1/400 Royal Netherlands Navy Aircraft Carrier

R81 "Hr.Ms. Karel Doorman"

1967 Toulon Harbor Visit 

Gallery Article by Derek Derks on Aug 19 2015



Short History:
Type: Light Fleet Carrier.
Admiralty Job Number J3697 / Yard Number 1126
She was laid down on 3 December 1942, by the yard Cammel Laird & Co Ltd. Birkenhead.
Completed: 17 January 1945

Service Record: 
Royal Navy 17 May 1945 - 28 May 1948 
Named “HMS Venerable”.
March 1945-March 1947: British Pacific Fleet (BPF). Liberation of Hong Kong, repatriating thousands of former prisoners, soldiers and equipment, between Fremantle, Bombay, Batavia and Singapore. 
Sold to the Dutch Government in 1948.

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Royal Netherlands Navy 28 May 1948 - 8 October 1968 

Named “Hr.Ms. Karel Doorman”

1955-1958 extensive modernization, at Wilton-Feijenoord Shipyard in Holland. During this time she was fitted with a new steam catapult, an angled deck, and mirror landing sight, new island, massive mast and funnel, also ultra modern radar equipment, air search, height search, target acquisition, navigation and carrier controlled approach radar system. These were all delivered by the famous electronic company Holland Signaal. (Now Thales) 

General information after major refit: 

  • Length: 214 meter. – Width: 34.80 meter. – Draft: 7.30 meter. – Displacement: 13800 ton.

  • Two engine rooms, producing 40.000 HP- 2 screws – 1 rudder, – Max.speed 24.5 knots

  • Armament: 10x 40 mm Bofors AA. – Crew: 1500 including air group. 

  • Air Group 1958-1962 Grumman Avengers, Hawker Siddely Sea Hawk-Sikorsky HO4-S3 (S55)

  • Air group 1962-1968 Grumman S-2A Tracker- Sikorsky HSS-1N Seabat

With only anti-submarine Trackers and Helicopters, the carrier became a Carrier Vessel Submarines (CVS).

The carrier took part in many NATO exercises and was mainly operational in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and the Caribbean waters.

One exception was a “Show the Flag“ world deployment in 1960, lasting 7 months. 

In 1968, she was severely damaged by a major fire in the engine room and subsequently sold to the Argentine Government.

“ARA 25 de Mayo”
In service: 1 September 1969. In the year 2000, she was towed to Alang (India) to be broken up for scrap.

A refit took place at the Wilton Feijenoord Shipyard. On her maiden trip to Argentina, the ship had her first encounter with the prototype of the British Sea Harrier, landing on her deck for a possible (ordering) interest from the Argentine Navy Officials.

During the Falkland War (1982) the carrier was flagship of Carrier Task Force (CTF 79 /01-03 may 1982) and was indeed ordered by the Naval High Command to attack the British carrier battle group, after this was detected by Grumman Trackers, operating from the carrier. Due to the fact, that a night strike was not possible by the A-4Q Skyhawk, and knowing to be detected, the British battle group moved to the east and out of range from the Argentines.

1999 towed to Alang (India) to be scrapped.

The model, scale 1/400

Combination of Heller (Arromanches) plastic kit, enhanced with a resin, etch and decal set by www.Naval Models.com. The enhancement set makes it possible to construct the carrier after the major refit. (Angled deck, new island, and new radar suite.)



This multimedia kit needs a lot of TLC, especially connecting the resin to the plastic over large areas. A large etch set with radars, main mast, propellers, rotor blades, tail rotors, everything is included. Basically, the same items that were used during the real major refit

Length in centimeter 56 / Width in centimeters 8+.


The model is built full hull and placed in a wooden casing. This casing is then filled with molding powder and left alone for shrinking. After the water is dampened out of the powder, the difference (3mm) is then filled with liquitex gel and sculptured with a little spoon. This gel hardens out after 24 hours. Then it is studying the water pictures, to make the final choice on the colors.


The Diorama dated 03 November 1967:

In October 1967, the Dutch Navy concentrated a Task Force that included eleven ships, including the carrier, destroyers, frigates, submarines, tanker and Fleet Air Arm assets.  On the 3rd of November, the Karel Doorman entered the Naval Base of Toulon.  By arrival, two French Naval Tugboats are assisting the carrier to its anchorage. The carriers’ air group,  consisting out of Squadron 4 and  8,  are in full force (show the flag) ranged on the deck.  Starboard and Port anchor are both “presented” and ready to fall in case of emergency or during the coming anchoring  procedure. Lockheed Neptune (SP-2H/214) from Squadron 320 is making a low fly-past over the rear deck of the carrier.


Kit and Accessories:

  • The complete kit is from www.navalmodels.com

  • Grumman Trackers are from Larsenal (www.larsenal.com)

  • French naval harbor tugs (Acharné Class)are from Larsenal

  • Winches, watertight doors, firefighting reels, from Larsenal

  • Crew is from North Star, via Larsenal

  • Lockheed Neptune is from Larsenal

  • Railing is from Tauro (www.tauro.com)

  • Scratch built.  


  • British Aircraft Carriers by David Hobbs

  • The Colossus-Class Aircraft carriers 1944-1972 by Neil Mccart

  • Wings of the Malvinas by Santiago

  • Hr.Ms. Karel Doorman by Bert Brand

  • Verguisd en geprezen by LTZ1 Willem geneste.

  • Op de grens van zee en lucht (Lockheed Neptune F.C. Van Oosten

Derek Derks

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Photos and text © by Derek Derks