Post World War II, the Royal Navy began developing guided missiles and in 1947 work started on the Sea Slug, which entered into service in 1961. The Sea Slug was a large missile, measuring 6 meters
or almost 20 feet in length and weighing over 2 tons. The missile had four wrap-around booster motors which separated after launch. After separation the main motor ignited to power the missile to the
target. The Mark 1 Sea Slug was a surface-to-air missile intended to engage high-flying targets such as reconnaissance aircraft or bombers. The later Mark 2 version had anti-ship capabilities. Missile
guidance was done by riding the radar beam transmitted by the Type 901 fire-control radar. Their large size, storage requirements and the general complex nature of the Sea Slug system required a large
ship to act as a weapons platform. A proposed design for a fleet missile ship (GW24) appeared in 1954. Plans were even presented to convert a Fiji Class cruiser to carry the Sea Slug, but they met a
lukewarm response.

A new design (GW57), with two twin 4.5” turrets forward and the Sea Slug launcher aft, was developed in 1955 which ultimately become the basis for the
County Class destroyer. Initial order for two
ships was made in 1955-56 and they were eventually laid down in 1959. In between that time, the design was changed several times to accommodate advances in technology. One of these changes was
the addition of a flight deck and hangar facilities for a Westland Wessex helicopter, which at the time was one of the largest naval helicopters around. The Wessex was equipped with its own radar and
dipping sonar to enhance the ship’s ASW capability. Another design change was the installation of Sea Cat anti-aircraft launchers either side of the hangar. While the
County Class ships were called
destroyers, they had the appearance and size of a light cruiser. The cruiser profile was largely due to the pair of squat funnels. The
County Class had both steam and gas turbines. This arrangement gave
an unprecedented flexibility in a warship in that there was no longer a need to wait for the ship to raise steam in an emergency as the gas turbines could provide immediate power to the ship while steam
was raised.

The first two ships completed were the
Devonshire and Hampshire in 1962 and 1963 respectively. Two additional ships, London and Kent, were completed in 1963. The first four ships were known as
Batch 1. The design of this ship was further modified to take advantage of improvements in electronic warfare and the Mark 2 Sea Slug. The first two Batch 2 ships completed were
Glamorgan and
Fife in 1966. Financial constraints led to a delay in ordering the final two ships, Norfolk and Antrim, which were commissioned in 1970. The most obvious differences between the two Batches was
that the newer ships had the prominent  Type 965 "double bedstead" air-search radar on the mainmast and a taller foremast carrying the Type 992Q low-angle search radar.
The County Class received some modifications during their service with the Royal Navy, with Batch 2 ships receiving more than Batch 1. All eight ships received 20mm guns on either side of the
foremast and Corvus multi-barreled chaff launchers. During their early 1970s refits, all four Batch 2 ships had the 'B' turret removed and replaced with Exocet missile launcher to provide enhanced anti-
ship strike power.
Antrim, Fife, Glamorgan, Norfolk and London all had the Scot satellite communications system installed in the late 70's. All eight ships of the County Class served in various areas of
the world, particularly in the Far East. They were useful as flagships due to their excellent command and support facilities. However, these ships were expensive to operate and with a crew of over 500,
manpower intensive. Technology was advancing very quickly and newer ships were being designed that required smaller crews and had advanced missile systems. As a result, the
County Class quickly
became obsolete. In addition, the Royal Navy was entering into a period of financial constraints and cost cutting efforts meant a short service life for some of the ships.
Hampshire was the first to pay
off in 1976, after only 13 years of service, followed by
Devonshire in 1978. London, Kent and Norfolk all paid off between 1980 and 1982. During the Falklands War in 1982, only Glamorgan and
Antrim were available as Fife was in a refit when hostilities broke out.

Antrim was the flagship of Operation Paraquet, the code name for the British military operation to recapture the island of South Georgia from Argentinian control in April 1982. Antrim’s Wessex rescued
16 Special Air Service stranded on the Fortuna Glacier when the helicopters transporting them crashed. The Argentinian submarine
Santa Fe was disabled by depth charges from the Antrim’s Wessex
after the sub dropped of a detachment of marines sent to reinforce the garrison there. The surrender document for the Argentinian forces in South Georgia was signed in
Antrim’s wardroom. While
supporting the main landing on the Falkland Islands at San Carlos Water, a 1,000 lb (450 kg) bomb hit
Antrim, but did not explode, and she fired her Sea Slug Missile at an Argentine Air Force A-4
Skyhawk without hitting it.
Glamorgan spent most of her time in the Falklands bombarding Argentinian positions and the Port Stanley airfield, even firing a Sea Slug at the latter target. On June 12, 1982
Glamorgan was hit by an Exocet launched from land. It destroyed her aircraft hangar, Wessex helicopter and the port Sea Cat mounting and killed fourteen crew members. The outcome could have
been much worse. The incoming Exocet missile was tracked on the ship’s radar as the ship was moving at high speed. Before impact, the ship was able to execute a rapid turn away from the missile
which helped it miss the Sea Slug magazine. The resulting explosion could have sunk the ship.

All remaining
County Class vessels received further modifications as a result of lessons learned in the Falklands, though time was quickly was running out for these ships. Antrim paid off in 1984,
followed by
Glamorgan in 1986 and Fife in 1987. The four Batch 2 ships were sold to the Chilean Navy, with some serving for about another 20 years. London was sold to Pakistan and Kent remained
in Portsmouth Harbor as a training ship for many years. All eight of the
County Class ships were eventually scrapped or sunk as targets.
The Atlantic Models’ Glamorgan - The Glamorgan kit is the latest kit to be released by Peter Hall under his Atlantic Models label. He has jokingly called it “The Beast”, which is an apt nickname
as it is by far the largest kit in terms of sheer size and complexity that he has done under his label or as a pattern maker for
White Ensign Models. Though the County Class ships were designated as
guided missile destroyers (DLG), they were the size of a cruiser and the kit hull measures about 17.83 inches (45.29 cm). The layout of the
Glamorgan kit is very similar to other Atlantic Models
kits. The resin hull has a waterline/full-hull option, the smaller parts are a mix of resin and white metal and it comes with an extensive phot-oetch detail set. A complete decal sheet is also provided.
The two hull sections are clean hollow castings with good details. The upper hull captures the high freeboard of this class which was needed to accommodate the design of the Sea Slug magazine and
the requirement to stow them horizontally. The cable deck (area forward of the breakwater) has tread plates, anchor chain openings, capstans and bitts. The deck areas aft of the breakwater and on
the main deck back to just about the end of the forward superstructure were planked and this is finely represented. Additional mooring bitts are present along the main deck and quarter deck, with the
latter also having the base for the Sea Slug launcher and some lockers and hatches cast into it. Waffle pattern doors are cast into forward bulkhead eliminating the need for applying photo-etch
versions. The Sea Slug missile doors are present on the stern bulkhead. For parts that need to be attached the deck there are locating pins, raised footprints or holes to guide placement.

The lower hull is also well done and very clean with the bilge keels and shaft fairings cast into the part. Openings are present to attach the sonar dome, rudders and eight stabilizer fins. If you plan to
build the model full-hull you will see corresponding pins and holes at the bow and stern and at four spots on the lower hull you will see tabs to help align the upper and lower hulls when gluing the two
parts together. Before joining the two halves you will have to sand down several bumps where appear to be the resin equivalent injector pin marks. A dry fit of the two halves show that there is a
slight bit of warping that will require clamping of the two parts together to correct it and some putty will undoubtedly be needed to fill in the joint.

The forward and aft superstructures are cast as separate parts that must be glued to the main deck. These are also well cast with such details as watertight doors, lockers, vents. The decks of the
superstructures have locator pins for the funnels, masts and other parts that need to be attached. The bottom of the forward superstructure has a recess that corresponds to the raised rectangular area
in the upper hull; likewise, the aft superstructure has openings for the locator pins. This all provides for proper alignment and a good gluing joint for these parts. The aft superstructure has a detailed
open hangar, which is a very nice feature, and provides the modeler the option of building the model with an open hangar door and with the Wessex stowed inside if you wish. A quick dry fit of the
superstructure parts again show a little bit of warping that will require clamping and probably some filler putty. The remaining resin parts include the funnels, masts, gun director platform, SCOT and
Sea Cat director platforms, Type 901 radar parts, Exocet box mounting and blast shield, 4.5” turret, 26 foot whale boat and the hull sonar dome. The casting is very good with the parts requiring the
removal of a little flash along some of the edges.
There are a plethora of white metal parts in this kit and include the Wessex helicopter, the 4.5” gun barrels, Exocet and Sea Cat launchers, Sea Slug launcher yoke, Corvus chaff launchers, deck
winch, rudders and stabilizer fins, propeller and shaft supports, the Type 992 and 1006 radar antennas, life raft canisters, motor boats, anchors, torpedo tubes,  and SCOT domes. The white metal
parts require a little more cleanup and are not as refined when compared to the small resin parts but they fit the bill. White metal is malleable so be careful when handling the some of the thinner parts
as they can be easily bent. I have one of the first packagings of this kit and
Peter Hall as informed me that the motor boats are now cast in resin. The excellent photo-etch brass for this kit is quite
extensive; so extensive that it comes essentially on two brass frets. What I will call Fret 1 has the railings, which for the most part are pre-measured to fit the particular section that are to be used
with, though there is stock railing (photo-etch parts 1) to use along the edge of the main deck that will need to be cut into sections as required. Fret 1 also has the flight deck safety netting, boat davit
tops, various vent grills, yardarms, Sea Cat missiles and anchor chains. Fret 2 has the numerous individual parts for the Sea Slug launcher and Type 965 "double bedstead" air-search radar. It also has
the rest of the parts for the boat davits, ladders, hangar door, Wessex rotors, and various other detail parts. Fret 1 has the name plates and Fret 2 has the funnel badges for all eight ships in this class.
The photo-etch has wonderful relief etching and it looks like no detail has been overlooked, which is what is expected from a “
Mad Pete” design. The Sea Slug launcher and Type 965 radar in real life
are complex structures and this is also true of the photo-etch assemblies for the scale model replicas. It is because of this that this kit is really better suited for modelers with more advanced skills,
especially working with photo-etch parts.

A complete and well done decal sheet is provided with pennant numbers, deck code letters and names for all eight
County Class ships. A complete set of flight markings for the Wessex covering
every ship in the class is also included, as well as flight deck and draft markings, White Ensign in two sizes and Union Jack. The black markings on the sheet are walkway non-slip panels that go on
the top of the Wessex helicopter’s tail. These are shown in the painting and decal guide for the Wessex that is part of the instructions. Being such a large and complicated model, it is not surprising
that 13 pages of assembly instructions are provided for this kit. The instruction sheets are in the familiar format you have seen with other
Atlantic Models and White Ensign Model kits and they are
among the best out there. The instructions provide numerous illustrations to aide in assembling this model. The first page provides a brief history of this ship. Page 2 has keyed images of the photo-
etch frets which correspond to a numbered list of photo-etch parts that spill onto the top of page 3. The remainder of page 3 has keyed images and an inventory of the resin and white metal parts.
The next 11 pages cover the various assemblies and sub-assemblies for this kit, with an entire page dedicated to the Sea Slug launcher. The images are augmented with written steps which further
explain the assembly sequence. I did catch a typographical error in the text describing the propeller assembly, referring to them as photo-etch part 36 when in fact they are cast in white metal. I
pointed this out to Peter Hall and he has made the correction, which will be included in future runs of this kit. The last two pages have painting and decal placement guides, printed in color, for the
Wessex and the ship with references to
WEM Colourcoats paints where appropriate.

Out of the box, you can build any of the Batch 2 ships as they appeared in the late 1970s through essentially the end of their Royal Navy careers. According to
Peter Hall, he says he has made it as
easy as possible build the Batch 1 ships or to back date a Batch 2 ships. As mentioned above, decals markings and photo-etch funnel badges and nameplates for provided all eight ships. The photo-
etch also has the center boat davits that are necessary for anyone backdating or just building one of the other ships of the class, as the boat fits varied. A lot of conversion work is required for
Devonshire and Hampshire since the main mast was on top of the forward superstructure and as a result the superstructures were different. Kent and London had the later mast configuration which
made them the same structurally as the Batch 2 ships. The only noticeable difference between the batches was the foremast, which had the platform and 992 radar lower down and an earlier HF/DF
array on top. Peter also said that an extra 4.5" turret and barrels can be bought from him as an accessory for anyone wanting to do a Batch 1 or back date a Batch 2. An excellent resource on this
class of ships is the
County Class Destroyer Website (
This release from Atlantic Models is quite an ambitious undertaking and will build into an impressive representation of this handsome class of ships. Until now, the only scale model kit of a
County Class available was the old Airfix HMS Devonshire kit, which had numerous accuracy issues. This is a most welcome addition to Atlantic Models’ line of Royal Navy Cold War era
ships. Due to the complexity of Sea Slug launcher and Type 965 radar photo-etch assemblies, I would recommend this kit to modelers with a lot of experience working with photo-etch parts.
Felix Bustelo