by Steve Sobieralski
1/192 HMS Abdiel 1943 (Scratchbuilt)
This is a 1/192 scale model of the fast minelayer HMSAbdiel, a project that I completed back in the early 1990s. It was my first attempt at a completely scratch-builtship. My interest in her was first sparkedin the mid-1970s when I received the Ships in Profile publication on theAbdiel, which contained a beautiful fold-out color centerfold of her in a veryinteresting and attractive modified Western Approaches camouflage scheme. I was quite taken in by her appearance aswell as the exploits of all the Abdiel class ships. The model is made from sheet plastic and various plastic shapes(rods, tubes, strips, etc.) obtained from Evergreen and Plastruct. The hull was constructed using the plank onbulkhead method familiar to many wood and paper ship kit builders. Instead of wood or card stock, 0.125” plasticsheet was cut to shape for the silhouette keel and bulkheads and 0.060” sheetwas used for the deck. Most of the hullwas sheathed with .020” plates and the bow and stern were built up with variousthicknesses of solid plastic blocking, filled and sanded fair. Superstructure exterior bulkheads and decks were cut andassembled from thin plastic sheet. The funnelswere constructed by bending very thin sheet plastic around teardrop shapedformers. The crane booms were built using very thin plastic strips laid on top ofplan and elevation drawings, similar to the technique used in balsa woodairplane kit construction. The three dual 4” gun main armament mounts and thequad pompom mount were scratch-built using plastic rod and other bits while the20mm Oerlikons and other deck fittings such as bollards, chocks, paravanes,etc. were commercially available metal castings. For painting colors I followed the Profile, it being at thetime the only information available to me, which showed the ship with acombination of what appeared to be white, light gray (MS4), medium green (G45) anddark green (G20) hull camouflage with G20 painted steel and light celery greensemtex coated decks. This gave the shipoverall a decidedly greenish appearance and when I read somewhere that thelatest speculation was that the green G20 on the hull might actually be a blue (B15)I happily made that substitution. These mayall be incorrect however, as Arthur Nicholson’s excellent 2015 book on theAbdiel class, Very Special Ships,gives the hull colors as white, 507A, MS3 and 507C (which are all grays) andthe horizontal surface colors as “unknown”. In addition, a 1/48 scale builder’s model ofAbdiel, held by the National Maritime Museum shows, as was recently discoveredfor HMS Hood, that the hull below the waterline may have been painted grayrather than red. HMS Abdiel had a brief, but active, war service. Launched inApril 1940 and commissioned a year later, she laid nearly 300 mines in twosorties at the end of 1941 in the approaches to Brest. The following year, shelaid a large field between Sicily and Tunis prior to the invasion of Sicily. Onthe day Italy surrendered, September 10, 1943, she embarked 400 troops to helpseize the vital port of Taranto. The operation was a success but as Abdielanchored and was about to disembark the troops, ironically the tide swung herover an undetected magnetic mine. The explosion broke her in half and shequickly sank with heavy loss of life.