Sure we’ve all seen the HMS Hermes, but who knows about the INS Viraat. Thanks again to my favorite eccentric patron who just wouldn’t be happy with a Hermes like everyone else, I can bring you the INS Viraat.
INS Viraat was originally commissioned in the British Royal Navy as HMS Hermes on 18 November 1959. During her career as Hermes, she served as the flagship of the Royal Navy's task force during the Falkland Islands campaign in 1982. She would serve the Royal Navy another three years until she was decommissioned from active duty in 1985. She was sold to the Indian Navy where she was re-commissioned as the INS Viraat. While she has undergone many refits in her time, her service life is drawing to an end (even for the Indian Navy. I have tried to depict her with a bit of age befitting her long years of service. (Plus, most of the pics I have seen of her show her in a rough state.)
The kit itself is really fantastic. The resin casing is very good, second only to Admiralty Models. However, with the addition of a massive amount of PE, the kit easily is one of the most detail kits manageable in 1/700. PE is included for most every detail right down to the windshield wipers on the bridge! (Omitted in this build as they were entirely out of scale – although nice try Orange Hobby) Out of the box, it contains most everything you will need to build a fantastic kit. Although the PE is voluminous, and makes the ship almost untouchable due to small parts sticking out everywhere (so build order is critical), the kit may be managed by those with less PE experience (or patience) because the railings and other PE pieces are all pre-scored for easy bending (no special tools needed) and a perfect fit every time.
My only significant gripe is the massive resin injection tubes left at the bottom of the hull which need to be cut off. The resin here is very thick and I have found it requires a table saw to get a clean straight cut. (If you can cut these straight with a #11 exacto, let me know how. I think Orange Hobby could cut these off for us, but (if you have the right tools) they can be dealt with.
Unlike some of their other carriers, Orange Hobby moved away from the dry transfer decals. I actually found them easier to use as all the deck lines came out perfectly straight. The many long parallel deck lines on this ship do make decaling a bit tricky.
This build shows Viraat with a bit of wear, and shows the at sea repainting going on. This very subtle color variance to simulate a section of newly painted ship was done by simply painting the entire hull the base color. I then added small patches of tape over the areas I wanted lighted. I then used Testors high gloss from a rattle can to spray the entire ship. This is necessary to avoid silvering of the deck decals, but I had noticed on other builds that it actually darkens the paint just one shade. So, knowing this, I taped the areas that I wanted to stay lighter. Once you take the tape off and then dullcoat the entire ship the effect is rather decent (IMHO).