Following the re-establishment of Polish independence in 1918,
the fledgling republic built up a small navy. Acquiring six former
German torpedo boats in 1920, the Polish Navy had grown by 1939
to a balanced force of four destroyers and five submarines, a
minelayer, six minesweepers and several auxiliaries. Several of
these ships managed to escape when the Germans invaded and served
with distinction thereafter with British forces. Fortunately also
two Polish naval training ships were in French harbours at the
outbreak of hostilities and a number of hastily commissioned young
officers were available to man further ships. More Polish sailors
escaping from Poland and, after 1942, coming from the USSR, arrived
in Britain. Thus, during the war, a number of ships of the Royal
Navy were loaned to the Polish Navy and these saw action in almost
every major operation in the European theatre. Launched in 1940,
the 1,920 ton Laforey-class destroyer, HMS Myrmidon, was transferred
to Polish control and renamed Orkan. As such, she undertook convoy
escort duties in the North Atlantic. On 8th. October, while escorting
convoy SC143, she was sunk by U-378 off Greenland with only 44
survivors from her crew of 190.
The full hull GPM kit has recently been reissued with printed weathered effects and a series of colour photographs of the completed kit.
Robert Burgess made the original kit and writes:
" Parts for a full hull model were provided but I favoured the sleek waterline appearance of the destroyer. I glued the bulkhead and keel templates onto 1mm and 2mm card, giving the necessary rigidity.
The camouflage colouration (two shades each of green and grey) seemed totally correct but registration errors in the printing meant that special care was required when cutting out parts to their lines as well as painting along the exposed cut edges. Though labourious, this enhanced the model's overall appearance greatly.
The parts fit, overall, was excellent, especially the complex turret boxes. However, the forward superstructure was too long and thus too close to A-turret for it to turn. About 2mm. of the funnel base plate needed trimming before fitting, as everything on the deck would have processed noticeably off-mark.
I used styrene rod, stretched sprue and 5 & 15 amp fusewire for the masts, davits, AA gun barrels, radar antennae and the funnel cap, together with some old chain for the anchor capstans. The main gun barrels were printed on paper which I wrapped tightly around and glued to 0.64mm styrene rod.
The finished model is 56 cm. (22") long and took about six weeks to build. I followed the numerical sequence of parts, dry-testing the fit of the pieces as no translation of the full instructions was present."
Christopher Cooke and Robert Burgess with thanks to Marek Twardowski.