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HMS Arethusa by Lizzy Borden - Radio - 1/96th scale Leander class frigate F38 1965 - Finished

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Well here goes.

HMS Arethusa was a type 12 Leander class frigate, laid down in Sept 1962.

She was, like the rest of the Leanders, named after a figure of mythology. Arethusa was the last ship built by J.S. White & Company Shipbuilders of east Cowes, Isle Of Wight. launched on 5 November 1963 and commissioned on 24 November 1965.

In 1967, Arethusa deployed to the Mediterranean. At the end of 1967 she was docked down for a repair period finishing in the spring of 1968. In the same year she took part in Portsmouth 'Navy Days'. After re dedication the ship worked up at Portland, later deploying to the Mediterranean. In 1969 Arethusa together with Juno, Hampshire and RFA Lyness visited Barbados, transited the Panama Canal and proceeded to Callao in Peru, Valparaiso, the Falkland Islands and Montevideo returning to the UK for Easter.


Later in 1969 Arethusa was deployed as West Indies guard ship. Visits included Punta Del Garda, Bermuda, Washington DC, Norfolk Virginia, Key West, Anguilla, Antigua, St Lucia, Curaçao, St Kitts, Tortola, St Vincent, Carriacou, Nassau, Freeport Grand Bahama, transiting the Panama Canal again to San Diego and San Francisco; returning via the Panama Canal to Trinidad. She continued to Cartegena, Dominica, St Martin, Bequia, Georgetown, Belize, Fort Lauderdale arriving in Portsmouth in April 1970. Arethusa was guard ship for the hand-over of independence to British Guiana.


In 1970, after visits to Lorient and Esbjerg, Arethusa deployed to the Far East via South Africa and her first Beira Patrol, While in the Far East she visited Penang, Singapore, Hong Kong, Nagoya, and the Philippines. On returning to Singapore she helped escort HM the Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh on their South East Asian tour. In 1972, Arethusa undertook a further Beira Patrol which was designed to prevent oil reaching the landlocked country of Rhodesia via the then-Portuguese colony of Mozambique. The following year, Arethusa undertook a fishery protection patrol during the Second Cod War, and during that patrol was rammed by the Icelandic gunboat Odin.


In 1973 Arethusa began her modernisation which included the removal of her one twin 4.5-in gun, with the Ikara anti-submarine warfare missile system taking its place. The modernisation was completed in April 1977. In that same year, Arethusa, like many Leanders, took part in the Royal Navy's Fleet Review in celebration of HM the Queen's Silver Jubilee. Arethusa was positioned between Cleopatra and Arrow and was part of the 3rd Frigate Squadron. In 1979, Arethusa deployed to the Far East and Pacific.


In 1980 Arethusa underwent a refit that was completed the following year. She then joined Standing Naval Force Atlantic, a NATO multi-national squadron. In 1985, Arethusa was fitted with towed array sonar.

On 4 April 1989, at Portsmouth, Arethusa decommissioned. She was eventually sunk as a target in 1991.


I will be building the original batch 1 Arethusa on which my Dad served from new.

My intention is to present this model to my Dad at the final HMS Arethusa reunion on the Isle of Wight in Oct 2015. This also marks the 50th year of her commission.





My techniques may be alien to some, but I'm pretty much doing this off the top of my head.

I usually mull things over In my sleep before having a go at it, so bear with me.


So far I have the deck cut from ply and marked out in masking tape and pencil to give me a rough plan.

I'm tackling the superstructure first.


The lump is milled using a dremel from modelling foam to help give a more solid structure while forming the lower part.

I've used 2mm thick styrene to form the sides and top, cut and heated to get the shape.


I've been planning this since before Xmas and feel better now she's under way.


More later.....










Edited by Lizzy Borden
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Hi Mark.

She's one of the first batch of Leander class frigates , commissioned in Nov 1965. My dad served on her from new, and this was his favourite ship.

It's her 50th anniversary next year and I'm doing this build to commemorate that.


I don't want to give too many details away about my dads involment as he has no knowledge of this as yet.


It's a 1/96th scale. I'm using a hull and fittings from Sirmar, and some etched parts from Scale Warship. Depending on how it goes, I may lavish more brass on her instead of the resin from Sirmar.

I've also sourced very nice running gear from G.T. Sitek.


This is all new to me so any help and advice would be most welcome.





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Since I'm away from the build at the moment, I decided to make this setting out table. I've used 18mm MDF, set at a perfect 90deg angle. I've cut and glued a rule to the front and right edge.

I've also ardered a self adhesive rubber/ferrous mat to stick to both planes.

This will allow me to use magnets to hold sections in place while gluing etc


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I'm not sure if anyone else ever tried this, but finding decent photos/detail of my build has been a nightmare.

I contacted the Admiralty for info and the came up trumps!


I now have copies of the profile and superstructure 1/96th, the decks 1/96th, and the docking plan 1/48th on the way to me as a result.

Admittedly not cheap, ( £72 ) but invaluable.

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Hello Gary,


Great to see another "iron" ship being build for a very worthwhile reason, to honor your dad.  As my signature indicates I am presently building my father's submarine, also to honor him.  When I started this build I struck out getting drawings or photos of the boat.  Koninklijke Marine (Royal Navy, Netherlands) - zero.  Navy Museum - zero.  The Navy Archive was closed due to digitizing all microfilm but one of our friends here at MSW was able to sweet-talk them into letting him do the research and printing.  Also very expensive, 10 Euro per print !

He and several others steered me to archives for photos, of which I have now quite a good collection.  Not easy, being that I am working on a pre-WW II boat !


I'll be looking in at your build.



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Hi Piet.


The maritime museum claim to have around 1 million (yes, million) drawings of ships from the early 18th century, including captured foreign vessels, to modern day. However only 1000 of these are presently digitised for online viewing.

The drawings I requested come in at £17.28 each, plus £12.50 for the research and post is around £9.

The only catch is they can't be used for anything other than personal info or model building. No copying is allowed.

I'm simply going to pass these on to my dad, with the model.


Still, this is a mega result as finding pictures and Info on this ship has been a nightmare.


Thanks for your interest.



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Back home this weekend so the build continues.

Had a good day on the structure today. The only sticky point is the rear mast. It needs to be rounded off on the corners.

I've made an oversize one and I'm thinking of filling it with resin and then shaping it afterwards.









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Bridge now done. Realised after looking at some detail sheets I'd cocked up on the rear mast base. It should be on two levels so I've got that to rework.

I've also started on the foremast. I can't go much further now so I'll be getting everything filled and sanded ready for primer before I do any detail work.






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Added some more detailing today. Rear raft carriers, antenna bases, some light brackets, front replenishing system derricks.

Pretty much finished the foremast detailing apart from the AJE and bipolar antennae.

I sprayed the mast over the plastic primer I used and it's too dark. It should be a light grey. S***!

I'm going to have to redo it now with a brush when I get the correct colour.

I'm also not sure about the brass parts. I think I'll paint them grey too and accent the fixing points with black.


I'm waiting for Barry (Sirmar) now to send me the fittings kits I've ordered.

This is all the stuff like life rafts, guns, Corvus launchers, radar, the funnel, handrails, fairleads, launches, anchors, capstans, towed sonar etc etc.

hopefully they'll arrive next week.






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After checking my detail sheets this morning, I may have escaped having to repaint the mast with a brush! The black section I masked from the detail I had isn't on any of the photos I have of the original ship. I have to be careful here. I'm using drawings from two different ships, ( Leander and Andromeda ) cross checked with a very limited supply of ( fuzzy ) photos of Arethusa. I've already had to correct a couple of mistakes to the superstructure. I may have to back off on the build until my drawings from the Maritime Museum arrive.




Edited by Lizzy Borden
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Cheers Bob. I've never done this before either lol. The bug has bitten however. I've got 16 months left to finish this. The more I do of her, the more I think she'll be better as a static model. The cost of putting in R/C isn't massive, but I could lavish more detail for the money. I doubt my dad would ever sail her anyway.

Ill make her ready for radio however ( running gear installed ).

I was reading about Colin Vass, and his model of HMS Warspite. The detail is astounding! 16 years in the making however. If you've not seen this model then look here:




As a complete novice who's still getting to grips deciphering my drawings this is jaw dropping.


Looking at the models on this site I have all respect to everyone working in timber especially. Plastic does what it's told quite easily. Wood has to be crafted.

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Cheers John.

Thinking ahead, I may do another Leander after this one but I wouldn't mind going bigger, say 1/48.

This will approx. double the overall size to about 8ft in length. I could get more detail that way but I doubt anyone makes the hull that big so I may have to get involved with the fibreglass. All pie in the sky for the moment. Back to reality now....


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More bits on the foremast now made.

The AJE antennae now done. I used a lead sharpener to get the point on the ends and then sleeved with bits of tube. Seemed to work quite well.


I also reworked the base and added some electrical conduit and junction box detail.


Mast now re sprayed in the correct light grey. I just need the radar heads to finish the top and lower platforms.

There's more brackets on the sides to fit yet and an aerial to the front face, over the ladder.




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Cleaned up the deck and set about 'training' the ply to the curves on the hull. I've glued plastic to the back and used the heat gun to hold the shape as near as need be.

It's also had a light sanding ready for any filler and a coat of primer. The colour will be dark green when finished.




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Conduit detail to the foremast base section.

I've constructed a frame that's now fixed to the deck. This is a tight fit inside the superstructure to hold it in place but still be removable. I thought about using magnets but I think this is more secure if a bit fiddly.

Going to prime the deck today after I've cut out the mortar well to the aft section. There's a few imperfections in the ply that'll need filling first however.

I needed to paint the heli deck white first, then mask the landing area and ID letters. Similar for the gun rotation area in front of the bridge which needs to be red.

I also need to tube below the forecastle from the deck to the nose ring and anchor holds.

Next up then will be the hull cutout for the towed sonar array which should be quite simple.


Party on!




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The tuning unit that atatches to the RF cabling needed a mesh cage.

I managed this by stretching an old pair of my wifes (Kirsty) tights over a plastic lid, then spraying with primer.

And yes, I did ask first lol.

Once dried, they held their shape until I glued them around the unit and then trimmed off the excess.





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