Fork me on GitHub

Project Notes

#602 HMAS Vampire

Remembering Force Z with a build of the HMAS Vampire from the Tamiya 1:700 waterline series. No electronics for this one.



As we are coming up to the 80th anniversary of the sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse, I noticed that Tamiya have a representation of all the vessels in their 1:700 waterline series.

Will I make them all? Perhaps! For now, I’ve started with the Australian destroyer HMAS Vampire.

Force Z

Force Z sailed from Singapore at 1710 on 8 December 1941 after receiving word of a Japanese convoy bound for Malaya. It consisted of the battleship HMS Prince of Wales, battlecruiser HMS Repulse, with destroyer escorts HMS Electra, HMS Express, HMAS Vampire and HMS Tenedos.

On 9 December 1941, Japanese submarine and reconnaissance aircraft reported on Force Z without their knowledge. HMS Tenedos was also detected to return to Singapore as she was running low on fuel. Overnight, flares dropped by Japanese aircraft alerted Force Z to their discovery. Having lost the element of surprise, the force was ordered to return to Singapore.

On the return voyage, the force was intercepted by land-based bombers and torpedo bombers of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Prince of Wales and Repulse were sunk by Japanese aircraft on 10 December 1941. Destroyers Electra and Vampire moved in to rescue survivors of Repulse, while Express rescued those from the Prince of Wales.

Occurring just a few days after the Pearl Harbor attacks, this was Britain’s turn to learn how vulnerable capital ships were to air power. There was no attempt to alert or scramble RAF air cover for Force Z, though it is likely to have made little difference as the number and vintage of the planes on hand were totally outclassed by the Japanese forces in play.

HMAS Vampire

The Kit

kit_box_front kit_box_rear


Basic call-outs..

Feature Recommended Name Paint Used
guns X-10 Gun metal Humbrol 53
search light X-11 Chrome Silver Vallejo 70.997 Silver
lower hull, masts XF-1 Flat Black Vallejo70.862 Black Grey
boat XF-52 Flat Earth Vallejo 70.921 English Uniform
deck XF-53 Neutral Grey Vallejo 70.992 Neutral Grey
anchor chains XF-56 Metallic Grey Humbrol 56
hull and superstructure XF-80/TS-81 Royal Light Grey Vallejo 70.989 sky grey
primer     Vallejo 74.602 Black Surface Primer


I decided to build, prime and paint by sub-assembly this time, as there are nooks and crannies that will be hard to reach after full assembly.


I’ve only used the railings from the PE set so far.


Adding the ships boats.


Ready for decals next I think.


Decals added, ready for weathering and a base.


After weathering and adding some rigging.

build_06a build_06b

A watery base. some fine touchups still to do


As far as I’ve taken it so far. The model base forms part of a 20 x 12 x 9cm acrylic display case.

build_08a build_08b build_08c build_08d build_08e build_08f

Credits and References

Project Source on GitHub Project Gallery Return to the LEAP Catalog

This page is a web-friendly rendering of my project notes shared in the LEAP GitHub repository.

LEAP is just my personal collection of projects. Two main themes have emerged in recent years, sometimes combined:

  • electronics - usually involving an Arduino or other microprocessor in one way or another. Some are full-blown projects, while many are trivial breadboard experiments, intended to learn and explore something interesting
  • scale modelling - I caught the bug after deciding to build a Harrier during covid to demonstrate an electronic jet engine simulation. Let the fun begin..
To be honest, I haven't quite figured out if these two interests belong in the same GitHub repo or not. But for now - they are all here!

Projects are often inspired by things found wild on the net, or ideas from the many great electronics and scale modelling podcasts and YouTube channels. Feel free to borrow liberally, and if you spot any issues do let me know (or send a PR!). See the individual projects for credits where due.