RB Productions 1:350 Irish Naval Service Offshore Patrol Vessel
This is one of the new generation of resin kits that combine computer design with very high quality 3D printing to create the patters that are cast in resin and the results are superb
LÉ Róisín (P51) is the lead ship of her class of offshore patrol vessel in the Irish Naval Service. The ship’s primary mission is fisheries protection, search and rescue, and maritime protection operations, including vessel boardings. Róisín or Róisín Dúbh, is often used as an allegory for Ireland. However the original Róisín Dúbh was a daughter of Red Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone in the late 16th Century.
The ship was designed by Vard Marine (formerly STX Canada Marine) and has an all-steel hull based on the Mauritian Vigilant patrol vessel launched in 1995, but without the helicopter deck and hangar facilities. The high level of automation incorporated into the ship’s systems allows the ship to be operated with just 47 crew including eight officers. The crew is provided with comfortable accommodation. The vessel is designed for winter North Atlantic operations
The ship is armed with an OTO Melara 76 mm gun dual purpose gun installed on the bow gun deck. The gun fires 6 kg (13 lb) shells and is capable of firing up to 85 rounds per minute to a range of over 15 kilometres (9.3 mi). There are also two 12.7 mm machine guns and two 20 mm Rheinmetall Rh202 cannon for anti-aircraft defence.
The main gun is controlled by an Ultra Electronics Command and Control Systems, Radamec 1500 optronic director with a daylight TV camera, thermal imaging camera and eyesafe laser rangefinder. System 1500 functions in automatic or manual mode. The system provides fire control for surface engagement with spotting corrections in both line and range and has an effective secondary self-defence anti-air capability. System 1500 can detect a small patrol boat at ranges in excess of 12 kilometres (7.5 mi), night or day. The ship’s Kelvin Hughes surface search radar, operating at E, F and I bands, is installed high on the main mast over the bridge. The Kelvin Hughes navigation radar operates at I-band.
The communications package includes VHF, HF, Inmarsat Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS) and Differential Global Positioning System (DFPS) and secure communications. Three inflatable boats are deployed from each ship; two 6.5-metre (21 ft) Delta rigid inflatable boats (RIB) launched with Caley davits, and a single Avon 5.4-metre (18 ft) RIB.
The ship is powered by two Wärtsilä 16V26 diesel engines each developing 5,000 kW (6,700 hp) continuous power. The engines drive two shafts with Lips inboard turning controllable pitch propellers via single reduction gearboxes. Each propeller is 2,500 mm in diameter and functions at 300 rpm. The engines provide a maximum speed of 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph) with a range of 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km; 6,900 mi) at a cruising speed of 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph). A Brunvoll FU45 CPP bow thrusters, rated at 340 kW with 5.6 tonnes-force (55 kN) thrust, is fitted for precision manoeuvring and station keeping. A pair of non-retractable anti-roll fin stabilisers is also fitted. Three Caterpillar 3412D1-T generators each deliver 405 kWe at 1,500 rpm. One Caterpillar 3406D1-T emergency generator delivers 205 kWe at 1,500 rpm. (Wikipedia)
Radu Brinzan’s RB Productions has released a true multimedia kit of this attractive vessel. Combining resin hull and details, etched fittings and Master barrels and prop shafts, the modeller is presented with a challenging build that will result in a very fine model of the Róisín.
First impressions count, so when you examine the hull parts and see the work that has gone into the programming of the design and the printing of the results, you are off too a good start. This is one of the new generation of resin kits that combine computer design with very high quality 3D printing to create the patterns that are cast in resin. Detail is sharp, shapes spot on and the levels of complexity and finesse, extraordinary. Though the larger parts are impressive, it is perhaps the smaller items such as the RIBs (Rigid-hulled Inflatable Boats) that show off best just how this technology can work in a kit such as this. Similarly impressive are the davits that hold the two RIBs; these are predominantly cast in one piece and the further detailed with etch, the results being superbly detailed structures.
The hull is split into two large sections, the hull and the main superstructure, Casting is excellent. An initial dry-fit suggested that the fit between the two large sectoions may need some fettling, but nothing that a little care and attention won’t help. Looking at the images online and in the Zip file that Radu sent to me to accompany this first-look, showed that the shapes had been captured well and thus the basics were all in place for further detailing.
Along with the larger resin parts, there is a bag of smaller details that include all of the deck fittings that could not be replicated in etch. Here, the parts are tiny and the casting flawless, casting blocks and connectors being kept to an absolute minimum. Where there was a little flash, it was fine and so looked to be easily removed with either a scalpel blade, or a tooth brush.
And so on to the etch. This is where this kit really shines and sends the kit firmly into the heading of “for advanced modellers only”. Just looking at the sheet and then the instructions that accompany the kit, you are struck by the complexity of the photo-etched details. I say sheet, but in actual fact there are two: one covers the ship’s fixtures and fittings and is etched in brass; the other deals with the railing and is etched in stainless steel. So why the use of two different materials? Well, Radu believes that it is too easy to deform railings that are etched in brass, so decided that the use of the harder stainless steel, would allow the creation of sharper details on the completed model. I agree. This is a sensible approach to structures that are notoriously easy to deform and I applaud him for this clever, thoughtful, inclusion.
Detail on the etched frets is sensational, if not a little intimidating. With everything from individual doors, through to steps, ladders, aerial arrays and even tiny chains, the modeller is going to need patience and skill aplenty to use what’s supplied, to its best advantage. I’ll be building this kit shortly and I have to say, the etch is certainly making my nerves jangle…
The levels of accuracy, detail and complexity are everything that you need to enjoy a one-stop project with NO need for any additional parts or expense.
The parts count is rounded off with a set of turned brass parts from Master. These include prop shafts and the barrels for the Rh202 cannons and the Melara 76 mm cannon. As you may imagine, the accuracy and detail found on these tiny parts is absolutely in-keeping with the rest of the kit and will add much to the accuracy and look of the completed model.
The instructions are not supplied in the kit, but are available to download and print from a website linked on the header card supplied in the kit. This is no-doubt a cost cutting exercise as well as one that doesn’t fill the small kit box with paper! I printed them off this morning and can say with some conviction that the instructions are amongst the best I have seen, not only in a resin kit such as this, but across the spectrum of kits that I deal with day to day. The construction notes are brilliantly rendered – no doubt from the original kit design files – and in conjunction with the painting guides and technical notes, little is left to chance.
This is a superb kit and one that I look forward to starting work on – the entire project being followed on this Blog. The levels of accuracy, detail and complexity are everything that you need to enjoy a one-stop project with NO need for any additional parts or expense. Superb.
My thanks go out to Radu Brinzan for the sample and the full-sized images that accompany this review.
RB Productions – https://www.radubstore.com/
LÉ Róisín Wikipedia page – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%89_R%C3%B3is%C3%ADn_%28P51%29
Irish Naval Service – http://www.military.ie/naval-service/fleet/large-patrol-vessel/le-roisin-p-51