgraded by using PE detail parts. The kit consists of a couple of gray plastic sprues, a decal sheet with optional markings for a number of E class destroyers, a small paper sheet with royal navy flags, and a detailed black and white instruction sheet.
I started building the kit a while ago, but recently came back and finished it. I’ve added White Ensign Models (WEM) E class destroyer detail set, which includes enough parts to detail the model. It is not an expensive set, and WEM PE sets are top notch in terms of ease of use and the level of details. The instructions included explain each part usage, and it is simply a wonderful value for your money.
In this building log review, I will explain how I built the model and finished it. I think it can be a great gateway to building 1/700 ships with PE details, as the fit of Tamiya’s kits is perfect, and the modeller can concentrate on adding the PE parts.
After rinsing the plastic parts with water and soap and letting it all dry, I started with building the hull, to which I added the funnels and upper structures. I’ve decided to leave most of the additional parts such as lifeboats and guns on the sprues so they are easier to handle.
When adding details to the model the main thing to consider is if it would be easy to paint when done. In some ship models it is better to build and finish the sub assemblies before fixing them to the hull, but because this is a very small model I preferred to fix as much as I could to the deck and deal with painting when done.
Before adding the PE details, I read the PE set instructions to plan the best order of placement. The photos show that I started with the railing, onto which I added additional details such as AA gun batteries, depth charge launchers at the rear deck, and details to the mast.
Usually I rig the model after painting is done. But in this case I preferred to finish it before, as the model is very small and I didn’t want to handle it at the end, and at this step it is much easier to fix damage caused by handling the delicate model.
I use stretched sprue painted black, and caenis fishing wire. I learned about this wire from David Griffith’s two superb books: “Ship Models From Kits”, and “Ship Dioramas,” in which he explains in detail the entire rigging process. I think that these two books are must reads for anyone who wishes to learn how to build ships. They provided lots of help to me when I started to build model ships.
When all the PE parts and rigging are in place, the model is ready for painting.
The model consists of both metal and plastic parts, so the first step was to prime all of the parts. I use gray primer from a spray can, but there are a number of options such as Vallejo’s primer which can be used. A couple of thin layers are enough, so as not to conceal any details.
I usually paint with Tamiya’s acrylics, but recently decided to try and use different materials, and started painting with the Vallejo acrylic range. I used light gray 990 mixed with white (1 part gray, 3 parts white) for a light gray finish. The model sprays very well, and was diluted with Vallejo’s acrylic thinner. To clean the airbrush I use Vallejo airbrush cleaner. Take note that Vallejo colors don’t mix well with Tamiya’s acrylic thinner and colors, as they are of a different base (as I found out in the past…).
When the light gray was done, I painted the lower hull black and glued it to the model. In addition, all the details were painted using Vallejo acrylic and a brush. These consist of the funnel tops, the decks which were brush painted with dark gray, and the middle section of the mast.
The areas where the decals were going to be placed were painted in future floor wax which is a bit difficult to find. A solution for this is to spray these areas with Tamiya’s clear X22, which I find to work perfectly as a gloss base for decals.
I use Mr Sol and Mr Set for placing decals and in the case of the E-class destroyer there aren’t too many decals to add in any case.
Weathering and finishing
The model is light gray with dark gray deck so I weathered the two colors with separate tones.
First I added some streaks on the vertical surfaces. This simulates grime, salt, and rust that appear on ships when they are at sea. Many pictures can be found online. I prefer not to overdo it, as the model is very small. Using white oil colors and mineral white spirits, I added some vertical streaks and blended them with moist brush. There are fantastic online tutorials on the AK interactive YouTube channel which I recommend to watch. The technique is simple and effective.
I used raw umber oil color, and AK interactive rust streaks and grime streaks materials for the darker streaks.
When done, I mixed gray wash using white and black oil colors with mineral white spirits, and pin washed the light gray areas. The consistency is like milk, and I recommend using only the best paint brands such as Rembrandt for these as their pigment is very fine. When done, I added black to the wash and washed the dark gray decks.
This was left to dry for a couple of days.
The last step was to very lightly dry brush with light gray – almost white – oil color the model. This was done only to the highest edges, just to make the details pop.
When dry the model wass done, the final details such as signal flags and Eduard pre-painted life buoys were added.
To sum it up, it was a fun little project, completed in a couple of evenings, and can be a great practice to prepare for building more complex ship models.