Hms Illustrious 1943 by Louis Carabott
Brand: Heller
Scale: 1/400
Modeler: Louis Carabott - Museum Quality Custom Airctaft Profile Prints

This model is awarded by Editor's Choice - Excellence Award!



The model is portrayed when it formed part of the attack Force H for the Salerno (Italy) Operation in September 1943. The carrier had just had a general refit and repainted in The Dark Disruptive Camoflauge Pattern which she wore from mid 1943 to mid 1944. It was also the first time that the ship carried a squadron of Seafires (894) squadron along with two Martlet Squadrons 878 and 890 Squadrons. So bearing this in mind apart from detaling the carrier, many structural changes had to be done , which were all scratchbuilt to be as faithful as possible the the real thing.

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The Model

This kit is a very old kit and it had been laying on the shelf for years and years till finally I decided to have a go at it. It is a very rudimentary and inaccurate kit and I realized there was going to be a lot of work put into the model to finish with a satisfactory end result. I haven't seen many 1/400 scale Illustrious models around , so I said why not, let's go for it.

First thing was to saw off the lower part of the hull and reinforce it, since it was going to be a waterline model. The cable deck in the bow as well as the quarterdeck were scratch built using a thin layer of laminated wood and bits and bobs from the spares box.

All visible sections in the hull of the ship were reshaped and detailed, parts available with the kit were discarded. The hull was sanded off completely and trunking and piping scrathbuilt. Support sponsons for transmitting masts were scratchbuilt. Pom poms and twin mount guns detailed accordingly.

The island had to be restructured and reshaped to accomodate the additional gun platforms for the many oerlikons added to the ship's defence system. Extensive detailing was also inluded all around the island. Resin parts by White Ensign also incorporated which helped exstensively to further detail the island. The masts were scratchbuilt with photo etch parts added. A Gun platform was also included in the stern of the ship with a similar purpose. Outriggers for the spitfire squadron had also to be included ,various walkways all around the ship and the boat stations were also altered and detailed accurately. More boats added accordingly and those available with the kit were aslo detailed. Arrester landing wires and arrest barrier were scratch built from fuse wire.

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The Airwing

The Airwing.

Of course no seafires are available in this scale or in any scale, so these had to be scratchbuilt, all 10 of them. The Martlets were available from L' Arsenal and a mixture of Fujimi and L' Arsenal figures were used .Crates, oildrums and equipment lying about on deck were scratchbuilt.

The ship was painted with the very authentic White Ensign colour coat enamels and weathered in a combination of oils and pastels.

The deck was painted Dark German grey acrylic paint to take on the heavy washes to simulate a very used deck.

White Ensign photo etch was used to detail the model.



  • Profile Warship number 11 by David Brown
  • Anatomy of a Ship (Victorious, Illustrious sister ship) by Ross Watton
  • Warship Perspectives Vol 3 by Alan Raven.

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  Photos and text © 2009 by Louis Carabott

June 30, 2009